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Legislative Update from OLA

In addition to the programs offered by ACRL at OLA, there were a few events hosted by OLA’s Legislative Committee. On Wednesday, a free “pre-conference/workshop” was offered to tour the Capitol, observe a hearing, and get an overview of the legislative issues that were hot that week.

Arriving on time for the tour, our schedule immediately changed because Governor Kitzhaber and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler were testifying in a public hearing regarding the state’s “kicker.”  What an opportunity to see our Governor and Treasurer testifying in front of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee, chaired by Senator Ginny Burdick!

You can read a press release about Treasurer Wheeler’s remarks (pdf), and here’s a brief news story on their joint testimony.

Then resuming our agenda for the day we toured the Capitol building to see the house and senate floors, get a sense of the dorm-like halls of representative and senate offices, and to find the cafe in the building’s basement.

Finally, we discussed current issues in the state legislature. School libraries, county law libraries, and public records are still hot issues. Newly introduced has been the House Joint Resolution 34 & 35.

“HJR 34 addresses providing ;sexually explicit; material to minors and HJR 35 replaces Oregon’s free speech provision with the federal Constitution’s provision…OLA will testify in opposition to both. Action needed: If the measures move to the Senate and vote, contact your Senator.” –OLA Issues Handout

The end of the pre-conference workshop was not it for the Legislative Committee at OLA Annual, however. On Thursday, the committee hosted a program that offered conference attendees the opportunity to chat with state legislators.  Representatives Julie Parrish and Mike McLane talked about their experiences as freshmen representatives, and offered their perspectives on hearing from constituents. Additionally, Representative Phil Barnhart, a veteran of the Oregon House of Representatives, provided his views and ideas from his tenure in service.

It was a great way to end the day on Thursday, by hearing three distinct perspectives on serving in the state legislature. I resolved to be more active than I already am.

There will be more legislative updates to come, especially after I head to Washington D.C. for National Library Legislative Day!

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