E-Newsletter Volume 7, No. #10




Representative Brad Witt
District 31

Phone: 503-986-1431    900 Court St. NE, H-374, Salem Oregon 97301
Email: rep.bradwitt@state.or.us    Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/witt
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April 5, 2013              E-Newsletter              Volume 7, No. 10

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Hi Everyone,


Thursday, April 4th, marked one of the first times this session that there was extended debate on the House floor.  The discussion revolved around HB 2870A, which would allow counties to impose their own tax on cigarette and tobacco sales.  Not earthshaking, you might say, but it is a departure from previous policy that reserved that right to the state.  So, what has changed?

As you know, most counties in this state are struggling to make ends meet.  We have witnessed countless furlough days, which in turn have resulted in shrinking services and increasing fees in order to just maintain basic programs.  A couple of Oregon’s counties have even discontinued public safety and jail services, and at least one is on the brink of bankruptcy. 

HB 2870A would allow a county “to impose a tax upon the sale or use of tobacco products at a rate not to exceed the rate imposed by the state.”  Out of the funds collected, 40% must be dedicated to the funding of public health programs and services, for tobacco use prevention and cessation, and mental health and addiction services and programs.  I think we can agree that these are all good objectives, but a good number of Representatives felt that the taxation of these products should remain with the state.  After extended debate, the bill passed on a squeaker vote, 31-29, and I did support the bill.

This week in House Agriculture and Natural Resources we heard HB 3364, which requires state agencies and public universities to adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices and establishes the Interagency Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee. This is analogous to the Federal program and practices that were established in 2002.

Traditional pest management focuses on regular timed applications of chemicals to control pests, which tends to be inefficient and poses possible public health/safety concerns. IPM is more likely to focus on finding the cause(s) of the pest problem and using mechanical and natural pest removal with smarter, more efficient pesticide use. Proponents of this bill stated that IPM is the best balance of environmental, financial, and health concerns, in that it improves environmental quality and health by removing harmful chemicals and is less expensive than the methods that are currently being utilized.

Bills of Interest…

HB 2654:  Prohibits employer from compelling employee or applicant to provide access to personal social media account.

HB 3159:  Directs OR Transportation Commission to set maximum rates for towing when tower tows vehicle without consent of owner.

HB 3397:  Provides that certain uses of Native American mascots are not acts of discrimination.

HB 2749:  Requires school district boards to allow certain medications to be kept in student’s classroom if requested by parent or guardian.

HB 2384:  Authorizes civil forfeiture of motor vehicle if person is convicted of driving during license suspension or revocation.

HB 3000:  Requires public school students seven years or younger who are beginning educational program to have vision screening.

Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter…have a great weekend!



Oregon Dairy Day at the Capitol with Oregon Princess Ambassador Kaitie Brawley.


 Frank Hupp, President, Columbia County Chapter Oregon Hunters Association
paid a visit to the Capitol and testified on HB 2624.


Governor Kitzhaber signing Senate Bill 1, which guarantees Veterans
a day off in observance
of the Veterans Day Holiday.


Nancy Gamino, Rosa Ascencio, Martha Lopez, Amanda Aguilar-Shank and Monica Olvera
visited the Capitol and advocated for driver’s licenses.