Post sums up session, invites constituents to town hall
It has been an honor to serve you in the Legislature this past session and I wanted to take a moment to fill you in on some of what has happened.
During the regular 2017 session I ended up introducing more bills than I did in my freshman year. I still tried to keep that number low, however, as I am still a firm believer in "less government." All of my bills were centered on "freedom" and cutting red tape in state government.
Sadly, the one that meant the most to me, my "Sudafed bill" (which would have brought "Sudafed" related drugs back to "behind the counter") did not go anywhere. In fact, most of my bills didn't even get hearings in committees. Here are some of the bills I found success with and a couple that I wasn't happy with from the 2017 session:
• My bill, HB 2598, expanded the offense of vehicular assault to include contact with motorcycle, motorcycle operator or motorcycle passenger. As a "biker" myself along with many of my constituents, it amazed me that bicyclists and pedestrians were covered but not motorcyclists!
• Another important bill I was involved with passed: HB 2732, affectionately called the "hot dog in a car bill." There's already been a case in Oregon where the passing of this bill saved a dog's life!
• I was also successful in getting SB 677 passed, which allows cider businesses to be on cider farms in Oregon, sort of like the wineries and breweries we have now.
• HB 2017, the transportation package: I voted no on the package for many reasons. I was disappointed in the amount designated for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass, the fact that it didn't do a whole lot for Keizer or St. Paul, the 0.5-percent tax on new car sales (which, by the way, goes right back to the "better off" as a rebate for electric cars!) and generally the fact that once again, the Portland Metro area gets the lion's share of the projects. The bill passed 39-20 and my vote didn't stop it. I just didn't think you wanted more taxes.
• HB 5517: the K-12 budget. This budget was entirely inadequate to properly fund our teachers and provide the education our kids desperately need, so I voted no on it.
• HB 3464: sanctuary state bill. It restricts the ability of state and local agencies, including law enforcement, to inquire about an individual's immigration status. The bill specifically prohibits public agencies from disclosing information to the federal government except in certain circumstances. I voted no.
• SB 719: A well-intentioned answer to veteran suicides, but it allows courts to compel an individual to surrender their firearms on the word of a judge or others. I voted no.
• HB 3391: provides $10 million for on-demand abortions even for those who are undocumented. This bill disturbed me more than anything I've done or seen in my two terms.
Overall I saw this session as the most hyper-partisan in recent memory. No matter which party it is, the state as a whole suffers when one party has complete control. When one party controls all the committees, all the bills and all the processes, Oregon is not being properly represented. I hope you'll join me for a "wrap-up" town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the St. Paul Community Hall.