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Legislative Update

Mar. 28, 2013

This Week in Salem:

After an emotional debate, the Oregon House on Tuesday approved 35-25 a bill that would allow 16-year-olds to register to vote when they obtain a driver's license or state identification card.  However, the actual age for voting would remain 18. Read Oregonian article

A Message from Representative Whitsett


HB 2988 - Registering 16-year-olds to Vote

Tuesday March 26th provided the second Minority Report Vote of the session for Republicans in the House of Representatives. It was defeated so that the original HB 2988 was passed to the Senate.

The original House Bill 2988 allows 16 year olds the opportunity to register to vote when they receive their Oregon Driver’s licenses. While it is laudable to engage our youth in civics, they should also have had, at the very least, a formal scholastic course in government to understand the positions and duties of the offices they would be voting for, as well as the general functions of city, county, state and Federal government.


The Republicans offered amendments which were rejected that would have protected the privacy all of the state’s 16 and 17 year olds if they did decide to register to vote. Oregon law presently allows 17 year olds to register to vote (they may not vote until they are 18). For many of us, there is a world of difference between a just-turned 16 year old and a 17 year old in terms of maturity, general responsibility and intellectual development. Would we consider allowing a 16 year old the right to sign up for the military? For the draft? I don’t think most 16 year olds are ready to make those decisions yet.

The bill that passed the House floor, with all Democrats voting for it, will allow any individual, corporation, or religious organization to purchase the personal information available through the Secretary of State’s Office regarding any 16 and 17 year old that will now be registered to vote. Attached to this list will be names, home addresses, and their private telephone numbers. This will subsequently allow Facebook searches by ANYONE (read: pedophiles ?), and letters or perhaps in-person visits to our young teenagers from anyone who finds their information “interesting”. They will be subjected to a constant stream of politically motivated materials which will undoubtedly be tailored to future promises by the political parties who wish to register them. I would like to afford our youth the opportunity to grown up unencumbered by an onslaught of political and/or religious materials from who knows what groups that have the money to seek them out.

Parents should be very alarmed and frustrated by a legislature that allows this manipulation of our young citizens. I was a firm no vote on House Bill 2988.

Why I Voted Against HB 2902 - Physician Extenders 

HB 2902 would allow physician extenders (Family Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) to receive the same reimbursement rates as physicians. I asked the representatives from the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) who visited my office to amend this bill so that it would only apply to rural and frontier communities. They flatly refused to make any amendment to HB 2902; because of this, I did not vote for this bill.

Best regards,

Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56

Committee Updates


Agriculture & Natural Resources

Agendas: Tuesday 3/26/13 - Thursday 3/28/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2783 - Creates offense of unlawful tethering
  • HB 2319 - Allows State Dept. of Agriculture to impose appropriate precautions and safeguards on growing of agricultural and horticultural commodities to prevent spreading of genetically engineered material to nearby property used for farming practices
  • HB 2715 - Authorizes counties to establish control areas for commodities containing genetically engineered material
  • HB 2736 - Exempts farmer from liability for inadvertent acquisition or use of genetically engineered plant or plant seeds
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 3441 - Establishes Oregon Hatchery Research Center Board
  • HB 3364 - Amends list of state agencies and public universities required to adopt integrated pest management practices
  • HB 2248 - Expands certain statutes related to mineral resources to encompass additional types of mining

Energy & Environment

Agendas: Tuesday 3/26/13 - Thursday 3/28/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2105 - Requires State Department of Energy to study issues related to Energy Facility Siting Council and to report to certain interim legislative committees on or before November 1, 2013
  • HB 3337 - Expands state policy relating to ecosystems
  • HB 3103 - Modifies terms related to oil spills
  • HB 2266 - Authorizes Public Utility Commission to prescribe by rule filing date for public utility budgetary and accounting documents
  • HB 2801 - Authorizes public purpose charge moneys invested on cost-effective local energy conservation that involve updating energy efficiency of nonresidential building to be used for purpose of conducting whole building assessment of energy efficiency of building
  • HB 2893 - Requires Public Utility Commission to establish program under which electric company must agree to purchase from retail electricity consumer electricity generated by solar photovoltaic energy system that is permanently installed by retail electricity consumer
  • HB 2048 - Repeals sunset on architectural paint stewardship program
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 2981 - Allows exception to employment requirements for rural renewable energy development zone exemption from property taxation, and extension of exception, if provided for in resolution of zone sponsor and business firm makes certain minimum investment in qualified property
  • HM 1 - Urges Congress to enact legislation to modernize Toxic Substances Control Act
  • HB 3451 - Establishes Oceangoing Research Vessel Program to conduct certain marine research
  • HB 2894 - For purposes of tax credits for energy conservation projects, increases amount of eligible cost for which credit may be claimed using informational filing system in place of certification and for which entire credit may be claimed in first allowable tax year

Human Resources & Housing

Agendas: Monday 3/25/13 - Wednesday 3/27/13 - Friday 3/29/13

Monday's bills:
  • HB 2163 - Requires Director of Oregon State Lottery to employ individual to advise director and Oregon State Lottery Commission on mental health and addiction issues associated with Oregon State Lottery
  • HB 3332 - Requires Oregon Health Authority to seek out and apply for funding for and appropriates moneys from General Fund to pay for crisis intervention services and residential care for individuals with mental illness
  • HB 3217 - Expands definition of abuse of individuals with mental illness
Wednesday's bills:
  • HB 3377 - Limits amount Oregon State Lottery Commission may spend to advertise state lottery
  • HB 2971 - Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Human Services for enhancing and expanding services provided by centers for independent living to individuals with disabilities
  • HB 3132 - Requires licensing agency to adopt rules to ensure that caregivers in licensed residential facilities and adult foster homes have practical knowledge and skills necessary to maintain health, safety and welfare of residents
Friday's bills:
  • No meeting scheduled due to In-District Day


- Ag & Natural Resources
- Energy & Environment
- Human Services & Housing

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