Rep. Bruce Hanna: Legislature must keep promise to State Troopers


Republicans remain committed to 24/7 OSP protection
By State Representative Bruce Hanna,

SALEM””House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) and fellow Republicans today said they oppose proposed cuts to the Oregon State Police, arguing the Legislature must fulfill its promise to provide round-the-clock Trooper protection. The Republicans said money is available to fund the 39 Troopers needed this biennium to improve safety on highways throughout the state.

“The Legislature must prioritize spending and enable the State Police to provide assistance to Oregonians at all hours of the day and night,” Rep. Hanna said. “We must follow-through on our commitment to putting more Troopers back on the road. If the Legislature had passed our 2007 plan to provide dedicated funding to the Oregon State Police, we would be on track to providing this critical service to our citizens.”

Budget-writers have indicated that they would delay providing round-the-clock OSP coverage, but provided no assurances that the Legislature would actually hire the additional troopers during the 2009-11 biennium.

“Our Troopers don’t want more empty promises from the Legislature, they want the resources and back-up they need to keep Oregonians safe on our highways,” said Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany), a former Oregon State Police member. “The Legislature must also reverse deep cuts to our system of training new Troopers, which is directly threatening our ability to restore 100 positions as we promised during the 2007 session.”

Republicans said the Legislature can fund the 39 Troopers by redirecting $500,000 from the Public Employee Benefits Board’s $131 million ending fund balance. Despite the urging of Republicans to utilize a portion of the balance to offset 2007-09 cuts, Democratic leaders have so far refused to access this significant fund for urgent needs like these.

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Posted by at 07:45 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • eagle eye

    So they want to take PEBB ending fund balances to pay for the troopers.

    But isn’t Andy Olson the same guy who was here a few days back, protesting plans to take community college ending fund balances to pay for other state budget needs?

  • Steve Plunk

    My local paper recently ran a story about ODOT motor carrier safety people doing stings on unlicensed movers. These were basically people trying to make a few bucks while out of work or on the weekends. Too afraid to do the work themselves they requested OSP troopers to write the citations while accompanying them.

    This was not only a waste of OSP time but we could cut the ODOT positions to fund more troopers on the road. I am a firm believer many of budgetary problems go back to simple priorities. Should we be using state funds to hassle out of work citizens or should we use those funds to keep troopers on patrol?

  • davidg

    It amazes me that conservatives continue to bring up this issue. The state has apparently been operating for decades without these “24/7” patrols by the Oregon State Police.

    The reason these patrols were dropped was that there was no good reason for continuing them. The crime rate on the state highways during the early morning hours when patrols were dropped remains minimal. No one has ever shown any statistics showing otherwise. No one has shown that there has been any increase in reported crime during the hours patrols were dropped.

    With one notable exception, conservatives regularly challenge bloating government bureaucracy. Unfortunately, they too easily get blinded when it comes to challenging the law enforcement bureaucracy. Law enforcement is as prone to promote its own unnecessary growth as every other government bureaucracy. The all night highway patrols is a good example of that.

    Sensible conservatives should just let this proposal die the quiet death it deserves.

    • Steve Plunk

      Davidg,

      I see your point but if cities need 24/7 coverage wouldn’t it make sense that the OSP would need to as well? If nothing else they could patrol for accidents and breakdowns. I honestly believe there is a police/fire bureaucracy that acts in it’s own interest but we seem weak on state police. Am I mistaken or is there more?

      • davidg

        Whenever there is a proposal made for new government staff, we should expect some kind of need to be demonstrated, and an explanation of how the proposal meets the need. Usually we expect some kind of statistical analysis. There should at least be a few random sob stories or personal experiences to support the need. Here, the proponents give us nothing.

        Are we “weak on state police” as you inquire? The proponents’ inability to present any analysis or evidence of that justifies concluding that no, we aren’t. The burden of proof should, of course, always be on the proponents who want an increase.

  • Russ Kelley

    The Republicans in the legislature we’re the least bit interested in 24/7 trooper coverage until 2007, when they had been relieved by voters of their 16 year stranglehold on the state House.

    Over the previous 8 sessions, the Republican state budgets slashed the OSP budget nearly in half, down to embarrassing and unsafe levels. Ironic now that they are no longer in charge, they’ve suddenly found religion here, isn’t it?

    This is just one more example of why Oregonians have lost faith in Republicans in this state. These guys act like *children,* petulantly refusing to take part in a serious budgeting discussion, and instead issue press releases throwing bombs at everything the *adults* are doing to keep this state from going of the rails.

    It’s easy to sit in the stands and heckle the players on the field. But no one ever takes those people seriously, and they certainly don’t win elections.

    • davidg

      Russ, I agree with you that the recent Republican discovery of this issue seems childish for the reason you gave. But I disagree with you that OSP levels are “down to embarrassing and unsafe levels.”

      The reason we don’t need an increase in OSP is that no one, including you, can demonstrate any criminal activity increase in crimes over which OSP exercises jurisdiction: on state property including highways.

  • Scottiebill

    Oregon could save nearly $100,000.00 a year if they would pay Teddy the Useless Kulongoski $1.00 per year in salary, as many CEOs of major corporations are doing. That way Oregon would be saving some money for important projects, and Ol’ Teddy would be paid what he is worth.

    Another thought: Maybe the Oregon legislature could be paid the same $1.00 per year per Representative and Senator, saving even more money for the important projects and the legislature would be paid what they are worth, too.

    • eagle eye

      Scottie, sounds like you would be a good guy to run for Governor as a Republican, volunteer to work for $1.00/year during your term, set a great example!

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