Legislative Session starts with censorship

Special Session notes

1. Rules passed to deny rights to minority party
2. Rep. Krummel exposes Merkley’s rule sidestepping
3. Censoring opposition may cost $4 million
4. Driver’s license bill controversy

The censoring of dissent continues on the first day of Legislative Session. House Speaker Jeff Merkley introduced House rules changes that would prevent no minority reports and no bills submitted by individual members. House Members have so far been barred from even getting bills drafted as a possibility to be heard. Being that both House and Senate are under the same political majority (Democrat), the outlawing of minority reports means the silencing of participation by the minority party (Republicans).

During rules/ethics discussion, Rep. Jerry Krummel asked a bold direct question to House Speaker Jeff Merkley “Why are you raising money during the session?” (Merkley is running against Gordon Smith for US Senate). Speaker Merkley replied that he was not accepting any PAC, lobby, union or corporate donations during Session. (Corporate donations are forbidden at any time, and Oregon lobbyists can’t contribute). What Merkley conveniently left out was donations from individuals, which can easily make up a healthy bulk of a candidate’s war chest.

State Representative Jerry Krummel is frustrated that he cannot represent his district by being denied the right to submit legislative ideas. Such censorship may cost the state millions. Krummel has a bill to make Oregon sex offender website program follow in line with national uniform standards. Oregon stands to lose as much as $4 million in lost Bryne grants if it does not act in time. Why would the state turn down free money? States are trying to act by 2009 to make their standards uniform.

Also in the news is the Democrat majority’s version of strengthening driver’s license requirements. Critics say that early drafts have such restrictions below real ID act standards, have loopholes and lack the identify theft protections.

Disclaimer: With Legislative Session news comes fast and furious and is often updated for additional information and revisions.