Week 12 Update

Updates from Senator Tim Knopp.

Senator Tim Knopp

Truth in Initiative Act

oregon ballot measure

This session I introduced a bill, SJR 46, that should protect the will of the voters when it comes to statewide initiatives. Currently, initiatives that need funding are largely prohibited by the Oregon Constitution from including a funding source to pay for the various parts of the measure. In 2016 for example, Oregonians approved Measure 98(to improve K-12 graduation rates) and Measure 96(to increase veterans funding) which both require money to be set aside for additional programs. With the passage of these initiatives comes a price tag that the Legislature must budget for. Given Oregon’s current budget mismanagement, paying for more veterans’ services and K-12 graduation-boosting strategies is difficult at best, could be impossible. In the Governor’s proposed budget, lottery revenue replaced rather than supplemented current funding for veterans, which was not what voters intended. By passing SJR 46, we can better protect the will of the voters and ensure that the policies that they want are actually enacted.

PERS Reform Advances

PERS reform still has legs this session as shown by the continued life in the Ways and Means Committee for Senate Bills 559 and 560. The bills along with their potential amendments were moved to the Joint Ways and Means Committee yesterday in an effort to continue the conversation about reforming the system and provide an opportunity for fair and legal PERS reform. A new concept of risk sharing is being discussed and vetted to see if a balance can be struck between employers and employees absorbing increasing costs of PERS. 

Meeting Constituents About the Budget

SEIU Constituents

It was great meeting with constituents Connie Erwin and Deborah Boone discussing the state's budget. I really enjoy hearing from constituents, they always provide great feedback and insights on public policy in Oregon.

Win-Win Solutions to Student Debt

One innovative bill idea introduced this session is Senate Bill 1034. The bill, proposed by Sen. Chuck Thomsen, would allow students, families, and businesses to lower their overall tax burden by paying off student debt. This means that if a young person was working in Oregon, they could lower their federal taxable income by paying off their debt (principal and interest). The same would apply to anyone who helped them pay off their debt such as parents, grandparents, or their employer. This bill creates a win-win situation to student debt that encourages employers to take on some of a student’s debt burden in exchange for educated and trained employees. The benefits would likely be seen in science-, technology-, and math-based industries and would promote long-term economic growth and high paying jobs. 

A Visit from Constituents

trinity lutheran

Students and parents from Trinity Lutheran School came to Salem to tour the Capitol and learn about the legislative process. I enjoyed speaking with them about the Legislature's work this session.

Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault

This week the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 795 which requires a provider of sexual assault medical assessments or a law enforcement officer to make reasonable efforts to ensure an advocate is available to an assault victim at the medical facility where an assault assessment is made. The bill’s requirements will substantially improve the support and care that sexual assault victims receive and provide another layer of accountability and transparency. In instances of tremendous trauma and pain, many victims are left with little support due to family or financial circumstances. I sponsored and voted for this bill, now it goes to the House for their approval.

BOLI Overtime Fix


The Oregon Senate passed legislation today that would go a long way towards giving manufacturing employers more certainty over how to calculate overtime pay for their employees. Senate Bill 984 fixes a flaw in how overtime statutes have been interpreted by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Currently, BOLI interprets the law to say that manufacturing employers must pay employees overtime on both the day and the week they work. This means that if an employee worked 2 hours of overtime during a day and a total of 2 hours of overtime for the week, the employee would end up receiving pay for 4 hours of overtime, even if they only worked a total of 2 hours of overtime. By providing certainty for manufacturers, the bill will strengthen Oregon’s export-driven, manufacturing-reliant economy and prevent further litigation on an issue that should be settled. I support this bipartisan, common sense legislation.

Best Regards,


Senator Tim Knopp 
Senate District 27

email: sen.timknopp@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1727
address: 900 Court St NE, S-309, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/knopp