We are at the end of the first week of the Legislative Session, and it has been interesting. While each Session develops its own “personality” over time, for the most part they usually start out slow and build pace over time. The feeling and intensity in the building this week has made it feel like we are in mid-session. Clearly we have several major issues to deal with, and it will be interesting to see how things develop with this increased level of intensity.
Over the last couple of weeks I have received hundreds of emails on a wide variety of subjects. I appreciate all correspondence and I think it is reaching new levels. I run my office in a different way from some, and one of the things I do is not assign emails to a staff person. To accomplish this I usually get in my office at about 5 AM and spend a couple of hours just reading emails. This is necessary because my first meeting every day is at 7 AM and I usually don’t get done until 6 or 7 PM. The up side of this for me is I am actually reading what people are sending. The down side is I don’t have time to respond to each one individually. I do think, however, most of the issues you are writing about will be covered in my newsletter at some point over the next few months. I do want everyone to know that, while you may not be getting an immediate response from me, I truly value your letters.
To help with our communications I thought it would be helpful to tell you about our information system upgrades. The new system is called the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS), and it is pretty cool. OLIS will provide you with access to bills, committee information, daily events and more. I think this is a great leap forward in allowing people access to the types of information they are looking for and I think the people in charge of our information systems have done a wonderful job.
You can access OLIS by going to https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1 or by going to the legislature’s home page (www.leg.state.or.us) and clicking on the OLIS icon in the center of the page.
OLIS categorizes a wealth of session information into four areas, accessed by four icons and their drop-down menus. These are Session Day, Bills, Committees and Reports.
Session Day provides a listing of all meeting agendas scheduled for that day, including House and Senate committees, and both Chamber floor agendas. It also lists referrals and reports for the day.
The Bill tab allows you to search bills by bill number, bill text and bill sponsor. Each bill link provides an overview, current status, scheduled events, key contacts, proposed amendments and measure history.
The Committee tab allows you to look at each legislative committee, including membership, meeting times and locations, assigned bills and agendas.
Finally, the reports tab provides access to important information like status reports, measure indexes and floor letters.
I hope you will find this new system helpful. I believe the more people know about what is going on in Salem the better the results will be. I look forward to our continued conversations over the next few months.
Senator Jeff Kruse