From Senator Bonham: Safer Communities Are Not Prioritized

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Senator Daniel Bonham

Legislative Update


Welcome back to my newsletter and thank you for reading. 

Bills to keep Oregon communities safer are not prioritized

This week, Senate Republicans attempted to withdraw pieces of legislation out of committee on topics such as safety and natural resources, shaking up the legislative process by shining a light on the bills that would have otherwise been ignored.

On Monday, we prioritized bills that would have made Oregon communities safer by giving stricter penalties for crimes, cracking down on fentanyl dealing, increasing the number of patrol troopers on our highways, and making necessary fixes to Measure 110. See the full list of bills here.

Each of these bills was voted down. 

Ezra's Law

Included in the package of public safety bills was SB 430, or Ezra's Law; a bill I chief sponsored. Check out the video clip with the full information about the bill, my words on the floor, as well as my colleagues', and the final failed vote here.

If you were here for my first newsletter (read here), you will remember reading about how Ezra's Law was receiving coverage from the media and commentary from the majority party that we'd be able to "get there" with the bill's language this session.

After multiple iterations and years of work, this common-sense bill to help victims is not moving forward. It would have made sentences far stricter when the victims of violent crimes suffer permanent, life-altering injuries.

The bill is named after Ezra Jerome Thomas; the Jefferson County boy left with permanent and severe disabilities after a violent beating when he was two-years-old. Had Ezra died from the trauma - his abuser would have faced 30 years to life in prison, a sentence that gives the family some semblance of justice. Instead, Ezra's abuser received only a 12-year sentence. 

team ezra

But Ezra will spend a lifetime with medical injuries from the brutality he experienced.

I want to keep Oregon communities safe and give victims' families, like Ezra, justice, but it is an uphill battle as the majority party continues to prioritize criminals over victims. #TeamEzra

Keep your eyes on the Kicker

While the two bills that would steal Oregonians' hard-earned money by taking the constitutionally protected kicker refund are currently sitting in committee without movement, it's not "over" until Sine Die in June.

With the full legislature at the whim of the majority party, bills can move lightning fast. These bills are SRJ 26 and SB 774 and they would deny Oregonians their much-deserved $5,200 (average per household) personal kicker refunds and redirect that money to grow an already bloated state bureaucracy.

Between 2001 and 2021, Oregon’s budget more than tripled from $34.1 billion to $121.2 billion per biennium - an insane expansion of government, further demonstrating the legislature's insatiable appetite to spend. Since 2001, annual inflation has averaged 2.4%.

Read more about the history of the Kicker here, and its 1979 inception.


Remember: Each biennium, the Governor proposes an aspirational budget. The legislature then creates a framework and ultimately passes the final budget for the next two fiscal years.

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Until then,

Senator Daniel Bonham, District 26

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1726
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-423​​, Salem, OR, 97301