House Bill 3540B, the Measure 37 fix that passed the Oregon House several weeks ago, has been a lot like Oceanic Airlines Flight 815: Lost.
Thanks to the NW Republican blog, a likely reason why has been YouTube'd up. In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Bill Garrard decries backroom deal making that has been going on between the Governor, Democratic legislative leaders, and so-called special interest groups.
Garrard, a Republican member of the Joint Land Use Fairness Committee that came up with the Measure 37 fix, opines that the closed door negotiations over amendments to HB 3540B are aimed at getting "special interest groups to keep their mouths shut" when a ballot referral is sent to the voters.
I don't know what he means by that. The Oregon Farm Bureau supports the bill. So does 1000 Friends of Oregon. Maybe some sweeteners are being put on the table to please large timber companies with Measure 37 claims, but I doubt it.
What I hope is happening is an effort to squeeze out a few more House member votes so a ballot referral isn't necessary. It'd be much better to pass a Measure 37 fix directly, rather than asking voters to approve a complex bill that will be reduced to a simplistic sound bite by lie-loving Oregonians in Action.
At any rate, it's comical to hear a leading House Republican decry backroom deals after so many years of Queen Karen Minnis sitting on her Speaker of the House throne and issuing edicts from on high. Give me a break, Rep. Garrard.
A commenter on NW Republican put it concisely and neatly:
Politicians making deals! I am shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you!
I left my own comment:
Polls show that two-thirds of voters want Measure 37 repealed or fixed. So how is fixing it a concession to special interests?
Actually, it's a concession to the public interest.
The main special interests here are the big timber companies and other large corporations who bank-rolled Measure 37 and are now cashing in by filing claims to put subdivisions on farm and forest land.
Get out in the real world. Come out to my neighborhood and talk to people who voted for Measure 37 and are now dead set against it, now that they are facing a 43-home (and well) claim in a groundwater limited area that's also farmland.
Those who already live here have rights too. Measure 37 ignored us. HB 3540 helps restore our rights. It's a decent bill but needs to be made even stronger. Kudos to the governor and legislative leaders for trying to do that.
I assumed that is what they're trying to do. If not, anti-kudos to them.