July 12, 2017 Newsletter

Rich Vial

July 12, 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is an end-of-session update on my work as your State Representative.

August 1st Town Hall

On Tuesday, August 1st, I will be hosting a town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Main Hall of the Sherwood Center for the Arts, located at 22689 SW Pine Street, Sherwood, OR 97140.  I will provide a post-session update to explain how some of our State’s new laws will impact you, answer your questions, collect your feedback, and hear your thoughts and concerns about what issues still need to be addressed during future sessions.  It is my hope that we will be joined by Senator Kim Thatcher, as well.  We look forward to seeing you there!

In the Capitol

At 3:26 P.M. on July 7th, the 2017 Regular Session of the 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly adjourned for the last time, Sine Die.  Members will not reconvene to hold floor sessions again until February of 2018.  In advance of the post-session town hall we will be holding on August 1st, I wanted to give you a snapshot of some of the legislative accomplishments I am most proud of from this session.

HB 2017, also known as the Transportation Package, is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.  This bill will raise approximately $5.3 billion over the next decade through a variety of new and innovative funding mechanisms to fix Oregon’s crumbling roads and bridges, address congestion, and invest in transit, bike, and pedestrian projects around the State.  The bill also contains a number of accountability measures designed to ensure that the Department of Transportation spends these newly-generated dollars effectively and responsibly.  I am grateful to my legislative colleagues on the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization for the tremendous effort that they put into crafting this legislation, and I was proud to cast my “Aye” vote in support of moving it forward.  The fact of the matter is that, while HB 2017 will not solve all our State’s transportation problems, it is a first step in addressing many of them—in particular by establishing a framework through which our State can move toward a user pay system that has proven successful in many other parts of the country and around the world.

HB 3231

HB 3231, relating to public highway projects, 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 have allowed city and county governments to form special districts with the ability to plan, design, finance, construct, and operate limited-access highways if they and the communities they represent wished to do so.  Other states in the nation have had successful experiences building roads through this concept, and I was disappointed that it did not receive a work session before the first chamber deadline on April 18th.  Although the bill was unable to move forward this session, I was proud to start a conversation about giving local jurisdictions more authority to invest in much-needed, large-scale transportation projects, and I look forward to continuing this conversation during future legislative sessions.

T21 Press Conference

SB 754, also known as Tobacco 21, passed in the House of Representatives on July 6th, and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.  This bill raises the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems from 18 to 21 years.  As I have said in previous newsletters, Tobacco 21 will protect children in high school because they will be less likely to have a friend or peer old enough to buy these products for them—making them less likely to become addicted at an early age.  In fact, it is estimated that Tobacco 21 will help cut tobacco usage by up to 12%.  In addition, smoking and tobacco-related illnesses cost Oregon taxpayers $1.54 billion for healthcare and $1.37 billion in lost economic productivity each year.  Tobacco 21 is about saving millions of taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, the lives of our children and grandchildren, and I was proud to serve as its Chief Co-Sponsor and Carrier.

HB 3267, relating to transient students, was signed by the Governor on June 22nd.  This bill directs school districts and public charter schools to waive extra graduation requirements for students who are in foster care, homeless, or runaways—removing some of the barriers that often keep them from earning their high school diplomas.  As foster and adoptive parents, Paula and I have seen first-hand the challenges that at-risk youth face as they work to achieve academic success.  I was proud to serve as a Co-Chief Sponsor of this bill along with fellow freshman Representative Janelle Bynum.

HB 3056HB 3057, and HB 3059, which I introduced, were each signed by the Governor on May 18th.  These bills clarify and correct certain portions of existing state law relating to issues of condominium and homeowner associations including liens, shared finances, and special declarant rights.  In addition, HB 2722 was signed by the Governor on June 22nd.  This bill prohibits condominium and homeowner associations from enforcing irrigation requirements during periods of drought, when water becomes scarce or expensive.  As a land use attorney who has specialized in the areas of condominium and homeowner associations, I was proud to bring over 35 years of experience to the State Capitol to advocate for legislation that will have positive impacts on the many Oregonians whose homes belong to these associations.

In the District

2017 Oregon CSTA Symposium

Although it did not take place in our House District, I spoke at the 2017 Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association Symposium at Portland State University on June 24th about the importance of computer science and digital literacy in our education system. Both teachers and administrators attended the event and participated in a discussion about how we can best prepare our children to become leaders in the industries of tomorrow. Thanks to Oregon CSTA for organizing the event and for having me. Progress in our State's education policy starts with conversations like these.

The Fourth of July has long held a special place in my heart. When I was young, my parents would take the day off from work and take us kids to the beach or to the park, where they would remind us of our responsibility to be good citizens and stewards of our country. For me, age has only reinforced this understanding.

Group 1

This year, my family celebrated our nation’s independence by participating in the Hillsboro Rotary Club's Annual Parade with several of my legislative colleagues from Washington County, followed by a family gathering at one of our farms in the Tualatin Valley. As we gave thanks for the food we had been provided with, it dawned on me that, out of the 50 or so family members there, some had been born in Vietnam, China, and Columbia, as well as here in the United States. The fact that our nation welcomes people of all backgrounds is very important to me, and I hope we never lose that sense of joy we derive from celebrating diversity in our communities. I hope you and your loved ones were able to enjoy the holiday, as well.

Personal Reflections

Eva, Victor, and Reagan

During the month of June, seven of my 42 grandchildren, as well as several of my constituents, visited the State Capitol as part of the House's Honorary Page Program.  The fact that June 20th was World Refugee Day made their visits all the more meaningful, as some are the children of Vietnamese refugees whom Paula and I have been blessed to welcome into our family.  It has been rewarding for me to see so many young men and women from across Oregon participate in this program and leave more informed and more passionate about how our state government works.  I would like to extend a special thank you to the Coordinator of the Honorary Page Program, Brian Fenderson, for all that he does to provide these kids with such a great experience in our State’s Capitol.  If you know anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 who might be interested in serving as an Honorary Page during the 2018 Regular Session, you can encourage them to learn more and apply online here.

Michelle & Caleb

In addition, I feel blessed to have been joined this session by my Legislative Director, Michelle, and my Legislative Assistant, Caleb.  They have done an outstanding job on behalf of the State of Oregon and House District 26, and I appreciate the long hours and hard work they put in over the past six months, helping me to better serve you.  During the Interim between now and February of next year, I encourage you to continue sharing your views by emailing me at rep.richvial@oregonlegislature.gov or by calling my office at (503) 986-1426.  Even when we are not in session, my staff and I welcome the opportunity to serve you in any way, whether it is through the legislative process or through personal assistance with state government.  As always, it is a privilege to serve as your State Representative.




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