E-Newsletter Volume 7, No. #15




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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May 10, 2013              E-Newsletter              Volume 7, No. 15

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Hi Everyone,


As we all know, Oregon has a history of “firsts”:  First with a bottle bill; first with a beach bill; first to fully implement vote-by-mail; first to require real estate licensure, etc.  Next week, we will consider another first: HB 3521 directs all designated voter registration agencies to provide the Secretary of State with age, residence and citizenship data, and the digital signature of each person who meets the qualifications set by secretary rule.  If this bill passes, we will be the first state in the nation to make voter registration nearly automatic for most of the population, unless individual citizens opt to exclude themselves.

 What is a designated voter registration agency?  This is any agency that is already qualified, such as a state or county election office, DMV, etc.  Added to these will be any agency that:

  • Records and stores digital copies of signatures
  • Collects age and residence data
  • Processes citizenship documentation

Within 14 days after the citizen fills out these forms, they will be provided the opportunity to opt out if they truly do not wish to vote.  It is our sincere hope that few people will do so, and that increasing the convenience quotient will also increase voter participation.  Typically, less than 60% take the time to vote.  If we are truly serious about having a robust democracy, then we have to try every conceivable method to encourage every eligible vote!

Two bills that were heard in my committees this week included: SB 836 (Business & Labor); and SCR 14 (Ag & Natural Resources):

SB 836: This bill would fix an unintended consequence of previous legislation. Under current Oregon statute makeup artists, like those who work in the film and television industries, are required to be licensed by the Oregon Board of Cosmetology. Oregon is the only state in the nation that has this requirement. Those in favor of the bill stressed the differences between makeup artists and beauticians: that makeup artists work for entertainment and not aesthetics; that makeup artists do not work on the general public; and that the person being made up does not pay the artists, a production company does.

Significantly, over 15 major movies and television shows have been shot or partially shot in District 31, from Sauvie Island, Banks and Hillsboro near the Metro area to Clatskanie, Rainier and Vernonia.  Each of these has been an economic boon to our local economies.  To the extent that the Legislature can continue to be hospitable to the studio industry, our communities and state will continue to benefit.

SCR 14: Makes Oregonite and Josephinite the official twin state minerals of Oregon.  We heard testimony regarding the importance of promoting education through the earth sciences.  Here are some interesting facts: 

1. In 1965, California became the first state to have an official rock, mineral or gem stone.
2. In that same year the Oregon Senate passed a measure making the thunder egg our official state rock.
3. Since that time, 22 states now have an official mineral.
4. No other state holds the honor or privilege of having a mineral named after itself or a location within the state.
5. For that matter, no other state has a twin mineral.
6. Oregonite and Josephinite, so closely tied chemically to rocks from outer space, bravely represent our voyage into the 21st Century and into the exploration of frontiers beyond Earth.
7. Always at the forefront, in the pioneer spirit of our people, Oregon will have the honor of being the first state with namesake minerals, and twins at that. I would like to think that this reflects our ability to do everything twice as well as other states! 
I thought I would take a moment to raise everyone’s awareness about the fact that May is American Stroke Month.  It is estimated that 80% of strokes are preventable, and since they are the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in America, we need to pay more attention to prevention.  Dr. Alan Bates, a State Senator and physician from Ashland, introduced SB 375A, which establishes a ten-member Stroke Care Committee in the Oregon Health Authority to analyze stroke data and to develop a plan for continuous improvements in the quality of stroke care.  

Strokes can be a devastating event.  Many of us have family and friends that have been affected.  Much has been learned over the last couple of decades about ways to prevent stroke, how to identify the signs and then to act FAST.  This simple acronym, FAST, will remind us what to do if either we or someone we encounter is having a stroke:

F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
A – Arm Weakness:  Is one arm weak or numb?
S – Speech Difficulty:  Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak/hard to understand?
T – Time to call 911:  If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately!

As with a heart attack, every moment counts.  Hopefully, the data collected by this special committee will assist our health care providers and state agencies to develop better, more effective programs for all Oregonians.

 Please enjoy the pictures that follow and thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter…have a great weekend!