We’re now on the back half of this year’s short Legislative session, and in a position to report on the two bills of most immediate concern to French Prairie.
First, the Aurora Airport bill (House Bill 4092) which was heard two weeks ago by the House Transportation Committee, has been sent to the House Rules Committee. To the surprise of the Committee (which had been told there was little opposition and “everyone supports the airport expansion”) there was tons of opposition. That came in the form of written testimony, a Hearing Room overflowing with opponents wearing “No On 4092” Stickers, and lots of oral testimony that deconstructed most of what the proponents were claiming.
Thanks to all those who took time to write opposition testimony, and especially those that made the trip to Salem on a Friday afternoon for a 3:00 PM hearing! This became the most contentions bill of the Session, and many legislators felt they had been seriously mislead by airport expansion proponents (which they had!) and were surprised by the opposition. Sending the bill to House Rules was a way of avoiding a vote on it, and we’re hopeful it will die a quiet death there.
Second, the Red Barn amendment, to House Bill 4031 which appeared on Thursday! The reason many of you hadn’t heard about this is that it was a sneaker provision that literally didn’t appear until the day before yesterday as an amendment to a good bill to fix some land use technicalities. What appeared as a proposed amendment was what we feared: a super siting amendment to re-zone the Lanphere Red Barn property as Rural Industrial, to be heard by the Senate Environment Committee
Once again on a Friday afternoon, and this time on very short notice, tons of written opposition was submitted, the Hearing Room was full of opponents wearing “No On Red Barn” stickers, and there was a lot of oral testimony. To their credit the Committee heard the Lanphere presentation, and all the varied opposition testimony, and then determined not to accept the amendment. The bill will proceed without that amendment, and Lanphere’s super siting efforts is finished for this session. A special thanks here to Sen. Alan Olsen (who represents many of you) for leading the charge against the amendment in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee.
Source: FFF. 2.24.18