Oregon Legislative Update

State Election
Sen. Joanne Verger, D-Coos Bay, has announced she will not be running for re-election. Verger has held her current Senate District 5 seat since 2004 and was a state representative from 2001-2004. Republican Dr. Scott Roberts is the candidate currently filed to run for this position, and it is expected that current Democrat Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan will also run.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger also said on Tuesday that he will not be running for re-election in 2012. Kroger stated that his decision to not campaign for the position again is due to a “significant but not life-threatening medical condition.” So far, no one else has filed to run for the position.

Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, announced last week that he will retire from the Oregon legislature after completing his sixth and final term. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Garrard spent 40 years in the broadcasting industry, including owning and operating radio stations in several West Coast markets. He was elected to the Oregon House in 2000 after serving two terms on the Klamath County Commission. He chaired the House Land Use Committee for two consecutive sessions and served on the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee. In addition to authoring and passing a number of bills, he has also successfully secured resources to expand the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.

Legislative Committees
The Oregon House announced new committee appointments this week for the 2012 February session. Rep. Chris Garret, D-Lake Oswego, will replace Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, as co-chair of the Business and Labor Committee. Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, will also be replacing Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton as co-chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Jenson will continue to serve as co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources.

The Governor has created an advisory committee to examine Oregon’s regulatory environment. A memorandum issued by Governor John Kitzhaber said that his intent in creating the Regulatory Streamlining and Simplification Project was to initiate a concerted effort to deliver services with greater efficiency and improve the permitting process at the state level. The advisory committee, comprised of agency directors, legislators, local economic development officials and business owners, will work in cooperation with several key stakeholders, including Kroger. The project will work to induce job growth by promoting a more positive business climate and fulfills Kitzhaber’s commitment to the 2010 Oregon business plan’s regulatory initiative.

Two reports that will be produced and delivered to the governor will propose immediate steps, legislative initiatives, recommendations on internal modifications to agency practices, best practices, and long-term initiatives to achieve the goals of the project. The advisory group will be working toward a project completion and adoption of final proposal by June 2012.

1st Congressional District
Leading Democratic Candidates for Oregon’s 1st Congressional District—Brad Avakian, Brad Witt, and Suzanne Bonamici—participated in a live televised debate last week. Following the debate, a poll by KATU TV showed that Bonamici is favored by 52 percent of Democratic voters in the district. Republican candidate Rob Cornilles received 66 percent support in the poll, with the closest challenger at only seven percent. The Oregonian has endorsed Bonamici and Cornilles for the primary election, and the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) has publicly backed Bonamici.


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.