Representative Judy Stiegler has accepted credit for stopping the beer tax that was proposed in the 2009 legislature. She says she opposed that tax and without her support that tax bill could not pass. While it has been acknowledged that many other legislators also opposed that tax, Judy correctly points out that without her support, the beer tax was DOA in the legislature. She was the one who stopped it.
Using that same rationale, Judy must take exclusive credit for the early release of prisoners that was approved by the legislature in 2009. The Department of Corrections discovered that it had a $6,000,000 budget shortfall in 2009. It had that shortfall because it was using $18,000,000 to pay the PERS contributions that its employees were supposed to pay. That spending decision took $18,000,000 out the Department and put it directly into the pockets of its employees. While that decision made the departments employees $18,000,000 richer, it also resulted in many dangerous felons being set free before their terms had been served.
The people of Oregon had voted to require minimum sentences for certain crimes. In order to reduce those minimum sentences, a new law had to be passed. And that new law could only pass if it received at least 20 votes in the Senate and 40 votes in the House. The House vote was close, very close. The first time it was voted on it failed to get the required 40 votes, even though Judy voted for it. On the second vote, Judy voted for it again and this time it received exactly 40 votes. If anyone of those 40 House members who voted for the early release bill had voted no, the bill would have failed. Just like her defeat of the beer tax, Judy must rightfully take credit as the one legislator who gave the convicts their early release. Her vote and her vote alone decided the issue.
Judy has not publicised her vote on the early prisoner release bill yet. Perhaps she is waiting for her final campaign blitz. It is certainly an issue that will get the attention of the voters and it’s an issue the voters will not likely forget.