Tuesday, June 10, 2019
This legislative session is coming to an end and we can safely say we have killed some extreme bills. That is very good, but, there is still enough time for the supermajority to pass some bad and very ugly bills.
We defeated the bill to abolish private health care and create a single-payer system or "Medicare for All."
We defeated the outrageous gun and vaccine bills, and we have stood up to the supermajority by exposing their bad bills for what they are.
I have made some traction with some of my bills. Senate Bill 321 improved access to DNA testing. Senate Bill 321 seeks to get innocent people out of prison by providing meaningful access to DNA testing for those who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes where DNA was collected. It passed with bipartisan support and is awaiting the governor's signature.
And with Senate Bill 318, we have also improved the way in which families move through the court custody process so both mothers and fathers can access the right to equal parenting time.
The Daylight Saving Time effort is a multi-state plan and that's why I think it has gained such fanfare in the media. Senate Bill 320 was not one of my top priorities, but when President Donald Trump and Gov. Kate Brown agree on something, it is no wonder it has captured headlines and moved more quickly than some of my other bills.
There is an attempt to rob you of your kicker tax refund. Under House Bill 3440 the Democrats have a plan to spend a projected $1.41 billion of Oregonians' kicker rebates. (You can scroll toward the end of the newsletter, and you can see the plan for yourself!)
House Bill 2016 is a legislative bailout of public union to patch up their budgets after the Janus decision and there are dozens of damaging bills being pushed through the Legislature during these waning days of the legislative session.
I was extremely disappointed that the Democrats in the House killed Senate Bill 1040, which would have helped address a public safety issue in our district that brought together stakeholders and community leaders. SB 1040 would have, in certain circumstances, held liable the owner, operator, lessee of a property where target shooting is allowed, for harm resulting from bullets flying off the property. We worked very hard to make sure the bill worked for everyone and that work was thrown away with no reason as to why.
We also need to kill Senate Bill 225, which would allow for so-called open primaries. By opening up primaries to unaffiliated voters, we are diluting the will of party members and subjecting our parties, whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, to interference and strategic manipulation. Why should people not caring to affiliate with a party have a say in which candidates will represent a party?
In today's turbulent times, it is important to be clear-eyed about what we are witnessing. Across the nation, there are bills being introduced in state legislatures and in Congress that are carbon copies of one another, and they are antithetical to Oregon values.
The supermajority's takeover here in Oregon could bring dark days ahead for our state. We are a laboratory for left-wing policy, but the experiment is happening in real-time and the outcomes endanger real lives.
With statewide-rent control, under Senate Bill 680, we are already seeing rents spike $300 a month, and people are losing their housing.
And if you thought Measure 97 was a thing of the past, or a defeated proposal in the 2017 session, a gross receipts tax came back from the dead this year. What you may not know is that a gross receipts tax is a sales tax that gets hidden along the way from one company to another until the final product has been subject to several layers of tax. This style tax is about a hundred years old, and came about as a way to silently tax people without them knowing to help states dealing with record-low levels of revenue. Why in 2019 when we have record-high levels of revenue would we pass this bill? The reason: it's never enough. All roads lead to PERS. House Bill 3427, the gross receipts tax, which was signed by the governor on May 16, is essentially a multi-billion dollar PERS bailout.
Cap-and-trade is on the horizon and while Multnomah County's worst polluters will likely get carve-outs from this ever-changing bill, Oregonians will pay for this crony program with increased costs of living and doing business, increased energy costs and decreased opportunity.
It is true that cap and trade will hurt rural Oregon, but I believe it will hurt all of Oregon.
Rural, urban, suburban, coastal, the whole state. The supermajority boasting of following Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's lead on energy policy is not what everyday Oregonians are happy to see when they open up the newspaper or flick through their newsfeed on their phones. Real lives would be destroyed if cap and trade passes.
As the Senate Republican Office Policy Analyst Justin Brecht said,"Friends, the Democrats are about to lock our children into a legally binding contract they will not be able to change - long after we are dead. Cap and Trade is literally giving up your right to change the course of our states destiny. It locks us into something we will not be able to change just like PERS. Below, Legislative Counsel is being coy in this opinion. In the committees for this bill, the democrats expressly acknowledged they will enter into binding contracts with other states and countries, that is a fact easily accessible and on public record. It's not "possible" or even 'probable;' it is a fact they have already acknowledged they will absolutely do. They even said who they will make the contract with between the states and countries: they will do it through the 'Western Climate Initiative.' If this passes, it will be left to the unelected bureaucrats to make binding contracts on behalf of our children that are not even born yet for the next 30 years. They are doing this under the name of 'clean energy jobs' and the name could not be further from the truth."
Lost jobs and diffused prosperity means trouble for families. I am standing with the families and workers of Oregon and will be a loud "no" vote on House Bill 2020. (See Legislative Counsel opinion below)
Lawmakers must take their roles seriously...
Our work here is not just dealing with legislation, though. We are messengers and leaders. People are looking to legislators to address issues in our state, society and culture.
Please stay tuned, I know it is gut-wrenching, difficult and defeating at times to see the supermajority railroad conservatives and Republicans, and even members of their own party. But we can do this, we can and we will continue to push back.
Remember, no bad bill is dead until the last Prius leaves the building.
Sen. Kim Thatcher