Capitol blackout: Most denied a chance to testify

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Last week, the House Committee On Behavioral Health and Health Care held a short hearing on a highly controversial and impactful bill. The bill was HB 3090 which would ban statewide flavored products like vaping and cigarettes. Because most vaping products are flavored this bill risks wiping out entire mom-and-pop shops and their owner’s lifetime financial investment in these small businesses.

Many shop owners closed their shops, sent employees home and drove hours to attend the hearing only to be denied a chance to share their opinion.

It appears that the hearing didn’t even get to half of the people who came to testify.   That may mean that as many as 30 people were denied a chance to share their important opinions.

This is anti-democratic.

Yet, it is becoming more common.

• In 2021, the public was only allowed 60 seconds to testify on three different timber bills.

• During the hearing on the 2020 Employment Director scandal, neither the public, nor lawmakers  were allowed to ask questions.

• During the regional carbon tax hearings in 2020, many citizens were blocked from testifying as the Committee ran out of time and wouldn’t allow for more.

• Just this week, one hearing had 33 bills on the docket, making it impossible for citizens to have time to testify.

This also creates a situation where a politician can vote to destroy another person’s business (flavor product ban, carbon tax, timber tax) virtually overnight and never face the business owners whom lives you are sending into bankruptcy.

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