Senator Jeff Kruse - July 7th, 2015 - THE END


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


JULY 7, 2015




The Legislative Assembly finished its work at 6:05 pm last night.  While there were a couple of surprises (minor ones) at the end, it went pretty much as scripted.  I want to thank everyone who has corresponded with me during this Session; I do value your opinions.  While I am sure I haven’t answered all questions, I have tried to at least cover the major issues.  Having said that, maybe it is time for a review of major legislation, with the understanding it may take some time to get a full perspective.


The Democrat majorities had an agenda and they were able to fully implement it.  It started with the passage of the low carbon fuel standards bill (hidden gas tax) and the re-write of common law relative to class action law suits.  The first one was a win for environmental groups and the second a major win for trial lawyers.  Next came paid sick leave, which could cost Oregon businesses as much as 2.2 billion dollars per year.  This was followed by a bill to get the state involved in private sector retirement plans, and when one looks at the way the state system has been mismanaged one would have to ask why.  The one priority they didn’t get was minimum wage, and I think that was by design. We will see it on the ballot in 2016.  With the majorities the Democrats have in both the House and Senate these outcomes were fully expected, but still frustrating to have to deal with.


We did accomplish some positive things.  We enhanced penalties relative to sexual predators and created some safe havens for the victims.  We eliminated Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Board and will be developing a better administrative structure for the 2016 Session.  We found a pathway for dealing with the issue of “submersible lands” that has been an issue for over 60 years. This will give landowners certainty relative to actual ownership.   We developed a pathway for young people who make foolish mistakes to get off the sex offender registry so they can actually have a productive life.  There are other things as well, but the fact is we do some positive things (occasionally) in Salem.


The biggest disappointment was the failure of the transportation package.  This was the one example we had this Session of good work done in a bipartisan, bicameral way.  We had found a way to meet the carbon reduction goal and eliminate the low carbon fuel standard, which was nothing more than a hidden gas tax.  Additionally we were able to develop a list of projects that would have benefitted the entire state.  In the end, the environmental groups were more interested in their pet program than they were in actual carbon reduction and the bill died.  This was one of many examples of politics trumping good public policy.  To add insult to injury, several of the transportation projects were included in the bonding bill that passed yesterday.  These were all good projects, but they should not have been funded with general obligation bonds.


The biggest surprise was the K-12 budget.  It was passed early in the Session at a level everyone knew was inadequate and we fully expected there to be an adjustment.  In fact we offer several ways money could be redirected to get to an appropriate funding level.  It never happened, and there is a very political reason.  A very liberal group called Our Oregon is going to put a tax measure on the ballot in 2016 and they want school funding to be their main campaign issue.  We can get more into this at the appropriate time, but just keep in mind that with nearly two billion dollars more to spend, funding education should have been easy.


It is now time for me to go home to the farm.  I have tried my best to represent the interests of the people of Oregon and specifically Senate District One.  Unfortunately this has turned into the most partisan Session I have seen in my time here.  The good news is there will be another legislative session; which could also be bad news.  I would just encourage people to stay involved in the actions of government at both the state and federal level.  There is too much at stake to not be paying attention.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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