The Oregon Legislature's Joint Committee on Ways and Means will host the 2021 Oregon Budget Virtual Hearings to receive public feedback on how to re-balance the state budget and use federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Meetings are organized by Congressional District. Oregon House District 31 is in Congressional District 1 and our virtual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday April 14th from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
You can submit written or oral testimony. Written testimony is accepted up to 24 hours after the start time of the public hearing. Testimony is uploaded into OLIS as part of the legislative record and made publicly available. To submit testimony electronically, go to:
Due to the pandemic, oral testimony will be taken live remotely and may be limited to 2 minutes per person. Registration is required to testify by phone or video link. Registration closes at the time the meeting is scheduled to begin. To register electronically go to:
If you need assistance with electronic registration, call 1-833-698-1371
In addition to our budgetary work, state lawmakers are also finding bipartisan agreement to pass important legislation to assist with wildfire relief and natural disaster recovery.
HB 2341 brings critically needed tax relief to Oregonians whose property was destroyed in last year’s devastating fires. This legislation allows a tax collector to prorate taxes on property that the tax collector knows or has reason to believe has been destroyed or damaged by fire or another natural disaster. In 2020 alone, over 3,000 Oregon families were devastated by wildfire, and HB 2341 will ensure that the property taxes they pay are fair.
This bill was supported by the Association of Oregon Counties, League of Oregon Cities, the Oregon Home Builders Association, Oregon Associations of County Tax Collectors and County Assessors. The bill received a unanimous floor vote and now moves to the Senate.
HB 2607 Waives construction taxes on residential housing being built to replace residential housing destroyed or damaged by fire or other emergency event or situation. Currently, school districts, in cooperation with cities and counties are able to tax new residential and non-residential construction. HB 2607 would lessen the financial burden on those who were affected by the wildfire and who wish to rebuild by waiving those construction taxes. The House Floor vote was unanimous, and this legislation moves to the Senate for consideration
Morning and evening work
Committees are continuing to move bills to the Oregon House Floor, and there remains a backlog of dozens of bills, we are holding daily morning and evening floor sessions in order to get the business of the state accomplished, and last Saturday we met for eight hours considering a variety of legislation.
One bill that I sponsored that was approved by unanimous vote Saturday was HB 2697 which prohibits schools from displays of symbols of hate on school property or in educational programs. Among the support for HB 2697 is the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon School Boards Association, Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, and the Oregon Education Association.
Another bill approved during Saturday’s floor session was HB 2728, of which I am the chief sponsor. This legislation prohibits coyote-killing contests for cash or prizes. As a hunter, conservationist and rural Oregonian, I proposed this measure as it follows the principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation Management, in that wildlife is owned by all citizens and recognizes science as a basis for informed management and decision making.
While some people feel coyote killing contests are needed for predator control, we heard scientific evidence in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources that these wanton mass killings are actually counterproductive for population control, as the coyote’s biological response to the reduction in population is to accelerate reproduction.
This legislation still allows coyotes to be hunted as they are now, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without bag limits, just not for money. I was pleased that 15 other Representatives signed on to sponsor HB 2728, and that the bill was approved on the House Floor vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Stay in touch
Due to the COVID-19 health protection restrictions, the Capitol building remains closed to the public. Committee work is being done remotely, and the public is still able to weigh in on bills and other issues. This can be done in writing, by phone or by computer link-up. It has never been more important to be a part of the process.
If you have concerns or comment about a state issue, agency or proposed legislation, please contact my office. It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives as we undertake this important work together.
Rep. Brad Witt serves House District 31. He may be reached at: