ONTARIO — Among the bills that were heard last week were some of particular interest to people in Malheur County. These included bills on hemp and processing of livestock within the state.

House Bill 4051 would establish the Oregon Hemp Commission, imposing a minimal fee to provide funds for such things as research and marketing, while House Bill 4072 will bring the state into conformity with the federal rules and regulations of the Farm Bill. Rep. Brad Witt, in testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use, said the bill is necessary to allow the state Department of Agriculture to continue to administer the Oregon’s Hemp Program after Oct. 31.

Also, in the same session, the committee heard testimony regarding House Bill 4152, which would establish a state meat inspection program equal that would have the same requirements as USDA meat inspections.

One of the sponsors of the Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, and other supporters, said the bill could provide more processors for producers to take their livestock to, reducing the amount of travel for some.

Lauren Henderson, with ODA, said the legislation could solve the issue of people wanting to donate meat to the Oregon Food Bank, a local food pantry or school, but who are unable to because of the requirement that the meat must be USDA inspected and the unavailability of USDA certified plant. This would include youth raising animals for 4-H and FFA.

Brock Smith noted that a similar bill had been voted out the committee but had been pulled before reaching the floor to allow for the bill to be corrected.

Friday, the House Judiciary Committee was taking testimony on House Bill 4005 which would require the owner and possess or of a firearm to secure their firearm or firearms with a trigger or cable lock, in a locked container or in a gun room.

Much of the testimony by proponents of the bill focused on the issue of guns being too easily accessible for people who decide to commit suicide.

Opponents of the bill said many people have guns for self defense and having guns locked away would restrict their ability to access their weapons when needed.

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