December Legislative Days Re-Cap

Representative Jodi Hack

December Legislative Days Re-cap

Hello Friends,

The final Legislative Days for the 2015-2016 biennium were held last week.  All committees and task forces met and finalized any recommendations they had and announced initial committee bills that will be considered during the upcoming legislative session.  Here is an update from the committees I serve on that met and an update from leadership.

House Education Committee:

Salam Noor, the Deputy Superintendent of Education, informed the committee that during the 2016-2017 school year, districts will not have the option to change from the Common Core student assessments (which I realize is very disappointing to many).  Having heard from many teachers, parents and students that preparation for the math and reading comprehension assessments were taking up a major portion of classroom time leaving little time for other subjects (i.e. teaching to the test).  The hope was that in 2017 schools would be able to use an alternative nationally recognized assessment.  Oregon has not yet approved any alternate assessments and additional time is needed to complete that process.  The goal now is to develop and implement the review process for those assessments and have alternative options available to schools by the 2018-2019 school year.  

There were initial discussions about how to implement Measure 98 (requires funding for drop-out prevention, CTE and career and college readiness programs in high schools).  More in-depth conversations and final decisions/rule making will be completed during the upcoming legislative session in February.  

Transportation & Economic Development Committee:

The committee was given an update on the status of drone development across the state.  This industry will continue to grow, providing new jobs and economic growth.  The committee was also given an update on the Feasibility Study relating to the Willamette Valley Intermodal Transload Facility.   Intermodal container transportation is associated with public benefits because it reduces the number of trucks on highways.  Coordination must occur between ITF, rail, ocean carriers and large importers.  It was evident that the ROI is questionable and very dependent upon major participation by exporters.

Small Business Growth Committee:

Several committee bills were introduced addressing some of the issues discussed with business and industry leaders over the past year.  I am excited about the legislation relating to the wine and spirits industry, which is a significant industry in House District 19 and the state.  This committee is not permanent like Education and Transportation and will dissolve if not re-approved by the legislature.

Joint Committee on Oregon Department of Energy Oversight:

The committee could not agree on what recommendations to present to the 79th Legislative Assembly given the short amount of time left to assimilate a recommendation after hearing lengthy (but much needed) department testimony over the past year.  The Co-Chairs and the Republican members each submitted proposals.  The biggest point of debate related to climate change and whether or not this department should include climate change in its purpose/mission. Click HERE to read a recent Statesman Journal article that provided a great summary on the alternate proposals.  This committee is also not permanent and will likely not continue after this year.

The House Republican Caucus Leadership, which I am a part of, met and began developing the caucus's legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. 

A major priority will be passing a state transportation package.  

79 Legislative Assembly Begins in January

Opening ceremonies for the 79th Legislative Assembly will be on January 9th.  The House and Senate members will participate in their own swearing in ceremonies and then come together in the House Chamber to watch the Governor be sworn in and listen to her State of the State address.  The House will reconvene in the afternoon to elect the Speaker, the leadership of the caucuses and the first bills of the session will be introduced.  Times for the ceremonies and the floor session will be announced later this month.

Holiday Decorations at the Capitol

I thought you might enjoy some of the beautiful decorations at the Capitol this time of year…  I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  Blessing.

Tree Pre-Decoration
Tree Decorated
Christmas Tree Decorated
Group of trees
House Chamber
Inside House Chamber
OR Seal Poinsetta
Senate Doors
Christmas Train

email: I phone: 503-986-1419
address: 900 Court St NE, H-385, Salem, OR 97301