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National Popular Vote, meth testing updates, mill closure
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Legislative Update

 April 18, 2013

This Week in Salem:

House passes National Popular Vote bill to Senate

Note: Representative Whitsett did not vote for HB 3077.

Oregon’s electoral votes would be cast for the winner of the national popular vote for president under a bill approved by the House today.

House Bill 3077 moved to the Senate on a 38-21 vote. The bill would add Oregon to an interstate compact that so far has enlisted support from states with about half the 270 electoral votes required to elect a president under the U.S. Constitution.

Statesman Journal article

Texting while driving: Oregon Legislature Today

SALEM -- It's deadline day at the Oregon Legislature, and some legislators might go home today with bruised feelings if their pet bills die in committee.
Today's the deadline by which bills must be passed out of committee in their first, originating chamber. Bills could get moved to the Rules Committee for work after today's deadline, but it's more than likely that most bills that aren't passed out of committee today are simply dead for this session.

That means there's plenty of action as lawmakers try to jam through as many bills as possible. Of note:

Texting while driving: Texting while driving could land you a $2,000 fine under a bill set for a public hearing and possible work session in the House Judiciary Committee.

Read Oregonian article

A Message from Representative Whitsett 


Today we received news that yet another iconic business of 90 years will be shutting down operations in southern Oregon. The Rough and Ready Lumber company owned by the Phillippi family of Cave Junction will close its doors and business, laying off 85 people. This family owned business has done everything correctly to maintain operations, from reinvesting in the community by building a $6 million biomass cogeneration facility in 2007, to being awarded the Forest Stewardship Council’s green certification for sustainably produced wood products - all to no avail.

The environmental activist community has made it so difficult to procure logs for the mill that they simply can no longer exist in this preservationist atmosphere. At what point are we willing to let our forests be destroyed by severe neglect, non-use and massive burns, which are the result of our federal forest policies?

Eighty five local families will now have no income and little prospect of finding work in southern Oregon, an area already devastated by ridiculous and mostly unsubstantiated federal  biological opinions on animals, from sucker fish to spotted owls. These jobs on a per capita basis for the area would represent about 10,000 jobs being eliminated from the Portland job market instantaneously. Would Portland stand for this? Would our federal Senators and Representatives who are opposed to federal timber harvesting stand for this in their populated areas? Probably not; the public outcry would be loud and vociferous. Why is there no voice for rural America that can be heard and acted upon in Washington DC?

Best regards,

Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56

Hankins reach a settlement

Gail Whitsett pushes meth bill

The Hankins Family, who bought a foreclosed home containing toxic chemicals from methamphetamine production, reached a settlement with Freddie Mac this week.

The family now lives outside Chiloquin in another home they will soon own. Though unable to provide details, Jonathan Hankins said in a phone interview he was happy with the settlement.

"After speaking to the Hankins and hearing their concerns first hand we were able to work closely together and come to a mutually agreeable resolution," said Freddie Mac public relations representative Brad German. "We will continue to review and update our policies to protect our buyers."

Herald & News article

Meth home owners settle with Freddie Mac

Gail Whitsett pushes for protections

A family that bought a foreclosed home in Klamath Falls and later found out it contained toxic chemicals from methamphetamine production reached a settlement with Freddie Mac this week.

Members of the Hankins family, which had become ill off and on from living in the home, now live outside Chiloquin in another house they will soon own. Though unable to provide details, Jonathan Hankins said in a phone interview he was happy with the settlement.

“After speaking to the Hankinses and hearing their concerns first hand, we were able to work closely together and come to a mutually agreeable resolution,” said Freddie Mac public relations representative Brad German. “We will continue to review and update our policies to protect our buyers.”
Hankins thanked Freddie Mac, in a statement, for working with the family “in good faith to resolve a situation where neither party was at fault.”
“Beth and I also want to express our gratitude to everyone who reached out to us for their support and concern and to assure them that we will remain tireless advocates for educating families in the housing market about the potential hazards of methamphetamine contamination,” the statement read.
Since their story broke last fall, the family has appeared on such national news outlets as “Anderson Live” with Anderson Cooper, “20/20,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” as well as Yahoo News and National Public Radio.
Becoming advocates for change
Rather than simply worrying about their own situation, the Hankins family has worked on petitions and helped raise awareness through the website Change.org.
Jonathan Hankins said he plans to ask petitioners to continue their support as legislation in the Oregon House of Representatives seeks to prevent future homebuyers from landing in the same situation.
Whitsett champions meth awareness bill
House Bill 3499 received its first reading on the House floor April 9 and was assigned to the rules committee this week, said first-term State Rep. Gail Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls.
Turned in as a priority bill from Whitsett to ensure it received a reading and a chance at passage, HB3499 would require a written notice on foreclosed and repossessed homes if they have not been tested for methamphetamine chemicals.
Yet because the majority of such homes are federally held, Whitsett said she discovered that requiring testing would not be a legal option; still, buyers need to be cautious and consider the risks.
“It’s important for people to know what they’re buying and it’s something I would want to know. It’s a public safety issue,” said Whitsett, who added that the Oregon Association of Realtors has told her it does not have a problem with the bill.
For those able to get into a home they are interested in buying, Whitsett recommends testing for methamphetamine production themselves.
For those who cannot, she recommends contacting the press, the police or neighbors to see what is known about the home and who has lived there prior.
“Jonathan said he’d never considered (the possibility of meth chemicals) and neither would I,” Whitsett said.
Pressing for passage of HB3499
Whitsett and the Hankins family encourage concerned citizens to contact the House Rules Committee in support of House Bill 3499 receiving a hearing.
Testimony can be emailed to committee assistant Zoe Larmer at zoe.larmer@state.or.us and her phone number is 503-986-1527.
The committee chairman, Rep. Chris Garrett, D-Lake Oswego, can be emailed at rep.chrisgarrett@state.or.us or called at 503-986-1438.
Although the Rules Committee allows bills to be introduced throughout the rest of the legislative session, Whitsett urges public support because many bills will never see the light of day, she said.
The progress of HB3499 can be followed online at http://tinyurl.com/cydo8ba.
Read Herald & News article

Rough & Ready Mill Folds, Equivalent of 10k Jobs Lost

Highlights Need for New Direction on Federal Forest Policy

Rough & Ready Lumber yesterday announced the closure of its Cave Junction lumber mill after 90 years in business. The closure eliminates 85 family-wage jobs at the last sawmill in Josephine County.

