e-Bulletin: Edu. Budget, Public Safety & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
Email: sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/prozanski
e-Bulletin                     June 2013

If you're having trouble viewing this message, please visit my legislative web page at http://www.leg.state.or.us/prozanski/, click on "News" in the lower left-hand column and scroll down.

Dear friends,

    As the end of the 2013 Legislative Session nears, a number of policy bills have been passed and budget bills are moving toward final approval. I expect we will conclude the session before July 5.

    Last month, we received another positive revenue forecast. Detailed below, the biggest news is that the state is up approximately $272 million in total available resources. That news has helped guide our budget negotiations.

   On Wednesday of this week, the Senate Democrats came together to pass $6.55 billion in direct allocation for Oregon public schools. Coupled with PERS savings enacted in SB 822, the total new investment in public schools is $6.75 billion. That's $1 billion over the previous biennium, and the largest public school investment in Oregon history.

    Also this week, the Joint Committee on Public Safety, which I co-chair, has finalized a proposal to ensure that Oregon's corrections dollars produce better public safety results. That proposal, HB 3194, passed the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate, where I will carry it. Details can be found below.

    Below you will also find information on:

- May Revenue Forecast
        - Joint Committee on Public Safety
        - New Felony: Purchasing Sex with a Minor (SB 673)

        - Updates on Some of My Bills, and Bills of Note
        - Willamette River Bridge: Traffic Returns to Normal in Late Summer
        - Scam Alert: Travel Cons
        - 211 Now Available in Senate District 4
        - Cover Oregon Community Meeting in Eugene: July 10
        - Local Farmers' Markets
        - Oakland Antique & Quilt Show Sponsorship Opportunity

        - Free Online Pest Management Guides

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Prozanski Facebook Link

May Revenue Forecast

    The revenue forecast we received in May illustrates that projected revenue is up $115.1 million for 2011-13 biennium and $141.9 million plus $14.6 million in lottery revenue for 2013-15 biennium, totaling an increase of approximately $272 million in total available resources. The primary downside risk facing the near-term forecast is the uncertain future of the nationwide national economy and federal government austerity.

    The corporate kicker is expected to come into play ($20.4 million) but at this point, the personal kicker will not. The long-term trend shows a positive outlook for job growth, though the growth is still slower than ideal.

    This forecast shows strong economic indicators of steady improvement in our economy, with Oregon families and small businesses on more secure economic ground. This session, we have made investing in education a top priority. We're committed to passing a budget that substantially addresses the need to keep teachers in the classroom and decrease class size.

    The forecast has given us more resources to work with for the next budget. But as Governor Kitzhaber has said, there's more we can do to create a budget that truly reflects Oregon's priorities.

    Now is the time to come together so we can reinvest in and stabilize our schools, keep our communities safe, and protect vital services for our most vulnerable. While the forecast brought mostly positive news, it's important to remember that there are still Oregonians out there who need our help. That's why we will strive to protect vital state services like Oregon Project Independence, Temporary Aid to Needy Families, and Head Start.

Joint Committee on Public Safety

Oregon is bucking national trends by expanding our prison population and spending more of our public safety dollars on prisons and less on proven, frontline, crime-fighting strategies. My colleagues on the Joint Committee on Public Safety and I, working with our partners in law enforcement, have crafted HB 3194 to address this problem.

    HB 3194 gets the state back on track by ensuring that Oregon's corrections dollars produce better public safety results while saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars. This compromise legislation focuses resources where they're needed – on our local public safety infrastructure which has suffered dramatic underfunding in recent budgets. Our job is to make sure that taxpayers are getting the best possible public safety return on their money, and that's what the bill does. It will flat-line Oregon's prison growth for five years.

    You can read HB 3194, here.

HB 3194 offers us an important opportunity to make our state safer and save hundreds of millions of dollars. It means ensuring stronger support for the proven, frontline public safety strategies that have, in recent years, been cut to the bone: sheriffs, community corrections, victim services and state police.

