SB 583 - Helmet Law Reform
For information, contact:
Ken Ray (503) 645-3376, or
Brian Stovall (541) 298-1317

May 13, 1999 - SB583 lost the House Transportation Committee vote 5 to 5.

This Morning, all 10 Members of the committee received a letter from Dr.
Kitzhaber (not Governor Kitzhaber) which stated the same social burden,
insurance increases and you'll be falling over dead Biker lies that the
OHPI essentially debunked. I can go into this more later, after I calm
down. But suffice it to say that the Governor has become a lot more brazen
during his final term of office and is now actively lobbying against us and
is not terribly concerned about the truthfulness of the "information" he is
spewing out when doing so.

The vote was essentially along party lines. Voting no were Devlin, Lehman,
Taylor, Walker and Hill. Even though we got killed, please take a minute
to thank Rep. Kropf, Montgomery, Lokan, Krummel and Wells for their yes
vote. It would also be very nice to send a short thank you not to the
Senators who helped us out too. You can find all of that info at

We put up a damned good fight, I think...and the sons of bitches know that
they were in a scrap with some persistent people. We can also be heartened
by the spectacular success of HB2613, our handlebar height bill. This
year's legislative efforts by all of you freedom fighters were far from
being a failure! You can all be proud of your accomplishments.

Lyle is meeting with Speaker Lynn Snodgrass to see if there is anything we
can do to salvage things procedurally, but this is a real long shot.

I hope that this turn of events royally pisses you off. Pisses you off
enough to get off your butts and do something come election campaign time
this Winter. We absolutely, positively need to have a *LOT* more support
in the Senate and the House if we expect to be successful next session. It
takes a lot of work to develop the kinds of relationships that we have with
people like Senator Starr and Representative Lokan. We have some very good
friends down in the legislature. Our problem is that we don't have enough
of them because we haven't been a friend to enough of them.

We are going to need to be there for our friends to help them get
re-elected and we are going to need to seriously focus on getting rid of
some of this anti-freedom dead weight that's hanging out down in Salem. I
hope that I can count on each and every one of you to become PCPs,
Legislative Buddies and to work actively to get the right people elected
next year.

More to follow after BikePAC has a chance to consider our options:
Frank Wyckoff Saxton

Mar 15, 1999 - SB583 the helmet law reform bill, last week we were faced with a decision about whether to accept an amendment to the age of 21 instead of 16 or 18. This came at a particularly pivotal time of losing one necessary vote on the Senate floor and not being sure of our ability to pass this out of the Senate. We still need all Oregon activists to get out there and change some more votes, NOW. Due to some fantastic work on the part of Lyle Irons, our lobbyist (we've got a tremendous lobbyist, folks), we got a commitment for a yes vote if the bill was for 21 and older. This resulted in the bill being taken back to the Senate Transportation Committee to do the necessary amending. It should reemerge soon in the new form. This means it should spend less time in the House and not have to be corrected for differences between House and Senate.

We are still short of committed votes in the House and we desperately need letters and e-mail from all districts and even across district lines (tell them you feel strongly enough to write even though they are not your representative).

March 3, 1999 - The Oregon Senate Trans Committee considered and passed to the floor SB583, which would change Oregon's helmet law to requiring only those under age 16 to wear a helmet.

Tactical discussions were held early in the day to prepare for the late afternoon hearing. Senator Marilyn Shannon (R), committee chair,allowed only a few of dozens of supporters to present, while bringing up all opponents. She then asked if all who had signed up to testify needed to speak, or would they settle for sending SB583 out onto the floor of the senate. Proponents agreed and the bill moved forward on a 4 to 1 vote.

Senator Gary George, the bill's chief sponsor, relentlessly questioned opponents while bringing out facts to show how small a problem motorcyclists are in the whole safety picture. Senator George also served notice to the medical community and ODOT that they " . . . had better become familiar with statistics of deaths per 100 accidents." Senator Ted Ferrioli (R) took the testifying Oregon State Police motor officer to task for that agency's harassment of motorcyclists at their annual gathering in his district.

Teresa Hepker, of BikePAC, gave a passionate conclusion to her presentation of the recent Oregon Health Policy Institute's Blue Ribbon Panel report reviewing a mass of current studies. "We feel the report pointed out just how much research hasn't been done. The questions we've been asking for 20 years haven't been answered." Hepker stated, "I feel frustrated and resentful that the law should decree how and when I must dress myself."

The bill should reach the senate floor early next week.


  • Marylin Shannon (R, Dist. 15, Brooks) - Chair
  • Mae Yih (D, Dist.19, Albany) - Vice Chair
  • Susan Castillo (D, Dist. 20, Eugene)
  • Joan Dukes (D, Dist. 1, Astoria)
  • Ted Ferrioli (R, Dist. 28, John Day)
  • Gary George (R, Dist. 2, Newberg) - Our prime sponsor
  • Lenn Hannon (R, Dist. 26, Ashland)

Written by Brian Stovall (541) 298-1317

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