Rep. Brad Witt E-News March 4, 2014

Volume 9, Number 5

Brad Witt

March 3, 2015

Hello Friends,

As I meet with people around the district, they often ask me what I am working on…what bills I have sponsored.  Bill sponsorship is broken down into two categories:  Chief Sponsor and Co-Sponsor.  As a Chief Sponsor, my name is right at the top, taking full responsibility for its introduction.  I don’t take this lightly and I try to make sure that the bill meets a need.  Sometimes it’s a district issue, and sometimes it has state-wide implications, but in any event, it is drafted as a response to an identified problem.  I’d like to share three of the more than 30 bills of which I am chief sponsor.  

First is HB 2534, the bill that would ask the State Fish & Wildlife Commission to adopt rules prohibiting the use of drones as aids for hunting or fishing, or to interfere with these lawful activities.  It is my feeling that drones have no place in sport hunting and fishing.  They are simply antithetical to the concept of fair chase or catch. 

As the Bend Bulletin opined in one of its Op-Eds, “Drones can take the sport out of hunting.  Drones can make scouting game easier.  Live feeds can enable real-time tracking.  Add in thermal imaging and it can be much easier to pick out prey across the landscape.”  As drones become more and more prevalent in our society, we need to anticipate their misuse and put sideboards around their use.  By adopting HB 2534, Oregon will become the 9th state to ban, or be in the process of banning, drones for hunting and fishing.

The second bill is HB 2532, which deals with those ever present advertisements promoting the reverse mortgage.  These ads target consumers who are 62 and over, and regardless of the fact that most of us enjoyed watching “The Fonz” on Happy Days, what he proposes as a means to financial freedom is not as simple as he describes. My bill attempts to address the deceptive advertising surrounding the marketing of reverse mortgages, not the financial products themselves.

Reverse mortgages definitely serve a purpose: they help keep people in their homes, especially in an era of disappearing pensions and personal savings accounts.  But it is not free money and the borrower, and/or the borrower’s estate, must understand that several circumstances may cause a person, perhaps elderly or disabled, to lose the family home.  Nationally, the default rate for these loans rose to 9.4% in 2012. HB 2532 requires advertisers to fully disclose that borrowers be adequately forewarned that a reverse mortgage carries the expectation that the borrower or the estate will repay the loan.  This may mean that a surviving spouse will be left with no house to live in.

The third bill is actually a memorial, HJM 3, which urges Congress to enact legislation requiring stabilization of crude oil prior to transport.  Stabilization is a process that strips crude oil of its volatile agents prior to shipment.  The Memorial specifically mentions Bakken crude oil, which is highly flammable and more prone to ignition than traditional heavy crude oil.  Tank cars moving through District 31 typically carry Bakken crude and this has become increasingly worrisome for ordinary citizens as well as our first responders.

Train traffic is regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, and much of the cargo that moves along our rails is protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.  Nevertheless, the state can petition the Congress to do something about what we perceive to be hazardous to our citizens.   Incidents of derailments causing fiery explosions have filled the news lately, and it is clear that improved tank cars, though important, have not solved the problem.  Congress must now turn its attention to the type of fuels being transported.  HJM 3 asks Congress, and specifically our Congressional Delegation, to enact legislation that will require the removal of volatile agents present in crude oil prior to shipping

Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter! 

Representative Brad Witt
House District 31


OSEA Advocates

Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) Advocacy day in the Capitol.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim Tift, Julie Larson and Hillary Larson from Rainier. Julie is an Instruction Assistant, Hillary works in the library at the High school and Jim is the OSEA Field Representative.  

I heard about OSEA’s priority legislation this session, including bills that would address problems with the outsourcing process and correct a critical inequity facing educators.

Currently, classified employees are not eligible for unemployment when schools close for breaks. This is not the case for others whose workplaces periodically close temporarily, such as loggers, fishers and construction workers. Senate Bill 470 would fix this inequity by making classified employees eligible for unemployment. 

Learn more about OSEA: http://www.osea.org/

 


Valley Catholic Middle School Students

We had a visit from some amazing middle school students on a mission to save lives!  Teams from Valley Catholic Middle School in Beaverton were here in force yesterday teaching people how to perform hands-only CPR.  There is a Senate Bill SB 79 which will add instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and uses of automated external defibrillators to the health curriculum for students in grades 7-12.  The students offered to visit middle schools in our district and teach their peers.  If you are, or know of, an interested school, please contact our office and we'll get you connected.

 


email: Rep.BradWitt@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1431
address: 900 Court St NE, H-374, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/witt