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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Concerns regarding genetically modified food made the national news this week, as it was widely reported that unapproved genetically modified (GM) wheat was found growing in an Oregon field.   This discovery could threaten exports of the world’s biggest traded food commodity and Japanese officials took immediate action by cancelling a tender offer to buy U.S. western white wheat.  The European Union announced plans to test incoming grain shipments and any that contain GM wheat will be blocked.  Asia imports more than 40 million metric tons of wheat annually, and the United States is the world’s largest exporter.  The United States Department of Agriculture says there is no sign that the genetically engineered wheat had entered the commercial market, but grain traders warned the discovery could hurt export prospects for U.S. wheat.

I have long been concerned about the impacts of genetically modified food sources.  This session I introduced House Bill 2175, to require labeling food that contains genetically modified ingredients.  Regardless of the continued debate of the pros and cons of genetically modification of food sources, it’s my opinion that consumers have a right to know what is in the food they purchase and consume.  HB 2175 was assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee where it had a public hearing, but failed to receive a work session, so it died in committee. Along with Representative Paul Holvey D-Eugene, I also sponsored HB 2530, to prohibit the importation of genetically modified salmon into Oregon.  My biggest concern is that genetically modified salmon could escape into the wild with devastating consequences.  Canadian researchers say there is a risk of GM salmon mating with the closely related brown trout species to produce a hybrid fish.   GM salmon grow faster than normal salmon and scientists observed that their hybrid offspring grow even faster allowing them to out-compete existing species for food sources.    Oregon’s seafood industry is renowned for its quality and is in high demand throughout the country and around the world.  If we were to allow GM salmon, and any escaped and reproduced, we could see a situation similar to the current Oregon wheat controversy, and the quality of Oregon seafood could be brought into question.    This would have devastating impacts on the future of Oregon’s seafood industry, and the economic health of our coastal communities.   HB 2530 suffered the same fate as HB 2175, it was assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee where it received a public hearing, but no work session, and died in committee. However, the issue of banning GM salmon remains alive this session, as Rep. Holvey also introduced HB 3476 which bans the importation of GM salmon into Oregon, this bill was referred to the House Rules Committee and awaits a hearing and work session.   Due to the GM wheat discovery, the members of the Coastal Caucus view GM salmon as a real threat to our salmon industry.

In support of Oregon’s seafood industry, I introduced with Representative David Gomberg D-Otis, House Joint Memorial 3 which is the Local Seafood Marketing Initiative.    HJM urges Congress to support marketing of Oregon seafood, and breezed through the legislative process. This legislation received unanimous votes in both the House and Senate, has been signed by the Speaker of the House and Senate President and was filed this month with the Secretary of State.  

Some of my other legislative successes this session include HB 2182 which established Oregon First Responders Appreciation Day, which is now set annually on September 27th.   This popular bill received unanimous support in the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber in early April.   HB 2183 relates to annual earthquake drills for public entities and major employers, and allows more flexibility on when the drills are held.  This legislation also was unanimously approved in both chambers and has been signed by the Speaker of the House and Senate President.

Another issue that’s important to the coast is HB 2694 which should improve the efficiency of sea floor mapping.   This bill requires that ocean energy developers share the sea floor mapping data they collect with the Oregon territorial sea mapping project at Oregon State University.  This idea was suggested by the industry, and will help OSU complete the territorial sea mapping without having to pay for duplicate studies in the same area. 

House Concurrent Resolution 26 urges all Oregonians to work together to support programs and build communities that ensure that all families have the means to raise their children in a healthy environment.  I was happy to sponsor HCR 26 along with Representatives Gene Whisnant R-Sunriver, Brent Barton D- Oregon City and Senator Chuck Thomsen R-Hood River, this bill has been filed with the Secretary of State after receiving unanimous support in the House and Senate.   Another bill I sponsored dealing with support services for youth was HB 3244 which directs the Department of Human Services to recommend policies to integrate a system of services and support for runaway and homeless youth who are 0 through 17 years of age and for youth who are 18 through 20 years of age who continue to be or who become homeless.  The votes on this bill were unanimous in the House and Senate, and HB 3244 signed by the Governor this week.

Other legislation I’ve successfully introduced this session includes House Concurrent Resolution 17 which declares the commitment of the Legislative Assembly to make lung cancer awareness a public health priority.   This received unanimous support in the House and Senate and has been filed with the Secretary of State.  This month the Governor also signed HB 3448, a bill I introduced with Representative Jules Bailey to waive the minimum biodiesel fuel content for facilities such as Oregon Health Sciences University, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and other broadcasters delivering emergency information and need to store more than 50 gallons for their emergency power generators.  This was another popular bill that received unanimous support in both legislative chambers before being signed into law.

The session will continue into June and should be wrapped up by the end of the month.   As always, I’m interested in input from my constituents.  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