On Wednesday of last week, rural workers from around the state marched on the Capitol to express their disapproval of the attack HB 2020 represents on their livelihoods. Truckers circled the Capitol on Wednesday and honked their horns to make sure that legislators hear them and their concerns. Click above to watch my speech about the importance of these voices. Watch the Facebook live video I made about trucks circling the Capitol here: https://www.facebook.com/shellyboshartdavis.../videos/
On Wednesday of this week, hundreds of loggers, truckers, and Oregon workers marched on the Capitol again to make clear to the Oregon legislature that HB 2020 puts their livelihoods in jeopardy.
We know that this bill jacks up gas prices by at least 22 cents in the first year alone, shoots natural gas prices through the roof, and raises the cost of living on working families by increasing the cost of transporting those goods. These voices need to be listened to.
Check out these great pictures:
SENATE REPUBLICANS WALK
in response to the supermajority being unwilling to negotiate on HB 2020, the Senate Republicans chose to leave the state and deny a quorum.
Per the Oregon Constitution, the Senate must have 20 members present to take any action on any legislation. The Governor has vowed to assist the Senate President by sending the Oregon State Police after the Senate Republicans to compel their attendance. However, reports have indicated that they have left Oregon to states that do not have reciprocity agreements with Oregon, meaning the OSP may be handicapped in finding them.
HB 2020 was scheduled for a vote on Thursday when they no showed, leaving the Senate with just 18 Senate Democrats - two short of the Constitutional requirement.
The Senate President instituted a $500 fine for every day the Senators are absent. To defray some of the costs of transportation, travel, food, lodging, and the fines a group of concerns citizens have started www.StandWithOurSenators.com where supporters can donate and get updates and information. If the Senate GOP stays out until the end of the session, June 30th, they will have to pay $55,000 in fines between the 11 of them.
The Governor has also said she is planning for a special session to finish the unfinished business of the legislature, if the walkout continues.
To understand how OSP may go about finding the Senators, check out this KGW article.
SINGLE USE STYROFOAM, PLASTIC BAGS, and STRAWS
On Tuesday of last week, the Senate considered two bills that are aimed at reducing pollution.
Rarely does a bill go to the House and Senate floor without the outcome already known by the majority party. However, last week, HB 2883 died on the Senate floor. After a robust debate, two Democrats joined Republicans in voting 'no' on the bill that would have been a state-wide ban on single use Styrofoam. There is only a few businesses that recycle Styrofoam in the nation, but one of them is located Tigard - Agilyx.
However, the Senate approved a measure to ban the use of plastic bags the same day. House Bill 2509 will go into effect 91 days after the Governor signs the bill. Make sure to get your reusable bags, or save your nickles to buy paper bags.
Another plastics bill that is awaiting the Governors signature is SB 90, which restricts restaurants from giving out plastic straws in most circumstances unless otherwise requested by the customer. This bill has an emergency clause, so as soon as the Governor signs it, it will go into effect. You will now have to remember to request a plastic straw if you would like one.
THE HOUSE PASSES STATE FUNDING FOR THE FFA
FFA future leaders show up at the Capitol today. They were lucky enough to witness HB 2444 pass unanimously on the House Floor. That is a full 60 votes!
HB 2444 establishes a grant program for the purpose of funding agricultural science and technology programs during summer months and provide funding for Oregon Department of Education and FFA to coordinate competitive events, conventions, and participation in the Oregon State Fair. This will go a long way to making the FFA a viable and useful program for professional development, student achievement, improve college preparation, and career placement for students enrolled in agricultural education courses.
CARBON STUDY BLOCKED BY HOUSE
On Wednesday of last week, House Republicans made a motion on the House floor to withdraw HB 3433 from committee for the House of Representatives to vote on. The legislation was drafted by Rep. Brock Smith, the Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and passed out of the Committee in March. The bill would:
Outline shared harvest and management agreements with the USFS for harvest and fuels treatment on the Federal Forest, utilizing the Good Neighbor Authority.
Provides for a study on forest carbon flux and emissions due to wildfire, (a) the combustion (b) decomposition (c) lack of post fire harvest and the loss of stored carbon in subsequent wood products (d) loss of potential sequestration due to the lack of replanting across the burned area.
Provides for a study on carbon sequestration from natural and working lands, (a) agriculture (b) innovations and strategies from our aggregate, steel and cross-laminated timber industries (c) air curtain burners/destructors and biochar production (A) forest products sequestration benefits (B) biochar benefits (d) seaweed production as livestock food additive to reduce emissions.
Incorporates a Department of Energy study on electric grid for adequate capacity and infrastructure for EV charging in urban areas (3) will work with ODOT, PUC, TriMet, and electric utilities.
Studies small modular nuclear (Nuscale) (a) potential greenhouse gas emissions avoided (b) technological and economic viability (c) barriers for siting, permitting and regulation.
Repeals Sections 2-5 after studies delivered to legislature by Sept. 15, 2020.
Requires Department of Environmental Quality to report on the environmental, economic, health and other benefits realized through the implementation of the previously passed Low Carbon Fuel Standards in September 2020 as well as 2022.
