Senator Jeff Kruse - June 7th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You



JUNE 7, 2013



Probably the most significant event this week was the passage in the Senate of Senate Bill 132, the vaccination bill.  I want to state first that I support vaccinations and I think all kids should have them.  While there is some small risk, the diseases we have eliminated because of vaccinations make this small risk well worth it.  I would have supported the bill except for the one significant change it made in law, which was to remove the religious exemption. 


To that end we offered a minority report, which is the method available to us to bring an alternative version of a bill to the floor for a vote.  One of the differences between the Oregon Legislature and Congress is the fact that in Oregon, bills cannot be amended on the floor, which means we have to accept or reject the whole bill.  The minority report option is available when two of the members of the committee (and in the Senate most committees have five members) vote against the bill in committee and “serve notice of a potential minority report”.  At that point the members have a limited time window to meet with the bill drafters in Legislative Council to draft an alternative version of the bill.  This also changes the process on the floor.  Rather than the bill itself being on the agenda there is a motion made to “adopt the committee report” and the carrier of the bill will then speak to the bill.  Next will come a motion made by one of the two members who created the minority report to substitute the minority report for the committee report.  What then follows is a debate over the differences in the two versions.  After the debate there is a vote on the motion to substitute, which in this case failed on a party line vote, which leaves us with the original bill, which in this case passed on a party line vote.


You might ask yourself why this one little bill is so significant, and the answer is the Constitution, which all Legislators swore to uphold.   In my opinion the main purpose of the Constitution is really to protect the people from government.  On the federal level the reason for the enumerated powers was simply to limit the authority of the federal government and leave most issues to the states.  Admittedly the courts have allowed the federal reach to go far beyond what was ever intended, but the purpose in the design was quite clear. 


The Oregon Constitution is also quite clear relative to the limits of government.  Specifically in ARTICLE 1, BILL OF RIGHTS:


Section 3. Freedom of religious opinion.  No law shall in any case whatever control the free exercise, and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.


While there are two other sections dealing with religion, this is the most relevant to this issue.  To use an incredibly absurd example, if you chose to worship a rock the government can do nothing to prevent or interfere with your right.  This brings us back to SB 132.  By excluding the religious exemption from statute we are saying we don’t care about your religion or your beliefs, we are going to force you to comply with our requirements or jump through some arbitrary hoops, all for your own good. 


The road to hell is paved with good intentions and when government does things like this which basically say we can reject a person’s beliefs because we know what’s best for you better than you do, we are trampling on our freedoms.  We continue to move in the direction of government making all of our decisions for us.  I am sometimes very fearful as to what our future will look like.




Senator Jeff Kruse


*Please Join Myself and Representative Freeman for our Town Halls, Tomorrow, Saturday June 8th*


Roseburg - 8:00-9:30am June 8th

Elmer's Diner, 1440 NW Mulholland Dr


Winston - 12pm June 8th

City Council Chambers, 201 NW Douglas Blvd


Canyonville - 3pm June 8th

City Council Chambers, 250 N Main St







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