We are more or less three weeks out from the end of Session. Constitutional Sine Die (end of Session) is, at latest, July 10th. Senate President Peter Courtney has given us the ambitious goal to be done by June 30th. We are required to balance the budget by the time we adjourn, and if we cannot, we must come back for a Special Session. In addition to the obvious desire to have a solidified budget and not waste taxpayer dollars on a Special Session, my son is getting married on July 1st and my wife, Chris, and I are looking forward to spending the day celebrating and enjoying family and friends. It would be nice to relax with the Session wrapped up and behind us.
One of my goals as State Rep. has been to be transparent with my district about the issues we face in our state. Many of my newsletters reflect the frustration I have felt in the minority party where we often don’t influence the outcome of some of the big issues that affect our districts, and the future of Oregon. This frustration is one I share with many of you. My intention in writing newsletters is to give you updates from my perspective and not through the lens of rose colored glasses. So, to say nothing about the positive things that may come about would be an error on my part. My office recently created a list of the bills I’ve signed onto that have made their way successfully through the legislature, and I wanted to share a few of those with you.
and HB 2229
encourage school districts to offer courses in civics and financial literacy, respectively. These two bills are great for giving students the educational platform that will help them be successful in two important areas of adult life: learning to engage in civic activity, and learning to be economically astute. If our young people all understood that there is a cost to everything and that someone must pay for it, it would go a long way in understanding individual responsibility and that government was not created to meet all of our needs and desires.
gives off-road vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles legal access to highways by developing all-terrain vehicle access routes. Highway access for ATVs has been a big issue in rural Oregon where there is frequent necessity to cross public highways for various activities. We had a bill on each side, House and Senate, in hopes that at least one would pass, and SB 344 was the winning ticket.
Lastly, we have HCR 24A
. This bill would allow committees to accept testimonies via remote videoconferencing. As it stands, this bill has only passed the House but moved through unanimously, and we have good reason to believe it will have the same outcome in the Senate. Upon passage, I look forward to seeing increased political representation of those who do not have the ability, time, or means to travel to Salem from Eastern Oregon.
We still have so much left to do in these last few weeks, and I am committed to striving for solutions that are both beneficial and sustainable for Oregon, regardless of how disheartening that effort can sometimes be. But in the midst of it all, it is important to remind ourselves that small victories are still victories, and to have passed a few bills that I know will have positive impacts in House District 58 remind me why I will continue to fight this uphill battle.