Senator Jeff Kruse - April 12th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:
E-Newsletter                  Number 1, Volume 1 

 Working Hard For You



APRIL 12, 2013



This week I received over 3,000 emails, which might be a record for one week.  While there was communication on a wide variety of subjects, two in particular dominated the conversation.  The largest volume, not surprisingly, dealt with the gun bills.  Interestingly, over the last few weeks, for every email I have received in support of the bills I have received over one hundred in opposition.  I have gone into detail in previous newsletters starting in January on this subject, so I won’t do so here except to restate my opposition to them.  They are all scheduled for a work session in committee on Tuesday.  Because the 18th is the last day for Senate bills in Senate committees I think it is fair to assume Tuesday is the day.  At this point I still don’t know which bills Senator Prozanski intends to move.  Additionally he stated in committee there were still amendments coming and we probably won’t see them until Tuesday.


The other bill with a significant amount of traffic was SB 490.  This bill, or one like it, has been filed every Session for years.  To put it in its simplest terms, this bill is an attack by Planned Parenthood on Pregnancy Resource Centers.  It has been my experience that these centers offer great services not only to pregnant women but also women with young children.  This attack is purely political and in the past this type of bill would never move out of the committee.  Senator Knopp and I were opposed to the bill.  We offered to try and make changes we could live with, but the offer was rejected.  In the end the bill was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, which is one of two committees that can deal with Senate bills after the deadline.  We voted against the transfer, as we were afraid the bill might be amended to make it even worse.  With the current balance of power in the building there is a chance the bill might even pass this time.


Last week I talked about the “PERS lite” bill that was scheduled to come to the Senate floor.  It happened yesterday with the predetermined outcome of passage on a straight party line vote.  Every major newspaper in the state has come out against this plan and for good reasons, some of which I mentioned last week.  This week the House came out with the other piece of their plan, which consists of tax increases and the elimination of a wide variety of tax credits.  This potentially could include taxing nonprofit charitable organizations.  This plan is a train wreck.  Nowhere in this plan is there any consideration of doing anything to streamline government, which will continue to grow at an unsustainable rate, especially without real benefit reform.


This next week will be very interesting and also very telling, by Friday we will know what bills will be in play for the rest of the Session.  For the most part, all committees will be passing out legislation at an accelerated rate.  For example, the Senate Health Care Committee will be dealing with around 30 bills.  As I look at all these issues on the table I am reminded of a quote from President Lyndon Johnson who said “You do not examine legislation in light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.”  There are a myriad of examples of “good ideas” being turned into programs or even agencies which over time have become something other than what was intended.  When something is established inside government it tends to take on a life of its own.


This is the way it can happen.  The Legislature creates a program or passes legislation to alter an existing program.  All programs or services are administered by or through state agencies.  The Governor has control of all state agencies which makes them part of the Executive Branch of government.  Because of Separation of Powers, the only way the Legislature can interact directly with agencies is through legislation and budget.  Once a bill becomes law it will go to the appropriate state agency which will write administrative rules to implement the law.  The problem with this is that many times the administrative rules go a different direction from what the legislation intended. 


A prime example of this is the research hatchery we created almost a decade ago.  The purpose of this hatchery was to give us solid science on the difference, if any, between hatchery and wild salmon.  However, because of the anti-hatchery bias inside ODF&W we have no more knowledge now than when we started.  Consequently we are attempting to pass legislation this session to get to the type of research we originally intended.  Hopefully we will get it passed and the Governor will sign the bill, but the reality is that, no matter what the opinion of the Legislative Assembly is, the Governor has the right to veto the bill and maintain the status quo. 


This can all be very cumbersome and frustrating at times.  But, like Winston Churchill once said, “democracy is the worst form of government ever created, except for every other form of government ever created.” 




Senator Jeff Kruse







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