Friday, April 27, 2007

Dalton's Law passes out of Judiciary!

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) celebrated an important milestone towards enacting Dalton’s Law. House Bill 3176, named after the late Dalton Robertson, was unanimously approved by the House Judiciary Committee and will now proceed to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.

In 2005, Dalton Robertson disappeared in his brand new car equipped with an anti-theft vehicle locator device. Because the device could only be activated by the vehicle’s owner, law enforcement was unable to use it to find Dalton. When Dalton was found five days later, he was already dead; the coroner’s report indicated his death occurred earlier that same day. Had law enforcement been able to quickly obtain the vehicle location, Dalton could have been saved.

“This is a great day for the safety of our citizens,” said Representative Nelson. “This bill will help law enforcement quickly and safely find missing people when lives are in danger.”

Once enacted, Dalton’s Law would require vehicle location services to provide vehicle location information to law enforcement when life is danger or when crimes are committed. Representative Nelson’s office worked together with the Department of Justice and civil liberties groups to strengthen the bill’s capabilities to respond to life-threatening emergencies while protecting individual rights. J Graigory, Representative Nelson’s son and a personal friend of Dalton Robertson, emphasized the focus of the bill: “Dalton’s Law is about time: it protects the responsibility to obtain search warrants while affording the opportunity of law enforcement to save lives when time is of the essence, such as an Amber Alert, a violent car-jacking, or when a person suffering from an illness disappears.”

During the committee hearing, Representative Nelson read a prepared statement from Ann Robertson, Dalton’s Mother: “The greatest gift of Dalton’s Law is sparing a mother the frustration and anguish of knowing there is a way to immediately locate her son who’s in imminent danger, but law enforcement is not being allowed to utilize it—so the family must wait. Wait and fear. Wait and cry. Wait until it’s too late. House Bill 3176—Dalton’s Law—will not only save lives, it will save mothers and brothers and cousins and spouses from that terrible wait.”

The committee also received written testimony from John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted. “Every minute counts when trying to find missing persons. Oregon House Bill 3176 saves time, saves the resources of law enforcement, and saves lives.” The importance of time was echoed in written testimony from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. According to NCMEC President Ernie Allen, “immediate response is critical to safely recovering an abducted child. A recent study found that in 76% of the child abduction-homicide cases, the child is killed within the first 3 hours.”

Representative Nelson is optimistic that Dalton’s Law will soon pass the House of Representatives and move on to the Oregon Senate for further consideration.

# # #

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


House Bill 3196 Approved by House Committee on Veterans Affairs

SALEM – An important measure to help Oregon’s disabled veterans cleared a major hurdle today. House Bill 3196, sponsored by Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville), has been approved by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

“This is a tremendous first step towards ensuring disabled veterans residing in rural areas will have adequate access to the health care they have earned,” said Representative Nelson. “We owe our veterans everything for the freedoms we enjoy. It is our duty to them to ensure they have the health care they need.”

House Bill 3196 will give rural disabled veterans access to care through the Oregon Health Plan. Even though disabled veterans have coverage through the Veterans Administration, they must seek medical care at regional medical centers in Portland or Roseburg. The tremendous distances some disabled veterans must travel is an impossible burden. By allowing rural disabled veterans access to the Oregon Health Plan, they may seek medical attention from local health care providers.

“Veterans have been concerned about this for decades,” said Greg Warnock, Executive Director of Oregon War Veterans Association. “This bill provides a stop-gap solution to issues of unavailable care for veterans in rural communities. The best solution would be for the federal government to provide mandatory health care through the Veterans Administration. Mandatory care would permit any disabled veteran to see any health care provider at VA expense. Until Congress provides this level of care, we would like rural disabled veterans to have access to the Oregon Health Plan for their urgent medical needs.”

House Bill 3196 now proceeds to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

# # #

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dalton's Law

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) has introduced House Bill 3176, named Dalton’s Law, in honor of the late Dalton Robertson. Dalton was a close friend of Representative Nelson’s family.

In 2005, Dalton Robertson disappeared, along with his brand new car. The car did not yet have license plates, but was equipped with LoJack. Despite requests by Dalton’s mother and local law enforcement, LoJack was unable to provide information on the whereabouts of the vehicle without permission from Dalton himself. Dalton was found dead five days later; the coroner’s report indicated Dalton died earlier that day.

“It is such a tragedy, and it might have been stopped had emergency services been able to use the information available from his automobile,” said Representative Nelson. “I’m bringing Dalton’s Law to Oregon to help prevent this from happening again, to help save lives.”

