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Brian Boquist

Hello Friends,

Senate District 12:  78th Legislature activities in Review

Kate Brown is the new Governor.  No new Secretary of State yet.

The Senate Veterans committee heard testimony from the Enlisted Association of military members about access to hunting and fishing licenses. SB 517 seeks to benefit returning veterans with no cost basic licenses.

The Senate Revenue & Finance committee continued working on SB 611 addressing central assessment and intangible taxes like good will.  Good will is vaporizing.  We also put the brakes on SB 59 that the House Revenue Committee could “gut & stuff” with a $111 million tax increase.

The Senate Rules Committee heard two questionable “elections” bills:   Senate Bill 28 relating to voter registration signature cards which may unintentionally eliminate access to voter signatures in the event of challenged ballots or legal proceedings and SB 29 overhauling major precinct party person elections at taxpayer expense.  The bill changes the election process for the 3500 individuals who run for the 17,000 vacant PCP positions.  I questioned why Oregon spends hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the two major parties if only 20% of the vacancies are filled.

The Senate passed SB 1 eliminating Cover Oregon as a stand-alone federal ACA bad investment.  The bill as written, protects $116 million in low income federal tax credits, saves private exchange enrollees $2.01 per month and requires advance notification to all Legislators for any rate increases or IT projects over a million dollars.  However, serious problems remain on the horizon for Cover Oregon’s private exchange and medical assistance program users. 

The Senate passed Senate Bill 324, the Low Carbon Fuel Standards bill.  It passed on a 17 to 13 vote, with one Democrat joining the Republicans in opposition.  Before I get into the substance of the bill let me tell you about the dishonest way this was accomplished.  There is clearly a hidden fuel tax in the measure.  The amount is yet to be determined, but estimates say it could be anywhere from .04 cents  to a $1..04 a gallon.  The proponents chose to call it a “redistribution” rather than a tax, which allows them to do a couple of other underhanded moves.  First, all tax measures require a super majority vote, which they didn't have.  Secondly, because it wasn’t a tax bill, they were able to put an emergency clause on it.  The reason emergency clauses (which make the bill effective upon passage) are not allowed on tax measures is simply to allow the public a chance to put it on the ballot.  So basically the Senate just passed what could be a significant tax increase and at the same time denied Oregonians their right to appeal.

Legislature 101:  All bills supposedly require sponsors and requestors to be named.  HB 2688, which is a $101 million tax increase, has turned into an interesting 3-ring circus.  The Democrat Chief Sponsor of HB 2688 in his testimony to the committee could not identify where a re-instatement of the failed green energy manufacturing business energy tax credit (mBETC) came from in his bill.  The price tag to taxpayers last time for these failed credits was $114 million.  Then throw in the $111 million tax increase masked by a supposed cut in small business taxes by $33 million.  HB 2688 tax increase was originally co-sponsored by two Republican House members including State Representative Mike Nearman.  If you are confused, stay tuned as we track down answers.

Again, track bills and the session on OLIS - Oregon Legislative Information System which categorizes a wealth of information on the legislature, the bills, the committees and legislator contact information.  Click on the icon in the upper right corner to open the subject area.  For example, clicking on the bill icon will allow you to look up bills by its number, topic areas or by sponsor.  When you click on the bill, the specific information on the bill will appear including an overview, current status, scheduled events, proposed amendments and a history of the bill including where it currently resides.

Yours truly,

Senator Brian Boquist
Senate District 12

email: Sen.BrianBoquist@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1712
address: 900 Court St NE, S-305, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/boquist


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