March 23, 2017 Newsletter

Rich Vial

March 27, 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is an update on my work as your State Representative.

Mark Your Calendars - April 20th Town Hall

On Thursday, April 20th, Senator Kim Thatcher and I will host a town hall meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Wilsonville City Hall, located at 29799 Town Center Loop East, Wilsonville, OR 97070.  Senator Thatcher and I will provide a mid-session update to talk about what is happening in Salem. I am specifically interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas about addressing our region’s transportation challenges.  We hope to see you there!

In the Capitol - Bill Report

SB 754, known as Tobacco 21, passed in the Senate on March 23rd. I am proud to serve as a Chief Sponsor of this bill, which raises the minimum age at which a person may purchase or possess tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems from 18 to 21 years. This legislation will save millions of taxpayer dollars, thousands of lives, and improve health outcomes for Oregonians. I look forward to supporting its passage in the House.

HB 2216, which establishes the Oregon Foster Children’s Sibling Bill of Rights, passed in the House on March 16th and has moved to the Senate for further consideration. Sibling relationships are often the closest and most enduring relationships in our lives.  Going through the foster system can mean big, and sometimes frequent, changes in a young person’s life.  For many of these children, having a sibling who understands what they are experiencing can be a valuable resource—and it can be very hurtful if that resource is taken away.  This bill ensures that foster children who have been separated from their siblings are made fully aware that they have the right to maintain contact with one another.  As a foster and adoptive parent, I was honored to submit an “Aye” vote.

HB 2320, which requires users of nonmotorized water craft such as rafts and water tubes to pay for and carry special permits, and to wear safety equipment at all times or face a fine, received a public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation Policy on March 1st.  Although we need to balance our state’s budget, I have reservations about this bill.  During the Spring and Summer months, the Tualatin River attracts many canoers and kayakers from around the region, and I am hesitant to do anything that might discourage them from visiting the area and contributing to our local economies.  

In the Capitol - Events and Activities

On March 10th, I was honored to receive Speaker Kotek’s appointment to serve as a member of the Oregon Innovation Council.  Oregon InC is a public-private partnership that was created in 2005 to encourage the development of industry clusters in areas where new technologies hold unique, national advantages.  Examples of industry clusters that have already started to develop here in Oregon include nanotechnology, bioscience, wave energy, electric vehicles, and drone technology.  It is my hope that, by serving as a member of this council, I can use my own experience as a business owner to advocate for initiatives that create jobs, attract new companies, and bring federal dollars back to Oregon to strengthen and diversify our economy.

Lowrie Primary School

On March 20th, a group of 100 students from Lowrie Primary School in Wilsonville visited the State Capitol to learn more about Oregon’s government and history.  It was great getting to meet with some of our best and brightest, and I appreciate the emphasis their teachers place on civic engagement.

In the District

The past several weeks have been filled with busy days at the Capitol and meetings throughout the district.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit with constituents, community leaders, educators, and members of the business community.  Here is a snapshot of my travels.

Sherwood State of the City

Sherwood State of the City

On February 23rd, I attended Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark’s annual State of the City address at the Sherwood Center for the Arts.  Over the next 20 years, about 4,500 housing units are expected to be built in Sherwood West.  One of the priorities that Mayor Clark outlined in her speech was to ensure that, as Sherwood grows, it remains a family-friendly, livable city.  I appreciate her dedication to our Sherwood constituents and her willingness to serve.

Southwest Corridor Republican Club

On March 8th, I met with the Southwest Corridor Republican Club in King City to give them a mid-session update and to discuss my legislative priorities.  Members expressed concerns about the budget shortfall and the possibilities for higher taxes and more regulations.  Our state is receiving more revenue than it ever has before, yet we have $1.8 billion fewer dollars than what we need to maintain current service levels, according to our agency requests.  I believe our state government should demonstrate that it is exercising fiscal responsibility before asking more of its taxpayers.  Thanks to all who attended the meeting to express their concerns and ask questions!

Washington County Budget Town Hall

Washington County Budget Town Hall

On March 9th, I participated in a joint town hall at Beaverton High School with other legislators from Washington County, including Senators Riley and Steiner-Hayward, as well as Representatives Barker, Doherty, Helm, Malstrom, McLain, Noble, and Sollman.  The goal of the forum was to gather public input about how legislators should address the $1.8 billion difference between expected revenue and requested budgets.  Discussions about funding schools, health care, senior services, and public safety took place.  About 150 people attended the meeting.  I appreciate that so many of my friends and neighbors took time out of their evening to attend the event and to express their thoughts and concerns as the budget process gets underway in Salem.

World of Speed

World of Speed

On March 10th, I toured World of Speed, an educational motorsports museum in Wilsonville. The museum is both fun and interesting, and it offers educational courses related to the automotive industry for high school students in the area.  These courses keep many at-risk students in school long enough to graduate and, in many cases, they encourage those students to pursue higher education by giving them college credit.  If you ever get a chance, head on over to World of Speed for some family fun and to support this great program!

SuperQuest Spring Conference

2017 SuperQuest Spring Conference

Click to edit this On March 18th, I had the privilege of addressing about 75 computer science teachers as part of the Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association’s 2017 SuperQuest Spring Conference at George Fox University.  Much of the conversation focused on our state’s Career and Technical Education programs, of which I am a big proponent.  The conference offered attendees instructional courses on robotics, 3D printing, computer programming, and Android app development.  It was an honor to be able to hear directly from educators who will prepare our students for the high-tech jobs and industries of tomorrow.  Thanks to OCSTA for having me!placeholder text.

Social Media

In case you missed it, my office has set up social media accounts to keep you updated between newsletters.  Please feel welcome to “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, using the handle @reprichvial.

Personal Reflections

Spring has arrived and the Capitol Mall is in full bloom.  March 18th was Cherry Blossom Day at the State Capitol.  This annual event, organized by the Japanese Cultural Society, celebrates the importance of the cherry industry to Oregon’s economy, as well as the influence that Japanese culture has had on our state.  As a young man, I spent several years in Japan through my church, so the event held meaning for me, personally.

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossoms also serve as a reminder that, as the seasons are changing, so is the legislative session.  April 7th, is the deadline for policy committee chairs to schedule work sessions for first chamber measures. The scheduled work sessions must occur by April 18th. Bills in policy committees that are not scheduled for a work session by this deadline cannot receive further action, however, this deadline does not apply to Ways and Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees.  From here, the pace of our work intensifies as we prepare to meet our constitutional deadline to adjourn by July 10th.

Thank you for being engaged in the legislative process and for providing your feedback and ideas.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your State Representative.  Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance, or drop by to say hello when you are in Salem.




Capitol Phone: 503-986-1426
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-484, Salem, Oregon 97301