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Discussing TANF and the co-chairs budget
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Legislative Update

Mar. 5, 2013

This Week in Salem:


The Columbia River Crossing bill (HB 2800) approved by the House on Feb. 25, was approved by the Senate in a 18-11 vote on Monday, March 4.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development heard three bills related to studded snow tires. Click here for the audio archive and here for The Oregonian's article on the subject.

Update on HB 3200

Sponsor says it appears "dead on arrival"


HB 3200, the bill which would ban many semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity gun magazines, has created a huge public outcry. It is encouraging to see the thousands of emails that our office has received in defending our Second Amendment rights! We encourage you to direct your efforts toward the sponsors of anti-gun legislation, including the sponsors of HB 3200.
Read The Oregonian's update on HB 3200 here
 

A Message from Representative Whitsett


I introduced several bills this session which will be discussed over the course of the next several newsletters. My bills are:
  • HB 2015 - If mammogram is inconclusive due to dense breast tissue, requires person who performed mammogram to notify patient of inconclusive results and to advise patient to contact patient's health care provider regarding appropriateness of supplemental testing.
  • HB 3321 - Prohibits Water Resources Department collection of periodic or recurring fee or charge pertaining to well allowing ground water use for single or group domestic purposes.
  • HB 3322 - Requires Department of Human Services to ensure that electronic benefits transfer cards issued to recipients of aid cannot be used to purchase prepaid credit cards.
  • HB 3323 - Prohibits Environmental Quality Commission from adopting any rule concerning air quality and water quality that imposes requirements, standards or any other limitation that exceeds requirements, standards or any other limitation imposed under federal law.
  • HB 3324 - Requires that annual report by State Forester to Emergency Board include private property loss information for fires of 1,000 acres or more.
  • HB 3387 - Changes basis and permissible scope of assessments by Oregon Sheep Commission.

Spotlight On: HB 3322


This week's newsletter focus is on HB 3322. This bill would prevent TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds from being placed onto prepaid credit cards. It is my belief the tax dollars being used to fund TANF should be specifically directed toward only items and services needed for basic survival (housing, food and personal necessities).

TANF, as properly used, can be an important aspect for families with children that are struggling through this prolonged recession. We need to remain vigilant as legislators to make sure it is being utilized as such.

As TANF is presently structured in Oregon, if funds are placed onto prepaid credit cards, they may be used in any way that recipients desire. We have heard anecdotal experiences of TANF funds which were converted to cash cards being used for the purchase of electronics such as televisions, for travel, or even being sent out of the US to foreign countries.

We have included a video made by Americans for Prosperity which speaks to this issue. HB 3322 has been assigned to the committee on Human Services and Housing, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. I believe it is a vitally important reform and will weed out those using the system for other than legitimate reasons.

 

Around the World on $69 Million in Welfare Funds

Americans for Prosperity California - "Common Sense" with David Spady

Discussing the National Popular Vote


Our office has received multiple inquiries into the National Popular Vote movement. My legislative assistant Sarah has put together the following information on the subject:

Currently, eight states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, allocating their state's presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. These eight states represent 49% of the necessary electoral votes needed for the compact to take effect. HB 3077 would add Oregon's seven votes to the compact.

I am in support of preserving the Electoral College's mix of population-based and state-based government as outlined by James Madison in the Federalist Papers No. 39,

"The next relation is, to the sources from which the ordinary powers of government are to be derived. The House of Representatives will derive its powers from the people of America; and the people will be represented in the same proportion, and on the same principle, as they are in the legislature of a particular State. So far the government is NATIONAL, not FEDERAL. The Senate, on the other hand, will derive its powers from the States, as political and coequal societies; and these will be represented on the principle of equality in the Senate, as they now are in the existing Congress. So far the government is FEDERAL, not NATIONAL. The executive power will be derived from a very compound source. The immediate election of the President is to be made by the States in their political characters. The votes allotted to them are in a compound ratio, which considers them partly as distinct and coequal societies, partly as unequal members of the same society. [...] From this aspect of the government it appears to be of a mixed character, presenting at least as many FEDERAL as NATIONAL features."

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact detailed in HB 3077 seeks to circumvent the balance of power derivation currently present in the Constitution. It would shift the emphasis of elections to the most heavily populated states (twenty-six states have higher populations than Oregon), and give the most power to cities with the highest population (Portland is the 29th largest).

