Representative Bruce Hanna: Pushes bill to stop lawmaker job jumps

Hanna urges committee action on revolving door bill
Bill Establishes Waiting Period for Legislators Seeking High-Paying State Jobs

SALEM”” House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) today urged the House Rules Committee to advance legislation setting a “waiting period” on legislators before they can seek and obtain non-elected positions in the state’s executive branch. HB 3638, introduced for the February session, would prevent legislators from using their influence to win top state jobs.

“Legislators have extraordinary power to shape public policy and control billions of taxpayer dollars,” Rep. Hanna said. “Whenever members leave their low-paying jobs in the Legislature for higher-paying jobs in the Executive Branch, the members’ personal, financial and political motivations will surely be questioned. This bill prohibits legislators from job-hunting while in office and eliminates any potential conflicts of interest.” HB 3638 requires legislators to wait until the end of the next regular legislative session before they can receive salaries from a state agency. The bill extends the current moratorium on private-sector lobbying to include legislators who’re seeking management positions in state agencies.

“I don’t believe it is appropriate for legislators to seek an agency job at the same time they have considerable influence over an agency’s policy and budget,” Rep. Hanna said. “HB 3638 addresses this problem and forces legislators to compete with unemployed Oregonians and other qualified applicants for top state positions.”

Rep. Hanna said he’s pleased that Democrats, after initially criticizing the proposal, have acknowledged the problem and introduced a concept that addresses the hiring process for legislators. However, he said the Democrats’ bill does not go far enough to mitigate potential conflicts-of-interest.

“Under the Democrats’ concept, legislators would still be allowed to job-hunt while in office, and it would not prevent the kind of controversies we witnessed after the 2009 session,” Rep. Hanna said. “The only way to completely eliminate conflicts of interest is to require a legislator to leave office and wait until the end of the next legislative session to take an agency job.”

HB 3638 is pending further action in the House Rules Committee.