    HB 3194 represents two years of data analysis and policy development by the Commission on Public Safety, which I co-chaired, four months of legislative work by the Joint Committee on Public Safety on which I served, as well as significant engagement with criminal justice stakeholders, including our law enforcement partners.

    There will be more work ahead for the state, but this bill is an important step in an ongoing effort to craft public safety policy backed by a strong body of evidence about what works in sentencing, community supervision, victim services, and law enforcement.

New Felony: Purchasing Sex with a Minor (SB 673)

In 2011, the Oregon Legislature unanimously passed a new crime of Patronizing a Prostitute (HB 2714). The new law established enhanced penalties for a person engaged in sexual activities with an underage prostitute. The legislature classified the crime as a Class A Misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to one year in jail for the first conviction. A second conviction would require a minimum $20,000 fine and up to one year in jail and a third conviction would retain the minimum fine of $20,000 and a jail term of at least 30 days.

    As introduced, SB 673 would have made the first offense of paying for sex with a minor a Class B Felony with a crime seriousness of nine.  (Oregon ranks felonies on a scale of 1 (least serious) to 11 (most serious).) It also retained the strict liability component of HB 2714. In other words, a person with no prior criminal record who had good reason to believe they were having sex with a consenting adult would still be sentenced to 34-36 months in state prison.

    During a public hearing, it became apparent that the original version of SB 673 was flawed and had numerous unintended consequences. Here's an example: An 18 year-old male high school senior takes his 16 year-old sophomore girlfriend out for burger and a movie. After the movie, they find themselves just being teenagers in the back seat of his car. If there was any sexual "contact" (not even intercourse) the high school senior could have been charged with a Class B Felony under the original version of SB 673. If convicted, he would have been required to serve three years in state prison.

    The final version of SB 673 deals with these unintended consequences and creates the new crime of purchasing sex with a minor. It will be a felony even on the first offense and will increase current penalties. In addition to the previously mentioned fines, the enhanced penalties include a minimum 30-day jail term, require the completion of a "john school" education program, and require the judge to consider if the defendant should be required to register as a sex offender on the first conviction. A second conviction is elevated to a Class B Felony and requires sex offender registration.

    By passing SB 673B’, Oregon will join 43 other states making the first offense a felony. It also will send a strong message that purchasing sex with a minor will not be tolerated in Oregon. The Senate has concurred on the final version; the bill is now awaiting a concurrence vote in the House.

Updates on Some of My Bills, and Bills of Note

    SB 422 - police support for rural fire districts (passed the Senate committee; chairman of House committee chose not to advance the bill): This bill would have allowed rural fire protection districts (RFDs), if authorized after a district-wide election, to contract with state or local law enforcement agencies to provide the district with special law enforcement services. Dwindling resources at the county level have resulted in cuts to law enforcement services throughout the state, making it difficult for RFDs to do their jobs. For instance, most RFDs will not enter private premises if there is a securi ty threat at the location. This can result in delays in responding to both medical and fire emergencies. My bill would have: (1) made available more law enforcement services for RFD call-outs and (2) ensured that a deputy would be available, when not responding with RFD personnel, for regular law enforcement services within the RFD. The program would have been voluntary. I carried SB 422 to passage in the Senate and testified in support, alongside Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner, in the House Veterans' Services & Emergency Preparedness Committee.

    SB 525 - prohibiting the use of state or other governmental seals on letterhead to collect debt or restitution by a private entity (passed both chambers; awaiting Governor's signature): I introduced this bill after learning that individuals were receiving letters, featuring an official district attorney's seal, from collection agencies contracted by district attorneys to recover restitution in bad check cases. Despite being from a private entity, these letters threaten that a warrant and criminal record may result from non-compliance. SB 525 will stop that practice. I carried the bill in the Senate and testified in support of the bill in House Consumer Protection & Government Efficiency Committee. You can read a short Businessweek article about the bill, here.

