By State Representative Rob Nosse

By the time you read this, we will be more than halfway through the 2020 legislative short session. Here are a few of the bills my colleagues and I have introduced I believe will help make Oregon a safer and more livable state. 

The Clean Energy Job Bill, now known as SB 1530, is one of my biggest priorities for the 2020 legislative session. In 2019, Senate Republicans walked out over HB 2020, last year’s version of this bill. 

I am hopeful that by the time you read this, the Senate has passed a strong climate bill that will give resources to both rural and urban Oregonians, allowing our state’s regions to react and evolve to the effects of climate change while setting state-wide goals to reduce carbon emissions and climate pollution. 

Unfortunately, railroads are regulated by the Federal Government and because of this, our state is federally pre-empted from regulating railroads for the most part. 

Presently, freight trains can transport oil through Oregon’s towns with few restrictions. That said, the oil trail derailment in Mosier a few years ago illustrated really well why Oregon needs to act where it can. 

That is why I am one of the Chief Sponsors of HB 4105. This bill requires rail companies to notify ODOT about the frequency and nature of oil shipments and regulates the pressure of oil tanks to prevent explosions. 

It would also require ODOT to notify the State Fire Marshal of oil train shipments so that agency can be ready to respond to a derailment when the next one occurs.   

Common sense firearms regulations are what’s needed to curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country. I have supported every approach to gun safety passed by the legislature since I began serving. 

One of the contributing factors to our nation’s high rate of gun violence is easy access to firearms by people in homes. Preventing children from having access to guns prevents in-home injuries and deaths and can prevent criminals and troubled youth from access to weapons to then potentially be used in mass shootings and violent crime. 

HB 4005 requires firearms to be locked when they are not in the owner’s active possession and requires owners of stolen firearms to report gun thefts to law enforcement. This is a bill I am proud to support.  

Every year, numerous traffic accidents and deaths occur that are the result of speeding. The Oregon Department of Transportation currently has control over designating speeds on all Oregon highways. 

HB 4103, a bill I introduced, will allow cities to petition ODOT to take over speed setting authority so that speed limits can reflect the context of the neighborhoods they are in. By passing this bill, we will be able to reduce speed limits in neighborhood settings and reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths on our streets.

Hopefully by the time you read this column, all of these bills have passed provided Republicans stay in Salem and do not walk off the job.  

Meanwhile, know I really appreciate the communication and support from many of you during some long days filled with meetings and negotiations in our Capitol in Salem. 

It is great to get so many phone calls, emails and letters encouraging me to support or oppose bills that have been introduced. 

Watch for a column in April on the results of the session and analysis of where we ended up.