Guest Viewpoint: State Representative Barnhart’s Legislative Update
This piece reflects the view of the author and not those of Emerald Media Group.
Five weeks of our five month 2015 Session are already past. Despite the turmoil of the last few weeks, we have passed bills that help Oregon and its residents.
Governor Brown’s Motor Voter Bill passed in the Oregon House by a 35-24 vote, and it is awaiting action in the Senate. Motor Voter will make voter registration simpler, more convenient, and more secure by using the data that the Department of Motor Vehicles currently collects for drivers’ licenses. The goal of House Bill 2177 is to put a ballot into the hands of every eligible voter. Currently, too many eligible voters are not registered or have become inactive simply because they moved to another Oregon address. This bill saves Oregon taxpayers time and money while increasing participation in or democracy.
Under NEW Motor Voter, the stringent proof of citizenship already required by the DMV will make it easier to determine who is eligible and who is not. It streamlines registration for eligible voters so they can participate in the voting process, the cornerstone of a healthy democracy.
Corporations found to owe damages in class action lawsuits because they hurt, injured, endangered, or ripped off their customers can retrieve and keep all unclaimed victim compensation funds under current Oregon Law. House Bill 2700, which passed out of both House and Senate, changes that. The bill allows judges to direct half of the unclaimed dollars to non-profit programs that addresses the specific damage done. The other half will support Legal Aid of Oregon so that they can provide critical access to legal services for those most in need, such as seniors and victims of abuse.
I look forward to both of these bills being signed by our new Governor, Kate Brown.
My bills addressing greenhouse gases, consumer protection, and tax fairness are moving forward. Stay tuned.
Oregon has a lot of work to do, and we have legislation coming up that enable us to fix and maintain our roads and bridges, better fund our schools, and help Oregon achieve energy independence.
Please feel free to contact my office anytime with questions and concerns about any issue, and watch for updates about upcoming legislation.
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