October 15, 2021 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Fall is officially here! The late September rain was welcome on the wildfire front as the cooler temps and precipitation continues. It has been a busy several weeks both in and out of the Capitol. This newsletter gives a brief update on the Special Session on redistricting and beyond.
In the Capitol
2021 1st Special Session on Redistricting
On September 20th legislators convened for a special session called by the Governor to pass a new version of the state's 90 legislative districts and new six congressional districts. Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population. The special session was intended to last two days, but stretched into an eight day session.
Two redistricting bills were passed on September 27th: SB 881 and SB 882, establishing Oregon's new legislative and congressional districts. The day of the vote, my attendance was excused to fulfill my legislative duties as co-chair of the Public Safety Committee at the CSG West Annual Meeting in Colorado. The measures passed on a party line vote. Members on both sides of the aisle expressed their disappointment in the redistricting process. I firmly believe that boundaries were drawn to benefit one party over another and did not follow the clearly-defined criteria for the redistricting process. Oregonians deserve a balance in leadership. Until that time, one-party-rule will dominate future policies that have divided urban and rural Oregon. I oppose both measures and I am closely watching the legal challenges that are before the courts. More information on the redistricting process and links to the measures and interactive maps can be found here.
Subject to the outcome of the court challenges, for House District 18, in 2022 the northwest portion of the district is extended to include the City of St. Paul and surrounding areas (previously in HD 25). The district also includes a small slice into West Woodburn to the north of Highway 219 to Butteville Road NE and includes Silver Falls State Park. The remaining portions of the district look much the same as they currently do. Maps below show the boundary changes from a birds eye view. Links to the interactive maps allow you to zoom in to see the details.
Current House District 18 Map (access interactive map here)
New 2022 House District 18 Map (access interactive map here)
Our September 22-24th regularly scheduled interim committee meetings were canceled since the legislature cannot be in session and hold interim meetings at the same time. Committees are scheduled to meet again November 15-17th. The meetings will be held virtually because construction in the Capitol wings prevents legislators and staff from accessing their personal offices and committee rooms. More information about the Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety project (CAMS) can be found at: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/cams.
In the District
Colton Rural Fire Protection District #70 - 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
On September 11th, I was honored to speak at the Colton Fire District 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony. Thank you, Interim Fire Chief Todd Gary, for the opportunity to speak at this event to honor and remember the those who lost their lives on this tragic day and to pay respect to the courageous first responders who responded to the call in service to others.
Colton Rural Fire Protection District #70 is a Volunteer Fire Department in Clackamas County providing Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services. The District protects 46 square miles located between the cities of Molalla and Estacada.
I also stopped in Molalla to attend the remembrance ceremony at the Fire Department.
News coverage on the events in Colton, Molalla and Canby can be found here and a video recording of the Molalla event can be found here.
Around the State
Fire Season Update
On October 6, 2021, legislators received our weekly and final ODF & OSFM Fire Situation Report for the 2021 fire season. The report brought good news as fire season winds to a close in parts of our state. I am extremely grateful to Doug Grafe, Chief of Fire Protection ODF, and Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Oregon State Fire Marshal for their work and dedication to guide and direct Oregon’s fire suppression response. I am also grateful for the service and sacrifice of our firefighters whose efforts continue to keep our communities safe.
As fire season ends, ODF and OSFM emphasize that it is still critically important for people to behave safely and responsibly to prevent wildfires. Debris/other open burning is one of the leading causes of wildfires in Oregon. The agencies urge safe burning practices which includes refraining from burning on warm, windy days; staying with the burn until it's dead out; and periodically returning to the burn site to ensure it doesn't escape in the future. More information about Oregon's fire response can be found on ODF and OSFM websites.
Oregon Department of Revenue – Kicker News
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) confirmed earlier this month a nearly $1.9 billion tax surplus, triggering a tax surplus credit, or "kicker", in compliance with the Oregon Constitution, for the 2021 tax year. Instead of kicker checks, the surplus will be returned to taxpayers through a credit on their 2021 state personal income tax returns filed in 2022.