    SB 549 - extending tax exemption for federal land used by recreation facility operators (passed both chambers; signed into law by the Governor): Diamond Lake Resort has been a employer and vacation destination in Douglas County (near Crater Lake) for almost 90 years. It and other resorts that lease their land from the federal government pay taxes to the federal government as part of their lease payment. Those taxes are shared with the county. For many years up until 2012, the state has had a tax exemption in place so that treasures like Diamond Lake Resort don't have to pay both state and federal property taxes. There are approximately 90 rural properties throughout the state facing similar problems. I introduced SB 549 with Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) to put that property tax exemption back in place for another 10 years. I carried SB 549 in the Senate and testified in support of the bill in the House Revenue Committee.

    SB 574 - allowing parents to freeze children's credit files (passed both chambers; signed into law by the Governor): I introduced this bill at the request of a constituent following a 4J School District data breach. It will allow parents to "freeze" their child's consumer report. In 2012, a former student breached 4J School District's computer system, accessing identity information for thousands of current and former students. I carried SB 574 to passage in the Senate and testified in support to achieve passage out of the House Consumer Protection & Government Efficiency Committee. This is a great example of how a constituent request can lead to a new law, so please don't hesitate share your good ideas with me!

    SB 582 - expediting rural building projects (passed both chambers; signed into law by the Governor): In some rural counties, declining revenue from timber payments and other sources have put essential services in jeopardy. Local governments may find themselves in a catch-22 without the resources to inspect and approve job-creating construction projects that would in turn produce much-needed revenue. Senate Bill 582 allows the Director of the Department of Consumer & Business Services to enter into agreements with local governments, when requested, to provide additional building inspection services. The bill also provides for special consideration of the needs of rural and remote regions of Oregon when crafting and adopting the state building code.

    SB 602 - protecting Waldo Lake
(passed both chambers; signed into law by the Governor): Sen. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) and Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) joined me in co-chief sponsoring this bill to prohibit sea planes on Waldo Lake. Waldo, the third most pure lake in the world,
joins 21 other lakes in Oregon have that have this protection. SB 602 stems from contradictory rulings made by the state Marine Board and Aviation Board. The bill affirmed the Marine Board's previous decision banning the use of gasoline motors on Waldo Lake. I carried the bill in the Senate and testified in support in the House Energy & Environment Committee. Thank you to those who came to testify in person and/or submitted written testimony – it made a difference!

    HB 2710 - common sense regulations on use of drones by law enforcement (passed the Senate; awaiting House concurrence): As surveillance technology becomes more and more sophisticated, it's important to modernize our laws to guarantee privacy and due process for Oregonians. I was honored to co-carry to passage in the Senate HB 2710 to regulate how law enforcement agencies may use drone technology, giving Oregonians additional civil liberties protections. HB 2710 limits public entities' usage of drones by prohibiting law enforcement agencies from using a drone to acquire information on a suspect without a warrant. It also preempts local government regulation of drones and forbids weaponized drones. Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles) and I, along with Judiciary Committee counsel, worked hard to craft language that will protect both Oregonians' privacy as well as our burgeoning drone industry.

Scam Alert: Travel Cons

    Not sure if you're dealing with a travel scam? Here are six signs that sun-filled getaway isn't what it seems:

  • You "won a free vacation," but you have to pay some fees first. A legitimate company won't ask you to pay for a prize.
  • The prize company wants your credit card number. Even if they say it's just for "verification," "taxes," or "port fees," don't give it to them.
  • They cold-call, cold-text, or email you out of the blue. Before you do business with any company you don't know, call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company's home state to check on complaints; then, search online by entering the company name and the word "complaints" or "scam." To contact the Oregon Attorney General, call 1-877-877-9392 or visit www.oregonconsumer.gov.
  • They don't - or can't - give you specifics. They promise a stay at a "five-star" resort or a cruise on a "luxury" ship. The more vague the promises, the less likely they'll be true. Ask for specifics, and get them in writing.
  • You get pressure to sign up for a travel club for great deals on future vacations. The pressure to "sign up or miss out" is a sign to walk away. Travel clubs often have high membership fees and limited choice of destinations or travel dates.
  • You get a robocall about it. Robocalls from companies are illegal if you haven't given a company written permission to call you. That's true even if you haven't signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry.
If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or to the Oregon Department of Justice at www.oregonconsumer.gov.

