Oregon has a methamphetamine problem. Recent legislative action has helped reduce the incidence of meth manufacturing labs in private residences throughout the state, but the problem of meth contamination of homes still exists. Many of these homes are now in the foreclosure system and the legacy of meth contamination continues on.
A House District 56 constituent, Jonthan Hankins and his wife unknowingly purchased a foreclosed home in Klamath Falls, which had not been tested for meth residue. He, like many homebuyers, never considered that they might be buying a home which would ultimately be unlivable due to previous meth activities.
The family’s first clue something was wrong was when they and their young child began experiencing strange health problems associated with breathing, allergies, rashes, etc. The neighbors informed them that the home they had purchased and remodeled had been a meth lab previously. Mr. Hankins purchased a $50 kit to detect meth residue and learned that despite extensive remodeling and sanding of the hardwood floors and painting the home, testing still found 38 micrograms of methamphetamine residue, which surpassed Oregon’s legal limit of 0.5 micrograms by 80 fold.
As you likely know, Senator Floyd Prozanski has scheduled a public hearing on several gun control measures for next Friday, April 5 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Overall, and taken on an individual basis, these bills are not as bad as HB 3200. However, that, of course, is relative. They still infringe on Second Amendment rights. Three of the bills DO have broad “relating to” clauses which could be exploited with additional amendments and gut and stuffed with an entirely new piece of legislation.
One of the great inequities in the Oregon legislature is that bills are introduced in and sponsored by committees regardless of the content of the bills. This allows really bad bills to be introduced without benefit of knowing who sponsored the bad boy. The Chair of the Senate Judiciary committee is Senator Prozanski who is in favor of gun legislation and is the sole sponsor of SB 796. You can find the members of this committee here.
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.
I introduced several bills this session which will be discussed over the course of the next several newsletters. My bills are:
- HB 2015 - If mammogram is inconclusive due to dense breast tissue, requires person who performed mammogram to notify patient of inconclusive results and to advise patient to contact patient's health care provider regarding appropriateness of supplemental testing.
- HB 3321 - Prohibits Water Resources Department collection of periodic or recurring fee or charge pertaining to well allowing ground water use for single or group domestic purposes.
- HB 3322 - Requires Department of Human Services to ensure that electronic benefits transfer cards issued to recipients of aid cannot be used to purchase prepaid credit cards.
- HB 3323 - Prohibits Environmental Quality Commission from adopting any rule concerning air quality and water quality that imposes requirements, standards or any other limitation that exceeds requirements, standards or any other limitation imposed under federal law.
- HB 3324 - Requires that annual report by State Forester to Emergency Board include private property loss information for fires of 1,000 acres or more.
- HB 3387 - Changes basis and permissible scope of assessments by Oregon Sheep Commission.
Spotlight On: HB 3322
This week's newsletter focus is on HB 3322. This bill would prevent TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds from being placed onto prepaid credit cards. It is my belief the tax dollars being used to fund TANF should be specifically directed toward only items and services needed for basic survival (housing, food and personal necessities)
TANF, as properly used, can be an important aspect for families with children that are struggling through this prolonged recession. We need to remain vigilant as legislators to make sure it is being utilized as such.