Water issues on local lawmakers agenda
State Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, continues to work on water issues affecting the Klamath Basin. The senator recently met with Gov. Ted Kulongoskiís natural resources policy director to discuss the total maximum daily load on Upper Klamath Lake. Whitsett wants to address inaccuracies in the load and said further discussions are planned.
Whitsett also is campaigning against HB 2564, which would require water measurement devices on all domestic and agricultural wells, irrigation allocations and pond and stream diversions. The senator is concerned because property owners would have to pay to install and maintain the devices.
State Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, is still dedicating much of his time to the controversial land-use law, Measure 37.
He said the committee working on the law is tied up on the issue of property valuation. Democrats want to base compensation on the actual loss of value to landowners from changes in zoning codes. Garrard seeks a limit of construction based on acreage.
The House also started off the week on making it tougher to drive under the influence of intoxicants Previous law indicated that individuals who refuse a breathalyzer test when pulled over by law enforcement can be required to pay $500 to $1,000 if found guilty.
The new law will add a urine test to that procedure to fight drug use that wouldnít show up with a breathalyzer test.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is waiting for an emergency supplemental bill intended to fund military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to reach the House floor this week. The bill includes legislation for a one-year extension of federal timber payments to rural counties under the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self Determination Act.
Walden also will hear testimony from Al Gore this week when the former vice president appears before the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee. Gore is expected to testify on climate change, an important topic to Walden who was recently appointed to a climate change committee.
U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., will hold a hearing this week with the National Parks Subcommittee regarding a bill to create a National Heritage Area along the Lower Columbia River.
The Senate also is expected to consider the FY 2008 Budget Resolution this year and staff with the senatorís office said he is planning to offer several amendments.