House Bill 3176 would give emergency personnel the ability to obtain information from telematic service providers, the companies providing such services as LoJack and OnStar for the owners of new automobiles, when there is probable cause to believe lives are in danger. “This is as appropriate as the Amber Alert System,” Representative Nelson stated. “It takes the search for a missing person from a needle-in-a-haystack to a precise search and rescue—and it protects service providers who risk liability from providing customer information.”

House Bill 3176 has bipartisan support in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Representative Nelson is currently working with Oregon’s law enforcement community to help garner additional support for Dalton’s Law.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Why I voted no

I write today to explain the reasons for my vote in opposition to House Bill 2700 on March 15, 2007. While I support the use of prescription birth control as a form of contraception, and recognize that available contraception will reduce unwanted pregnancies—and therefore reduce abortion—a number of flaws with House Bill 2700 made it impossible to support.

The definition of “emergency contraception” included in the bill is dangerously vague. The definition is “a drug or device that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse.” Nothing in this definition restricts use of emergency contraception to a specific time period following intercourse. Nor does the definition strictly limit emergency contraception to a treatment that prevents conception from taking place. This vagueness could result in requiring health care providers to give treatment outside the scope of legislative intent. Any treatment performed after conception affects not just the patient, but also the human embryo growing within. Because of this vagueness, I could not support House Bill 2700.

Furthermore, House Bill 2700 includes a requirement that a “student health insurance policy” provide coverage or reimbursement for prescription contraceptives. Student health insurance policies are intended to provide medical insurance to college and university students who do not otherwise have available health care. However, not everyone attending college or university is over the age of 18. House Bill 2700 could require the dispensing of prescription contraception to children under the age of 18. This is incompatible with public policy and laws concerning sexual intercourse with minors. Sexual intercourse with a minor under age 18 is statutory rape, and is illegal in Oregon. I believe that House Bill 2700, by allowing minors to obtain prescription contraception, would amount to a state endorsement of sexual intercourse by children under the age of 18. Because I believe my duty as a State Representative is to protect our children and uphold the law, I could not support House Bill 2700.

Finally, House Bill 2700 is an unfunded mandate on health insurance providers. Unfunded mandates increase costs to consumers. Presently, employers can choose to offer employees health insurance plans that offer coverage for contraception. Likewise, individuals are free to obtain private health insurance plans of their own. Ultimately, every person can choose to purchase contraceptive drugs and devices out-of-pocket. The ability to choose which benefits will comprise a health insurance plan results in the lowest possible cost to the consumer. House Bill 2700 would take the power of choice away from the people. The net effect of the bill might help one segment of the population afford contraception, but would at the same time make the overall cost of health care more for all Oregonians. While I support more available and accessible contraception, a mandate that places a burden on health insurance providers is not the answer.

For all these reasons, I voted NAY on House Bill 2700.

Friday, March 9, 2007



David Gulliver
(503) 986-1424

Representative Nelson Supports Rainy Day Fund

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) voted yes on House Bill 2031 and House Bill 2707, laying the groundwork for Oregon’s first Rainy Day Fund.

“One of the most important aspects of budgeting is planning ahead for a time when funds are short,” Representative Nelson stated. “By voting yes on these bills, we have both created a seed fund and created an additional revenue source to begin saving money for the future.”

House Bill 2031 and House Bill 2707 change the Oregon corporate tax structure and provide for a one-time suspension of the corporate “kicker” to provide money for the fund. The business community has been largely supportive of both measures.

Now that the two bills have passed the House of Representatives, they must be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the Governor by March 16 in order to become effective. As a protective measure, both bills must become law in order for either to take effect. This will prevent Oregon from simply increasing taxation without saving.


Monday, February 26, 2007

We are witnessing the end of History

A truly sad story today: Oregon's last WW I veteran, possibly the oldest living combat veteran in the world, passed away.

There are now 6 known WW I veterans still alive in the entire United States. A year ago, there were 50. Soon, there will be no one left alive from the War to End All Wars.

When they are gone, how will History remember them? If we do not honor our veterans and remember their deeds, their history will die with them.

Never forget!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

News release

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) will chair a new work group organized to ensure state government can function in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Members of the work group include Senators Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) and Gary George (R-McMinnville); Representatives Jean Cowan (D-Newport), Wayne Krieger (R-Gold Beach), and Brian Boquist (R-Dallas); Director of Oregon Emergency Management Ken Murphy; and Governor’s Policy Advisor Daniel Santos.

Senator Joanne Verger (D-Coos Bay) and Representative Deborah Boone (D-Cannon Beach), the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Ocean Policy, chartered the work group to produce a solution to problems that could hamstring government in a disaster.

“As a State Representative and a member of the Committee on Emergency Preparedness, my top priority is keeping Oregonians safe,” said Representative Nelson. “If an earthquake devastated the region and made it impossible for the legislature and governor to meet as directed by our Constitution, it would be impossible for government to perform such tasks as funding emergency services.”

