GOP focus for Oregon legislative session


by NW Spotlight

Yesterday was the opening of Oregon’s 77th Legislative Assembly. New representatives and senators were sworn in and Governor Kitzhaber delivered his State of the State speech. The Legislature has three organizing days in January, and as the Oregonian reports, “actual legislating won’t get underway until early February.”

Oregon Senate Republican Office – Jobs for all Oregon should remain focus of 2013 session

The 2013 Legislature should make private sector job growth the top session priority, according to Senate Republicans. A slow economic recovery has left too many families without sufficient job opportunities and state resources unequal to the need.

“Building a strong economic foundation is the key to the long term prosperity of all Oregon,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “Creating an environment where businesses can succeed, diversifying our economic portfolio and investing in education from kindergarten to college will create the kind of state where families in both rural and urban Oregon can thrive.”

Senate Republicans released the highlights of their “One Oregon: Prosperity for All” agenda on Monday. The agenda seeks to provide an inclusive and expansive vision for the entire state, finding common ground that can unify diverse economic sectors, geographic areas, income levels and interest groups. It is centered on the long-term creation of private sector jobs for Oregon families through investment in Oregon’s education system, tax relief for lower and middle income families and policies that give businesses the certainty and competitive advantages they need to succeed in a global economy.

“The slow recovery is leaving too many families behind,” said Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby).  “The legislature must take action to get these families back on the job and ensure that our economy is more tough and resilient in the future.”

Senate Republicans are looking forward to working collaboratively with their Democrat colleagues to pursue good policy and common goals for Oregon.

“Last session we saw the kind of quality dialogue and reasonable legislation that can come from truly bi-partisan leadership,” said Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). “We hope this session can follow last session’s model, and fully engage members of both parties in the decision making process.”

Members of the 77th Legislative Assembly were sworn in to office on Monday, and will start organizing over the next few days in preparation for the February 4th start date.

Oregon House Republicans – PERS Reform, Job Growth Are Key Issues in 2013 Session

As the 77th Legislative Assembly convenes, House Republicans today said the success of the 2013 session will be determined by the Legislature’s ability to fix the state’s pension system, promote job growth and stabilize state finances.

“Oregonians are expecting us to pass significant, long-term PERS reforms to restore school days and protect other services,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “With taxpayers facing a $16 billion unfunded liability, we must reform PERS before addressing other issues that affect our budget and tax system.”

The caucus also released its 2013 session priorities, which focus on increasing economic prosperity throughout Oregon while protecting and continuing the bipartisan reforms that House Republicans helped initiate in the previous term.

“With many Oregon families still waiting for their own economic recovery, House Republicans will continue to offer solutions to help our businesses accelerate job growth,” said Deputy Republican Leader Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). “We’ll also work toward a stronger education system that helps more of our students and workers succeed. We hope the House will maintain the same spirit of co-governance that has made the Legislature so productive over the past two years.”

With an exceptionally strong and experienced team on the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, House Republicans will call for continued spending reforms along with healthy budget reserves to sustain core services into the future.

“House Republicans will work to implement spending reforms, promote essential spending and require agencies to justify fee increases,” said Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), Vice Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. “With the continued uncertainty in our economy and the Governor’s budget assumptions, it will be important to maintain a healthy reserve fund to ensure a stable budget and avoid devastating budget cuts later in the biennium.”