Senator Jeff Kruse - May 10th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You



MAY 10, 2013




I initially had a couple of different subjects I was going to discuss in this newsletter, but have now chosen a different course.  This was a different week in the legislature for several reasons.  Personally, I started my week by flying to Denver on Sunday for a two day meeting on prescription drug abuse.  The National Governor’s Association has made this subject an issue of special concern and convened a group of seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia, to look at innovative ways of dealing with this issue. This was the second meeting of this group, with the first one being held in Alabama several months ago.  I am the only legislator in the Oregon delegation.  I was told it was because I have been the “champion” on issues of drug abuse and addiction. I would also note for the record this is a personal issue for me as I am a recovering addict with 27 years of clean time.  I spent six years working on the development of Oregon’s prescription drug monitoring program, and actually got the legislation passed in 2009.  This year we are doing some modifications and adjustments to the program (SB 470), and we think we may have one of the best programs in the nation.  We still have a lot of work to do, including looking into how we offer treatment.  It has become clear to me the issue is not just around adequate funding, but also looking into the treatment modalities we offer.  Hopefully we are up to the challenge.


When I got back to Salem Tuesday evening my first question was, what did I miss?  The answer was nothing.  The famous gun bills had all been diverted from the Senate floor and sent to the Senate Rules Committee.  What this means is they are no longer “in play”, but because the Rules Committee stays open until the end of the Session they could resurface at any time.


Meanwhile there is a rumor the House is planning on not moving Senate bills because we won’t go along with their tax increase plan, which was actually defeated in the House last week.  The Senate Democrats finally appointed their members to the PERS negotiation workgroup; they are Senators Devlin (the co-chairs of Ways and Means) and Rosenbaum (the Senate majority leader).  Unfortunately, discussions are still at the preliminary stage and I am not sure they are going to be willing to do the real reforms we need. 


When this Session started in February the intensity level was incredibly high.  Now we seem to have hit a dead spot, which I think puts our ability to end the Session in June in jeopardy.  In the committees I sit on we will be done with our work in the next couple of weeks.  What this means is all of the focus will be shifted to the Ways and Means Committee.  One of the rules we have in the legislature is the W&M Committee is only supposed to deal with budgets.  What we have currently is a lot of substantive bills that were sent to that committee that will need further work.  So at the end we will have a very small group making decisions not just on budget, but policy as well.


Another frustration is the fact all we are talking about is PERS reform and new revenue.  At no point have I heard any discussion about reducing the size of government or any government efficiencies.  Since we carved the Oregon Health Authority out of the Department of Human Services it has grown by 20 to 30% every biennium.  Additionally, the Governor’s new education administrative cluster has a price tag this Session of over 135 million dollars, which in my mind are dollars that should be going into the classroom.  The focus should not be on protecting the size of government, it should be on helping the private sector with job creation.


This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I would suggest every day should be mother’s day, but we officially only have the one.  There is really nothing more important in life than family, and mothers are the anchor of that institution.  I want to say thank you to all mothers for all you hard work, much of which goes unappreciated, and for the love you bring into the world.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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