Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oregon State Representative Debbie Boone reports that activity at the state Capitol is continuing at a hectic pace as legislative work continues in the 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly. Boone writes:

Last session I sponsored House Resolution 3, requiring an Oregon Resiliency Plan so lawmakers can make reasonable preparations for a Cascadia Subduction-zone earthquake. As a result of HR 3, the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) was directed to study the situation and make recommendations to legislators. I am a member of OSSPAC, and the committee has been working diligently to develop the Resiliency Plan. The low lying coastal communities are in the most danger, and I'm glad to see local leaders in our counties and communities working on disaster and emergency response, but the state also needs to take a major role in this effort. We cannot predict or prevent a major earthquake, the best we can do is prepare. The comprehensive OSSPAC report will be presented to a joint meeting of the Senate and House Veterans' and Emergency Preparedness Committees on March 14th.

One of my bills, HB 2176 directs the State Treasurer to issue another round of General Obligation Bonds to cover the state's costs toward seismic upgrades of emergency service buildings. Oregon voters approved this funding strategy in 2001, establishing the Oregon Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program within the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. HB 2176 will add additional funding to the grant program and is currently in the House Veterans' and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Oregon State University has begun the Oregon territorial sea mapping project, and this information is crucial for tsunami inundation modeling. To support this effort, I introduced HB 2694 which requires ocean energy developers to either share their sea floor mapping data, or pay a fee to be used for the OSU seafloor mapping project. This bill has been scheduled for a hearing next week in the House Energy and Environment committee.

HB 2177 is another bill I'm sponsoring, and relates to a refundable $250 tax credit for volunteer firefighters. While this doesn't come close to covering the costs that these hard working first responders spend while serving our communities, it is one small way to recognize the outstanding contribution these volunteers make in service to our families, friends and neighbors. HB 2177 has been referred to the Veterans' Services and Emergency Preparedness Committee, due to its financial implications it will be referred to the Revenue Committee.

If you have a concern or comment about a state agency, or pending legislation, you can also write, phone or email my office, or when you're in Salem, stop by my office in the Capitol. It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Deborah Boone
State Representative
HD 32

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