Sunday, April 12, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 13

It's mid-session, and legislators are beginning to show a few more of their cards. In the House Transportation Committee, out of which nearly all of the key bicycle legislation will need to pass, two Republican legislators have made some interesting observations.

Last Sunday, Rep. Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill), who sits on the House Transportation Committee said in an editorial in the Statesman:
Government has it backward....Unfortunately, the Legislature is working on issues like whether bicycles should be required to stop at stop signs and whether teachers can have junk food in their lounges.
Watching Rep. Weidner in the hearings, it's all too clear he's no fan of bicycles.

At last Monday's House Transportation Committee hearing on HB 2902, which would create a Nonmotorized Vehicle Transportation Fund, Rep. Vicki Berger (R-Salem), who hasn't been very active with questions in hearings on bicycle-related matters, came with some pointed questions. The most pointed, and the one for which there didn't seem to be an obvious answer, is the question of maintenance. She highlighted the shoulder and bike lane areas on Highway 101, along the coast, and the multi-use path along Highway 22 in West Salem and approaching Rickreall. Both are in lousy condition, are poorly maintained, and not used as much as they might be. She recalled bicycling along the coast in the 80s, when 101 was pleasant, and a recent visit to the coast, when it was not, and wondered if we needed to maintain existing infrastructure before building new.

Also on Monday, Bikeportland reported that BTA Executive Director Scott Bricker, whose previous role had been lobbyist, and Salem's own Doug Parrow, current chair of the legislative committee, will be the BTA's principal representatives during the remainder of the legislative session. Sue Marshall and David Moscowitz of Confluence Consulting (no website) have also been retained.

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change

House Bill 2106 - no change
House Bill 2120 - no change
House Bill 2554 - Amended to add "person operating a motorcycle" to list of vulnerable roadway users
House Bill 2681 - no change
House Bill 2690 - no change
House Bill 2902 - Hearing held Monday, April 6
House Bill 2946 - no change
House Bill 2971 - no change
House Bill 3008 - no change
House Bill 3137 - no change
House Bill 3164 - no change
House Bill 3399 - Work session scheduled for Thursday, April 23.

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