Many Legislative proposals have been introduced this short session, but one that has captured much attention is SB 1530 commonly referred to as the Cap and Trade bill, a plan to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse emissions.
SB 1530 is similar to the Cap and Trade bill that was introduced in 2019 (HB 2020) and relates to reducing greenhouse gas emission in the transportation, manufacturing and utilities sectors. Large polluters would need to obtain credits for each ton of gas they emit, and there would be an overall statewide cap on emissions reducing over time.
I believe that we need to deal with climate change, and arrest the spectrum of greenhouse gas emission, to ensure that the earth remains inhabitable for us and every other living species. However, I think SB 1530 is a flawed model, and while there are many other Oregon jurisdictions who have a higher carbon output, portions of House District 31 would be treated adversely. That’s why many of my constituents joined the Timber Unity rally last Thursday at the Capitol.
We have the opportunity to get this legislation right, but perhaps not during a short five-week session. Government works when we have buy-in from those who are governed. Finding legislative consensus is not simple, but it is achievable when we listen and incorporate the needs of all our stakeholders. Clean air, clean water and carbon reduction are achievable goals, but we need to work together and not just penalize those rural Oregonians who are working hard to maintain a good standard of living. The legislative process includes amending legislation to get it right, and I have ideas that would improve this bill by working across party lines to build consensus.
I will continue to advocate for changes that make carbon reduction implementation fair across the state. Oregon has tackled many difficult challenges and I am confident that we can find a workable solution that neither singles out rural Oregon in general, or my district in particular, for unequal or adverse treatment.
Bills are moving
Given the time frame of the short session, bills are moving through the legislative process.
On Tuesday on the House Floor, I was proud to jointly carry HB 4052 with Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio. HB 4052 is a bill from my House Natural Resources Committee and was unanimously approved by House members. This legislation amends residency requirements for wildlife license, tag and permit application. In order to claim residency, a person must have resided in Oregon at least six months before applying for tags, licenses or permits.
Merely owning property or paying property taxes, while claiming residency in another state or country will not qualify. This measure will provide Oregon State Police and prosecutors another tool to deal with individuals arrested for wildlife poaching who have claimed out-of-state residency. HB 4052 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Another bill approved this week by the House, was HB 4140, legislation to help educators and students deal with concussions and brain injuries. I was happy to join Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville in sponsoring this legislation which will direct the Department of Education to develop a form and protocols to deal with student learning after concussions and brain injuries.
In 2009, lawmakers approved a bill dealing with sports related concussions and brain injuries and its impact on their athletic participation. HB 4140 takes it further, seeking to provide ways to help educators, students, parents, and guardians assist learning for students who have suffered a brain injury.
Quarterly revenue forecast
On Wednesday, state economists delivered their quarterly revenue forecast which shows an $183.4 million increase in the general fund and lottery resources over December’s predictions. These increases are driven by higher-than-estimated personal income and estate tax collections. Oregon’s economy is strong, we continue to see high employment rates. We need to continue to look ahead and seek equity in our economic growth for all Oregonians.
In order to best represent the people of House District 31, I’d like to hear from you as measures are taken up for consideration. It is my privilege to represent your interests, so if you have an issue or concern regarding a state agency, please contact my office.
If you are planning to come to Salem this month and would like to meet with me, please call in advance so we can schedule an appointment. I always enjoy seeing constituents when they visit the Capitol.
Thanks for reading my newsletter.
Rep. Brad Witt serves House District 31. He may be reach at: