State Legislature Passes Bill To Keep Innkeeper’s Bedbug Infestations Secret?

Posted on March 25, 2013

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Oregon (The Gaslamp Post) – Last Tuesday the Oregon State Senate passed a bill which would permit pest control companies within their state to keep reports of bedbug infestations between them and the state health department.  It also prohibits public open records requests for any such findings at any given business, from the same state department.

HB 2131, or The Bed Bug Secrecy Bill, requires “certain information pertaining to bedbug infestations to be held confidentially by public health authorities and exempts information from disclosure under public records law.”

Baby with bedbug bites

In other words any motel, hotel, travel lodge, bed and breakfast, or timeshare in the state of Oregon that has experienced an infestation of bedbugs, is not only under no obligation to inform you of it, but you the consumer have no way of researching it.  State law will soon enable these kinds of establishments from literally keeping you in the dark.

According to HB 2131, Section 1, which declares this situation an “emergency”:

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the

following information reported by pest control operators or

otherwise in the custody of a public health authority must be

maintained confidentially and is not subject to disclosure under

ORS 192.410 to 192.505:

(a) The location of a site where a pesticide intended to

prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate an infestation of bedbugs has

been applied or is to be applied;

(b) The identity of any person who owns, rents or leases

property at the site described in paragraph (a) of this

subsection…

(3) The information described in subsection (2) of this section

may be disclosed among public health authorities or to the State

Department of Agriculture, the Occupational Safety and Health

Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services or

the Pesticide Analytical and Response Center, but may not be

further disclosed to a person not otherwise listed in this

subsection.

Since this bill has already passed both the state House of Representatives (51 to 1) and state Senate (20 to 9), it is on to the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber (D) in Salem.  While it is staggering how such a bill could make it through state legislature, the bill as it was written, claims to have the best intentions in mind.

According to Section 2 of the bill:

This 2013 Act being necessary for the immediate

preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency

is declared to exist, and this 2013 Act takes effect on its

passage.

So now the next question is; who voted for this?  According to the Oregonian, the following members of the state House voted IN FAVOR of this on February 13, 2013:

Member

Party

City

Dist.

J. Bailey

D Portland

42

J. Barker

D Aloha

28

P. Barnhart

D Eugene

11

C. Bentz

R Ontario

60

V. Berger

R Salem

20

D. Boone

D Cannon Beach

32

P. Buckley

D Ashland

5

K. Cameron

R Salem

19

B. Clem

D Salem

21

J. Conger

R Bend

54

J. Davis

R Wilsonville

26

M. Dembrow

D Portland

45

M. Doherty

D Tigard

35

S. Esquivel

R Medford

6

S. Fagan

D Clackamas

51

L. Frederick

D Portland

43

T. Freeman

R Roseburg

2

C. Garrett

D Lake Oswego

38

V. Gilliam

R Silverton

18

D. Gomberg

D Otis

10

C. Gorsek

D Troutdale

49

M. Greenlick

D Portland

33

C. Harker

D Beaverton

34

W. Hicks

R Grants Pass

3

P. Holvey

D Eugene

8

V. Hoyle

D Eugene

14

J. Huffman

R The Dalles

59

M. Johnson

R Hood River

52

B. Kennemer

R Oregon City

39

A. Keny-Guyer

D Portland

46

B. Komp

D Woodburn

22

T. Kotek

D Portland

44

W. Krieger

R Gold Beach

1

J. Lively

D Springfield

12

G. Matthews

D Gresham

50

C. McKeown

D Coos Bay

9

M. McLane

R Medford

55

N. Nathanson

D Eugene

13

A. Olson

R Albany

15

J. Parrish

R West Linn

37

T. Read

D Beaverton

27

J. Reardon

D Happy Valley

48

D. Richardson

R Central Point

4

G. Smith

R Heppner

57

S. Sprenger

R Scio

17

K. Thatcher

R Keizer

25

J. Thompson

R Dallas

23

C. Tomei

D Milwaukie

41

B. Unger

D Hillsboro

29

J. Vega Pederson

D Portland

47

J. Weidner

R Yamhill

24

G. Whisnant

R Sunriver

53

G. Whitsett

R Klamath Falls

56

J. Williamson

D Portland

36

B. Witt

D Clatskanie

31

Only ONE state representative voted NO for this.  That would be Rep. Brent Barton(D) from District 40.

The following gutless state reps whom refused to vote (and we all know how Uncle Gaslamp feels about spineless politicians who refuse to vote when it is their job to do so)on this bill were:

 Member

Party

City

Dist.

J. Gallegos

D Hillsboro

30

S. Gelser

D Corvallis

16

B. Hanna

R Roseburg

7

B. Jenson

R Pendleton

58

The state Senators whom thought that this bill would be a good idea and voted in favor of this on March 19, 2013 were:

Member

Party

City

Dist.

H. Baertschiger

R Central Point

2

L. Beyer

D Springfield

6

B. Close

R Albany

8

P. Courtney

D Salem

11

R. Devlin

D Tualatin

19

J. Dingfelder

D Portland

23

C. Edwards

D Eugene

7

L. George

R Sherwood

13

B. Hansell

R Pendleton

29

B. Johnson

D Scappoose

16

T. Knopp

R Bend

27

J. Kruse

R Roseburg

1

L. Monnes Anderson

D Gresham

25

R. Monroe

D Portland

24

F. Prozanski

D Eugene

4

A. Roblan

D North Bend

5

D. Rosenbaum

D Portland

21

C. Shields

D Portland

22

B. Starr

R Hillsboro

15

C. Thomsen

R Welches

26

The following Senators voted “nay” on this bill:

Member

Party

City

Dist.

A. Bates

D Ashland

3

B. Boquist

R Dallas

12

G. Burdick

D Portland

18

T. Ferrioli

R John Day

30

F. Girod

R Stayton

9

M. Hass

D Beaverton

14

A. Olsen

R Canby

20

D. Whitsett

R Klamath Falls

28

J. Winters

R Salem

10

The only state Senator who refused to vote was E. Steiner Hayward(D), district 17.

Unfortunately, according to the Oregon State Constitution, a bill can pass in both the House and Senate with just a simple majority.

Considering Oregon to be your vacation destination this summer?  Far be it from me to tell you where you should or shouldn’t go.

Just keep in mind that the necessity to keep bedbug infestations secret has become so imperative that an “emergency” has been declared, and it is completely necessary for “the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety” to keep it so.

Am I missing something here?

(h/t:  OregonLive)