HB 3077 is currently sitting in the House Committee on Rules and is not presently scheduled for a hearing.

Thank you for reading my newsletter and staying informed. Please don't hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns.

Best regards,


Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56
 

Republican Budget Watch

On Monday, Republican leaders held a press conference in response to the budget released by the co-chairs of the Ways and Means committee.

 

Republican Leaders Press Conference

Republican leaders respond to co-chairs budget, March 4th

OPB Interview with Sen. Whitsett and Speaker Kotek


On Wednesday, March 6th, Senator Whitsett and Speaker Kotek discussed the budget on OPB's radio show "Think Out Loud."

Read the recap of the segment
Download mp3 archive
 

Committee Updates

 

Agriculture & Natural Resources


Agendas: Tuesday 3/5/13 - Thursday 3/7/13

Tuesday's bills:
 
  • HB 2032 - Relating to off-site compensatory mitigation
  • HB 2396 - Adds large woody debris to removal-fill provisions
  • HJM 3 - Urges Congress to support marketing of Oregon seafood
  • SB 348 - Allows commodity commission to choose calendar year as fiscal year
  • HB 2233 - Modifies laws governing seizure of abandoned vessels
Thursday's bills:
 
  • HB 2027 - Requires DFW to develop wildlife/human conflict reduction program
  • HB 2697 - Provides that fish carcass may be returned to water in certain cases
  • HB 3086 - Private entity actions affecting sage grouse habitat must notify DFW
  • HB 3262 - Fish and Wildlife Commission to issue permits for removing crab pots
  • HB 2252 - Allows State Fish and Wildlife Commission to establish multiyear licenses
  • HB 2249 - Form Willamette River Basin Bonneville Power Admin. Stewardship Fund
  • HB 2649 - Removes requirement that grant to purchase Oregon food products and to fund certain educational activities be allocated in specific percentage

Energy & Environment


Agendas: Tuesday 3/5/13 - Thursday 3/7/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2437 - Allows credit against income taxes for purchase of energy efficient home
  • HB 2793 - Requires Housing and Community Services to adopt criteria for assignment of energy performance scores for residential buildings
  • HB 2801 - Authorizes public purpose charge moneys invested on cost-effective local energy conservation that involve updating energy efficiency of nonresidential buildings to be used for purposes of conducting whole building energy assessment of building energy efficiency
  • HB 2817 - Provides that real estate appraisal activity includes issuance of opinion as to value associated with energy efficiency of buildings located on real property
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 2694 - Requires Dept. of State Lands to study certain issues related to development of energy resources in Oregon's territorial sea
  • HB 2516 - Allows moneys in Watershed Conservation Operating Fund and Watershed Conservation Grant Fund to be used for educating elementary school students concerning protection and restoration of native fish or wildlife habitats, watersheds or ecosystems

Human Resources & Housing


Agendas: Monday 3/4/13 - Wednesday 3/6/13 - Friday 3/8/13

Monday's bills:
  • H B 2095 - Aligns definition of "former foster child" with federal standard for purposes of higher education grants, tuition wavers and scholarships
Wednesday's bills:
  • H B 2639 - Redefines "source of income" for purposes of prohibiting discrimination in selling, renting or leasing real property
  • HB 2417 - Increases amount of fees charged and collected by county clerks to record or file certain real property documents
Friday's bills:
  • HB 2980 - Extends sunset for tax credits for owning or operating farmworker housing and for lending to construct or rehabilitate farmworker housing
  • HB 2474 - Extends sunset for tax credits for owning or operating farmworker housing and for lending to construct or rehabilitate farmworker housing
  • HB 2316 - Exempts pension income from determinations of income and net worth for qualification to be account holder of individual development account
  • HB 2388 - Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Oregon Department of Administrative Services for distribution to Oxford Houses of Oregon for establishment and maintenance of revolving loan fund to aid in development of housing for veterans or victims of domestic violence
 

COMMITTEES:


- Ag & Natural Resources
- Energy & Environment
- Human Services & Housing
 

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Representative Gail Whitsett
900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
H-474
503.986.1456
rep.gailwhitsett@state.or.us

 

 

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