Senator Jeff Kruse - February 14th, 2014


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-315 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You


February 14, 2014



To start off on a positive note, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Now, down to business.  Yesterday was the last day to pass a bill out of committee in the Chamber of origin.  What that means is all Senate committees are now done with Senate bills and the same goes for the House.  There are, of course, exceptions.  Those would be the Ways and Means Committees, the Revenue Committees and the Rules Committees.  As is relatively standard, especially in a short Session with such tight time lines, there was a fair number of bills referred to the Rules Committee to keep them alive after the deadline.  It should also be noted these committees can stay open clear up to the last day of the Session.


Due to the fact the majority of the emails I am still receiving are on SB 1551 (background checks), here is the status of that bill.  It was referred to the Senate Rules Committee yesterday on a party line vote.  There are still not the votes to pass it, but it will potentially be alive until the end of the Session.  For those of you who are new to my newsletter I would invite you to look back at my last three letters for more details.


Senate floor Sessions this week have been interesting.  Wednesday we had one bill on the Floor, as we did Thursday.  Today we have 20 bills on the floor, many of which came out of committee just yesterday.  This is happening because we all agreed to suspend the Rules of the Senate to advance the calendar.  Normally a bill would pass out of a committee and then be “Second Read” the next day (the first reading of a bill is when it is introduced and assigned to a committee).  A bill comes up for a vote when it reaches the Third Reading Calendar, which in the normal course of events would be the day after the second reading.  I don’t think I have a problem with most of the bills we will be voting on today, I am just frustrated by the fact the structure of the “Short Session” requires this type of activity.  Hopefully, at some point in time we will look at making changes to lengthen the even year Session so we can have the appropriate level of public involvement.


I will use my mascot bill, SB 1509, as a prime example.  I had a bill in the 2013 Session, SB 215, which passed both Chambers and was the only bill vetoed by the Governor.  We decided to take another shot this Session.  After a great deal of conversation with folks from the schools, the tribes and the Governor’s office we finally arrived at a version everyone could support.  The agreement was reached late Wednesday and we had the printed amendment early Thursday.  At 1:30 in the afternoon we passed the bill out of committee.  The bill is significantly more complicated than the original version and, while I am comfortable with the changes as I was involved in making them, the challenge is having a way for the rest of the members of the Senate to get a full understanding in such a short amount of time.  This is a challenge we all have for bills from committees we don’t serve on.


At this point we have finally reached a point where we have a better understanding of what legislation we will have yet to deal with.  By Monday we will have a complete list of House bills still in the process and the House will have a complete list of Senate bills.  We had a general agreement in the Senate, which most committees adhered to, not to try and do complicated or controversial bills.  I am not sure the House took that approach and I will point to the bill on the Columbia River Crossing as a prime example.  Time will tell as to what will happen with some of these bigger issues.


I may end up writing multiple newsletters next week because there are some significant things happening, but for now I thought it would be helpful to share with you more of how the process is working.  On a personal note I will actually be able to go home this weekend as the snow is gone.  While I really like my car, my advice is have something other than a Mustang if you have to drive in snow.




Senator Jeff Kruse







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