Last week was Legislative Days. The House Interim Committee on Education, the House Interim Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, the Joint Interim Committee on Department of Energy Oversight and the Small Business Growth Committee, all of which I serve on, held meetings.
In the Education Committee, a member of the Youth Development Council provided us with a very disturbing statistic: 7,649 students dropped out of Oregon high schools last year. More students dropped out last year than in any other year in the past decade. It is obvious that the current education policies and procedures are failing our students. I am committed to working with the members of the committee as well as legislative leadership, Oregon Department of Education, teachers and administrators, to identify and implement policies that will provide schools with the tools to support our students.
In the Transportation and Economic Development Committee, we received an update from ODOT on their joint efforts with corporations to study self-driving vehicles, like the Google Car, and how they can help reduce carbon emissions in Oregon.
In the Department of Energy Oversight Committee, we received a briefing on the procedures the department uses to site various energy facilities and the importance of those facilities across our state.
In the Small Business Growth Committee, we heard testimony from representatives of the wine, brewing and farming industries about the regulations that help and hinder their businesses.
In addition to these committee hearings I had meetings with Lindsay Capps, the Governor’s Education Advisor, on absenteeism, STEM and a sudden change to rules regarding health insurance coverage for education employees and their ability to “opt-out” of unneeded coverage. The change, if implemented by administrative rule, would be extremely costly to districts. I will continue to work with representatives from the education department and the Governor’s office on a solution before financial hardships are placed on districts.
Visiting with Special Guests
Representative Jodi Hack
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