Senator Betsy Johnson has been busy. The Legislative Session just ended at the end of June. Senator Johnson is getting reintegrated into the District and is busy with meetings, events, and public appearances. Senator Johnson is also one of three writing the budget for the state. She will also have meetings in Astoria that will span for a couple of days.
Johnson was able to attend the June Dairy Parade and was thankful for this. The capitol had been closed, which allowed her to attend the event instead of working at the capitol. Johnson also attended the Garibaldi Days parade on Saturday, July 27.
Johnson says that this past Legislative Session was very difficult and unlike any others. Seasoned lobbyists and staff said they never attended a session like this, said Johnson. The political landscape has changed, she says. She saw evidence in this with protests for House Bill 3063 and House Bill 2020. House Bill 3063 removes the ability of a parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases on behalf of a child for reason other than the child’s indicated medical diagnosis. House Bill 2020 would introduce a statewide cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions.
Hundreds of log trucks came down to the capitol with Timber Unity to protest House Bill 2020. For House Bill 3063, people used social media to organize people for protest. Sen. Johnson says that people who were one passive are now more engaged. More people are also shifting to nonpartisan. People feel that they need to be involved or they could be collateral damage.
Johnson attended a community event on Thursday, June 26 that was held by the Tillamook County Democrats at Tillamook Bay Community College at 5:30 p.m. This event was the Tillamook County Democrats Political Pie Party. As part of their mission to support and elect Democrats, they invited Democrats to their special meeting. They had pies fresh from Grateful Bread Bakery, and had presentations, questions, and answers from Senator Johnson and Arnie Roblan, the two State Senators for Tillamook County, along with two State Representatives, one of them being David Gomberg.
Johnson met with President Tomlin of Tillamook Bay Community College before the Political Pie Party.
Sen. Johnson is scheduled to have a meeting with Linda Kozlowski from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) Kozlowski is one of five members of the Governing Board, who sets agency policy and oversees general operations, and adopts a strategic plan every six years to guide DOGAMI’s mission and objectives.
In response to Recall Kate Brown, Sen. Johnson says that “Recall is a serious undertaking” and has to be for valid reasons. Johnson doesn’t think the recall with be successful. Recall proponents have until October 14 to submit just over 280,000 signatures. Johnson says that a recall is pretty extreme, and that she doesn’t know the specifics of the complaint with the governor.
Sen. Johnson says that she voted for the plastic bag ban to keep the consistency of the bag ban consistent across the state. She supports the grocery industry, and although she doesn’t agree with the 5-cent charge on bags, she felt that voting for the ban was the right choice.
Sen. Johnson also has to deal with some constituent issues, such as issues with water wells. Johnson does a lot of rule writing. She serves over 130,000 people and often has people come directly to her about issues. She is proud of the constituent services they offer.
For the rest of the summer, Sen. Johnson will be busy with fairs, auctions, and regattas. Johnson buys food items from the auctions and donates them to the Food Bank. She is also working with craft distillers and the wine industry. She is working with OLCC on those issues.
One of the important issues that Sen. Johnson is focusing on is any moderation to House Bill 2020. She doesn’t know if there can be a moderation, but she remains hopeful.
There will be a short session in August. Sen. Johnson said the budget will need attention. The Legislative Session with be back in six months.
Sen. Johnson said that she has seen about 40 issues that could be on the ballot, but not all of them will make it. She said that she saw 35 petitions of the Secretary of State and that it is possible that people are out getting signatures now.