Representative Boone Legislative Update May 4 2017

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

We have now reached the halfway point of the 79th Oregon Legislative Session.   Lawmakers are continuing to work together on legislation is important to constituents and communities throughout the state.  Oregon’s legislative committee process allows members of both parties to work on bills, and craft bipartisan supported legislation.   Of the 270 bills that have passed the Oregon House this session, 70% have been unanimous, 28% have been bipartisan, and only 2% have been approved along strictly party lines.

The Coastal Caucus is a great example of lawmakers of both chambers, and both parties working together.  This group includes all Senators and Representatives elected from coastal districts, and we meet weekly to discuss legislation that is important to our coastal communities.  Our top priority this year is HB 3151 which appropriates money to the State Department of Forestry to carry out integrated pest management program to combat Sudden Oak Death (SOD).   This disease was first discovered in California in 1995 and the infection area continues to expand and has moved north into Oregon, and into other forest species including rhododendron, madrone, big leaf maple, coast redwood, and most alarmingly douglas fir.  An Oregon SOD scientific task force includes US Senator Jeff Merkley, State Rep. David Brock Smith, and former Tillamook County Commissioner Mark Labhart and they have been working on a response to attack SOD before it devastates Oregon’s forest and nursery industries.   Labhart reported at this week’s Coastal Caucus meeting that left untreated, SOD’s infection area could reach the Port of Coos Bay in 8 years which would greatly impact Oregon log exports.    HB 3151 as amended will be seeking $1.7 million from Oregon to leverage a federal match of $1.7 million.

The Oregon Legislature is required to approve a balanced budget during the Legislative Assembly, and state revenue projections still show a $1.6 billion deficit.  There are only two choices, raise revenues, or make drastic cuts to education, health care, senior services and public safety.  This week budget and revenue leaders in the House of Representatives released a plan called the “Education Investment Initiative” which would replace Oregon’s corporate income tax system with a new Commercial Activity Tax of 0.95% on a business’s sales in the state.   This rate would only apply to companies with more than $5 million in Oregon sales; smaller firms would pay a flat $250 annual tax.  If approved the Education Investment Initiative would raise more than $2 billion per biennium, with a minimum of 75% dedicated to education from early childhood to college.   Read more about the proposal here: http://bit.ly/2qwG658

On Tuesday, fallen Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding was honored at the Fallen Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Ceremony, and his name was added to the memorial wall with 182 Oregon officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1880s.   I was happy to join Senator Betsy Johnson in co-sponsoring Senate Concurrent Resolution 6, which recognizes and honors Sergeant Jason Michael Goodding for his service to the state.  SCR 6 unanimously passed the Senate and is now in the House Rules committee.

Three of the bills I sponsored on behalf of the Oregon Ports Association were heard in the Senate Business and Transportation Committee on Wednesday.

HB 2899: Giving Ports the same authority as other local government entities to enter into Intergovernmental Agreements as authorized under ORS 190.  The bill was given a “Do Pass” recommendation and passed out of committee, Senator Arnie Roblan will carry on the Senate floor.

HB 2900: Relates to Port adverting, and allows ports to advertise events and activities that are conducted at port facilities.  This bill received unanimous committee support, received a “Do Pass” recommendation, and will also be carried by Sen. Roblan on the Senate floor.

HB 2901: Deals with Port real property purchases, and waives the requirement of a second appraisal for those land deals valued at $2 million or less.  HB 2901 raises the financial bar from $500 thousand the standard that was set more than 25 years ago. Committee members agreed it was appropriate to adjust the standard, and gave the bill a “Do Pass” recommendation with a unanimous vote.  Senator Jeff Kruse will carry this bill on the Senate Floor.

Another bill I am co-sponsoring this session is House Concurrent Resolution 8 which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Oregon’s Beach Bill.  In 1967 HB 1601 was approved, and ensured public access to Oregon Beaches.    Serving in the Oregon Legislature at that time was Pacific City resident Paul Hanneman, who was instrumental in supporting the passage the Oregon Beach Bill.  Paul who served as State Representative from Tillamook County from 1965-1990 also authored the Oregon Bottle Bill, the first of its kind in the nation to require a deposit on bottles and cans.  Paul’s picture hangs near the entrance of the House of Representative’s member’s lounge on the 4th floor in the Capitol.  Known for his love and support of Pacific City’s Dory fleet, Paul Hanneman served as a Tillamook County Commissioner from 2000-2004.  We received news that Paul passed away peacefully Wednesday morning.  Our condolences go out to his wife Sandy, and his family.  

May 2017 is Transportation Safety Awareness month as the Oregon Department of Transportation seeks to bring attention to the start of the busy road construction season.  On any given day there are 500 active work zones in the state, many operate day and night. On average, a work zone crash occurs in Oregon every 18 hours, with hundreds of accidents and some fatalities every year.  To improve safety for everyone, speeds in work zones may be reduced.   Fines double for traffic infractions committed within a posted work zone, whether workers are present or not.   Pay extra attention when you see orange signs, barrels, cones and barricades; as an inattentive driver is the most common cause of work zone crashes. 

To best represent House District 32, I need to hear about your concerns.   This week the state email server was flooded with spam messages, and we may have inadvertently missed a message from you.   If you have a concern or comment about a state agency or proposed legislation, you can write, phone or email my office.  If you are coming to Salem, let my office know a few days in advance so we can schedule an appointment.   I’m in H-481, and my door is always open to constituents.  

It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Representative Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: Rep.DeborahBoone@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/boone