From the Capitol
By BILL POST
If you have been following this “short” legislative session in the news over the past few weeks, you may have seen conflicting reports on what has transpired. I can tell you one thing, the pace of this session is incredible and even longtime legislators, lobbyists and staff in the building have said so. I am honored to represent you in the legislature, but I have grave reservations about what is happening here.
In 2010, the people of Oregon voted to approve the legislature’s suggestion to have “short sessions.” Both in the ballot explanation as well as in the resolution that formed the ballot measure, it is clear that the purpose of the short session was to deal with emergencies in the budget and any other fixes needed to previously passed legislation.
As you can see, that’s not what has been happening here, as we are voting on very complicated and controversial bills. In spite of all that, I want to tell you how proud I am of Keizer. I can’t tell you how many Keizer residents have come down here to the Capitol multiple times, to share their thoughts and opinions on these important topics. Business owners have come down to explain how the proposed minimum wage increase will impact their businesses, farmers have testified about seed regulations and how minimum wage will affect them. These are very important issues that need time to vet and to understand and 35 days is not enough time.
I love it when you visit and get involved. This is your building, and your process and our nation suffers when people like you give up expressing deeply held beliefs. So thank you. I know you have busy lives and you have to work and take care of your families, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your involvement.
I wish I could say that the testimony of these involved citizens has impacted the legislation that is passing out of this session. Sadly, these “short” sessions have turned into political grandstanding as they are in an election year. Many people here fondly remember the 2011 and 2012 sessions when the House of Representatives was split with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans. That was a session where people had to come to a consensus to get anything done. Middle ground had to be achieved. No matter which party it is, the state as a whole suffers when that one party has complete control. When one party controls all the committees, all the bills and all the processes, Oregon is not being properly represented.
(Bill Post represents House District 25. He can be reached at 503-986-1425 or via email at email@example.com.)