Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 16th, 2009 at 12:02 pm
“Right now, it’s not moving…it’s not going anywhere.”
— Colleen Krieger, legislative assistant to Rep. Wayne Krieger
The bill, which seeks a mandatory fee of $54 to register all bicycles in Oregon that are operated on public roadways (except those owned by people under 18 years of age), has created quite a storm of opposition since Oregonians first heard about it on March 6th.
This morning, Ron Frerichs posted a message on the OBRA email list that his representative, Chris Edwards (D-West Eugene), is not only opposed to the bill (citing the exorbitant cost to administer the program), but that he has heard from colleagues that the bill will not be heard in committee (and therefore, the bill is dead).
I called Rep. Wayne Krieger’s office to find out more about the status of the bill. According to Colleen Krieger — who is Rep. Krieger’s wife and his legislative assistant — the bill isn’t completely dead yet. “Right now, it’s not moving…it’s not going anywhere,” she said. However, Mrs. Krieger’s sentiments made it clear that the odds of the bill moving forward are not good.
Mrs. Krieger said that their office has gotten, “a lot of rude emails about it.” She shared that the bill was simply a concept and that it is typical for ideas to be presented and then worked on and amended before becoming law. Mrs. Krieger feels like the backlash about this bill was unfortunate and that the rude responses her office experienced have hurt the biking cause. “Instead of discussing it further,” she said, “these people were jumping down his throat. They should have been asking, what can we do to make it better?”
Mrs. Krieger repeatedly mentioned that it hurts the cause of biking politically when people “just start bad-mouthing” instead of having a productive conversation about an issue. “It was not complimentary for bikers to have their people talking the way they were. If you really want to turn someone against somebody, just start bad-mouthing them.”
“We weren’t trying to be coarse with them,” she continued, “but we had some pretty rotten things said.”
Emails in opposition to this bill came into Krieger’s office from all over the country. But, on the other hand, Mrs. Krieger said that they’ve also had many people “begging us to do this bill.” “I’ve had a whole bunch of people say, ‘you know, we need to do something about these bicyclists.'”
Instead of leaving rude emails and phone calls, Mrs. Krieger said that people should have gotten together and talk about it with their representatives.
We’ll keep you posted if H.B. 3008 goes any further. Barring the unexpected, the bill will likely be remembered for sparking a lot of reaction and education on both sides of the issue.
– What do you think about Mrs. Krieger’s characterization of the opposition to this bill? I shared with her that perhaps the broad reach and tone of the bill and Rep. Krieger’s past objections to the Vulnerable Roadway Users Bill had something to do with the public’s response. The bill and its context, I told her, didn’t exactly set the stage for a productive conversation. What do you think?