Football season usually begins at every level of competition in the month of September. Preseason is over, the players are in shape, their positions have been determined, and the playbook has been memorized. Teams and the fans who follow them are ready to go. I am no exception. Some of my colleagues have nicknamed me Senator Duck, because of my undying support for my alma mater, the University of Oregon.
On Sept. 28, we legislators, Senator Duck included, began what might be called a preseason. The Oregon Legislature is scheduled to kick off Jan. 22, 2019. Everything leading up to January is like a preseason. We are getting ready to compete.
Sept. 28 was the deadline for submitting legislative concepts we want to introduce as bills in the 2019 Legislative Session. Each senator or representative may submit as many bills as he or she wishes, if the deadline is met. My staff and I have been working for months on my list of bills. We held town hall meetings, heard from constituents, worked with associations, met with other legislators and listened, and listened, and listened. At the 5 p.m. deadline, we submitted forms for 48 bills. These 48 bills will be my initial playbook for the upcoming session.
A football team’s playbook includes specific plays, with specific player responsibilities. Every play is unique with different players on the field for each play and alignment. The one position on the field usually remaining consistent is the quarterback, and in Senator Duck’s playbook, that would be me. I am the one who has the responsibility to help make the play successful, or change it at the line of scrimmage.
I am pleased and excited about the plays we have. Here is a big picture breakdown without going into a lot of detail. (In fact, the details are currently being written up by the bill writers in legislative counsel.) Of the 48 bills, 28 are what I call constituent bills: 10 of those came from town hall meetings attended by county and city leaders, and the remainder are from citizens who asked for their issue to be part of the senator’s playbook. And I am pleased to run with them.
One of the worst fires in Oregon, the Substation Fire, burned 80,000 acres in Wasco and Sherman counties this past summer. As a result of a meeting with farmers and rural fire districts held in Sherman County in August, six bills are being introduced.
Eighteen of the 48 bills have an agriculture or natural resource focus, from elk damage to estate tax reform. Two of the bills are being submitted at the request of the CTUIR.
Will every bill we introduce be successful? Probably not, but we are going to try. We all know not every play produces a touchdown every time it is run. Some of our bills were unsuccessful in the previous session, but they were important and we are going to run with them again.
Part of the preseason is to get the right players ready to go. Figure out what opposition there might be and why, and adjust your play accordingly. Sometimes a pass play becomes a running play at the line of scrimmage because of the alignment of the opposition. And we will add plays as the season progresses.
But for now, our playbook is being drafted, and later it will be refined, as we get ready for the season (I mean session) to begin. I am grateful for the different members of the team from throughout the district, who helped craft the plays that are in our playbook. I believe we have a very good chance of crossing the goal line with the vast majority of them. I am looking forward to kickoff.
Senator Bill Hansell is a 1967 graduate of the University of Oregon, as is his wife, Margaret. They were college sweethearts and were married spring break of their senior year. The senator will root for the Beavers, but not when they play the Ducks!