By Dennis Richardson - November 16, 2015
This week, the Legislature meets for its quarterly committee days. Missing from the schedule will be a meeting of the House Rules Committee, the committee charged with hearing any legislative concepts related to ethics, public records, campaign finance, and elections reform.
The Legislature also has until the end of this month to submit bill concepts to be drafted for the 2016 session. Given how poorly Oregon scored, 44th in the nation for integrity, and the pent up demand from Oregonians to enact meaningful ethics reforms, it’s surprising that legislative leadership failed to even schedule a discussion about how to move forward. A legislative workgroup was to have been convened by former Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Val Hoyle, but she acknowledged in The Oregonian that the committee hasn’t been organized.
When I asked for Oregonians to sign a petition to tell the Legislature that reforms couldn’t wait, hundreds of you did. Even more of you have shared your concerns with me on Facebook and Twitter. And many of you contributed to my campaign so we could get the word out that we won’t wait until 2017 for reforms!
Last week, with your encouragement, I sent letters to Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek with a list of reforms the Legislature should take up in 2016. We need to keep the pressure on! It’s not too late to let Speaker Kotek and President Courtney know it’s time for change.
If you agree, please email Speaker Kotek and President Courtney and ask them respectfully to put ethics reforms on the legislative agenda. With Kitzhaber resigning in disgrace and Oregon getting an “F” rating by the Center for Public Integrity, improving Oregon’s ethics and accountability should be a topic of importance to all legislators.
Together, we can make change in Oregon!