Senator Jeff Kruse - April 3rd, 2015 - POLITICAL PAYBACK


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701  -  900 Court St. NE, S-315 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:   -   Website:

 Working Hard For You


APRIL 3, 2015




The main focus of this newsletter will be the current version of the gun background check bill (Senate Bill 941), but first a little recap of a couple of the measures we have passed that can only be described as political payback.  First was the low carbon fuel standards bill that mostly benefits out of state “green energy” companies.  The second was the re-write of common law on class action law suits which primarily benefits trial lawyers.  The thing these two groups have in common is the fact they are heavy contributors to Democrat campaigns in Oregon.


The way the gun bill can easily be connected is through the fact the Bloomberg group (the former billionaire mayor of New York City) contributed over $600,000 to Democrat campaigns in this last election, including $75,000 in one Senate race; and this group’s single issue is the banning of guns.  With the results of the last election we knew these bills would be coming, because this was the reason for the financial support and, as a reminder, this also includes the Former Governor and his girlfriend.


Now we will get to the bill itself and the political process.  The way the process works is a bill is not available for anyone to see until it is “first read”, which is the point where it is submitted to the office of the Senate President or Speaker of the House and acknowledged in First Readings on the Floor of the appropriate Chamber.  At that point it will be assigned to a committee and then it is up to the committee chair to decide whether or not to schedule the bill for a public hearing and potentially a work session, which is when the bill can potentially be amended and passed out of the committee.  The bill will then be “second read” on the Floor which would set the stage for it to be “third read” the next day which would be when we would vote on it.  There is no set time frame for when this can happen, for example the presiding officer can wait a long time to assign a bill to a committee and can also wait a long time to put a bill on the Second Reading calendar.


Here was the track of SB 941.  It was first read last Thursday (our first opportunity to see it) and was assigned to the Judiciary Committee the same day.  The bill was then scheduled for a public hearing this Wednesday and a work session on Thursday.  Because of the last minute amendments submitted on the bill the Chair decided to hold it over for a work session on Monday, but I doubt if he is going to make any significant changes to the bill.


The public hearing Wednesday was actually embarrassing.  When I was the chair of a committee I would always make sure members of the public who came to testify would be able to have their opportunity.  In this case we had people who had driven in some cases up to 6 hours for the hearing and were either denied the opportunity or given just two minutes to testify.  Meanwhile the Mayor of Portland and his group were given 15 minutes which actually stretched into close to 25 minutes.  In fairness one pro-gun group was also given 15 minutes, but their time was not extended.  It should be noted the only people who were denied happened to be those in opposition to the bill.


This is a paraphrase of the dialog I had with the Mayor.  He stated passage of this bill would greatly reduce gun violence in Portland.  I pointed out the fact Chicago and Detroit already had such restrictions and it hadn’t reduced the violence in those cities.  I then asked him to explain the discrepancy between his statement and the reality in these other cities.  His response was there were a lot of other factors to consider, which was a total non-answer.


The basic element of this bill has to do with private sales.  For example, if I wanted to sell a gun to my neighbor we would be required to go to a gun store with the gun and submit to a background check, which with all of the fees involved would cost maybe fifty dollars and we would have to do this for every transaction.  We are told this will go a long way towards keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, which is patently untrue.  The reality is nothing in this bill would have stopped any of the high profile shootings over the last few years.


If the goal of the bill really was to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the chair would adopt the -8 amendments.  This would be a very simple solution.  It would require a designation on the back of driver’s license or ID card for anyone convicted of a felony, similar to what currently exists for a motorcycle endorsement.  This would make it very simple to know if a person was eligible to purchase a gun by just checking their ID.  It would also not impose unnecessary restrictions on honest people.


This idea will be rejected because it will not help the majority party achieve their ultimate objective which is total gun registration.  While they will deny this, it is easy to track what the next step will be.  We will be told at a future date that we have no real way to know if people are complying with this new law and registration will be the only way we can know for sure.  This is clearly what the Bloomberg group wants and just as clearly the majority party in Oregon is more than willing to let groups from New York dictate policy for campaign contributions.


Elections do have consequences, and we are in the process of finding out just how far the Democrats are willing to go with their supermajority status.  In the end all of this political payback will not be in the best interests of the majority of the people in this state.  Because we really can’t stop anything, I want you all to be paying very close attention.




Senator Jeff Kruse









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