Last week was a busy one at the state capitol in Salem,
as legislators held their latest round of interim
Four of the six committees to which I’m assigned met
during that time. Needless to say, it was a very busy
Monday, November 16
The Joint Interim Committee on Ways and Means
Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development
met on Monday. We heard from the representatives of the
Oregon Business Development Department about its State
Trade and Export Promotion Program and from the Oregon
Department of Transportation about railroad-highway
To view the exhibits displayed
during the meeting, or access a video recording of the
A highlight of the day was a noon press conference I
participated in regarding the implementation of
legislation aimed at combating human trafficking.
I was the chief sponsor of
House Bill 3143,
which passed through all of its committees, the House
and the Senate on unanimous votes and was signed into
law by Governor Brown in early June.
The bill allows non-profits to supply the Oregon Liquor
Control Commission with informational materials about
human trafficking, including stickers. OLCC will include
the stickers with each license renewal they issue to the
facilities they regulate.
This is important because victims of human trafficking
have few opportunities to escape their captors. It has
been determined that one of the times they are away from
them is when they’re using the restroom. Having stickers
on the bathroom stall with information on how they can
get help will go a long way towards solving this very
Monday’s press conference was the kickoff of a yearlong
campaign to educate Oregonians about the plight of
victims to this horrific crime. A former victim was
among those who spoke, and courageously told her story
in an effort to prevent others from being subject to
I was honored to work with other legislators to pass HB
3143, including Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles), Rep.
Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie), as well as Nita Belles.
She is the managing director of In Our Backyard, a
non-profit devoted to this issue.
Several legislators who helped pass HB 3143 appeared at
the Monday, November 16 press conference announcing the
rollout of the anti-human trafficking stickers. They
include (from left) Rep. Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), Sen.
Jackie Winters (R-Salem), Rep. John Huffman (R-Hood
River), Rep. Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie) and Rep.
Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass).
I am pictured here with Nita Belles, managing
director of the In Our Backyard non-profit
organization. Click the "play" button to watch a
video of the press conference.
My day started in the House Interim Committee on
Revenue, where a variety of topics was discussed.
The Legislative Revenue Office provided us with an
analysis of the state’s marginal effective personal
income tax rates and background information on the
property taxation of non-profit organizations.
Information regarding unpaid debt
collections and the implementation of House
Bill 2089 was given to
us by the Department of Revenue.
Representatives from Lane County gave a presentation on
modernizing property tax assessment techniques, and the
Oregon Liquor Control Commission discussed that agency’s
Materials and the recording of
that meeting can be accessed by clicking here.
The House Interim Committee on Agriculture and Natural
Resources heard a fire season update from State Forester
Doug Decker and other Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)
officials. There were also updates on the Coastal
Multi-Species Conservation Plan and a hatch box program
done through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,
and representatives from the Oregon Mining Association
testified about some of the issues facing their
Click here for
more information about this meeting.
Wednesday, November 18
The Joint Interim Committee on Ways and Means met in the
morning and had a very robust agenda. Compensation plan
changes for the Public Defense Services Commission and
Judicial Department were discussed by officials from the
Department of Administrative Services.
Information about the Local Government Intermediate Term
Investment Pool was presented by the office of the State
Treasurer. Representatives from the Department of
Education discussed charter schools and programs
involving child nutrition, school hospitals and
The Oregon Health Authority covered a variety of topics,
including a Medicaid Management Information System, the
surveillance of birth defects, the development of 2016
rates for the state’s Coordinated Care Organizations and
an Environmental Information Exchange Network.
Technology improvements at the Department of Justice and
capitol construction projects for the Military
Department were also on the agenda, along with an
analysis of the Department of Corrections’ inmate
Oregon’s health insurance marketplace was discussed by
employees of the Department of Consumer and Business
Services, and a debris removal project was talked about
by Marine Board staff.
An electronic filing system project for the Government
Ethics Commission was another topic. So was the
Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s
basic police and basic corrections classes and its
Center for Policing Excellence.
The Department of Revenue’s processing center system
modernization project and recreational marijuana tax
cash management implementation also were included as
part of the agenda.
For more information on this
As you can see, the Legislature remains busy even when
we’re out of session. All of these committees dealt with
issues that have the ability to affect Oregonians from
all walks of life.
The best way to keep up with what
is going on at the capitol is to go to www.oregonlegislature.gov.
That website contains a wealth of information about the
processes and the proposals that we consider when we’re
in session and during the interim.
Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56
I phone: 503-986-1456
address: 900 Court St NE, H-474, Salem, OR 97301