Short Session; Gov't Accountability Bills, ODOT Bike & Pedestrian Plan, & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     January 2016

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Dear friends,

    This Monday, February 1, marks the opening of the Legislature's 2016 "short" session (35 days). This is the third short session in an even-numbered year since voters in 2010 changed the state constitution to enable the Legislature to do its work on an annual basis. (Previously, the Legislature met for standard, five-month or longer sessions only in odd-numbered years and for emergency sessions called by the Governor.) The short session allows for the Legislature to consider "tune-ups" to existing state agencies and budgets as well as new policy bills between full sessions.

    Below you will find information on:

- Oregon Motor Voter
        - 2015 Session Accomplishments: Government Accountability
I-5 Rolling Slowdowns Limited to Mornings in North Douglas County
        - Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                           Sen. Prozanski signature

Oregon Motor Voter

    Oregon's universal voter registration law, Oregon "Motor Voter," took effect on January 1. Oregon is the first state in the nation to implement automatic voter registration. While other state legislatures are working to limit voter participation, Oregon is moving in the opposite direction by removing unnecessary, outdated barriers to voting.

    This new program modernizes voter registration in Oregon and provides a secure, simple, and convenient way for more Oregonians to become registered voters. Automatic voter registration is available to those who are eligible to register to vote and apply for an original, renewal, or replacement license, permit, or ID card at DMV.
    Once someone engages the Motor Voter process by visiting the DMV, they'll receive a card and a pre-paid postage return envelope from the state elections office. The card provides three options:

  • Do nothing and be registered to vote as a nonaffiliated voter (not a member of a political party)
  • Choose a political party by returning the card.
  • Use the card to opt-out and decline to register to vote.

    For more information, visit:

2015 Session Accomplishments: Government Accountability

    In this month's e-bulletin, I'm providing in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2015 session that related to government accountability — by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 1 - Fixing Oregon's Health Exchange: This legislation improves accountability and oversight for Oregon's health insurance exchange, known previously as Cover Oregon. The bill dissolves Cover Oregon and transfers the functions of Oregon's exchange to the Department of Consumer & Business Services, a move that tightens contracting, personnel, and financial management requirements for the exchange. This important step will help ensure that individuals and families can get the coverage they need, and that Oregon businesses can offer quality, affordable health care plans.

    SB 7 - Oversight and Accountability for IT Projects: The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for supervising procurement of information technology projects, however, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is currently exempt from this requirement. This legislation removes the exemption and requires DAS to directly procure or supervise procurement of IT goods and services for OHA. Requiring OHA to contract under the Public Contracting Code, and under the supervision of DAS, will ensure more oversight and accountability.

    SB 9, HB 2019, & HB 2020 - Ethics Reforms: This series of ethics and public records reforms subjects the Governor’s spouse or partner to Oregon's public official ethics laws, makes important changes to modernize the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, and orders an audit of how state agencies handle public records requests.

    SB 129 - Using Revenue Efficiently to Fund Key Services (Gain Share Reform):
This legislation reforms a state and local government revenue sharing program commonly known as "Gain Share," which splits tax revenue from the Strategic Investment Program. The measure caps the share of tax revenue a single county can receive and changes the way jobs related to an economic development project are counted. These changes mean tax revenues will be more equitably shared to provide state services around Oregon.

    SB 225 - Department of Human Services Efficiency: The Department of Human Services (DHS) and OHA are required to send notice of benefits changes to certain program recipients by mail in advance of changes. In cases of large-scale program changes that impact benefits levels — such as a government shutdown like that of 2013 — there is substantial cost, and often undue confusion, involved in this type of notification. Senate Bill 225 allows DHS and OHA to notify recipients of benefits closures or suspensions through news media, websites, and general mailings to recipients’ households, rather than individual mailings.

    SB 966 - Training for Public Officials: This legislation requires DAS to develop
a training program covering ethics laws; public records and public meetings laws; and
effective management for members, administrators, or directors of Oregon's many
boards and commissions.

House Bills

    HB 2173 Reporting Fraud with Public Funds: This legislation ensures that when the Secretary of State is conducting an audit of a state agency, local government, public funds, or other entity, and suspects fraud or violation of the law, the Secretary of State's office will report the suspected violation to the appropriate law enforcement.