Local Farmers' Markets

    It's that time of year again! We're fortunate to have a number of farmers' markets in our area, bringing us fresh produce and other products straight from the source. The Oregon Farmers' Markets Association (OFMA) maintains a listing of local farmers' markets. The OFMA listing provides up-to-date information on locations, schedules, accepted payment methods, etc. for markets near you: http://www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/market-directory-2013/. If you notice that a market is not listed, please contact OFMA directly, or let me know and I'll relay the information to them

Oakland Antique & Quilt Show Sponsorship Opportunity

    The the first of what is sure to become an annual event complementing the Blackberry Festival in Sutherlin, the Antique & Quilt Show is expected to bring additional shoppers to the Oakland area. This event holds the promise of a growing partnership between our businesses and towns, and so Oakland Economic Development is seeking sponsors for the show. Please contact qnasquad@gmail.com / 541-459-6077, or Linda West, President Oakland Economic Development, at netpik@yahoo.com / 541-459-7661 if you are interested in a sponsorship opportunity.

Willamette River Bridge: Traffic Returns to Normal in Late Summer

    According to ODOT, the new northbound Whilamut Passage Bridge in Interstate 5 will open to traffic in late summer. Crews will finish roadwork on Franklin Boulevard and return it to four-lane traffic by mid-to late June. The construction team continues to finish the bridge deck and is installing permanent highway signs as ODOT prepares to open the new bridge to northbound traffic in late summer. The northbound freeway off-ramp to Franklin Boulevard, exit 192, will also reopen in late summer.

    On Friday, July 26 at 10 a.m., join U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio to commemorate the opening of the new bridge. The following week on Saturday, August 3, a community celebration and bridge walk will take place from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Family-friendly and fun for all ages, both events will take place in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park and will include brief presentations, project information and walking tours of the new northbound bridge.

211 Now Available in Senate District 4

    2-1-1 is the phone number anyone can dial for a free, live and confidential referral to a health or social service provider. The service connects people with the resources they need. People can call seeking food and shelter; health, dental and mental health care; assistance paying rent and energy bills; addictions support groups and counseling; aging and disabilities services; legal assistance; financial literacy training; parenting education and more. People can also receive referrals via text message by texting their ZIP code to "898211," or they can search online at 211info.org. The service is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and it's now available statewide.

    It's also an important source of crucial information during disasters and emergencies. That information can include everything from sandbag locations during floods to vaccination sites during outbreaks and shelters during storms.

    211 is operated by nonprofit 211info, in conjunction with partners in each community. 211info compiles data on usage of 211 in each county on a quarterly basis – how many people call or check the website, their demographics, their requested needs, which agencies they were referred to and more.

Cover Oregon Community Meeting in Eugene: July 10

    Cover Oregon is hosting a community meeting on Wednesday, July 10, from 6-8 p.m. at Lane Community College to discuss how its online marketplace, set to open in October, will help individuals, families and small businesses shop for and compare health coverage that fits their needs and budget. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of expert staff. Register to attend the event, here: http://bit.ly/12lontE.

Free Online Pest Management Guides

    The OSU Extension Service, in cooperation with the University of Idaho and Washington State University, recently released three publications on pest management. You can them online, here: http://pnwhandbooks.org.

    The three guides cover insect, disease and weed management. They also provide reference information for growers in the Pacific Northwest on the lifecycles of insects that affect hundreds of crops and livestock as well as a list of plants that are sensitive to fluoride toxicity.

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