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04.08.11 UPDATE ON CHL PRIVACY. LOTS MORE TO COME.

Deadlines and Drama. Your Tax Dollars At Work.

The deadlines set by the Oregon legislature for actions on bills have created a flurry of activity in Salem.

Bills we thought would never see the light of day have suddenly been scheduled for hearings or work sessions. Agendas are filling up fast.

Many of you have contacted Senator Floyd Prozanski to urge him to take action on the bills that protect the privacy of concealed handgun licensees.

The Senator’s staff has been telling people who contact them that they (the callers) have been misinformed by OFF and that the Senator supports the legislation that protects the privacy of license holders.

In fact, Senator Prozanski’s office called us today to complain that they were receiving angry phone calls when they are actually “trying to pass” the privacy bills.

As in the past, we are more than happy to give a forum to Senator Prozanski to make his case, here, unedited on our website. But let’s be clear.

Senator Prozanski is the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee where both the Senate and House versions of the CHL privacy bill have been assigned.  (The House version passed overwhelmingly before going to his committee.)

The Senate Bill, SB 582, received a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was then scheduled for a “work session” which is the meeting at which bills typically receive a committee vote.

On the day of the scheduled “work session” for SB 582, Prozanski pulled the bill from the schedule and informed us that it would not be moving because “his caucus” did not support it.

Since then he has been telling people who contacted him that he actually supports the bill himself.

Here is the problem. Prozanski is the Chair of the committee. He gets to decide which bills move or die.

The committee is made up of 5 people. Three Democrats and two Republicans.

If Prozanski does support the bill, all he has to do is bring it up for a vote in committee.

We can still count. Two Republicans plus Prozanski equals three votes. Three votes in a committee of five is a majority, and the bill passes out of committee to the Senate Floor.

At least two other Democrats have expressed support for the bill. Two other Democrats plus Prozanski equals three Democrats. Three Democrats plus fourteen Republicans equals seventeen votes. The Senate is made up of thirty Senators. Seventeen votes is one more than is needed to pass the bill.

The really odd part of all this is that Prozanski HAS scheduled another work session for SB 582 even while telling us he has no plans to move it and telling callers that he lacks the support in his caucus to pass it.  If this makes sense to you, please feel free to explain it to us.

If Senator Prozanski actually plans to move the bill on April 14th, the day he scheduled the work session, obviously, we applaud him. But as we noted in our last alert, something is not adding up.

Clearly, Senator Prozanski holds all the cards here. If he really wants to protect the privacy of gun owners, he can do it.  And even if, for some reason, the Senate failed to pass the bill, Oregonians deserve to know which of their representatives are willing to step up and protect them and which are not.

If Senator Prozanski is more concerned about internal politics than the privacy of Oregonians, he can continue to play the “caucus card.” Or he can vote the bill out of his committee and let the full Senate go on record.

If he is experiencing push-back from the small but radical anti-gun wing of his party, this would be a great opportunity to stand up for the people of Oregon rather than be pushed around by zealots.

We hope Senator Prozanski uses his curiously timed work session to actually move this bill out of committee instead of using the work session as a procedural game. We can assure you, and Senator Prozanski, that if he does the right thing, we will be the first to report it.

We will be follow up shortly with news about multiple gun bills, both good and bad, that have unexpectedly been scheduled for action in their respective houses.

Thank you as always for your hard work and continued activism.