2019 Session Mid-Way Report
We are reaching mid-way in the2019 Legislative Session. The deadline to hear Senate bills and House bills was April 9th. Bills that have not had a hearing prior to that date are officially dead. The only exceptions are for the bills that were placed in Ways and Means Committee and the Finance and Revenue Committees. Those are the committees for raising and spending revenue and the current legislative body can't seem to ever get enough of that. Senate bills move to the House to be heard and the same process for House bills.
The two-chamber system to pass bills and move them to the Governor’s Office does have inherent checks and balances. The Governor has veto power and the Legislature has the final power to override a veto by a 2/3rd vote. This system would be better for all Oregonians if we had a balance of power in the House and Senate, but the overwhelming majority of Democrats in both chambers makes a balance of power impossible. It allows for politics over policy.
Veterans Priority Bill for the 2019 Session
I am pleased to report that my bill to allow for an updated property tax deduction for disabled Veterans (SB 500) passed the Senate unanimously. It is now in the House Revenue Committee awaiting a hearing. I have worked on passage of this bill for three sessions to acknowledge the need to financially support our returning disabled Veterans. However, the Association of Oregon Counties appears to be unwilling to support this bill now that it is in the House for discussion. They would like this updated property tax deduction to be optional for Counties. In other words, if you live on the border of one County and another disabled Veteran lives across the street in another County only one of you could be eligible for this updated benefit. I believe this to be very inequitable treatment for our "Protectors of Freedom" If you feel strongly about supporting our Veterans, please contact your County Commissioners with a request they support SB 500. Let's do the right thing for our disabled Veterans. County Commission contact information for every county can be found here. Click on the link, then click Counties to find your Commissioners to email or call them.
Tax Subtraction for Pet Adoption
My Pet Adoption bill to give a $200 subtraction from income taxes (SB 268) for adopting a pet from an animal shelter was heard in Senate Revenue and is waiting a Work Session. My hope is for the bill to pass the Senate and move to the House. Incentivizing pet adoption from animal shelters is a win-win. The adopted pets are saved from being euthanized; families are rewarded by bringing a shelter pet into their home; the economy is enhanced when pet owners buy pet food and use Veterinarian services and spend money on the many other needs of a pet; and Counties who operate shelters need less financial support to house the shelter animals.
2nd Amendment rights in Jeopardy
Many of you have been emailing and calling my office very concerned about SB 978 and what my position is on the bill. SB 978 is an omnibus anti-gun bill. The bill, among many other infringements, requires a firearm to have an engaged trigger or cable lock, or be stored in a locked container. The problem we have here is that these requirements go directly against a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected with service in a militia, for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. More specifically, it is in direct conflict with the court ruling in the case — District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). The Supreme Court heard Second Amendment challenges to Washington D.C.'s decades-old ban on handgun possession and requirement that firearms in the home be stored unloaded and disassembled or bound by a locking device. The outcome of this decision upheld a federal district ruling that a Washington, D.C. law banning handguns and requiring other firearms to be stored unloaded or locked was unconstitutional on Second Amendment grounds. SB 978 is clearly in violation of this and infringes upon your constitutionally guaranteed rights.
I swore an oath, more than once, to uphold and defend both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of Oregon. I swore an oath to protect and defend all your rights not just some of them and for this reason I clearly cannot support any legislation that is unconstitutional. I stand firm by my word and sworn oath. Your rights shall not be infringed!
I am currently serving on the Carbon Reduction Committee. This Committee is charged with hearing and discussing HB 2020 which we know as the Cap and Trade Bill. I am opposed to this bill because it has little to do with reducing carbon emissions and everything to do with creating a new source of discretionary funds for government to spend. Many amendments are being discussed which will buy the support for the bill in different industries but at the end of the day, HB 2020 will cost Oregonians millions of dollars without the purported environmental benefits. I have discussed this issue in great length covering the shortcomings of the bill in previous newsletters.
Senator Alan Olsen
Senate District 20
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-266-4599
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR 97301
District Address: 675 Northwest 2nd St., Canby, OR 97013
Web site: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/olsen
Senator Olsen's Committees:
Chair of Senate Committee On Veterans & Emergency Preparedness
Vice Chair of Senate Committee Environment & Natural Resources
Senate Committee On Business & General Government
Joint Committee On Carbon Reduction