    HB 2178 - Campaign Finance Reform Task Force: This legislation establishes the Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform to conduct an analysis and determine the best method to address campaign finance reforms in Oregon. The task force will be led by the Secretary of State and will include members from major and minor parties to consider options for campaign finance reform for future legislative sessions.

    HB 2219 - Streamlining Applications for Human Services: Our state delivers a wide range of services for Oregonians in need. Despite overlap in many of these programs — cash assistance, housing, education services, health care, food benefits, etc. — applications for services often stand alone, leading to duplication, wasted paper, and wasted time for agencies and individuals. This legislation will convene a work group of several human services agencies to examine consolidating applications for services.

    HB 2375 - Standardizing and Simplifying State Contracting: To ensure state contracts are using taxpayer dollars efficiently, this legislation standardizes state agency contract forms and ensure that personnel overseeing the contract are trained and experienced in contract management.

    HB 2394 - Public Benefits Eligibility: In response to a 2013 audit conducted by the Oregon Secretary of State, a Public Assistance Program Integrity Workgroup was formed and met from 2013-2014, with the goal of ensuring that state and federal resources used to fund public assistance programs are provided to recipients accurately, and are appropriately redeemed by merchants. This legislation, which stems from one of the workgroup's recommendations, requires the Oregon State Lottery to notify DHS within seven days when they award a prize of $1,200 or more. Receiving lottery prize money can affect a person's eligibility to receive certain government assistance, and this bill ensures that benefits are disbursed accurately, based on eligibility rules.

    HB 2442 - Oregon Housing Stability Council: In 2012, the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (OHCS) was charged with examining its governance, service delivery, and community partnership model. OHCS spent more than a year completing this task, and House Bill 2442 reflects much of this transition work by consolidating several commissions and task forces and centralizing their responsibilities within a new Oregon Housing Stability Council. This move directs the Council to renew focus its on policies to aid low-income families and address geographic and racial disparities in housing, and the reorganization promises to streamline and maximize the agency’s overall efficiency.

    HB 2974 - Public Hearings for Redistricting: Congressional and legislative districts are redrawn every ten years in response to population changes based on the U.S. Census. This legislation puts current practice into law by requiring the Legislature to hold ten public hearings throughout the state prior to proposing a redistricting plan, which will allow communities to have input on how their representation is structured.

    HB 3099 - State Communications Efficiency: This legislation consolidates technology and telecommunications functions with the State Chief Information Officer in an effort to increase data security and government efficiency. In transferring responsibility for certain data to the Oregon Information Officer, important data can be kept more private and secure.

    HB 3371 - Student Whistleblower Protections: This legislation creates a whistleblower protection for students, similar to what already exists for most employees, by prohibiting retaliation against a student who makes a good faith report of a possible violation of state or federal law.

I-5 Rolling Slowdowns Limited to Mornings in North Douglas County

(Information courtesy of ODOT)
    Starting this week, I-5 motorists will encounter fewer rolling slowdowns in north Douglas County. Over the past two weeks, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and contractor, K&E Excavating, have been slowing southbound I-5 traffic between Cottage Grove and Rice Hill due to tree cutting operations. The slowdowns had been taking place hourly each weekday, resulting in frequent delays. Most of the tree-cutting work has been completed, so the hourly rolling slowdowns will no longer be necessary.

    However, starting this week, workers will begin blasting rock on the southbound side of the road to make room for a new climbing lane. Approximately 20-30 blasts will be scheduled between late January and early March. Blasting will take place during the morning hours, when traffic volumes are lower. No more than one blast will be scheduled each weekday.

    As a result, motorists should expect intermittent delays on weekday mornings through early March. Though less frequent, the upcoming rolling slowdowns will be conducted in both directions. Southbound I-5 motorists will be slowed down between milepost 174 and 160 while northbound motorists will be impacted between milepost 150 and 162. Most delays will be less than 20 minutes. Meanwhile, motorists should watch for intermittent lane closures in both directions between milepost 154 and 162.

    The tree-cutting and blasting operations are part of a $40.3 million project that will resurface eight miles of I-5 and build a southbound auxiliary/climbing lane at milepost 161. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan

    ODOT is seeking comments on its draft Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The comment period closes February 18, 2016. To review the draft plan and provide input, visit:

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