Representative Kim Thatcher: Good-Bad Bills of 2009 Legislature

By State Representative Kim Thatcher,

State Budget Transparency Website — establishes a new website so Oregonians can track state spending and revenue. Rep Thatcher was a chief sponsor and hopes someday taxpayers will be able to see the state’s checkbook online. (HB 2500)

Delayed Measure 57 — the new law approved by voters in 2008, to crack down on property and drug crimes, will be postponed until 2012. “Good” time for certain prisoners will increase from 20-30%. Probation times were reduced along with many other changes. (HB 3508)

Crackdown on Teacher Abuse in Schools — as a member of the House Education Committee, Rep Thatcher worked hard on a series of bills to prevent teachers who abuse students from moving undetected from one school district to another. (SB 46, SB 47& SB 123)

Health Care Reforms — taxes will go up on hospitals, and health insurance companies to cover a huge new bureaucracy. (HB 2009, HB 2116)

Penalties for Metal theft — Rep Thatcher sponsored a law to crack down on metal theft in Oregon a key crime for meth addicts. New crimes are in place for unlawfully altering or possessing metal property and scrap metal dealers must do better recordkeeping. (SB 570)

Income Tax Hikes — increased the personal taxable income tax rate from 9% to nearly 11% for single filers making over $125,000 and joint filers over $250,000. Corporate tax rates went up from 6.6% to nearly 8% for companies with a net income of over $250,000. (HB 2649, HB 3405)

Senior Citizens Independent Living — funding for Oregon Project Independence was enhanced allowing frail elderly Oregonians to live independently in their own homes with the help of visits from a caregiver. (HB 5529)

Concealed Handgun Licenses — Rep Thatcher worked very hard to pass legislation to protect the CHL holders from having their private information exposed through public records requests. Those who seek to make these records public were able to water down the bill. It passed the House but not the Senate. (HB 2727)

Virtual schools — an enrollment cap was placed on the state’s many new online public charter schools which now have over 4,000 students in attendance. Other provisions of the bill may put these innovative schools out of business entirely. (SB 767)

Cell phones — starting in January 2010, drivers are required to use a hands-free device to operate a cell phone. (HB 2377)

Protections for Pregnant Women — increases the penalties for killing or abusing a woman who is pregnant. (HB 3505)

Veterans Services — we passed several new measures to help our returning soldiers reintegrate at home such as a lifetime hiring priority for public sector jobs, expanded benefits for the Veteran home loan program, college tuition, and leave from work for spouses of those being deployed abroad. (HB 2510, HJR 7, HB 2571, HB 2744)

Ethanol Gasoline — premium gasoline will soon be sold in Oregon without containing ethanol.
(HB 3497)

Ban on Field Burning — grass and see farmers can no longer use field burning in the Willamette Valley. (SB 528)

Private Property Rights — hundreds of Oregon families hoping to file a Measure 49 claim will now get relief. (HB3225)

Newberg/Dundee Bypass — large projects like the bypass, which have been on the drawing board for decades, will finally see some substantial funding. The bypass is supposed to get $192 million, enough to construct phase one of the project. While Rep Thatcher remains a strong supporter of the bypass, she did not support the funding package because it unnecessarily increased the gas tax by 6-cents and raised several other transportation fees. (HB 2001)

*Since not every new law can be listed you’re encouraged to contact State Representative Kim Thatcher’s office if you have further questions.