Collaboration in the Capitol


Representative Tina Kotek
D-North/NE Portland
District 44

Phone: 503-986-1444    900 Court St. NE, H-269, Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you’re enjoying the unpredictable spring weather and the bursts of sunshine. Today, we’re celebrating what would have been late Oregon Governor Tom McCall’s 100th birthday, and this week marks nearly a third of the way through the 2013 Legislative Session. 

Discussions continue about how to move forward with the proposed $6.75 billion in resources for public schools.  Additionally, this week, the Oregon Senate passed the Tuition Equity bill, HB 2787, to help more Oregonians access higher education.   Governor Kitzhaber is expected to sign the bill into law soon.   We also passed bills to ensure prevailing wages for construction workers on university projects and to require pay equity for nurse practitioners.

Bipartisan collaboration to deliver for Oregonians

On Wednesday evening I joined Rep. Mike McLane, the House Republican Leader, for a forum co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the City Club of Salem.  The topic was collaboration and bipartisanship in the Oregon Legislature.

Rep. McLane is a great guy with an excellent sense of humor, and we had a lot of fun talking about this legislative session and engaging with the audience about the important issues facing our state. 

Wednesday night provided a moment for me to reflect on how much we’re accomplishing together this session, and how well Democrats and Republicans work together in the Oregon Legislature. 

At the start of the session, I appointed a number of Republicans to chair, co-chair, or serve as vice-chair of committees, and we were careful to pass rules for the House that would protect the rights of the minority party and encourage broad participation and input on the challenges facing the state. 

So far, it has worked.  We’ve passed a number of important bills very early in session- bills that will support family wage jobs, help more Oregon students access a college education, protect consumers, and improve health care outcomes.  These bills, and already hundreds of others, have passed the House with broad, bipartisan majorities.  

We still have many difficult challenges ahead, but I’m heartened by the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship that has characterized our work so far. 

Improving the livability of North Portland Neighborhoods

On Wednesday morning, two bills introduced on behalf of Hayden Island residents to address problems on “lottery row” received a hearing in the House Business and Labor Committee.  

HB 2007 is designed to honor voter intent regarding casinos and level the playing field for real restaurants and bars who also offer lottery games in their establishments. Communities around the state, such as Hayden Island, have seen a proliferation of mini-casinos. HB 2007 would require entities with lottery contracts to establish viable, community-enriching businesses that are supported by more than lottery sales and the sale of inexpensive cigarettes and liquor.  This bill would define a retailer who makes more than half of its profits from lottery sales as a casino.   Lottery retailers who have been operating as “casinos” would need to alter their business model to be a real restaurant or bar with other amenities in order to continue to operate. 

HB 2008 attempts to crack down on problem bars and taverns by giving local governments the ability to suspend a liquor license for up to seventy-two hours if incidents at an establishment pose a serious threat to public safety. The bill also gives the Oregon Liquor Control Commission additional authority and expertise to address problems caused routinely at a particular location.

You can read more about these proposals, or watch news coverage.  I hope that by moving forward on these bills we’ll be able to improve conditions for these residents of my district who are having their neighborhoods adversely impacted by the concentration of lottery establishments and problem bars.

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you.

Best wishes,

State Representative Tina Kotek

Speaker of the House

House District 44