On Feb. 1 the Oregon Legislature will convene the 2022 Legislative Session. State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) offered the following statements regarding District 57 priorities for the upcoming session:
Behavior Health – Local health professionals and law enforcement officers have shared how this issue has proliferated and affects the district. During the 2022 Legislative Session, I will be looking for every way I can help contribute to finding effective and sustainable solutions, both at the state-wide and local levels.
Second Amendment – As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I was disheartened by the passage of SB 554 during the 2021 Legislative Session. However, I am proud to support a bill put forth by Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) that would establish liability for specific crimes committed in “gun-free zones”.
Consumer Protection – I have proposed a bill for the 2022 Legislative Session that limits the amount certain residential general contractors proposing remodel or re-pair projects may collect before completion. For context, large contractors charge 100 percent of residential project costs up-front. Once payment is received, the consumer is at their mercy and completion of the project can often become an incredibly difficult process. This legislation would strengthen the consumer’s interests and improve project outcomes.
Housing – Studies have shown that rural Oregon needs more housing at all levels of income. While I will advocate for the various levels of development, my specific focus will be on District 57’s most pressing housing need: middle income housing.
I-5 Bridge Replacement – While seemingly not important to District 57, the replacement of the I-5 bridge between the states of Oregon and Washington is important to many other regions besides the Metro. Activities involved in the construction and eventual movement of commerce are critical to the five ports of District 57, including the Port of Morrow which is the second largest port in Oregon. As a member of the Joint I-5 Bridge Committee, I support the new bridge and will be intimately involved in its development.
Education Funding – Oregon’s youth are our future, and we must ensure their education is funded adequately. I’m told by local education leaders that the current funding levels are not sufficient. Last session, I fought to fully fund the State School Fund at $9.6 billion and in the 2022 session, will continue to fight to secure all resources District 57 schools require.
Predator Control – Predators have been killing Eastern Oregon livestock producers’ animals for years. I have signed on to two pieces of legislation that could help combat this in the 2022 session. The first is an appropriations bill put forth by Rep. Bobby Levy (R-Echo) that would fund the Wolf Management Compensation and Proactive Trust Fund. The second is a bill put forth by Rep. Christine Goodwin (R-Roseburg) that would authorize the creation of predatory damage control districts.
Balancing Power – For the past two years, there has been much discussion regarding the emergency powers of the Governor. Our office has received countless inquiries from constituents regarding what pushback was available and whether the actions were constitutional. I have signed on to two bills that seek to limit and combat these powers. The first of which is a constitutional amendment bill put forth by Rep. Mark Owens (R-Crane) that would curtail the Governor’s emergency powers and give control to both the legislature and county governments. The second is a bill put forth by Rep. E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) that would end the Governor’s current emergency order.
Getting Back to Normal – We have all been slowly returning to ‘normal’ life, and I look forward to continuing this trend. However, we must balance this with sensitivity to the real threat COVID-19 poses to Oregon’s most vulnerable. The 2021 Legislative Session was a long and difficult session coupled with a full reconstructive shoulder surgery that I dealt with. This session, I am hoping to see many constituents in Salem again because, unlike last session, the Capitol is slated to be open to the public.