Historic Transportation Package, Eclipse Info, an End to "Lunch Shaming" & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
Email: sen.floydprozanski@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/prozanski
e-Bulletin                     July 2017

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Dear friends,

    The 79th Legislative Assembly adjourned, "sine die," on July 7, 2017. The final days of session saw historic legislation passed, including a $5.3 billion transportation package and reform of Oregon's grand jury process (details below). Despite these late successes, I remain frustrated that we weren't able to realize needed revenue — namely, getting corporations to pay their fair share — to bolster the K-12 budget.

    Now I'm back home, resuming my duties as a municipal prosecutor and taking a break before gearing up for the 2018 "short" session next February. Being home also allows me to attend more community events. I had the pleasure of addressing the Eugene City Club along with Rep. Cedric Hayden on July 14 to review the legislative session. (You can listen to a recording, here.) On July 15, I once again served as "pooper scooper" in the Bohemia Mining Days Parade; a fitting task, it seems, following five months of hard work in Salem. On July 17, I participated in the Register-Guard's public panel forum along with Sen. Lee Beyer, Rep. Julie Fahey and Rep. Hayden. (Read a summary and watch a video clip, here.) Also, if you didn't have a chance to tune in to my July 14 session wrap-up on KQEN, you can listen to it, here.

            I always have a great time at the Bohemia Mining Days Parade!

    It's another busy season for construction crews on Oregon's roads. Updates on four projects affecting Senate District 4 residents are listed below. Remember to check ODOT's TripCheck.com to "know before you go." Please use caution when driving through work zones. There may be traffic restrictions, lane closures, detours and delays. Watch for signs, flaggers and pilot cars for guidance through these zones. Above all, please drive carefully!

    With the solar eclipse occurring on Monday, August 21, please plan ahead and be prepared for gridlock traffic in and near the path of the eclipse. The Governor has just announced that the Oregon National Guard will be activated to assist with traffic congestion and fire suppression. Also, if you are going to be camping out for the event, please be extremely careful. Expect restrictions on campfires and off-road travel. Lane and Douglas Counties are already at "high" fire danger, and the long-term forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions. Let’s all be careful out there!

    Below you will find information on:

- Major Transportation Package
        - Grand Jury Reform
        - Bringing an End to "Lunch Shaming"
        - More on Preparing for August 21 Solar Eclipse
        - Western Oregon Exposition: August 18-20

        - Ways to Conserve Water in the Garden

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Major Transportation Package

    In the waning days of session, the Legislature approved a historic statewide transportation improvement plan. The plan will raise $5.3 billion for infrastructure over the next 10 years. It will modernize and improve Oregon's transportation system by addressing five of the priorities heard most consistently around the state: reducing congestion, increasing alternate transportation options, investing in maintenance and preservation, improving safety of existing infrastructure, and ensuring accountability in how taxpayer dollars are spent.

    Attached is a graphic explaining how the package will impact Senate District 4, including a city-by-city breakdown.

Grand Jury Reform

    On Independence Day, I was honored to carry SB 505 on the Oregon Senate floor. This bill will modernize the 150-year-old process for keeping grand jury records, improving transparency and accuracy. SB 505 directs district attorneys statewide to ensure grand jury proceedings are recorded using audio electronic recording devices. The district attorneys also must maintain and store copies of the audio recordings. Currently, grand juries across the state have relied upon handwritten notes by a grand jury member.
    As a municipal prosecutor and former Lane County assistant district attorney, I have found that no matter how skilled or how experienced a note-taker is, there will be things that are inaccurate or left out inadvertently. This procedural change of the grand jury process will help ensure a clear and accurate record of what witnesses say during their testimony without interpretation by the note-taker.
    Oregon was one of only two states that did not require electronic audio recording of grand jury proceedings. Recordings improve transparency and assure records are accurate. Louisiana is the only other state in the country using grand juries that doesn't require electronic recordings. Recording also is required in the federal system.
    SB 505 brings our justice system into the 21st Century. The bill helps ensure that our criminal justice system remains above reproach.

Bringing an End to "Lunch Shaming"

    No child should be forced to go hungry, and they should be able to eat with dignity. I was proud to support HB 3454 to require National School Lunch Program-participating school districts to provide lunch to any student upon request, regardless of whether the student has money to pay or not. It also prohibits schools from "lunch shaming" students.
    Lunch shaming is a far too common practice where students are held publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch debt. These practices include forcing students to throw food away, providing alternative meals or stigmatizing those students in other ways. A 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture report found that nearly half of all school districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay lunch debts.

    The National School Lunch Program is a federally subsidized meal program operating in more than 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. In 2012, it provided nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 31 million children each school day.

