2009-2010 Legislative Info

Below is a list of bills I authored and advocated in the 2009 and 2010 sessions. I found great success, with all of my bills either being signed into law, or incorporated into other bills that became law. Click on the links to see the bill, or for a copy of my presentation. 

Access to Affordable Health Care (HB 3624).  (Testimony).  Health clinics will have increased flexibility to schedule extended hours and use supervised physician assistants to provide basic health care at affordable rates.

Earned Income Tax Credit (HB 2970)(Testimony): The EITC is a tax credit available to low income working people, which is currently under-accessed and under-utilized. I sponsored HB 2970 as a way of more aggressively promoting this money-saving opportunity (through greater state-agency coordination, and outreach) in order to get those individuals and families who are eligible the help they need.

Services to Veterans (HB 3104) (Testimony): A good portion of the money we spend on veteran’s services is reimbursable by the federal government – but only if we have an accurate count of the number of veterans in our state. Currently, there are tens of thousands of unidentified veterans in Oregon, many of whom would benefit from services that the state or federal government provides. This law provides us with new tools to aid in identifying former servicemen and women living in Oregon, ensure they have access to relevant information and services, and that counties and the state get the proper reimbursement from the federal government.

Helping people remain in their homes (HB 2383)(Testimony):Manufactured and mobile home park residents often own their homes, but not the land the home sits on; and increasingly, “mobile homes” aren’t really that mobile. This can put residents in the precarious position of potentially losing their homes, and having to move elsewhere, if the owner of the land that comprises the park wishes to sell that property. To help mitigate this situation, this new law will require that a manufactured or mobile home park residents’ association or co-op will have the right of first refusal to make an offer when the landowner sells the park.

Metal Theft (SB 570): The theft of metal in Oregon has reached epidemic proportions over the past few years. Fueled by individuals with substance abuse problems (mostly methamphetamine) throughout the state, all types of metal -from copper wire and guard rails, to a statue of Sacagawea and an urn with ashes still inside- has been stolen and sold for scrap. This comprehensive law creates new requirements to make selling stolen metal more difficult, and creates penalties for those who either attempt to buy or sell metal known to be stolen. One of my own bills (HB 2423) prohibited cash payment for metal, and called for tougher penalties when public safety is threatened by a theft, or when the cost to repair the damage caused by a theft is disproportionate to the value of the metal stolen. The concepts in my bill were incorporated into the final version SB 570.

Health care cost containment (HB 2755)(Testimony): One of the top concerns I hear from constituents is the skyrocketing cost of health care and health insurance. The problem is not only large, it’s complex. And while the federal government is working on more sweeping health reform, there are things we can do here in Oregon to reduce some of our escalating costs. One of those possibilities for cost savings might be found in “reinsurance,” which is basically insurance for insurers. This bill calls for a study to be conducted by the Department of Consumer and Business Services into the potential benefits of a statewide pool for reinsurance, with a report back to the legislature in 2011.

Revamping state and county services (HB 2920)(Testimony): Since the initial framework of our state and local government relationship was set up, they’ve continued to become increasingly complex. Oftentimes one of the results of this complexity is overlap, or redundancy in the system. We need to take a fresh look at the way we deliver our critical services, such as public safety, assessment and taxation, human services, elections, and other programs that are shared or delivered by both the state and county government. The objective of the task force created in this bill is to study ways of ensuring that state and county government relationships are set up to deliver programs in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.

New cars for new times (HB 3253)(Testimony): We have companies in Oregon right now working on designing and building electric vehicles, and the parts that go with them. These businesses employ skilled workers with good-paying jobs, and produce a product that emits 5 times less CO2 than the average combustion-engine vehicle.

Oregonians have already shown an interest in vehicles with reduced emissions and better fuel economy, and by expanding the tax credit we already offer for the purchase of a hybrid-electric car to include electric vehicles, we can give Oregon consumers a nudge towards the next option in alternative, fuel-efficient transportation. This concept was ultimately passed as HB 2078.