The work group will produce a resolution to amend the state Constitution, in order to allow government to continue to function in an emergency. Because the resolution would amend the Constitution, it would have to be approved by voters on the ballot—and voters can be skeptical, believing such measures may give the government too much power. “It won’t do any good for us to produce something that the people would reject,” explained Representative Nelson. “Our goal is to provide for a functional government, while at the same time assuring the people their rights will be preserved.”


Monday, February 5, 2007

Thank a Veteran

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) proposes a number of new programs to help veterans in Oregon.

“We owe everything we take for granted in our society to the hard work and sacrifices of our veterans,” said Representative Nelson. “That’s why, this week, we started work on a number of drafts to give back what we can.”

One bill introduced this week builds on one of last session’s successes, the Troops to Teachers program. House Bill 2577, which will receive its first reading on the House floor next week, would expand the program in order to allow veterans attending private colleges and universities to receive tuition assistance as if they were at a state-funded school. Another proposal would help ensure veterans are sufficiently represented in graduate and professional schools.

Education is not the only veterans issue for Representative Nelson. Other proposals include incentives to bring more health care providers into the Tricare system, tax credits for long term care costs incurred by veterans, and funding for funeral services for veterans killed in service.

Representative Nelson previously served as the Chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs in 2005, and continues to make veterans a top legislative priority.

“If you can read this, thank a teacher,” Representative Nelson stated. “If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.”

Friday, February 2, 2007

A Fallen Hero

I just came back from a ceremony honoring PFC Ryan Hill, Oregon's latest casualty in the War on Terror. His funeral procession stopped at the Capitol, where the Governor offered his condolences to the Hill family. I joined my colleagues and most of the Capitol staff in honoring our Fallen Hero.

I just want to offer my heartfelt condolences to PFC Hill's family. He will not be forgotten: he died serving his country, and his legacy will live on in the freedom of those he died to protect. I'd also like to thank all the members of our Armed Forces: your service and sacrifice make everything we take for granted in America possible.
Thank you!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let's fix Oregon first, y'all!

I just read a press release from Republican Leader Wayne Scott and I wanted to share it:


SALEM— House Republican Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby) had the following to say regarding the House Democrats’ non-binding resolution opposing military escalation in Iraq:

“Before session, House Majority Leader Dave Hunt told the press that House Democrats would not bring up ‘divisive issues’ this session. I can’t think of many issues as divisive as the Iraq conflict.

“And now, after four weeks in session, the House Democrats have advanced Iraq to the top of their agenda. The House has not voted on any single item in the House Democrats’ 2007 agenda.

“Now is not the time to continue the campaign. Oregon faces a long list of serious issues to resolve, including improving schools, growing the economy and strengthening public safety in our state.

“House Democrats need to stop wasting time on political grandstanding and get to work.”

# # #

I can't believe how much time and energy is being spent in the Oregon Legislature on an issue that can only truly be handled by the President and U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, we here in Oregon still have issues like crime, education, meth, senior citizens, and mental health to work on. Why don't we actually work on them?

Friday, January 26, 2007


Disabled veterans need health care reform

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) proposes bold changes to the way Oregon’s disabled veterans receive health care.

“We are now working with the Oregon War Veterans Association to draft a bill that would allow all disabled veterans access to the Oregon Health Plan,” Representative Nelson stated. “Many of our disabled veterans live in rural communities far removed from regional V.A. medical centers. But because these brave men and women are eligible for V.A. benefits, they are denied use of the Oregon Health Plan.”

There are an estimated 40,000 disabled veterans living in Oregon. For many medical procedures, veterans must travel to either the Portland or Roseburg V.A. medical center in order to receive V.A.-funded treatment. Representative Nelson explained, “this proposal would allow those who have sacrificed so much to receive treatment locally, rather than at clinics half-way across the state.”

Greg Warnock, the President of the Oregon War Veterans Association, believes this plan is long overdue. “Veterans living in rural communities have suffered long enough,” said Warnock. “If disabled veterans had access to the Oregon Health Plan, their medical needs could easily be met from within their own communities.”

Other veterans groups support the idea. “Allowing disabled veterans to join the Oregon Health Plan would provide a valuable resource for disabled veterans in rural areas,” said Kevin O’Reilly, the government relations director for Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Many of these veterans have difficulty in accessing health care through the V.A. due to extended travel times. Plus, those with limited incomes can face a huge financial burden meeting travel costs.”

Other states, such as Illinois, provide health insurance programs for certain veterans who have no other form of coverage. Oregon would be the first state to provide a comprehensive medical plan for all disabled veterans.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One step forward

HB 2459, the English Language Bill, has been assigned to the House Committee on Elections, Ethics, and Rules.

