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For a Voice In Annexations

Promoting and Protecting Citizen Involvement in Land Use Issues

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May 2001 Newsletter

(Note: E-mail addresses in this newsletter have been reformatted to reduce spammers' ability to harvest addresses from our web site.)

MAY 10, 2001

Dear OCVA Members & Friends:

There are a couple important things to update you on.

First, Our Prime Directive (Protecting Voter Annexation): HB-3767, which would have effectively vacated our voter annexation charter amendments and would have actually forced cities to annex their UGBs without a vote was assigned to the House Smart Growth and Commerce committee on March 13. It subsequently went past the deadline without being granted a public hearing – NO DOUBT THANKS TO HEAVY LOBBYING BY OCVA AND OTHERS. This means the bill is "technically" dead. But we all know that the dead can come back to life in Salem. So we’re still watching for some kind of sneaky end around as the session draws to a close.

For those who may need a refresher, HB-3767 was submitted by Rep. Jan Lee at the request of the Mayor of Happy Valley – who was not "happy" that citizens in that town passed a voter annexation charter amendment in 1998. It looked to us as though HB-3767 was his revenge attempt. It was also another blatant effort to remove the public from the public process and to impose unfunded mandates on cities, this time by forcing them to extend infrastructure into their UGBs. So – thanks for all your help…again. As we said before, THEY have to win only once. WE have to win every time. So far, so good – but don’t let your guard down!

HB-2460: Our Anti-SLAPP Bill: Talk about a roller coaster ride! But the big news is that we got HB-2460 out of committee, got it passed by the full House by a 50:8 margin, got it into the Senate and got it assigned to the Senate judiciary Committee! The bill was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous (11-0) "Do Pass" recommendation on April 16. After several postponements caused by partisan bickering, and with support from the media (especially from Eugene’s Register Guard), it was voted on by the full House on May 4. After a vigorous floor debate, it passed overwhelmingly. Voting against us were Representatives Betsy Close, Cedric Hayden, Jeff Kruse, Tom Butler, Greg Smith, Patti Smith, Jeff Kropf and Cliff Zauner. If any of these reps is from your district call him/her and express your displeasure!

The fact that we got the bill through the House is a testament to your lobbying efforts – GREAT JOB BY ALL! We then focused on getting the bill into the Senate and into the Senate Judiciary Committee. We knew this would be a challenge because Senate President Gene Derfler had announced plans to begin shutting down the Senate Committees by May 16. But your tremendous response to OCVA’s May 4 email alert paid off. We were advised on May 9 that Senator Derfler had assigned the bill to Judiciary. Your efforts really helped to make this happen! We were advised that "the phone lines were "really smokin’!" Now comes the next step: We have to get a public hearing on HB-2460 so that it can move forward. And we need your help NOW to get that done!

Senator John Minnis is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need you to call Senator Minnis right away. Voice your support for HB-2460 and ask that it be granted a public hearing so that it may move forward. If they ask if you’re a constituent, respond YES because this issue affects the entire state. Senator Minnis’ phone number is 503-986-1711. It’s the sheer number of calls that count. The full committee roster with phone #s, etc. is enclosed. It would help for you to contact them all.

Timing is critical. You’ll recall what happened in the Senate to HB-2805 in the last session, after it was passed out of the House on a 49:9 vote. The critical issue right now is that we had 2805 out of the house a month earlier than this last time. And it took a month just to get a hearing in the Senate - We don’t have that kind of time now. With the shutdown of Senate committees looming, it doesn’t give us much leeway.

Also – contact your local senators to see if they can help expedite the process. And try to get a commitment for their support of HB-2460. If you can get such a commitment, please pass it on to us ASAP so we can start counting votes. Finally – if you have any knowledge of SLAPPs or threats of SLAPPs, (see enclosed Corvallis case story) make sure your senators know. Last time, the Senate let itself off the hook by simply tabling its amended version of HB-2805. This time, Oregonians deserve to know where the Senate stands on the critical issues of free speech and public participation without fear of recrimination. Oregonians already know where the House of Representatives stands! – Thank You!!!

Assuming HB-2460 does get a hearing, remember that the House testimony doesn’t get automatically transferred to the Senate (as we learned with HB 2805). So we’ll need as much support as we can get at the hearing. We’ll send out an email legislative alert as soon as we have an update. The battle will really heat up in the Senate, just as it did last time. The usual enemies (builders & realtors) are once again planning to try to gut the bill. They’ve already insisted on 5 separate amendments which would do just that. We’ve come this far as a result of a lot of hard work – and nobody wants to have to start from scratch again in 2003!

HB-3331 (To Amend ORS-195): There was a public hearing in the House Water & Environment Committee on 4/25. All the "bad guys" knew about the hearing, but none of the "good guys" did (sound familiar?). So we got beat up pretty badly by the League of Oregon Cities (who once again did a 180 on us). We sent in belated testimony in support, but given the makeup of the committee, chances are very slim for this bill. To help, send testimony via email to Megan Palau, committee counsel, "megan.palau AT state.or.us".

School SDCs: The "Fair Funding For Schools" coalition PAC was established with the Secretary of State’s office on April 25. Its purpose is to explore the feasibility of launching a statewide school SDC initiative. Rep. Schrader’s HB 2288 (see previous OCVA newsletter) is dead – killed, as previous school SDC bills were, by development interests. Rep. Schrader is having Legislative Counsel draft the initiative language. Enclosed is a statement of support you can sign and send in, and a news release with additional details. Jeff is one of the PAC officers. Most of you know, he, Schrader, and Metro’s Bill Atherton deserve the credit for getting this issue in the public arena.

We’ll keep this one short. It’s crunch time in Salem, and any illusion of bipartisanship disappeared on May 1 during a big donnybrook over electricity deregulation. Republicans want to deregulate. Democrats don’t. California did….and you know that story. While this battle and the budget may eclipse all others, we still have work to do on OUR issues. As always, we very much appreciate your help and ask for your continued support through sine die and beyond.

Jeffrey R. Lamb                 Jerry J. Ritter


This page last modified on 2005-09-19 08:39.