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Agendas for 2008 Session Released by Senate and House DemocratsSalem-News.com
House and Senate Democrats favor helping kids, seniors and homeowners, and they want to beef up the ranks of state troopers. Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin says he expects the February session to be quick and productive.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate announced plans today to pass a series of measures in the February session to make Oregonians safer, improve the quality of life for senior citizens and children, provide greater fairness for Oregon homeowners and create more accountability in state government.
In a joint news conference, Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) and House Majority Leader Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County), along with State Rep. Betty Komp (D-Woodburn) and State Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham), focused on the common issues House and Senate Democrats will seek to enact in next month’s first-of-its-kind supplemental session.
To better address critical needs facing Oregon, the independent Public Commission on the Legislature recommended annual sessions in its report to Oregon’s Legislature last year. Lawmakers from both parties agreed, knowing how difficult it is to properly manage two-year budgets and demand the kind of accountability Oregonians expect from state agencies if the Legislature only meets every other year.
"Our world moves too fast and Oregon’s economy is too fluid for us to continue to believe that pressing needs can wait 18 months between legislative sessions. For us to be accountable to voters, we need to be able to respond to these changing situations. And we need to be able to demand that same accountability from every state agency," said Hunt.
Devlin said legislative leaders from both parties have worked well together in preparing for the February session, one he expects will be quick and productive.
"Last year, Democrats led one of the most successful legislative sessions in state history by focusing on the common concerns of Oregonians. As we head into February, we are again focusing on the issues that unite Oregonians, and I am pleased to report that Republicans have joined Democrats in committing to a productive session that demonstrates the advantages of annual sessions," said Devlin.
One of those advantages is the ability to respond more quickly to pressing needs, like those of children and seniors in foster care and assisted living, which is why ensuring quality home care is a shared priority of both the House and Senate Democrats.
"Putting Kids First has been a top priority of Oregon House Democrats since we released our first Road Map to Oregon’s Future," said Betty Komp, an assistant House Majority Leader who chairs the House Democrats’ policy group. "We are committed to passing legislation that will add child protective workers to make sure we protect children from abuse and neglect."
"By providing more resources to strengthen home and community care for our seniors, we can improve the quality of life for a generation of Oregonians who made tremendous sacrifices to secure our freedom and our future," added Deputy Senate Majority Leader Laurie Monnes Anderson.
Both caucuses are also committed to providing fairness for Oregon homeowners who are caught in the nationwide foreclosure crisis.
"Home ownership is a key part of the American dream. But across our nation today, many families face the real possibility of having that dream wrestled from their grip," Devlin said. "The most urgent need in the wake of the mortgage meltdown is helping Oregon families who face potential foreclosure, which is why we are committed to passing legislation that will provide increased protection for those families."
House and Senate Democrats also favor continuing the progress made in the 2007 to make state roads and highways safer for Oregon families by adding troopers to the ranks of the Oregon State Police.
"Last session we added 100 new state troopers, and we intend to provide the resources so the Oregon State Police can move to full 24/7 coverage as soon as quickly as possible," said Hunt.
The 2008 session is set to begin on February 4th and end by February 29th.
The Senate Democratic Agenda can be found at:
The House Democratic Road Map can be found at:
Source: Oregon Legislature
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