April 12, 2017 Newsletter

Rich Vial

April 12, 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

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

April 20th Town Hall

Don’t forget!  On Thursday, April 20th, Senator Kim Thatcher, Representative Bill Kennemer, and I will be hosting 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.  We will provide a mid-session update to highlight issues involving the 2017-19 budget, education, transportation, housing, and public safety.  We are interested in hearing your input and we hope you will join us!

Bill Report

HB 3231 Testimony

HB 3231 received a public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation Policy on April 5th.  I introduced this bipartisan bill to address the overwhelming number of constituent concerns I have received about traffic congestion.  HB 3231 would allow city and county governments to form special districts to plan, design, finance, construct, and operate limited-access highways if they and the communities they represent wish to do so.  During the hearing, I explained my constituents’ frustrations with traffic congestion and the success that another state has had building roads using this concept.  KOIN 6 provided coverage of the hearing, which you can view here.  Last Friday, I was informed by the committee chair that HB 3231 would not receive a work session by the April 18th first chamber deadline, which prevents the bill from moving forward this session.  Looking ahead, I hope to work with Chair McKeown and the rest of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization to pass a statewide transportation package to ensure that we are taking proactive steps to address Oregon’s long-term transportation challenges.

HB 2004, which would lift the state’s ban on rent control, passed the House on April 4th and moves to the Senate for further consideration.  Although there is no question that Oregon faces significant housing challenges, I voted “No” on this bill because I am concerned that it will not have the positive effect that some believe it will.  Economists generally agree that rent control affects tenants negatively by reducing the amount of available housing.  I believe that our state’s housing issues will be best resolved by increasing the housing supply through market-based incentives and similar ideas.  That is why I introduced HB 2210, which directs the Department of Housing and Community Services to provide grants to owners of multifamily rental units so they can provide housing at affordable rates.  HB 2210 passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing and has been referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for further consideration.

HB 3267 Testimony

HB 3267, relating to transient students, has passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Education and will now move to the House floor for a vote.  The bill directs school districts and public charter schools to waive extra graduation requirements for students who are in foster care, homeless, or runaways, helping to remove barriers to earning their high school diplomas.  As a foster and adoptive parent, I have seen first-hand the challenges that at-risk youth face as they work to achieve academic success.  I am proud to serve as a Co-Chief Sponsor of this bill alongside fellow freshman Representative Janelle Bynum.

HB 3430 , of which I am a Co-Chief Sponsor with Representatives Janeen Sollman and David Brock Smith, relates to proceeds from the sale of unclaimed property.  Currently, Oregon is safekeeping approximately $595 million dollars in unclaimed assets—savings bonds, stocks dividends, tax refunds and uncashed checks.  State law requires businesses and organizations to send all unclaimed funds to the Department of State Lands (DSL) if the owner cannot be contacted after a certain amount of time, usually three years.  Each year, about $50 million is remitted to DSL and about half of that amount is returned to rightful owners, usually around 20,000 people or entities.  All unclaimed funds are held in Oregon’s Common School Fund until claimed.  Interest earnings from the fund are then sent to Oregon schools twice a year.  HB 3430 would allow DSL to distribute certain moneys that have been in the Common School Fund Account for 25 years or more, allowing us to open another stream of annual revenue to support our schools.  It is innovative thinking like this that will help us balance our state’s budget and ensure that K-12 education receives the funding it needs.  This bill is currently in the House Committee on Revenue and is awaiting a public hearing.

Do you have unclaimed money?  You can check to see if the state is holding money or property that belongs to you, a family member, or your business here.

In the Capitol

Wilsonville Citizens Academy

On Friday, I had lunch with members of the Wilsonville Citizens Academy during their visit to the Capitol.  This program is organized by the City of Wilsonville for residents who are looking to take a more active role in their community.  It seeks to prepare participants for positions of leadership by teaching them how the city government operates and interacts with local and state government.  A special thanks to those who participated!

In the District

Last Saturday, I met at the Aero Air facility to tour properties north of Hillsboro that the Northwest Hillsboro Alliance, a group of land owners in the area, is advocating to be included in the Urban Growth Boundary.  This property is ideally situated to provide additional residential capacity for a rapidly growing Washington County.  As our communities continue to expand, I am committed to advocating for the efficient and responsible use of developable land.  Thank you, Northwest Hillsboro Alliance, for making this tour possible!

Personal Reflections

We are near the halfway point in the 2017 Legislative Session.  The April 18th first chamber deadline will decide the fate of many bills.  Policy committee bills must receive a work session in their chamber of origin by this date to remain viable.  Although some of the most difficult discussions and votes will come in the months ahead, I remain focused on seeking opportunities to engage my legislative colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to find common ground and common sense solutions to the challenges before us.  I appreciate each of you who have taken the time to write and shared your thoughts, concerns, and ideas these past few months.  Thank you for remaining engaged and active in the legislative process.  I look forward to your continued feedback in the weeks and months ahead. 




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