Friday, October 16, 2009

Sharon Montgomery: Progress report on statewide ban on text messaging while driving,

Raw unedited notes from Sharon Montgomery on last Wednesday October 14 committee meeting.

Briefly, Sen. Smith did a superb job this morning. And, as she announced at the ODOT summit, she is amending from a secondary to a primary offense.

This is the first effective sponsor testimony we've had on any of these bills (9 since 1997) since I've been involved (since 2002). Her prepared testimony & answers to committee questions were an excellent mix of facts and passion.

Ric Oxender of AAA, John Gideon of Consider Biking, and I were there. No press I recognized were there.

If you plan to testify, and want to answer any committee concerns or questions, reinforce any of her points, or correct any committee misconceptions, I can fax her testimony to you. I plan to type up my notes (probably not yet tonight, though. It's after 11 & I've been e-mailing since after dinner trying to keep up with state & local advocacy) of the Q&A which I could fax with her testimony.

If you don't want to testify, please give serious consideration to attending at least the hearing for proponents. (I try to attend opponent hearings, too, so committee continues to see me and know I'm serious about this. It also lets me hear opponent's arguments. When it's a difference of opinion, I let it go. If I hear false "facts," I e-mail the committee). If we interact and sit together, the committee will know we're all supporters.

Not to be partisan & offend anyone about political party affiliation, but just to describe the Q&A period: the 3 Dems were supportive. Chair was hard to read. Sen. Goodman was absent (& I was so hoping he'd say what he e-mailed me: that he's stopped DWT), 2 Rep. were silent, and 2 were oppositional--even argumentative & nit-picking.

Sen. Smith stuck to her guns, had good answers for everything including with facts. She even had the courage to take on the racial profiling concern. Black Caucus is said to have concerns about House? House & Senate? bills for fear of racial profiling. Sen. Smith said that is a concern so there must be data collection and monitoring of enforcement but indicated that was a problem to be solved, not a reason to give up on the bill. And, she pointed out the number (I forget it, now) of African Americans who are sponsors of these current bills (as is she).

She's asking for proponent hearing next Wed. I have no idea if chair will honor that request. I was too busy when I got back to work today to call so I'll try hard tomorrow to call chair's office to see if next hearing will be their more common time of 4:30 or today's time of 10:15. Sen. Smith would like to know who's coming to testify. I know you can hardly make a commitment now, without knowing day or time, but if you intend to even try to come testify, or to send her your testimony, please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks.

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