Politicians sponsor bills to address crime, pets, education among other issues

Rep. Greg Matthews (D-Gresham)

Matthews is a chief sponsor of two bills, both of which have already passed the House, and which will be up for a vote in the Senate by Monday, Feb. 24.

HB 4022 This requires providers of radio communications service for cellular devices to provide, without a warrant and at the request of a law enforcement agency, call location information of a cellular device used to place a 9-1-1 call requesting emergency assistance, or reasonably believed to be possessed by an individual in an emergency situation that involves risk of death or serious physical harm.

Rep. Chris Gorsek, (D-Troutdale) is also sponsoring the bill, informally called the “Kelsey Smith Act,” part of a nationwide legislative effort by Smith’s parents. Kelsey was a teenager who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in Kansas in 2007. Similar bills have been passed in 14 states since 2009, according to Missey Smith, Kelsey’s mother. She said it took investigators about four days for the cellphone company to release her murdered daughter’s cellphone location information even though police obtained a warrant.

Matthews says that the proposed law, as written “will not allow an arbitrary use.” Oregon Office of Emergency Management will annually compile reports for the Legislature on the law’s use, he adds.

HB 4021 This bill directs Oregon’s universities to charge nonresident veterans the same rate of tuition and fees as residents. Currently, a veteran must establish residency in Oregon by living here for a year, not by going to school but by working or being otherwise engaged before he or she is eligible for resident tuition. This bill would waive that requirement, and allow any veteran to immediately be eligible for resident tuition. It does not cover online courses.

Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale)

Oregon House District 49 includes Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village.

HB 4058 Oregon’s education goal known as “40-40-20” says that by 2025 all adult Oregonians will hold a high school diploma (or equivalent), 40 percent will have an associate’s degree or post-secondary credentials and 40 percent will hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree. Gorsek’s bill amends the goal to include apprenticeship programs to the middle 40 percent, along with associate’s degrees and professional credentials.

The bill passed the House, and is now awaiting action in the Senate.

HCR 202 Gorsek’s second bill is a resolution to place a memorial sign near Fairview Parkway on Interstate 84 for two reserve police officers, Reserve Sgt. Scott Collins and Reserve Deputy Mark Whitehead, who were killed when their patrol car was struck by a drunk driver in 1993.

“They deserve our thanks, and I am honored to support their memory with this resolution,” Gorsek said.

The bill passed the House and will be heard in the Senate.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham)

Monnes Anderson represents Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview, and Wood Village.

SB 1508 This bill modifies registration requirements to allow sex offenders to register with city police departments only if the offender last resided or intends to reside in the city. If the offender lives out of state, he or she must attend school or work in the city where the offender wishes to register. Monnes Anderson said several issues have come to light since she introduced the bill, and she will revise and reintroduce it in 2015.

SB 1548 This bill updates Oregon statutes that reference “physician” to include “physician assistants” and “nurse practitioners,” in order to accurately reflect current practice and avoid confusion, Monnes Anderson said.

The bill passed the Senate and was scheduled for a House work session this week.

Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-District 39)

Oregon House District 39 includes Barlow, Barton, Beavercreek, Boring, Canby, Carus, Charbonneau, portions of Damascus and Happy Valley, Eagle Creek, Estacada, Fisher Mill, Mulino, Redland, and rural Oregon City area.

HB 4028 This bill allows the state lottery to use funds allocated for administration to help reduce problem gambling. The funding would help reinstate a problem gambling prevention ad campaign.

The bill passed in the House and is headed for the Senate.

HB 4029 This bill gives some Damascus residents the option of leaving the city. Kennemer, a former Clackamas County commissioner, said that he is well aware of frustration with the city of Damascus for its failure to adopt a comprehensive land use plan since its incorporation as a city, as is required by state law. HB 4029 allows residents living within a half mile of the boundary of the city to go through a hearing process to withdraw from the city. Such residents would then need to apply for incorporation into a neighboring city.

The bill passed the House and is headed for the Senate.

HB 4120 This bill allows children of volunteer firefighters and reserve police officers killed or disabled in the line of duty to be awarded scholarships.

The bill passed unanimously in the House.

Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River)

Johnson represents Hood River County as well as some parts of Clackamas and Multnomah counties, including Boring, Corbett, Estacada, Eagle Creek, Gresham, Government Camp, Sandy, Troutdale and Welches.

HB 4058 Along with Reps. Gorsek and Dembrow, he has introduced HB 4058, which amends Oregon’s 40-40-20 education goals (See passage on Gorsek above.)

HB 4076 This bill will significantly lessen the number of college graduates with extreme student loan debts by directing regional universities Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University and Western Oregon University to develop fixed cost bachelor’s degree programs.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River)

Thomsen represents District 26, which includes Boring, Corbett, Gresham, Government Camp, Sandy, Troutdale and Welches.

SB 1575 This bill has failed to move on the full Senate and was referred back to committee, essentially killing the bill. It would have allow for businesses in forest or mixed farm and forest zones to utilize raw logs. Thomsen says he was inspired to sponsor the bill by the plight of Sandy business owner Mark Fritch who was ruled unable to operate certain aspects of his business, Mark Fritch Log Homes, due to a lack of definition within the Clackamas County land-use regulations. The bill would have added that definition to the state land-use code, allowing a permanent facility for the production of primary forest products.

SB 1541 This bill extends the charitable crop tax credit and is meant to help the Oregon Food Bank feed more Oregonians, by bumping the crop tax credit from 10 percent to 15 percent. With a higher tax credit, farmers will have more incentive to donate.

Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Portland)

Fagan represents District 51, which includes portions of West Gresham (Powell Butte area) and Damascus. Both of the bills she has introduced have already passed their policy committees and are awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 4154 This bill is part of a targeted plan for legislative action to address problems with Cover Oregon. Fagan says the bill helps Oregonians get insurance coverage and the tax relief they are due. “It helps us hold accountable those who are responsible for Cover Oregon’s mistakes,” she said.

HB 4117 This bill will increase classroom time for students in 19 of the highest needs schools in Oregon. The proposal creates a grant to fund a summer education program for the nearly 5,500 students attending low-performing, high-poverty schools.

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