Sen. Bill Hansell

The 2018 legislative short session is now underway. Because we are constitutionally limited to 35 days, we have hit the ground running. There are but 10 days to move legislation out of each chamber. That includes committee hearings, public testimony, work sessions, and floor consideration. If a bill gets passed in the Senate, it heads to the House of Representatives to repeat the same 10-day process. Any complications usually mean the bill won’t make it through the short session.

When you compare this session to the long session of 165 days, you have months to figure out bills and make amendments as it works its way through the legislative process. It is a whole different process and I believe it presents the opportunity to create much better legislation. But it is what it is.

I am working closely with EOU President Tom Insko and Vice President Tim Seydel, on a couple of projects for the University HB 4153 sponsored by EOU graduate Rep. Greg Smith, would designate Eastern as Oregon’s Rural University. I am supporting this bill and when it comes to the Senate, I will be working for its passage in this chamber. We all believe it will be of great benefit, not only, to EOU in recruiting students but also the rural parts of the State.

We are also working on a funding project for the College’s Field House using Cross-Laminated Timber and Oregon Certified Wood Products. This would be a double win for both the College and our timber industry. I am pleased to work with President Insko, and VP Seydel. They are doing a great job.

No matter how busy of a schedule I might have, I always want to be available to meet with constituents who travel to Salem. The Fager family from La Grande helped make my day on Tuesday of this week. Henry Fager, a 15-year-old from La Grande, the son of Jenni and Travis, was a finalist with a video he made in a national contest. He was one of 15 finalists nationwide, and the only finalist from Oregon.

Even though I had but 30 minutes between committee meetings, I was able to take them on the floor of the Senate and give some of the history and procedures of the Oregon Senate. I might mention that younger brother Sam, wanted to go behind the Senate President’s podium, which we were able to do since the Senate was not meeting at the time. I was very impressed with Henry and his family, and congratulations again for a job well done in your contest.

Lastly, I want to thank the Observer for the invitation to write a column for the paper about what is happening from my perspective in Salem. I will do my best to try and make them interesting and relevant to you great people of Union County.