January 2016 Newsletter

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

This week, lawmakers returned to the Capitol in preparation for the February short session.  Since 2010 when Oregon voters approved annual sessions, the Oregon Legislature meets for a maximum of 160 days in odd numbered years, and 35 days in even numbered years.  The period between sessions is called the interim, during which time lawmakers hold special meeting days, which are called “Legislative Days.”   Typically Legislative Days are scheduled every eight weeks and last for three days.

During Legislative Days, Interim Committees may hold informational hearings on topics that could lead to legislation or committees may hear update on implementation of past legislation.  Interim Committees use the time provided in Legislative Days to investigate topic areas, hear reports from agencies and Task Forces, and keep current on the subject areas of the Committees.  

These few days have been packed, because in addition to committee meetings, Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) delegates are visiting Oregon’s Capitol.    PNWER is a regional, non-partisan U.S.-Canadian, public/private partnership working to build the economy & improve lives. I have been active with PNWER working on many issues including disaster resilience, emergency management, invasive species, energy and cyber security and find that collaboration and cooperation are extremely helpful when dealing with critical regional issues.  

The 2016 Legislative Session will begin February 1, and continue no later than March 18th, and each legislator is allowed to introduce two bills for consideration.   I intend to use my bills to advance renewable energy issues.    One would be to support the Pacific Marine Energy Center test site’s grant application to obtain funding to establish test site berths for marine energy devices.    Another priority is to extend the bio-mass tax credits for electricity producing manure digesters.

The minimum wage debate will take center stage during the upcoming session, and on Thursday Governor Kate Brown laid out her plan to phase-in increases to the state’s minimum wage over the next 6 years.   The Governor is proposing a two-tier system, where minimum wage would be 15 percent higher in the Portland metropolitan area.  Outside of Portland’s urban growth boundary, minimum wage would be raised to $10.25 in 2017 and increase to $13.50 by 2022.    In Portland the 2017 wage would be $11.79, increasing to $15.52 by 2022.     After 2022, increases would again be tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index.  

Another issue that has been raised this week comes from Linn County who is preparing a $1.4 billion lawsuit on behalf of Forest Trust Land Counties and local districts.   The class-action suit alleges mismanagement of timber harvest on state forest trust lands, saying that the state has violated a 1998 rule that requires state policy to promote the trust lands “greatest permanent value” by failing to maximize sustainable timber harvests.   All counties within my House District are forest trust land counties, so I will be following this issue very closely.

The next few weeks will be busy for me in the district, and then I’ll return to Salem as of the first of February for the short legislative session.  In order to best represent my district, I need to hear about your concerns.   My door is always open to constituents from House District 32, and I enjoy meeting with friends and neighbors when they visit Salem.  If you are planning to visit the Capitol during the upcoming session, let my office know a few days in advance so we can schedule an appointment.   If you have a concern or comment about a state agency or legislation under consideration, you can write, phone or email my office.

It is my privilege to represent you in the Oregon House of Representatives and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Representative Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: Rep.DeborahBoone@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/boone