E-Newsletter Volume 7, No. #5




Representative Brad Witt
District 31

Phone: 503-986-1431    900 Court St. NE, H-374, Salem Oregon 97301
Email: rep.bradwitt@state.or.us    Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/witt
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March 1, 2013              E-Newsletter              Volume 7, No. 5

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Hi Everyone,


We get letters…boy, do we get letters!  Last week, due to the introduction of HB 3200, my office received over 1200 emails condemning the bill and asking me to vote "No" should it reach the House floor.  With all due respect to those who sponsored the bill, it was a badly worded piece of legislation regarding the issue of gun ownership. The bill would make many high-end shotguns, used for trap shooting, and many target rifles used in competitive matches, illegal.  Worse yet, the bill would make such guns subject to confiscation, and their owners subject to criminal prosecution.  It’s definitely not something we would want to happen to the shooting-sports enthusiasts in our communities and I am opposed to the bill on that basis. 

I know that public safety is at the forefront of many national conversations because of the recent shooting sprees that we are all aware of.  I believe strongly that we need a respectful and serious conversation about how to prevent future tragedies such as these.  To this end, I am supportive of our President’s and Vice President’s recommendations for universal background checks, centralization of criminal and mental health records and efforts to enhance the safety of buildings used by the public.  In a similar vein, there are this session:

  • A number of bills that will improve the mental health system so that we can work to solve issues before they become a problem.
  • Ideas on using the state’s bonding authority to provide schools with better security, such as doors with card locks and security cameras.
  • Emergency management procedures being developed/improved for buildings used by the public.
  • Efforts to require background checks for gun sales to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are ineligible to possess them.

This is not an issue that is going to be solved by one person, or even one bill.  It’s going to take all of us working together for the common good, without hyperbole or hysteria.  We must cut through the sound bites to find a solution that will keep our society and its children safe, while protecting everyone’s Constitutional rights.

Another big issue that came to light this week was the replacement of the I-5 Bridge between Portland and Vancouver. This has been a controversial project on both sides of the Columbia River.  Early in February, a special joint committee, comprised of both House and Senate members, was formed to clarify Oregon’s obligations in this process, particularly with respect to cost. 

I think everyone can agree that this particular stretch of I-5 has become a dreaded bottleneck for daily commuters, truckers and even the occasional traveler.  After a decade of planning, the Oregon House voted on Monday to move forward on this critical project.  The project’s intent is to improve safety, reduce congestion, increase the mobility of motorists, freight traffic, transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians, and to mitigate seismic risks.

Of the roughly $3.3 billion price tag, Oregon and Washington are expected to contribute about $450 million each to cover the cost of interchange improvements on their respective sides of the Columbia, with the rest coming from federal sources and tolls.  Besides improving the transportation grid for both Portland and Vancouver, I can’t say enough about the economic boon this will be for the entire region that will far outlast the immediate benefit of increased jobs.  I supported HB 2800, which passed the House on a 45-11 vote, and it is now on the Senate side for their consideration.

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being part of a legislative panel discussion at the Oregon Dairy Farmers Annual Convention. With me were: Senators Betsy Johnson, Alan Olsen, and the House Republican Leader Rep. Mike McLane. We tackled some upcoming issues that are of significance to dairymen and rural/agricultural folks all over our state.  Issues ranged from wildfire and federal forestland management, to water use, and education programs. This event reaffirmed the bi-partisan support we have for promoting smart agricultural policy that blends our economic, social and environmental goals in both the long and short term.    

 Bills of Interest…

HB 2817:  Provides that real estate appraisals include opinion as to value associated with energy efficiency of buildings located on real property.

HB 3162:  Requires OR Health Authority to maintain list of designated chemicals of concern for children’s health used in children’s products.

HB 3079:  Requires for-profit institutions of Higher Ed to provide students with fact sheets regarding costs of education, loans, job placement rates and related data prior to enrollment.

HB 3087:  Limits amount of appeal fee that city or county may charge for quasi-judicial review of city or county decisions on land use application.

HB 3084:  Requires OR Dept. of Revenue to enter into agreement with taxpayer to satisfy tax liability in installment payments if taxpayer’s total tax liability is $25,000 or less.

Finally, I want to offer my congratulations to Sasquatch Bread Company upon the opening of their new bakery in Vernonia.  They offer gluten-free and dairy-free products.  Best of luck, and I’ll be by as soon as Session is over!

Thanks for reading my newsletter…please enjoy the pictures that follow and have a great weekend!




Jim Krahn, Executive Director, Oregon Dairy Farmer's Association and Vernonia resident
discussed the positive contributions his Association is making to the economic,
social and environmental health of our state.

Several advocates for the National Alliance on Mental Illness met with me this week
to highlight the many successes that their program has had in our local communities.

Gold mining

Reviewing gold mining processes and techniques during Miner's Day at the Capitol. 
It was quite a thrill to hold a single gold nugget worth nearly three thousand dollars.



My office staff, from left:  Collin Erickson, Josette Hugo, Laurie Kosche and myself. 
Please feel free to contact our office if we can ever be of service.