Rep. John Lively Newsletter: Going into Session

John Lively

Representative John Lively 
House District 12 - Springfield


E-Newsletter  |  January 23, 2017


Best Wishes for 2017! 

WOW! What a start to the new year. We have seen record snow and low temperatures, big changes at the Federal, State and local areas and we are only in the third week. Here in Oregon we officially started the new session on January 9th. We were sworn in, participated in the Governor’s State of the State address, organized for the session and held first readings on over 1,300 bills. And as they say, we have only just begun. We start meeting full time on Wednesday, Feb 1st and will be in a sprint from then on to complete all business before we are constitutionally required to adjourn no later than July 10.  There will probably be more than 1,000 additional bills introduced in the first few weeks of the session. While the total number could exceed 3,000, we will likely approve and send to the Governor less than 1,000. 


Big Changes – My committee assignments for this session have changed quite a bit from the last session and certainly from my first session. The Speaker appointed me to serve as the Chair of a new House Committee on Early Learning and Family Support. A priority of mine for almost 20 years.  In addition, I will be serving on the Ways and Means (Budget) sub-committee on Education.  I will continue to serve on the Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Joint Transportation Committee and the Joint Committee on Reserves.  I am excited for the chance to serve on the new committees and look forward to learn and to contribute to moving the dial. 


Key Issues Balancing the budget is the single most important discussion we will have all session. The media has already provided a great deal of information about the Governor’s recommended budget and the “Budget Framework” released by the Co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee.  Decisions on the budget will impact every program supported by state revenues, and without new revenue could mean reductions in services in many areas. 


Some important facts to keep in mind as we discuss a budget solution are: 

  1. The state supports programs through the General Fund and Lottery Fund. Revenue for the general fund comes from income taxes and of course the lottery funds are generated through legal gambling in our state. 
  2. While both sources will increase in the next two years, the estimated increases do not cover projected cost increases. 
  3. Projected new income is expected to be around $1.4 billion but still 8% less than what is needed to fund programs at current service levels. 
  4. A large portion of the total state budget is Federal Funds, often matched with state funds.  Any decrease in state investment could lead to reductions in Federal funds meaning additional service reductions. 
  5. Some of the largest cost drivers are in health coverage, retirement, education and human services.  
  6. The key difference in the Co-Chairs budget versus the one proposed by the Governor is revenue.  While the Governor recommended approximately $900 million more revenue in new taxes, the Co-Chairs budget only recognizes revenues already existing under current law.  

The discussions will focus on reducing the growth of expenditures and hopefully agreement on new revenue. For me, slowing the growth in expenditures, is more critical to the long-term budget stability than “new” revenue. At the same time, what happens at the Federal level will impact our final budget given the importance of Federal revenues. 


Transportation Infrastructure Funding is another key area in need of new funding. Income to invest in transportation related projects is generated by a gas tax, auto registration, licensing and some lottery dollars for infrastructure projects. Key questions will be how much to raise the gas tax, when to do it, do we index the rate for the future, potential increases in registration and licensing fees, and potential new revenue sources to support transit and other non-highway related expenditures. 


Votes to increase revenues for the General Fund or Transportation are extremely difficult to achieve with the larger number of votes needed in both the House and the Senate to approve. These are not simple majority votes as needed for most measures.   


Other Key Issue areas include availability and affordability of housing for both renters and home owners, needed new investments in mental health resources, further actions to protect the environment, employment fairness issues, new environmental initiatives to address climate change, unfunded mandates, renewal or expansion of tax incentives, land use regulations, transparency in state government, and the list goes on. 


Many have already said that because of the number and range of big issues we need to address, this session could be one of the most contentious and stressful we have seen in many years.  That may be the case, but I do not believe it has to be. As your elected representatives, we all have a duty to listen to all sides, consider all options, be respectful, find the common ground and remember that at the end of the day the actions we take or don’t take will have long-term implications for all Oregonians. None of us will get everything we want, but we cannot be satisfied without doing our best to position our state for greater success for all citizens. 


My office – I am still located in the same location, 4th floor, #488, same seat on the floor and same parking spot. I do not view where my office is located, where I sit on the floor or where I park as critical factors to my success. Andrew Hickerson continues as my Chief of Staff. He has been with me since I first ran for office and is a very critical member of my team.  Shawn Stevenson has joined us for the session and will be available to assist you with any questions, suggestions or concerns you have. Yes, we all three do have beards, but you will still be able to recognize me due to the color of my beard compared to either Andrew or Shawn. 


I remain honored for this opportunity to serve the citizens of Springfield and this great State. Contact my team any time at 503-986-1412 or rep.johnlively@oregonlegislature.govWhen you are in Salem always feel free to come by the office or stop me in the hall to just say “hi. 





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