February 18, 2016 Newsletter

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

Since the even-numbered year legislative session is limited to five weeks, bills need to move quickly through the lawmaking process.  In order to meet the committee hearing deadlines, the pace of activity has been intense.  

Wednesday on the House Floor lawmakers overwhelmingly approved HB 4087 a bill which shields the names of police officers and their families for officers who use deadly force, if they face threats to their safety.    This legislation passed the house on a 55-3 vote, and has now moved to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.

Thursday’s floor session was extremely long and contentious, as we took up SB 1532A, the tiered package that phases in minimum wage increases over the next 6 years.   The package was  approved last Thursday in the Senate on a 16-12 vote.  Shortly after the discussion on the bill began, protestors calling for a more aggressive minimum wage raise, began chanting, banging on the walls and making so much noise that lawmakers could not hear each others'  testimony,.  The disruption caused House Speaker Tina Kotek to put the chamber at ease while the protestors moved outside the Capitol for an afternoon rally.  Discussion on the minimum wage package then resumed.   After more than five hours of debate, SB1432A passed on a 32-26 vote.  I did vote to support this compromise package because of the serious concerns raised by the minimum wage ballot initiatives that are being proposed for the November election.   However, I think it could be improved.    I have joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of rural legislators called the Oregon Caucus and we are working on an alternative measure.   What we would like to see in our plan are pay level adjustments and boundary changes that more appropriately address the needs of rural Oregon.   Last week the Speaker said she would allow a hearing on this alternative bill and I hope it can be completed and incorporated into the minimum wage legislation this session.

As a coastal legislator, I am honored to serve as Vice Chair of the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee where I work to support our military veterans and help prepare the state for disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.  The scientific community agrees that a Cascadia subduction megathrust earthquake could occur at any time.  Geological evidence shows the last known megathrust earthquake in the Northwest was in January of 1700, and that such great quakes have occurred at least seven times in the last 3,500 years.   Cascadia subduction megathrust earthquakes generate devastating tsunamis, and for the past several years there has been extensive mapping of tsunami inundation zones.  Seaside is one coastal city that is in real danger from a megathrust quake and resulting tsunami.  The potential for devastation has been recognized by scientists, lawmakers, community leaders and students of the Seaside School District.  In 2013 the Seaside school district sponsored a $128 million dollar bond to relocate Seaside High, Broadway Middle and Gearhart Elementary schools outside of the tsunami zone, but voters did not approve the measure.   All of these schools are within the inundation zone and most students would not be able to safely evacuate on foot within the 15 minutes predicted between the quake and tsunami waves.      Students at Seaside High are now taking the initiative and embarking on an effort to raise the $128 million to relocate the schools.    They began with a school assembly featuring US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and now are sending out 1500 letters to other lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities to bring attention to this issue and seek financial support.  As part of their efforts, next Tuesday a Seaside High student delegation will travel to Salem to provide testimony during the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness committee.

Although this seems like a lofty undertaking, the students of House District 32 have a proven they can do amazing things.   As an example, this week students at Tillamook High School finished their 63rd annual Charity Drive.  This year the students raised $199,978.06 in ten days.   The THS drive is a class competition, and for the 2016 effort the Junior class won by raising $69,801.45, the Freshmen were second with $44,230.45, Seniors raised $43,416.88, and the Sophomores raised $42,529.28.   THS students have now raised $2,945,484.78 since the drive began in the 1950s.   Half of the money raised this year is contributed to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, with the remaining funds going to local charities and college scholarships.   I was a member of the Doernbecher Hospital Board when Tillamook High joined the Kids Making Miracles campaign, designating half of the proceeds from their annual drive to the facility.   Last year the THS total contribution to Doernbecher surpassed $1 million, and this year they are adding another $100K.   Congratulations to Tillamook High and the entire community that supports these students’ charitable efforts!    Not only are they making an immediate difference, but they are also building on the tradition of service to their community.

My door is always open to constituents, and if you are planning to visit the Capitol this month, let my office know in advance so we can try to schedule an appointment.   If you have a concern about proposed legislation, you can phone or email my office.

You can follow the legislative process through the state legislative information system (OLIS) via the following link:


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


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