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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Why I am running for Oregon Senate District 23, pt 4 (for the veterans)

I have previously described my qualifications to succeed Senator Avel Gordly in the Oregon Senate in terms of my life experience in Parts 1 and 2, and in terms of my five years-plus of Senate legislative experience, as Senator Gordly’s Chief of Staff, in Part 3.

In Part 4, the focus is on our veterans and their families:

I am running to correct the under-representation of Oregon veterans and military families in the structure of the legislature itself, and to serve on a new Senate or Joint Veterans Affairs Committee in support of our veterans, our Guard members and their families.

My plan cuts straight to the heart of the problem, to the lack of a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee:

Unlike the other policy committees, where the Senate and House each have equivalent committees, the Oregon Senate has no counterpart to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

In the Oregon House, all veterans-related legislation is heard and worked on in its Veterans Affairs Committee.

However, on the Senate side of the legislative process, veterans-related bills may be assigned to one or more of several committees, fracturing the discussion.

This means that no single senator hears all of the veterans bills, and that no panel of senators is responsible for the veterans agenda.

This fact results in far fewer veterans-related bills introduced and sponsored on the Senate side.

The absence of a Senate standing committee also overloads the work of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, resulting in the stranding of important legislation due to the lack of time and a Senate focal point.

This institutional problem is easily demonstrated by the results of the 2007 session:

During the 2007 session, 55 bills were heard in the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Only three of these bills originated in the Senate, where there is no equivalent to the House committee.

Of the twenty-three veterans-related bills, resolutions and memorials that were passed during the 2007 session, twenty originated in the House.

The Senate produced only one veterans-related bill and two veterans-related resolutions in the 2007 session.

Twenty veterans-related bills were left stranded in House committees at the end of the 2007 session, all of them having originated in the House.

Had any of these bills passed their House committee and the House floor, they still would have had to find a Senate committee assignment and undergo the Senate process before reaching the Governor’s desk.

Two veterans-related bills passed the House but died in Senate committees.

More than five years into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is well past time for the legislature to get on a war footing and work to meet the needs of those we send into battle.

I ask for your support, to send me to the Oregon Senate, for the veterans and their families, to serve on a new Senate or Joint Veterans Affairs Committee.

--Sean Cruz



These are the veterans-related bills that were stranded in the 2007 session:

Veterans bills stranded in committee at the end of the 2007 session

18 House bills
4 House resolutions
0 Senate bills
0 Senate resolutions
22 bills stranded at end of session


HB 2013 Oregon Military Family Relief Program; appropriating money;
5-1 (H) Recommendation: Do pass, be referred to Revenue, and then referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2400A Physician tax incentives.
4-13 (H) Referred to Revenue by prior reference.5-17 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2522 Veterans' health benefits.
1-31 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2547 Disabled war veteran benefits.
2-12 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs with subsequent referral to Revenue.2-27 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2577 Oregon Troops to Teachers program.
2-21 (H) Recommendation: Do pass and be referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.2-21 (H) Referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2631 State Parks and Recreation Commission.
2-14 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 2771 Licenses issued by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission.
2-26 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs with subsequent referral to Ways and Means.3-22 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3196A Eligibility of disabled veterans for Oregon Health Plan benefits.
5-4 (H) Recommendation: Do pass with amendments, and be referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.5-4 (H) Referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3197A TRICARE program
5-4 (H) Referred to Revenue by prior reference.5-17 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment

HB 3198 Oregon military emergency financial assistance; appropriating money; declaring an emergency.
6-28 (H) Third reading. Carried by Richardson. Passed.6-28 (S) First reading. Referred to Rules Committee.6-28 (S) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3199 Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program; declaring an emergency.
3-29 (H) Without recommendation as to passage, be referred to Education, and then to Revenue by prior reference.3-29 (H) Referred to Education by order of Speaker.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3200 Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program; appropriating money; declaring an emergency.
3-29 (H) Without recommendation as to passage, be referred to Education, and then to Ways and Means by prior reference.3-29 (H) Referred to Education by order of Speaker.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3202A Modifications of federal taxable income.
5-7 (H) Referred to Revenue by prior reference.5-17 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3205A Tax credits for veterans.
5-4 (H) Referred to Revenue by prior reference.5-17 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3294A Veterans' services.
6-18 (S) Referred to Rules.6-28 (S) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3237 Veterans' preferences; declaring an emergency.
3-19 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3305 taxation.
3-14 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs with subsequent referral to Revenue.3-27 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HB 3308A Education benefits for members of Oregon National Guard.
5-11 (H) Recommendation: Do pass with amendments, be printed A-Engrossed, and be referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.5-11 (H) Referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.


Resolutions stranded in Committee

HJR 52 Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution” Protests at funerals.
3-9 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs.4-12 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HJR 38 Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution: State Lottery.
5-11 (H) Recommendation: Be adopted and be referred to Elections, Ethics and Rules by prior reference.5-11 (H) Referred to Elections, Ethics and Rules by prior reference.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HJR 39 Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution: Eligibility for farm and home loans from Oregon War Veterans' Fund.
3-9 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

HJR 23 Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution: State Lottery.
3-5 (H) Referred to Veterans Affairs with subsequent referral to Elections, Ethics and Rules.4-10 (H) Public Hearing held.6-28 (H) In committee upon adjournment.

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