I hope that my colleague, Rep. Rosenbaum, will schedule this bill for the public hearing it deserves.

Friday, January 19, 2007


English Language Bill Generates Overwhelming Support

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) has received overwhelming support for HB 2459, the bill to make English Oregon’s official language.

Phone calls and e-mails to the Representative have been almost universally positive, providing feedback from all over the state. “I’m getting calls from Pendleton to Medford to Tillamook,” said Representative Nelson. “I’m grateful to hear from so many Oregonians – and I encourage everyone calling in from outside my legislative district to let their legislators know the importance of this bill.” Incoming e-mails have been approximately 95% favorable, with support coming in from Oregon Democrats as well as Republicans. “While I am a Polk County Democrat, I would back a bill to make English the official language of Oregon,” wrote Terri, from Dallas. “I think you will see a lot of public support on this.”

The English Language Bill is gaining momentum in both chambers of the Legislature. “I am in support of Rep. Nelson's proposal to adopt English as our official language,” said Representative Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), one of the co-sponsors of HB 2459. “It is our official language and we need to protect the American culture by maintaining English as the first method of communication.” Two Senators, Gary George (R-McMinnville) and Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point), have also signed on to the bill.

Recent surveys show strong public backing of English as an official language. A January 18 survey from Portland television station KATU showed 92% of respondents favor English as Oregon’s official language. A 2006 Zogby poll indicated 84% of Americans favor English as the official language of government.

House Bill 2459 is getting attention from as far away as our nation’s capital. “It is good to see Oregon’s legislators are recognizing the importance of making English the official language,” said Rob Toonkel, a spokesman for Washington, D.C. based grassroots organization U.S. English, Inc. “Declaring English the official language is something we need to ensure unity within our diverse society.”

The English Language Bill has received its first reading in the Oregon House of Representatives, and now awaits committee assignment from Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley. Public hearings on HB 2459 may be scheduled once a committee is assigned.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

HB 2459

It's been a busy day - office phone was ringing off the hook, KATU stopped by the office, radio stations and newspapers want statements - all over HB 2459, my English Language Bill.

E-mail into the office has been about 10-1 in favor of the bill. What makes me sad is that the negative e-mails, rather than addressing actual issues, have been almost entirely mean-spirited ad hominem attacks. Funny thing is, people like to make comments about my attitude towards minorities or the Spanish Language without realizing that I've travelled to 178 different countries on business in my life (where I learned first hand the difficulties of not having a common language) or that my mother was a Spanish teacher...

Oh well, when you make a principled stand on a controversial issue, you have to expect that sort of treatment.

Keep your eyes on KATU tonight to see the story!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I'm snowed in! The snow is coming down hard here in McMinnville.

Everyone be safe!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Make English our Official Language

January 12, 2007


David Gulliver
(503) 986-1424

SALEM – Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) announced a proposal to make English the official language of Oregon’s government.

“With the recent passage of Arizona’s new English-language law, there are now 28 states that have made English their official language,” said Representative Nelson. “Oregon should follow the lead of such other progressive states as California and Massachusetts that have enacted similar laws.”

According to the most recent United States Census, at least 138 languages are spoken in the State of Oregon. “While our diversity makes us strong, it takes a common language to bring diverse people together.”

Jim Ludwick, the Director of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, agrees. “America is the greatest and most successful experiment regarding the integration and assimilation of people of differing cultures, languages and religions,” said Ludwick. “Speaking one language, English, is one of the reasons for that success.”

In addition to the English-language proposal, Representative Nelson will be introducing measures to improve our Troops to Teachers program, strengthen sentencing under “Jessica’s Law,” and promote new energy sources.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

New website additions

I'm still learning this whole blog thing. I'll be adding some new information to the side column, and working on getting pictures put up. Keep your eyes here to see what develops!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No, thank you!

We had a busy day putting together a new policy on gifts. I'm glad to see that both Republicans and Democrats alike were ready to tackle the problem and bring on some needed reform. While I would have preferred a total gift ban, in the end I was glad to vote for the Democrats' new plan.

Of course, nothing is stopping any legislator from refusing to accept ANY gifts from lobbyists. To that end, a number of us have adopted our own "zero gift policy." As such, I won't be accepting gifts, not even those that meet the new guidelines, other than informational materials.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

We're in business

Yesterday we had our swearing-in and heard the Governor's address. While I disagree with the Governor on a few issues, I must say that he gave a tremendous speech - the best I've heard him give.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Session is starting!

The next few days will be busy busy busy, but I hope to have some interesting updates soon. Please bear with us, y'all!