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INSIGHTS: HB 4095Op-Ed by Richard Reid for Salem-News.com
House bills are risky, complicated and wasteful.
(SALEM) - This is one of an ongoing series informing Oregon Senators and Representatives about bills sponsored in the Oregon Legislature by Oregon Representatives using model bills drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Conference (ALEC) rather than bills submitted by Oregonians. For more information about ALEC and it's single-minded affront on state legislatures see: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/
Vetting ALEC Bills: A closer look at bills sponsored by representatives serving the American Legislative Exchange Conference.
HB 4095 causes job losses, thwarts rural development and adds bureaucracy to Oregon laws.
HB 4095 would allow Jackson, Josephine and Douglas Counties to petition the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to redefine farm and forest lands without considering productivity of soil or history of resource use. Three counties could re-designate productive lands and resource lands as "non-resource" even when in active production.
Why do that ?
ALEC wants this bill because it makes an end run around government, the legal authority of LCDC.
HB 4095 forces LCDC to ignore decades of established land use law and patterns. It changes key legal definitions like “productivity” and “resource.”
It ignores needs and rights of Oregon family farms, foresters and rural communities.
Much of its provisions are already possible under current law. HB 4095 is unnecessary (and can only further complicate a delicate working situation.)
House Bill 2229 (2009) already allows remapping of lands like HB 4095.
New criteria and definitions HB 4095 creates for remapping allow the counties to turn productive agricultural and forest lands into malls and subdivisions.
HB 4095 even denies some of the protections included in the Big Look recommendation.
Lands in continuous farm or forest use for generations may be denied protection.
Loss of farms and forest lands limits Oregon’s agricultural opportunities and takes away jobs keeping communities alive.
HB 4095 is risky.
Just as Oregon is using citizen input to simplify land use planning, HB 4095 yields to special interests like ALEC and adds another level of complexity to property ownership.
HB 4095 is complicated.
It spends public funds in ways that reverse public support of statewide planning.
HB 4095 would waste the Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving process (RPS) just when it is completing its work. All the public funds for RPS grants and support would go to waste.
HB 4095 is Wasteful.
Although it would make the corporations that run ALEC happy, and make ALEC representatives in Oregon look good (see list below), HB 4095 throws a monkey wrench in Oregon's internationally recognized planning efforts.
Current Oregon Representatives serving ALEC. Bills with these sponsors are likely NOT from Oregon constituents. They are probably based on American Legislative Exchange Council “model” bills available here
Rep. John Huffman (R-59)
Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-53) ALEC State Chairman; International Relations Task Force member; ALEC State Legislator of the Year (2011).
Rep. Matt Wingard (R-26)
Rep. Tim Freeman (R-2) ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force member.
Rep. Katrina E. Brewer (R-29) ALEC International Relations Task Force member.
Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-30) ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force member.
Rep. Michael R. McLane (R-55) ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force member.
Rep. Jason Conger (R-54) ALEC Civil Justice Task Force member.
Rep. Matthew Wand (R-49) ALEC Civil Justice Task Force member.
Rep. Wally Hicks (R-3) ALEC Civil Justice Task Force member.
Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-6)
Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-39)
Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-7)
Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-25)