Requires DEQ to study and report on new jobs created in renewable energy sector (base ’07 legislation required studies and only one has been performed in ’11) the average wage rates and the provision of health care and other benefits for those jobs, as well as workforce training opportunities.
Only one Democrat voted for it, Rep. Caddy McKeown.
SUPPORTING SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS
I was proud to sponsor House Bill 2375 this session. This bill will provide survivors of sexual assault more assistance and resources that they need by requiring district attorneys to include a sexual assault nurse examiner or hospital representative in sexual assault response teams. The Governor signed this important bill last Wednesday.
YOUR VOICE YOUR VOTE
I sat down with Rep. Pam March (D-Ashland) and Steve Dunn from KATU News to talk Cap and Trade.
✅ Make projects in the Transportation Package more expensive
✅ Unconstitutionally divert money away from the Common School Fund
✅ Harm Oregon's bond rating
✅ Harm working families by increasing the cost of living
CAUTION: HARVEST SEASON
PSA: Starting this week, you will see a lot more tractors on the road. It is harvest time for grass seed. Please be careful while on the roads and don't pass until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so.
On Wednesday of last week, Oregon Farm Bureau, the Dept. of Agriculture, the Dept. of Transportation, and the Marion County Sheriff held a press conference to promote rural road safety.
“I was proud to introduce House Bill 3213, the Rural Oregon Achieving Driving Safety (aka ROADS) Act, this session. This bill is going to provide a tool for local law enforcement, counties, and communities to ensure that our county roads and farm roads are safe for tractors and farm equipment, and safe for our rural communities that want to get to and from home safely,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis. [HB 3213 awaits the Governor's signature]
Farmers and Marion County Farm Bureau members Brenda Frketich and Molly McCargar were driving forces behind the legislation. “Our rural roads are no longer being used just for getting agricultural products to market. They’re now being used as backroad commuting highways,” said McCargar.
“Nearly every farmer, and non-farmer, I know who live on River, French Prairie, and McKay Roads have stories of close calls or accidents because of increased traffic. In less than a year, there have been 12 fatalities on McKay Road alone... As a farmer, a first responder, a mom, and a community member, I can tell you firsthand that a lack of roadway safety is a very scary, all too often deadly scenario. My hope is that raising awareness around road safety in agriculture, and on these county roads, will save lives,” said Frketich.
Besides experiencing a few near accidents themselves while driving a tractor on the road, McCargar and Frketich lost a neighbor and fellow farmer in a deadly crash five years ago. Scott Miller served on the Marion County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and was killed in 2014 when a car rear-ended his tractor, which was pulling a trailer.
“Too many people underestimate how dangerous it is when you don’t slow down or try to pass a tractor recklessly, or even illegally, over a double line or on a curve,” said McCargar. “Unfortunately, this is something farmers are seeing more every year.”
Indeed, as smartphone driving apps become the norm, more motorists than ever before are using rural roads for day-to-day travel. More people are taking advantage of the growing number of farm stands, u-pick fields, and agritourism events available. Summer is also the time when major construction occurs on interstate highways, like I-5, which can cause drivers to seek alternate routes.
As the number of cars on rural roads increases, so does the risk of serious accidents involving tractors. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), in 2017 there were a total of 42 crashes statewide involving farm equipment, resulting in one fatality and 32 non-fatal injuries. This is a significant increase from only four years ago; in 2013, there was a total of 26 crashes involving farm equipment, with no fatalities and 11 non-fatal injuries.
Farmers do their best to avoid moving tractors during times of high traffic. However, during peak harvest, when the fruit is ripe or the hay is at the optimum level of dryness, they may have no choice. Most farm equipment is designed to travel at speeds of no more than 25 miles per hour (mph), and must display a triangular, orange-and-red, reflective, slow-moving-vehicle sign if going out on public roads.
It takes only about 5 seconds for a car driving 55 mph to travel the length of a football field. A tractor driving 25 mph that looks far away can be directly in front of a fast-moving car within seconds. In low light, it can be even more difficult to judge the distance.
Safety tips for drivers include:
If you decide to pass farm equipment on the road, please do so with caution.
Be watchful of vehicles behind you that may also try to pass.
If you must enter the oncoming lane of traffic, do not proceed unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the vehicle you will pass.
If there are any curves or hills ahead that may block your view or the view of oncoming vehicles, do not pass.
Do not pass if you are in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure, or tunnel.
Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right side of the road is going to turn right or is letting you pass. Due to the size of some farm implements, the farmer must make wide left-hand turns. If you are unsure, check the operator’s hand signals and look at the left side of the road for gates, driveways, or a place the vehicle might turn.
Safety tips for farmers include:
Oregon law requires a slow-moving vehicle reflector on any machine that travels the road slower than 25 mph. Always point the triangle up, keep the SMV emblem clean to maximize reflectivity, and replace the emblem when it fades, normally every two to three years.
Mark the edges of tractors and machines with reflective tape and reflectors. Consider installing retrofit lighting to increase visibility.
Turn on your lights, but turn off rear spotlights when going onto the road. From a distance, spotlights can be mistaken for headlights.
Be aware of heavy traffic patterns.
Consider installing mirrors on equipment so you can see motorists around you. Be careful where the mirrors are placed.
When moving multiple farm implements down the highway, leave enough space between each vehicle for cars to pass.