From the Capitol
By REP. BILL POST
Another couple of weeks in the Oregon Legislature and the days are long here at the Capitol, but each one seems to go by quickly as they are full of committee hearings, research, and meetings with constituents and others regarding specific bills.
There are many conversations being had about the budget and what is being called the “transportation package,” but it’s currently too early to tell what will be included in those bills. While we are waiting for the details, we are moving a few bills every day on the House floor.
I am always glad to hear from constituents and recently I have heard from a lot of you on some important issues. We are currently being bombarded by emails from concerned homeowners regarding House Bill (HB) 2771 and HB 2006. Among other things, these bills would eliminate the property tax deduction as well as cut the mortgage interest deduction. I am not a fan of discouraging home ownership, but rather encouraging it.
We have received many phone calls and visits regarding PERS. This is such a huge issue that impacts our entire state in many ways. Previous legislatures have voted to cut benefits that were already contractually agreed on, and the courts have struck those down. We need creative solutions to solve this crisis, but they need to be constitutional solutions and I believe we must do it this session.
My wife has been a teacher for nearly 30 years so I constantly hear about the struggles in our K-12 education system. I have personally advocated that the K-12 budget be separated from the rest of the budget and require that it be voted on by March 1, so that our local school districts have certainty going into their own budgeting process each year. I can assure you that the minority party and I are very much in favor of a much larger budget for K-12 and want it passed right now. We have been told the schools are asking for $8.4 billion. We are asking the co-chairs to get that to the House floor right now for a vote.
Recently I had several farmer constituents drop by the office to talk about Senate Bill 779 as well as receiving a very good amount of emails from farmers in the St. Paul area. This bill would provide clarity for agricultural employers regarding the sick leave legislation that passed last year. Many of the farmers in my district have reached out to me on this, and I am hopeful that the bill will come out of the Senate to the House where I will be able to vote for it.
By far however, the bill that I have heard from you all the most has been HB 3017. It is the ban on late term abortion. I have been gratefully stunned by the number of constituents who took the time to thank me for co-sponsoring that bill. I want to thank them for their support and very kind words.
(Bill Post represents House Dis- trict 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep.bill- email@example.com.)