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Start of Session Update from Senator Lee Beyer
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Start of Session Update from Senator Lee Beyer

The 2017 Legislative Session is off and running! The Legislature is on its way to a great start with about 1,000 bills introduced in each chamber. 

This session, I am proud to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation and Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization. I am also serving as a member of three other committees: Senate Committee on Healthcare, the Senate Committee on Rules and the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation. There is a lot of work to be done, and every minute of my day seems to be scheduled.
What I'm Working on this Session:

Hospital Rate Commission
One of the first bills I introduced this session, Senate Bill 419, would create a Hospital Rate Commission to review and set hospital rates. This bill is modeled on a practice that has been used for many years in the state of Maryland. The measure assures that Oregonians receive fair and reasonable prices for the care they receive. Hospitals will continue to bring in more than enough revenue, and Oregonians will be protected from unnecessary price hikes.
 
New Goals for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In 2007, the Legislature passed groundbreaking legislation to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced in Oregon by 2020. Senate Bill 557 would extend our goal to 2025 with hard emission caps in 2035 and 2050. SB 557 creates a "cap and invest" program to help reduce carbon emissions, protecting our environment and addressing climate change. The Department of Environmental Quality released a study this month that determined a cap and trade program to be a productive way of reducing carbon emissions with minimal negative economic impact.

Transportation
The Business and Transportation Committee is working hard to develop a transportation funding package. The Oregon Department of Transportation has estimated it would take $1.3 billion to preserve Oregon's roads and bridges. The large figure points to Oregon’s extremely deferred maintenance on transportation infrastructure, as well as the impact of population growth. Transportation professionals have made it clear that it is much less expensive to repair what we have then wait until we need to start over. 
Ways and Means Committee Tour

Our state faces a challenging budget situation with a projected $1.8 billion shortfall to continue state services at a current level. Last month, the Co-Chairs of the Budget Committee released an "Existing Resources Framework." Without additional money, we will have to make painful cuts to critical services across the board. 

On February 25, you have the opportunity to share your perspective on budget priorities for Oregon's schools, health care and public safety with the Legislative budget writers at the LCC main campus. Please take time to attend the meeting this month, or submit written testimony to the Ways and Means Committee.

Saturday, February 25 -- Eugene
1 to 3 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College 
4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene 
Stay Informed 

To keep you informed of the latest from the State Capitol throughout 2017, and especially during the 79th Legislative Session, I plan to send updates via electronic newsletters about once a month. In the meantime, I encourage you to stay connected with the issues that are most important to you by using Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS), the State Legislature's bill-tracking system available online. OLIS provides up-to-date information on every bill and legislative committee, even testimony presented by citizens. To access OLIS, go to www.leg.state.or.us or simply type “Oregon Legislature” into your online search engine.
Keep in Touch!

I want to hear from you! If you have concerns or want to share your perspective on an issue, please email or call my office. 
sen.leebeyer@oregonlegislature.gov
(503) 986-1706

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Oregon State Senator, Dist. 6 · P.O. Box 11138 · Eugene, Or 97440 · USA

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