The short session of 2018 is finally over, and I wanted to let you know some of what went on behind the scenes, what bills passed and what bills I tried to stop. I will readily admit, without the strong leadership of Senate President Peter Courtney, a lot more damaging legislation would have passed. Though he and I do not always see “eye to eye,” I will say this: one day we will all miss him for his love of the “institution” that is the Legislature. So, let’s start with what I feel very good about accomplishing this session:
First, I passed both of my bills. House Bill 4068 passed out of the House and Senate on an 88-0 vote (2 excused). I am very proud of this bill as it was exactly what the short session was supposed to be about: amending previously passed legislation and budget fixes. This bill fixed an issue with grass seed farmers that was mistakenly made in 2011.
House Bill 4078, though it did not pass as a bill itself, was “stuffed” into House Bill 4028 and so in essence, I “passed” the bill by working to get it into another bill as an amendment. It will also help rural agricultural entities prosper in their business.
Secondly, I helped pass several really good bi-partisan bills this year and I want to share some of them with you:
HB 4035—Requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to provide grants to qualified members of Oregon National Guard to attend community colleges or public universities.
HB 4055-—This goes after those who are involved in a “hit and run” and don’t come back to the scene when they know or believe their vehicle has been in a collision.
HB 4098—Directs department to provide annual training to county veterans’ service officers and veterans’ organizations regarding apprenticeship programs and federal and state education benefits.
SB 1506—Directs Department of Transportation to issue Oregon Wounded Warrior parking permits to qualified applicants.
SB 1562—Provides that person commits crime of strangulation if person knowingly impedes normal breathing or circulation of another person by applying pressure to chest of other person.
I also voted ‘Yes’ on several bills that help with affordable housing and help bring down the cost of pharmacy products.
I was also instrumental in helping to stop a bill that I originally had sponsored. Originally, SB 1540 was intended to help provide clarification and protection for the Salem-Keizer School District. Then Sen. Sara Gelser amended it so that it would have effectively lowered the age of sexual consent to 12. I worked hard behind the scenes and we were able to convince enough of the House Democrats that it would have been “political suicide” for them to vote ‘Yes’ for 12-year-old sex, that they actually did something very unusual: they pulled the bill from the House floor and amended it in Rules to take that part out. Now we will need to go back during the interim and work with the school district and others to find a solution that protects our kids and teachers.
Tucked into one of the budget bills we passed, was funding for the Marion and Yamhill County food banks, and emergency winter shelter (warming centers) for our neighbors who are struggling.
So, overall, it was a less damaging session than it could have been, though I personally believe there were way too many complicated bills that should not have been considered for the short session. Thankfully most of them did not pass.
(Bill Post represents House District 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep. bilpost@ oregonlegislature.gov.)