    Approximately one in four children in Oregon lives in a family that is at risk of hunger, according to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. School lunches are one of the best tools to battle child hunger and keep kids healthy. Students who eat breakfast at school, as well, are more likely to have better attendance and graduate from high school.

More on Preparing for August 21 Solar Eclipse

    Oregon will be the first state where you can view the total solar eclipse crossing the United States on Monday, August 21. For about two and half hours, daytime will gradually yield to dusk — and to darkness for about two minutes — as the moon passes in front of the sun.

    ODOT is planning ahead to keep Oregon moving. An estimated one million visitors are coming to Oregon to view this celestial spectacle. That means traffic backups are inevitable, but preparation ensures a good time for visitors and residents alike. Here are some tips from ODOT:

    Expect traffic changes. ODOT doesn't plan to close any state highways, but as traffic volumes increase, they may restrict some left turns to and from highways in order to keep traffic moving. Cities and counties may choose to do the same thing on their streets and roads, especially around venues with many visitors.

    Help keep roads clear. Staying off the roads helps make sure emergency service vehicles can get through. Take care of errands well before August 21. Limit trips, or go by bicycle!

    Travel with friends. Joining friends and family for the trip to totality will reduce the number of cars on the road. Find carpool information at www.drivelessconnect.com.

    Caution friends, family and other visitors. Advise them to avoid unnecessary distractions during your travels, especially when our highways will be crowded during the time of the eclipse. Arrive early, stay put during the eclipse and leave late afterwards. If everyone jumps on the highways all at the same time right after the eclipse, no one will go very far very fast. Remember, all travelers share the responsibility to stay safe.

    Be prepared. Plan ahead for basic needs such as food, water, gas for the car and bathroom breaks.

    We're all in this together. ODOT will have crews posted along critical travel routes to keep motorists mobile and safe, and they'll provide travel updates via TripCheck.com and 511 to provide the most current travel information available. For more eclipse travel tips and links, visit: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Pages/Eclipse.aspx.

    In addition, the Oregon Department of Forestry wants to make sure eclipse memories don't include wildfire. To that end, remember to:

    Secure tow chains. Make sure all vehicle parts are secure and not dragging. A loose safety tow chain or muffler striking a rock or pavement can send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation.

    Check tires and make sure they receive regular maintenance. Once a flat tire shreds, the bare wheel can shower sparks on roadside vegetation.

    Maintain your exhaust system. A worn-out catalytic converter can cast off extremely hot pieces of material into dry roadside vegetation.

    Check underneath your car. Make sure it's free of oil leaks and that fuel and brake lines are intact.

    Stay off the grass. Avoid parking or idling on dry grass. Vehicle exhaust and dry vegetation is a dangerous combination.

    Stay on the road. Off-road driving is prohibited in most areas during fire season.

    Of course, always follow recreational forest laws (www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx). Report fires immediately to 911.

    This is a rare opportunity but it brings potential hazards. We must all do our part to be prepared. Look out for each other. Help your neighbors and other travelers who may be unfamiliar with the area. Be friendly, helpful and patient — and please enjoy Oregon!

Western Oregon Exposition: August 18-20

    The 85th Annual Western Oregon Exposition will be held in Cottage Grove August 18-20. It has a mission to be of service to the community and to carry on the American tradition of old-fashioned fun, entertainment and education in a safe, family-friendly environment. Learn more on the Exposition's website: www.woeheritagefair.com/.

Ways to Conserve Water in the Garden

     The Oregon State University Extension Service offers the following tips to conserve water in gardens and yards this summer:

  • Water your lawn more deeply and less frequently. If you typically water three to four times per week, it's okay to cut that to one to two times per week.
  • Plant drought-tolerant turf grass. Tall fescue is hardy, wide-bladed and deep-rooted. Perennial ryegrass and creeping fescue can also tolerate some dryness.
  • Choose drought-tolerant plants such as creeping zinnia and sea poppy for your landscape. Native plants such as the Oregon iris and Pacific wax myrtle tolerate dry summers well.
  • For most plants, watering deeply and close to the roots is more important than frequency. Study each plant's watering requirements. For vegetables, soak soil about six inches deep. Water to a depth of about a foot and a half for shrubs. Trees need water about two feet deep.
  • Mulching is critical because it improves soil structure, helps retain water in the ground and reduces weeds. Use compost-based mulches for vegetables and woody mulches for ornamental plants. Spread the mulch about two to three inches thick on the soil around your garden.
  • Water early in the morning before the day heats up.
  • Use an efficient irrigation system, such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation. If you choose a sprinkler system, select a low-pressure, in-ground system that does not shoot up in the air.
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