Do What You Can Do 4/6/19

View Online
Senator Jeff Golden

*  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
—Helen Keller

Welcome to the eighth edition of Do What You Can Do.

First a reminder: I hope you’ll check out Capitolizing, the weekly podcast where Senator Shemia Fagan and I answer two questions every week: just what do we do here in the Capitol, and why the hell should you care? It’s on iTunes and other podcast networks.

Capitolizing Logo

Thank you to the 120 or so of you who joined us for our Talent Town Hall event on March 30, and special thanks to Talent's hospitable mayor and city councilors and to Representative Pam Marsh for joining us. I hope you found the conversation on some of our tough issues--climate legislation, vaccinations, 5G technology, fair taxation--worth the time. Our next major town hall is scheduled for April 27th at 1PM at the Phoenix Civic Center. Representative Marsh and I will be tag-teaming again and we should have a lot more to report from the session. 

Senator Golden and Representative Marsh Answer Questions

Photo courtesy of Dasja Dolan

What's Up

April 9th is a benchmark for the legislative session: the "chamber deadline." Any bill that hasn't been passed out of committee in either the House or the Senate by that date is "dead" for the session. There are exceptions: bills sent to the multi-purpose Rules Committee in both chambers, or to Joint Committees like Ways and Means, don't have to make that deadline. But a hefty majority of bills drafted in the past few months will be no more after Tuesday, 4/9, at least for this session.

Campaign Finance:

My Campaign Finance Committee passed out one more bill before the deadline. SB 1018 aims to reduce the confusion around the independent-expenditure ads that flood the airwaves and fill our mailboxes just before elections. Candidates know nothing about them in advance, and often are held responsible for statements they never made and opinions they don’t hold. In a crucial way, candidates have been losing control of their own campaigns—it’s wildly frustrating for them and confusing for voters trying to make important decisions.

Independent expenditures have largely hijacked our politics, and Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United make solutions difficult. This bill is one modest step that will probably withstand legal challenge. In its current form, it would require all independent-expenditure advertising to prominently carry the words ‘This message was paid for and produced without the coordination or prior consent of any candidate in the election for this position.” Warnings like this, coupled with growing disgust for the power of “Dark Money,” the huge untraceable donations to campaigns, could move us down the path towards people-powered politics.

Jeff Speaking to Constituents

Gun Safety:

The hottest debate last week was the Senate Judiciary Committee’s meeting on SB 978, a combination of this session’s most widely supported gun safety measures.

A couple of general comments on gun safety laws (some use the term “gun control,” and that’s not the goal of this kind of legislation. The goal is reducing gun violence in our schools and elsewhere, and it’s up to us to consider any measures that can help get us there).  A portion of the mail I get on this issue wants us to restrict or ban pretty much every firearm, on the theory that the stricter the laws, the safer we’ll be.  I don’t agree. Second Amendment rights (which different people read very differently) are a valid part of this debate. And on a practical level, a ban-it-all approach drives away responsible, civic-minded gun owners—and there are many—whose support and ideas are need to craft effective policy.

Another theme in my inbox is that any measure regulating or limiting firearms, ammunition and accessories in any way whatever violates the Second Amendment (some write “shamelessly and criminally violates the Second Amendment,” along with other choice words).   A few people add that they know that our “real agenda” is to disarm them completely, and that every proposed regulation is a deceitful step in that direction. I occasionally write back to ask if there’s any way they could put down their slippery-slope belief long enough to talk about a particular measure on its merits.  I don’t get replies to that.

  Here’s some of what SB 978 includes:

  • “Safe storage” provisions to promote the use of locked storage boxes and trigger locks for firearms kept at home or businesses. A main thrust here is to protect children from serious accidental harm.  Leaving a weapon out in the open isn’t in itself a violation, but if a child or someone else takes an unsecured firearm out in public, the owner can be charged with anything from a violation (for brandishing the weapon) to a felony (for causing serious injury or death)
  • A requirement to promptly report the theft or loss of a firearm
  • More latitude for local authorities to regulate where concealed weapons can be carried in public places
  • An increase in concealed handgun licensing fees, and permission for local officials to charge a fee for the cost of nationwide fingerprint checks in the process of issuing concealed carry permits
  • The banning of “ghost guns” (generally made by 3-D printing) and other untraceable firearms
  • Discretion for gun sellers to set a minimum age between 18 and 22 for the purchase of firearms in their establishments.

 This package has the kind of balance I can support. I welcome your comments.


National Popular Vote

After some close misses in the past, this well might be the year for SB 870, which would add Oregon to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This is an agreement of states pledging to make sure electoral votes are cast for whoever presidential candidate receives the most total votes, regardless of who wins in any particular state.  The compact would take effect only when it has membership from states representing an electoral vote total of 270, the magic number for winning the White House. New Mexico joined last week, bringing the total count to 189 electoral votes.  SB 870 would add Oregon’s seven for a new total of 196.

I’ve heard only support for this in Senate District 3, and I’ll be a “yes.”

What Do You Think?

We have seen a number of emails in response to the proposed youth justice reform bills, overwhelmingly in favor. Thank you to those who took the time to write in to our office.

This week, I'd like to get your opinion on a proposal to raise the state tax on tobacco products, including cigarettes, from $1.33 to $2.00. HB 2270 would bring us closer to the same pricing as California and Washington. What do you think? Should we raise the tax to $2.oo, raise it higher, or not raise it at all? Email your thoughts to

Do you know other people in the Rogue Valley who might want to know about the issues we’ll be tackling this session, including climate, wildfires and smoke, affordable housing, education (pre-K through higher ed), health care, economic fairness and campaign finance reform?  Please invite them to sign up for this newsletter at We will not share contact information with anyone else for any reason.

Our best to you for now. Please remember to do what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden
Chair, Campaign Finance Committee 
Senate District 3 (Rogue Valley)

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301
Twitter: @SenatorGolden
Podcast: Capitolizing