Quick update from the Oregon State Senate (Some really useful advice!)

OLIS. The Oregon Legislature has been in session for a month. We are certain you have seen the news on a variety of bills. Due to Committee assignments, many of us may not know what is happening elsewhere in the State Capitol. If you want to comment on a specific bill before a Committee, please submit your comments or testimony directly to the Committee if the bill gets a hearing. The best source for information is OLIS – the Oregon Legislative Information System at:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1

The OLIS page allows you to follow committees and bills in the upper right of the page. By clicking on ‘Bills’ you can find bills by sponsor, bill text which is a search engine, or a bill number. Once on a bill page, you can sign up for email alerts for that bill in the upper right of the page. You will then get an email when the bill text changes, analysis is updated, meeting materials are added, amendments are proposed, hearings are scheduled, and wealth of other information. The best way to stay informed, and influence legislation, is to submit testimony via the Oregon Legislative Information System.

State Federal Issues. Unlike Congress, and other States, the Oregon Legislature is a limited citizen legislature under the Oregon Constitution. We have no auditing powers, no investigative authority, and virtually no leverage with the Executive Branch other than to pass a bill hoping it will be followed. We used to claim the Oregon Constitution required the Legislature to balance the budget, but that is now in question due to Article IX Section 6 which states we must raise taxes if the Executive Branch spends more funds than budgeted. Strange times. This being said, the Oregon State Senate has NO federal authority nor does our own Congressional delegation listen to us much. However, some days half the calls and emails, sometimes 100s to thousands, are about events in Washington DC for which we have ZERO influence in most cases. If you have an issue with the federal government or Washington D.C. your best influence is to contact your United States Senator at the following link:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OR

We recommend contacting U.S. Senators as their email systems accept emails from IP Addresses from all Oregon zip codes. Many U.S. Representative offices are set up to reject zip codes outside their boundaries. Hence, we even have problems contacting U.S. Representatives.

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