Sealing names of concealed handgun license holders is already atop Rep. Kim Thatcher’s 2012 legislative priorities after what the Keizer Republican called an “interesting” 2011 session.
And while she’s pleased with some of the bills she got passed in an Oregon House of Representatives that was split evenly by Democrats and Republicans – including listing companies receiving state tax breaks and incentives on a transparency website – she spent a good bit of time discussing issues she wished had been addressed, including what she calls “amazing” opposition to “proving who you are” in order to register to vote.
“You’d think I was enacting a poll tax or something,” Thatcher said at a Wednesday town hall at the Keizer Fire station.
“There’s nothing to prevent you from signing up as somebody else, and somebody else, and somebody else, so long as your signatures match – and they’ll match every time if you forge them right,” she added. “Vote-by-mail has proven to be the most fraud-ridden form of voting, there’s no checks and balances and no one is even doing spot-checking to make sure people are legitimately voting, or alive, living where they say they are and all that.”
On guns, Thatcher praised colleagues for unanimously passing a bill allowing guns under certain circumstances on ATVs and motorcycles, but wants to see the names of concealed handgun license holders sealed; a court ruling has found names of CHL holders are public.
Comparing that to disclosing a car loan application, “nobody would stand for that, but because it has to do with people filling out information for a handgun license … it just boils up,” Thatcher said.
Still there were legislative successes, like the aforementioned additions to the state’s transparency website – “putting them all in one spot so people can see if … those tax breaks are doing the job” – and partnering with Rep. Dave Hunt, D – Clackamas County, to require ignition interlocks for first-time impaired driving offenders who choose diversion.
She praised fellow legislators for getting a schools budget passed in time for administrators and school boards to have “a solid answer as to what they needed to budget to,” saying in the past districts had to prepare for multiple scenarios depending on what the legislature decided.
Thatcher took questions from a friendly audience on everything from consolidating the state’s information technology departments to immigration. She said she’d support an E-Verify requirement for employers that would bar companies from deducting wages paid to employees who were found ineligible to work in the United States.
On public employee benefits, Thatcher wants to see reforms in place, at least for new employees, noting workers under an existing union contract don’t have to accept changes.