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"Meth testing bill" passes, Barry Point Fire gets hearing in the Senate
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Legislative Update

        June 6, 2013

A Message From Representative Whitsett

On Thursday, June 6th  the Oregon House unanimously passed HB 3499-A. This bill provides for written notification of methamphetamine disclosure statements regarding foreclosed auction homes.

The notification reads, “Without limiting the trustee’s disclaimer of representations or warranties, Oregon law requires the trustee to state in this notice that some residential property sold at a trustee’s sale may have been used in manufacturing methamphetamines, the chemical components of which are known to be toxic. Prospective purchasers of residential property should be aware of this potential danger before deciding to place a bid for this property at the trustee’s sale.”

Nationwide, an estimated 2.5 million homes are contaminated with meth chemicals, and about 95% of these homes have not been identified. Consequently, often times highly contaminated residences are sold from owner to owner with the ensuing health problems following the house.

HB 3499-A would make buyers aware of the potential for meth contamination and let them proceed accordingly with testing of their choice. Jonathan Hankins and his family from Klamath Falls were the impetus for this bill and they are to be thanked for their steadfast determination to inform Oregon and the United States of this pressing health issue.

The bill will now go to the Oregon Senate for hearing and hopefully passage in this 77th legislative session.

HB 3499 - "Meth Testing bill" - on the House Floor

Click image to play video


On May 28, 2013, the Senate Committee on Rural Communities and Economic Development, chaired by Senator Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay, held another special hearing on the Barry Point Fire in Lake County. Senator Whitsett and I were both invited as committee guests of Senator Roblan. This hearing lasted two hours. Specific to this hearing were the US Forest Service Regional Forester Ken Connaughton and David Summer, his firefighting specialist for the Barry Point Fire. Their summation and subsequent questioning by the committee regarding the activities of the events which occurred during the fighting of this major Oregon wildfire were the substance of the two hour hearing.

The full-length video of the hearing is below. A series of prepared questions were given to the USFS by May 1, 2013 as requested and they are also included here. Unfortunately, many questions were still left unanswered or partially answered.

Questions Submitted to the USFS -
download here

Of the answers provided, the following was stated or implied by the USFS:
  1. Coordination regarding communications was lacking or missing at times.
  2. The Type 1 Incident Management Teams were brought in late to the fire.
  3. Proper documentation of the Incident Management Plan was not always completed.
  4. Firefighters were not always on the fireline.
  5. It was unknown who gave certain orders for lighting backfires throughout the firefighting process.
  6. It is unknown why the initial estimate of man-caused backfires was 60,000 acres, but later revised to 13,000 acres. This is a massive discrepancy, even of an estimation.

Barry Point Fire Senate Committee Hearing - May 28

Click image to play video

Rep. Whitsett Co-Sponsors House Joint Memorial 9

The sponsors of House Joint Memorial 9 gather in the Secretary of State's office.
HJM 9 urges Congress to change funding of veterans' health care from discretionary entitlement to permanent and direct entitlement.
Best regards,

Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56

This Week in Salem:

Wolf plan moves forward after approval by Oregon House
Note: Rep. Whitsett voted yes on this bill

Clashes over gray wolves in eastern Oregon appear headed toward a resolution under a bill approved Thursday by the Oregon House.

Read Oregonian article

Plan lifts protection for wolves in states other than Alaska
The Obama administration on Friday proposed lifting most remaining federal protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that would end four decades of recovery efforts but that some scientists said was premature.

Read Statesman Journal article

Oregon farmers face uncertainty due to GMO wheat
Tyson Raymond answered his cellphone from out on the tractor, where the Helix farmer half-jokingly says he will live for the next couple months.

Read Herald and News article

Wheat experts visit Klamath Basin, say not to worry about genetically engineered wheat
Mike Flowers, Oregon State University extension cereals specialist, said wheat farmers in the Klamath Basin have bigger things to worry about than the genetically engineered wheat found in eastern Oregon that made big news on Thursday.

Read Herald and News article

Legislators Send Governor Letter on GE Wheat

This week, Representative Whitsett joined many Senators and Representatives in signing a letter to Governor Kitzhaber urging his assistance to compensate farmers for their loss in exports due to unauthorized genetically engineered wheat. Above are two Herald and News articles which focus on GE wheat in the Klamath Basin. 

Download the letter to the Governor here

Committee Updates


Agriculture & Natural Resources

Agendas: Tuesday 6/11/13
  • Informational meeting, Impacts of Oregon Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan on Oregon's Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP)

Energy & Environment

This committee is no longer meeting.

Human Resources & Housing

Agendas: Monday 6/10/13
  • Field Trip, Migrant Housing Van Tour


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

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