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76 th LEGISLATIVE SESSION
This Session was historic with the House of Representatives evenly split between parties, 30-30. I believe Oregon benefited from the co-governance model. I served as Co-Chair of the House Committee on General Government and Consumer Protection. I also served on the House Committee on Judiciary and the Joint Ways and Means Committee. I continued to serve as the American Legislative Exchange Council Oregon public chair and as an Oregon Commissioner to the Education Commission of the States.
Rep Whisnant’s Bills
HB 3623- Ensured the Deschutes Water Mitigation program will continue in Central Oregon
HB 3684- Created the “Keep Kids Safe” license plate to raise revenue for child abuse prevention programs
HB 3361- Helped ensure mailboxes are ADA accessible
HB 3521- Helped college students transfer credits from Community Colleges to Universities
HB 3208- Authorized the Dept. of Veterans to work on another Veterans Home
HB 5036- Gave OSU-CC authority to bond to purchase a new building for growing facility
HB 3074- Expanded law for long term absentee voters (soldiers) to be able to vote by email
HB 2020- Reduced the unlimited number of managers to employees in State Agencies
HB 3487- Reformed State Agency authority to raise fees without Legislative approval
2011 Legislature’s Accomplishments
-Federal Reconnect- SB 301 kept $96 million in the hands of Oregon businesses by reconnecting to federal tax law.
-Enterprise Zones- HB 3017 extends sunset and keeps effective enterprise zone program active. Businesses can receive certain exemptions if they operate in a qualifying enterprise zone.
-Funded schools first by assuring the education budget was passed early in April to give schools certainty to develop their own budgets.
-Reforms included promoting school and charter school choices.
-Established the Oregon Education Investment Board (SB 909).
-One of my priorities was asking the Ways and Means committees to reduce the number of vacant positions kept in agency budgets. I worked to bring this issue to the attention of legislative leadership. As a result, the Legislature cut over 500 vacant positions for the 2011-2013 Budget.
- Made state spending more sustainable by implementing “revenue-based budgeting.”
-The Legislature passed the new district lines for Legislative and Congressional districts based upon 2010 Census data.
-Oregon Health Insurance Exchange passed. SB 99 establishes the Oregon Health Insurance Corporation.
I will continue to work to help you, my constituents, and to help the Legislature work towards creating a more business friendly atmosphere in this state. I believe we must have an educated work force and use the natural resources our State has to assure a successful future for all Oregonians.
REP. WHISNANT LAMENTS UNSUSTAINABLE SPENDING, LACK OF FOCUS ON JOB CREATION DURING 2010 SESSION
SALEM — As the 2010 session concludes today, Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) today said the Legislature failed to focus on improving the economy this month, and that new spending approved this session will threaten the state budget and critical state services in the future.
“Despite the recent passage of income and corporate tax increases, the Legislature increased new spending by $30 million and expanded the state’s payroll by 200 positions,” Rep. Whisnant said. “Rather than making state spending more sustainable, legislative leadership emptied our reserves and increased our state debt. Even worse, the Legislature didn’t address the chronic unemployment that is hurting Oregon families.”
Rep. Whisnant said he is disappointed that legislative leadership blocked several Republican measures aimed at improving private sector job creation. However, the House passed several bills to expand regulation and red tape on businesses that are struggling to retain workers and survive the recession.
“It’s a mistake for the Legislature to approve 200 new government positions and declare ‘mission accomplished,’” Rep. Whisnant said. “Oregon’s private sector is continuing to lose jobs, and the current legislature only seems interested in passing new taxes and regulations on employers. As long as Oregon remains closed for business, we will fail to create jobs and generate the tax revenue we need to protect schools, public safety and other critical services.”
Despite his disappointment, Rep. Whisnant said he was pleased to support several bipartisan bills, including an extension of unemployment benefits for jobless Oregonians. Rep. Whisnant also supported reforming the state’s out-of-control Business Energy Tax Credit, as well as legislation to provide more assistance to Oregon’s returning veterans. “Working with members of the other party, I was able to pass a destination resort reform bill and an extension of guest ranches plus a bill to help improve visual screening of our students,” Rep. Whisnant reported.
“While I strongly supported extended unemployment benefits, I understand that my constituents want permanent, family-wage jobs,” Rep. Whisnant said. “The 2010 session offered a few bipartisan accomplishments, but I’m disappointed the Legislature didn’t address the most urgent issues facing our state.”