Rep Boone Legislative Update April 27 2017

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

Lawmakers are continuing to move bills through the legislative process at the Capitol, and we are holding longer floor sessions, sometimes convening twice a day.  We are getting busier as more bills work through the committee process.

If a piece of legislation requires money for implementation, it ends up in the Joint Ways and Means committee.  This 23-member committee is in charge of the state’s budget and how our state’s resources are allocated.  The committee is made up of Senators and Representatives from both political parties, and earlier this year held a series of meetings throughout the state to gather public comment on spending priorities.  Over the next couple of months, these lawmakers will be making difficult decisions, as Oregon’s revenue projections indicate a $1.6 billion shortfall.   Oregon’s constitution requires that the Legislative Assembly adopt a balanced budget, so our work in Salem will continue until this mandate is achieved.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved SB 378, the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Check off.  This bill is one I have sponsored many times before, and would add the Oregon Volunteer Firefighter Association (OVFA) to the Oregon Income Tax Form.  This would allow Oregonians receiving a tax refund to be able to designate part or all of their refund to this organization whose membership includes emergency medical technicians, and firefighters across the state.  The OVFA offers its membership a relief fund, educational grants, training and equipment grants, and recruitment and retention information.  Senator Bill Hansell sponsored SB 378, and every member of the Oregon Senate signed on as co-sponsors.   The bill now comes to the House for consideration.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives unanimously approved HB 2930, relating to reporting child abuse and neglect to the appropriate authorities.  I sponsored this bill on behalf of the Department of Defense, the legislation encourages the notification of the military when allegations are made regarding child abuse or neglect in a family with members on active military status.   The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.

On Thursday, I testified on behalf of House Concurrent Resolution HRC 31 recognizing December 6, 2017 as the centennial of Finnish independence.  People familiar with the Astoria and surrounding north coast area, know that Finns settled and helped build the community.  A large number of Astoria’s residents emigrated from Finland to fish, work in the fish packing plants, and manage saunas.  Finns on the north coast have a long history, Astoria’s Suomi Hall dates back to 1886. This bill was introduced at the request of the Columbia Pacific Chapter of the Finlandia Association, it was co-sponsored by me and Representative Mark Johnson, whose district includes Hood River, another home to many Finnish immigrants.  The Rules committee held a Public Hearing and Workshop, and passed HRC 31 out of committee with a “Be Adopted” recommendation.

This has been a record-breaking rainy winter in Oregon, but the days are getting longer, the showers shorter, and spring is right around the corner. For many people, spring means getting the gardens in shape and planting vegetables for harvest over the next five or six months.  When members of the Oregon Food Bank visited recently they talked about the need for good fresh food donations, and how local food pantries and meal sites can use fresh produce to help alleviate hunger.  In Tillamook County, an organization called Food Roots works with the Oregon Food Bank to distribute free vegetable seeds, and encourages home and community gardeners to grow an extra row to donate the produce to hunger-relief agencies.   Shelly Bowe was the long-time director of the Tillamook Food Roots program, and was instrumental in helping to start community gardens throughout Tillamook County.   One lasting example of her efforts is the Rockaway Beach Community Garden, located in Twin Rocks.  This 25-plot space was established in 2005, and now has 17 gardeners who will be growing a variety of food.  Some of these gardeners grow exclusively to supply food to Senior Meals, Inc. which holds communal meals three times weekly, and delivers meals to housebound, while others donate their extra harvest.  If you are a gardener, this is one way you can support your community with fresh nutritious food donations.  If you aren’t a gardener, but want to learn about it, “Seed to Supper” is a free beginning gardening course offered by the Oregon Food Bank and the OSU Extension service.

I always look forward when someone from the north coast comes to Salem.  My schedule can get very busy, so it’s best to contact my office in advance so we can try to schedule an appointment.  My office is at H-481 and my door is always open to constituents.   If you have a concern or comment about a state agency or proposed legislation, you can write, phone or email my office.

It is my privilege to serve you in the House of Representatives and I look forward to hearing from you.  Your input helps me make the decisions that best represent House District 32.


Representative Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301