To calculate the amount of the credit, multiply the 2020 tax liability before any credits — line 22 on the 2020 Form OR-40 — by 17.341 percent. This percentage is determined and certified by OEA. Taxpayers who claimed a credit for tax paid to another state need to subtract the credit amount from their liability before calculating the credit.
A What's My Kicker? calculator is active on Revenue's website for personal income tax filers now. Access the calculator from Revenue Online. To calculate a kicker credit, a taxpayer will enter one's name, Social Security number, and filing status for 2020 and 2021.
A person is eligible to claim the kicker if one filed a 2020 tax return and had tax due before credits. Even if one doesn't have a filing obligation for 2021, one still must file a 2021 tax return to claim the credit. There will be detailed information on how to claim the credit in the 2021 Oregon personal income tax return instructions.
Keep in mind that the state may use all or part of a taxpayer's kicker credit to pay any state debt one owes, such as tax due for other years, child support, court fines, or school loans. Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, check the status of a refund, or make tax payments; call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish); 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon; or email [email protected] For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), call 800-886-7204.
CSG West Annual Meeting
The last week of September, I attended the Council of State Governments (CSG) West 74th Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs. The annual meeting brings western state legislators and legislative staff together to learn, connect and develop relationships with regional colleagues. Other attendees include the private sector, academic and nonprofit organizations, and program speakers. This is an opportunity to engage with colleagues regionally and nationally.
I serve as Co-Chair of the Public Safety Committee with Speaker Jason Frierson of Nevada. The committee provides legislators with a forum to discuss issues related to public safety and criminal justice at a regional level. In conjunction with the CSG Justice Center, the committee engages lawmakers in policy discussions and the sharing of best practices regarding issues such as justice reinvestment, crime rates, recidivism, police reform, prisoner reentry, mental illness, crime victims, and other topics.
October is National Cyber-Security Awareness Month
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted much of our lives to online platforms. We have spent more time facing the glow of our computer screens and smart devices than ever before. Virtual meetings and video conferencing, distance learning, telemedicine appointments, online shopping, social networking and more. The benefits of technology are vast but are not without drawbacks.
The pandemic related digital surge heightens our need for cyber security at home, in the workplace, and in state and local government. As Vice-Chair of the House Committee On Veterans and Emergency Management, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and Oregon Homeland Security Council, cyber security is on my mind.
October's National Cyber Security Awareness Month highlights the importance of keeping our digital lives safe. It is a reminder to assess our own security measures and explore information, tools, and resources to be safer and more secure online.
Last month, the Oregon Secretary of State released an audit of state government's efforts to protect Oregonians' personal information and to make state agency systems as robust and impervious to cyberattack as possible. While the audit found the state's Enterprise Information Services (EIS), a divisional unit of the Department of Administrative Services, has established an Information Technology governance framework, the audit found it must do more regarding cybersecurity management.
I am committed to protecting the state's online services with sound policies that protect your privacy when interacting with state government. I was pleased to support the passage of SB 293 in the 2021 regular session that directs the office of State Chief Information Officer to develop recommendations related to elevating consideration of privacy, confidentiality and data security measures in state government enterprise and shared information technology services.
More information and resources to help you and your family stay safe online can be found at the Oregon Department of Administrative EIS security resource center, Cyber Oregon and the National Cyber Security Alliance websites. The Scam Alert Network is another resource through the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division that provides up-to-the-minute information about scams, frauds and other threats to consumers. You can sign up to receive scam alerts here and browse previous alerts on the Scam Alert Archive here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. It is an honor to represent you in the legislature. Please don't hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of any assistance.
House District 18
Oregon's Christmas Tree District
Previous newsletters and information can be viewed on my legislative website.
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1418
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-484, Salem, OR 97301
Email: [email protected]