Representative Deborah Boone E-Update



Representative Deborah Boone
D-Cannon Beach, District 32

Phone: 503-986-1432 900 Court St. NE, H-375 Salem Oregon 97301
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This week the House unanimously approved Senate bill 744 which requires the Council on Civil Rights appointed by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries to study wage equality in Oregon and report the findings to the Legislative Assembly.   Despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 during President John F. Kennedy’s administration, women in the United State earn, on average, 77 cents for every dollar men earn for equal work.  And the gap widens for women of color: African American women are paid 64 cents and Latinas just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-hispanic men who perform the same work.  It comes down to discrimination for the value of women’s work, and it is a significant problem for women and the families they support.   Women don’t pay less for housing, health care, transportation, food or anything else, but they do have far less buying power because of this persistent and insidious discrimination.   In these economic times, three of four mothers now work outside the home, and 40 percent of them provide the primary financial support for their families.  With more families relying on women’s paychecks for their livelihood, we must do more to ensure the financial stability of Oregon’s women and families.

Another women’s issue, Senate Joint Resolution 24, which proposes amending Oregon’s Constitution to include equal rights for women, appears to be stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.   Senator Diane Rosenbaum who has long been recognized as an advocate for women’s issues chairs the Rules committee, and has the power to give SJR 24 a hearing.  While many committees have finished their work for the session and have closed down, the Rules Committee continues to process legislation, so it is not too late to contact Sen Rosenbaum to encourage her to schedule a hearing and work session.   Perhaps if she hears from enough Oregonians interested in women’s rights, she may allow the ERA legislation to have a fair hearing. 

The Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association (OVFA) may be added to the list of entities eligible for individual income tax return check-off contributions, if Senate Bill 128 is approved.   SB 128 was introduced at the request of the Senate Interim Committee on Veterans’ and Military Affairs.  OVFA represents emergency medical technicians and firefighters and in the past was able to provide hardship grants, death benefits, equipment and text book grants for volunteer firefighters and their families.  While grant and scholarship recipients were required to apply for OVFA funds, in the case of a death, a check would be issued without question at the request of a fire district or department.   Due to a lack of funds, OVFA wrote their final death benefit check in 2011 to the family of Buddy Herron, an off duty corrections officer/volunteer firefighter who stopped to help a disabled motorist near Pendleton, and was stabbed to death for his good Samaritan effort.   I support passage of SB 128, because volunteer fire fighters and emergency medical technicians are the first responders our communities depend on in every emergency situation. If approved, OVFA will be added to the tax check-off list, and donations would be used for death benefits, and the association’s grants and scholarship program. SB 128 received unanimous approval in the Senate and has been referred to the House Revenue Committee, where it awaits a committee hearing and work session. 

This week I had a visit from Debbie Harry, Jenney Sloan and Lisa Dupell of the United Food and Commercial Workers who were lobbying on behalf of House Bill 3390.  This bill requires covered employers to implement paid sick leave for eligible employees.  Passage of this bill would allow employees who are sick to stay home, and not be forced by economics to work while ill, with the potential to spread illness to other employees and the public they serve.  This is an economic issue, many employees cannot afford to miss a day’s pay regardless of their health.  The bill received a hearing and work session in the House Business and Labor committee and has been referred to the House Rules Committee. 

 Boone and Friends Cropped

Debbie Harry, Jenney Sloan, Rep. Boone, and Lisa Dupell

One of the best things that happened this week was that Senator Betsy Johnson was able to return to the Capitol on a limited basis.   As you know, Sen Johnson was injured in a low speed car collision April 22nd on her way to Salem, she has had her pelvis surgically repaired, and has been undergoing physical therapy and rehabilitation. Betsy has been working on constituent matters and legislative issues via the phone, and now she will be able to cast votes in committee and on the Senate floor.  While we are all relieved that Betsy is back in Salem, we must respect her doctor’s orders, and not overload her schedule while she continues her recovery.

If you have a concern or comment about a state agency, or pending legislation, you can write, phone or email my office, or when you’re in Salem, stop by my office in the Capitol.  It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Deborah Boone
State Representative District 32