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Legislative Update

      April 30, 2013


A Message from Representative Whitsett 

Senate Bill 833 B-Eng passed through the legislature this week with a 38 to 20 vote.

I voted NO on this bill for the following reasons:

1) Illegals are here illegally. They are breaking the established laws of our nation just by being here. There is a system in place to immigrate legally to the US. Millions of citizens have processed through our system legally to become American citizens, and we should all expect foreign nationals to adhere to our constitutional principles.

2) There is an argument that passage of this bill will somehow promote insurance for illegal drivers. There is NO mandatory insurance requirement with SB 833. States that have tried to provide cards or licenses for illegals such as New Mexico have met with failure in this regard. New Mexico, which has had 10 years of driverís licenses issued to non-citizens, shows NO decrease in insured drivers on their roads. In fact there has been an increase in uninsured motorists. An estimated 49,000 undocumented illegals reside in New Mexico; and yet, after passage of a bill similar to SB 833, they issued over 80,000 driverís licenses. Obviously they are attracting individuals from other states into New Mexico for the sole purpose of being licensed without documentation.

3) Oregonís law will provide for issuance of 4-year driverís cards with documentation of the personís name through a utility bill or other non-official means. Utah, on the other hand, requires fingerprints of prospective card holders, which are submitted to law enforcement in an effort to keep criminals from the state. Oregonís new law does not differentiate between law abiding drivers and those already convicted of crimes. Utah also only allows for a one year issue of driversí cards, with renewal mandatory every single year. This is very important to keep the criminal element out of our already overcrowded prisons and justice system.

4) These cards will allow some holders to drive otherwise CDL requirement vehicles whose gross weight is over 100,000 pounds up to 100 miles from their farms of origin. Regular driverís licenses will not be sufficient for individuals to drive the same massive and potentially deadly (due to size) vehicles, but with a card the illegal or card holder will be able to circumvent the CDL laws.
5) States that have issued these cards or licenses are now reconsidering their laws. Tennessee is the latest state to repeal their law as of last Friday after investigations found that illegal immigrants were coming in from other states by the busload, using fake residency papers and bribing state workers to issue them cards. The DMV already appears to be understaffed, as many of us can attest when we need to utilize their services; how in the world are they going to handle the influx of people expected from this new law? 

All House Democrats as well as the following House Republicans voted YES on SB 833: Representatives Davis, Gilliam, Jenson, Johnson, Smith.

The Governor will be signing SB 833 into law tomorrow, May 1, on the Capitol steps to appease the May Day Rally attendees. 

Best regards,

Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56

This Week in Salem:

Bill allowing four-year driver's cards passes House

Thousands of Oregonians will be allowed to drive with four-year driverís cards, instead of regular eight-year licenses, under a bill that won final legislative approval today.

The House voted 38-20 to pass Senate Bill 833, which goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature at a May Day rally Wednesday on the Capitol steps. The bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2014. 

Read Statesman Journal article

May Day rally has wider focus this year

The annual May Day march and rally, which often has been linked with immigrant rights, will have a broader focus this year.

Sponsors say Wednesdayís activities will focus not just on federal immigration legislation ó which now has been introduced in the U.S. Senate ó but also education, health care and jobs for all Oregonians. Read Statesman Journal article

Oregon Senate bill discourages feeding raccoons

One lawmaker recalled an afternoon when her adolescent son was bitten by a raccoon after wandering into the backyard to play with the masked creatures.

Statesman Journal article


Committee Updates


Agriculture & Natural Resources

Agendas: Tuesday 4/30/13 - Thursday 5/2/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • SB 474 - Adds raccoon to list of potentially habituated wildlife
  • SB 571 - Adds State Marine Director, or designated representative, and one appointed member to Invasive Species Council
  • SB 719 A - Changes basis and permissible scope of assessments by Oregon Sheep Commission
Thursday's bills:
  • SB 199 A - Changes approval process for lease transferring all or part of existing water right for use as in-stream water right
  • SB 200 A - Allows record landowner holding certain water rights to apply for assignment of all or part of water right to owner of land to which water right pertains
  • SB 25 A - Provides that State Marine Board has authority over certain charter boats carrying seven or more passengers
  • SB 26 - Authorizes State Marine Board to make grants from funds received  through federal Boating Infrastructure Grant Program
  • SB 31 - Allows representatives of certain landowners to serve on forestland classification committees
  • SB 198 A - Provides that in certain cases court may order State Fish and Wildlife Commission to revoke licenses or permits issued under commercial fishing laws

Energy & Environment

Agendas: Tuesday 4/30/13 - Thursday 5/2/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • SB 692 A - Establishes minimum energy efficiency standards for certain products
  • SB 840 A - Imposes new water use limitations on fixtures
Thursday's bills:
  • SB 112 A - Allows Oregon Liquor Control Commission to impose civil penalty for violations related to beverage containers
  • SB 117 A - Provides that beverage container redemption center approved as pilot project is approved for certain purposes
  • SB 242 A - Modifies definition of baseload electricity for purposes related to greenhouse gas emissions standards

Human Resources & Housing

Agendas: Monday 4/29/13 - Wednesday 5/1/13 - Friday 5/3/13

  • Informational Meeting - Foster Care System of Oregon
  • Tour of Oregon State Hospital
  • No committee meeting scheduled


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

Latest Third Readings List
Rep. Whitsett's Record
Bills Passed By the House
Past Newsletter Issues



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