February 8, 2017 Newsletter

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Rich Vial

February 8, 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is an update on the goings-on at your State Capitol:

Tobacco 21

On February 1st, I joined State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Beaverton); Dr. Brian Druker, the Director of Oregon Health & Sciences University’s Knight Cancer Institute; and Mason Thurman, a student at Valley Catholic High School, to announce my support for SB 754.  This legislation, called “Tobacco 21,” raises the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems from 18 to 21 years.

T21 Press Conference

The American Heart Association reports that nearly 90% of all smokers begin smoking in high school, and that one out of every three young smokers will eventually die of a smoking-related illness or disease. Tobacco 21 will protect children in high school because they will be less likely to have a friend or peer above the minimum legal sale age to buy tobacco products for them. Without someone to buy them these products, they are less likely to become addicted at an early age. In fact, it is estimated that Tobacco 21 will help cut tobacco usage by up to 12%.

Smoking and tobacco-related illnesses cost Oregonians billions of dollars every year in healthcare costs and lost economic productivity. Smoking causes $1.54 billion annually in healthcare costs in Oregon, with the state’s Medicaid program bearing $347.6 million of those costs. Smoking also costs Oregon’s economy $1.37 billion in lost productivity each year.

Tobacco 21 is about saving millions of taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Bill Report

To date, I have sponsored and co-sponsored a number of bills to benefit the people in our district and across Oregon:

HB 2171: Regulates and decreases the caseload of volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to meet the standards of the National CASA Association, so that every child is represented by a CASA advocate in court.

HB 2207: Allows individuals who receive payments under the Public Employees Retirement System to receive back pay for payments that were subject to Oregon Employment Tax.

HB 2208: When state and local governments purchase property, sometimes that purchase cuts off motor vehicle access to private property. This bill requires the state or local government body to pay for and provide motor vehicle access to the private property for its regular use and development.

HB 2209: Creates a task force on housing supply, which will identify reasons for the state-wide housing shortage, and propose legislation, agency administrative rules, and local ordinances to expand the availability of housing throughout the state.

HB 2210: Directs the Housing and Community Services Department to establish the Retaining Affordable Rental Housing Program to help owners of privately owned multi-family housing units maintain and rent housing at affordable rates.

HB 2211: Changes Oregon primary elections to an “open primary” system, so that all voters who live in a particular district may vote on any candidate in the primary, regardless of the voter’s party registration. The two candidates who receive the most votes advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. If passed, this bill would be referred to the people for approval by a popular vote.

HB 2212: Requires new permanent state agency rules to receive legislative approval before they take effect.

HB 2213: Creates a legislative Sunset Advisory Committee, which is tasked with evaluating every state agency according to specified criteria and recommending whether each agency should be abolished, reorganized, or left alone.

HB 2214: Establishes the Expedited Housing Permitting Fund. The Department of Land Conservation and Development will grant moneys from the fund to local governments to assist in expedited land divisions for housing development.

HB 2722: Prohibits condominium associations or planned communities from enforcing irrigation landscaping requirements on unit owners during drought conditions.

HJR 3: Amends the Oregon Constitution to allow the legislature to repeal any agency rule. If passed, this bill would be referred to the people for approval by a popular vote.

To follow these and other bills through the legislative process, you can click the bill number to access the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS), or you can click here.

Your Voice Your Vote

In case you missed it, I appeared on the KATU news program, Your Voice Your Vote, several weeks ago. This segment, which aired on Sunday, January 29th, previewed some of the major issues that the legislature will be tackling this session. To view it, please click here. For those of you whom I have not yet had a chance to meet, this will help to give you a better idea of who I am and what my goals are as your State Representative.

Personal Reflections

Every day, colleagues, constituents, staff, and family ask me, “How are you feeling?” In truth, this is a complex question to answer. The most frequent answer I give is, “sobered.”

Personal Reflections

As an attorney, my role is to advocate for either a client or a cause. In that capacity, I take time to learn the facts and research the law in order to be an effective advocate. As a legislator, my clients are the people of House District 26. My job is to make the best decision I can to help the people I represent. Making an informed decision on any topic involves collecting information from a variety of sources, including constituents, interested groups, and state agencies. Given the amount of information that is presented to members of the legislature each day, I find that sorting through all of it in order to make a good decision is an exciting challenge. There is much to learn and much more to do, and I am humbled by the awesome responsibility of serving as your State Representative.

Despite these sentiments, or perhaps because of them, I have already come to the realization that I am the luckiest person in the State Capitol when it comes to my staff.  My Legislative Director, Michelle Felton; my Legislative Assistant, Caleb Huegel; and my Legal Extern, Kyle Vinyard, are dedicated, knowledgeable, and a joy to work with. I hope that you will get to know them and, if you have any questions, that you will feel free to reach out to us for help. We welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way, whether it is through the legislative process or through personal assistance with state government. If you are ever in Salem, please stop by my office to say hello.

Heifer Rescue

Finally, on Sunday night—in the middle of the Super Bowl—my family and I were called away to retrieve a newly born calf and her mother from the middle of a muddy field that had been flooded with historic amounts of rain. In honor of the Patriots’ win, we named the new little heifer Patty! As I carried Patty into the barn to administer her shots and weigh her, I thought once more about how blessed I am to have the experiences of farm, family, and the cycle of life. I hope that it will continue to impact and frame my outlook and decisions here in Salem.  As always, I invite and encourage you to share your views with me.



Electronic Signature - Rich

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1426
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-484, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.RichVial@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/vial