Seated at wooden desks arranged into neat rows, state representatives and senators will gather at the Oregon Capital beginning Feb. 5th, and lasting until Mar. 10, for a short 35-day session.
At this “short” session–which occurs only on even-numbered years–legislators can present two bills designed to handle perceived emergencies and balance state budgets and which also represent a snapshot of their overall legislative goals for the year.
Check out what Kim Thatcher (R) State Senator for District 11 (Keizer and North Salem) and Kevin Mannix (R), the State Representative for District 21 (Keizer) will present at the upcoming legislative session.
Thatcher described that during the upcoming session the main focus will be on addressing the issues surrounding affordable housing, homelessness, addressing substance abuse issues as well as protecting the upcoming tax kicker, a tax surplus that occurs on odd-numbered years and promises a larger tax return for Oregon citizens.
Thatcher noted her goals in relation to these issues as deregulating the process for building housing so more types can be built, repealing Measure 110 and protecting the kicker refund tax for Oregonians this year.
Thatcher described two upcoming pieces of her own legislation that she will introduce during the short session this year.
The first bipartisan bill, sponsored by Thatcher and Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) addresses the issue faced by some veterans during retirement, specifically taxing their military pension.
As of now, veterans who served prior to 1991 can subtract military retired pay from their Oregon income taxes, but as our population ages, that applies to less people over time.
This proposal will close this loophole by exempting up to $17,500 of a veteran’s military pension from state income tax for veterans under the age of 62 and will include a yearly cost of living increase.
The second proposed bill, a mutli-state project, from Thatcher and Washington State Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), revolves around creating a year-round time standard and rejecting the daylight savings time standard used throughout the country.
First introduced in 2019, SB 320 passed in Oregon though its adoption required the acceptance of the bill in other states like Washington and California as well as the federal government though the bill never became law.
Since then, Congress passed the Sunshine Protection Act in 2021 which states that states can adopt a standard time year-round instead of daylight savings if they choose.
With the only states to so far adopting a year-round clock being Alaska and Hawaii, Thatcher and Padden are attempting to get other states onboard with the proposal.
Representative Mannix’s goals revolve around modernizing an anti-stalking law as well as a bill to help reduce sexual predation in schools.
The first priority bill is a modernization of HB 2316, originally written by Mannix in 1995, and will provide updates to the law to include stalking behavior and communication that occurs electronically or on the internet.
The second bill proposed by Mannix for the upcoming session, focuses on what Mannix describes as “reducing the opportunity for predatory sexual behavior by educators who work with children.”
Specifically, the bill will try to lessen the effect of sexual grooming that sometimes occurs with students and school officials by increasing the time gap that disallows school officials from having personal relationships with former students from 90 days to a full year.
In addition, Mannix is also working to update Oregon’s Good Neighbor Act (HB 2296) which states that both public and private property can offer free use of their lands to the public without fear of being sued for incidents that occur there.
The law recently came under fire in the City of Newport where a woman slipped and broke her leg while crossing a trail bridge and is now suing the city.
Mannix’s final goal during the upcoming session relates to continuing to address the proposed reforms for Measure 110 as well as working with the Joint Committee on Transportation to “enhance safety and to otherwise modernize our highway system,” according to Mannix.
Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-105
SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more