The closure is the latest blow to an economically-devastated community. Based on similar multipliers looking at job losses in rural Oregon, the loss of 85 jobs in Josephine County is comparable to the loss of over 10,000 jobs in the Portland metro area. The county already has an 11.6 percent unemployment rate, and over the past five years the county has suffered an average poverty level of 18.8% or higher. At Cave Junction's Evergreen Elementary School, 83 percent of children qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Read the entire press release here

Committee Updates


Agriculture & Natural Resources

Agendas: Tuesday 4/16/13 - Thursday 4/18/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2615 - Eliminates requirement to mark or brand floated or transported forest products and booming equipment.
  • HB 2745 - Allows action to enjoin or restrain nuisance if place is used for certain activities involving animals.
  • HB 2841- Requires that at least 30 days before agencies give notice of intended action to adopt, amend or repeal rules pertaining to recreational or small scale mining, agencies shall perform certain consultation.
  • HB 3408 -  Deletes statutory preference for placing forfeited animal with person having prior contact with animal.
  • HB 3452 - Describes circumstances in which gray wolves may be taken.
  • HB 2032  - Sets forth requirements for payments for off-site compensatory mitigation to Oregon Removal-Fill Mitigation Fund.
  • HB 2259 - Increases certain fees charged by Water Resources Department.
  • HB 2427 - Prohibits raising canola within Willamette Valley.
  • HB 2624 - Provides that county is exempt from applicability of statute banning use of dogs to hunt black bears or cougars and use of bait to hunt black bears if voters approve county measure proposed by initiative petition or referred to people by governing body of county. 
  • HB 3364 - Amends list of state agencies and public universities required to adopt integrated pest management practices.
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 2025 - Repeals statutes pertaining to defunct Astor experiment station.
  • HB 3358 - Allocates lottery moneys to Water Resources Department for purpose of issuing grants to ensure meeting existing water mitigation obligations in general zone within Deschutes River Basin. 
  • HJR 25 - Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution prohibiting government imposition of fees or taxes on construction, alteration, abandonment, conversion or operation of water wells.

Energy & Environment

Agendas: Tuesday 4/16/13 - Thursday 4/18/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2005 - Requires Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt amendments to state building code establishing mechanical insulation standards applicable to industrial buildings.
  • HB 3030 - Requires Department of Environmental Quality to establish grant and loan program for certain removal and remedial actions.
  • HB 3492 - Creates new definitions for provisions related to reduction of use of toxic substances and reduction of generation of hazardous waste.
  • HB 2807 - Requires State Department of Energy to study certain issues related to energy use.
  • HB 2938 Prohibits persons from knowingly disposing of rechargeable batteries as solid waste.
  • HB 2412 - Requires Environmental Quality Commission to contract with unit of local government or private individual, partnership or corporation to implement motor vehicle pollution control system inspection program.
  • HB 3491 - Directs Governor to report to Legislative Assembly on matters related to Columbia River Treaty.
  • HB 3011- Provides that state may not require certain persons to pay certain remedial action costs.
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 3186 - Directs Environmental Quality Commission to consider economic factors when adopting certain rules related to alternative sewage disposal systems.
  • HB 3242 - Provides that Director of Department of State Lands may adopt rules for authorization of certain renewable energy facilities or devices within Oregon's territorial sea.

Human Resources & Housing

Agendas: Monday 4/15/13 - Wednesday 4/17/13 - Friday 4/19/13

Monday's bills:
  • HB 3377 - Limits amount Oregon State Lottery Commission may spend to advertise state lottery.
  • HB 3131- Requires superintendent of Oregon State Hospital to establish and implement program for continuous employment of health care professionals who provide specified services.
Wednesday's bills:
  • HB 2890 - Repeals provision that prevents local governments from imposing conditions on approved permits that effectively establish sales price for residential development or limit purchase to class or group of purchasers.
  • HB 3377 - Limits amount Oregon State Lottery Commission may spend to advertise state lottery.
  • HB 3131 - Requires superintendent of Oregon State Hospital to establish and implement program for continuous employment of health care professionals who provide specified services.
  • HB 3482 - Makes residential landlord responsible for maintenance of hazard trees on rented space for manufactured dwelling.
  • HB 2392 - Requires membership of Youth Development Council to include representatives of county departments and boards of county commissioners.
  • HB 3445 - Requires Department of Human Services to determine whether there are alternative placement options for child or ward in department's custody before committing child or ward to residential care or residential treatment.
  • HB 3007 - Requires owner of residential facility to offer tenants opportunity to purchase facility before owner offers to sell facility to third party. 
  • HB 2013 - Directs Early Learning Council and Department of Education to assist school districts in implementing process to assess children to determine their readiness for kindergarten.
Friday's bills:
  • No hearing scheduled for Friday


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

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Representative Gail Whitsett
900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 H-474

Read Senator Doug Whitsett's newsletters here



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