From my close of session Newsletter:
During the bustle of session (we sorted through 2,799 bills in 2015) there often isn’t time to properly acknowledge all the incredible work being done. The House passed 1,079 bills, and 921 of those also passed the Senate. Each one represents a tremendous amount of work. Sponsors of bills work hard to refine their concepts and recruit supporters. Each of us carefully scrutinizes the bills we’re voting on, and works hard to make sure we’re making the right decisions (we all live in fear of unintended consequences).
The truth is, the 2015 legislative session was hugely successful despite the disappointment on my top priority of major climate change reforms. The legislature worked well with Governor Kate Brown, and was able to form bipartisan consensus on the vast majority of votes. Additionally, we secured a handful of hard-fought victories on commonsense measures to protect working families that had been blocked by special interests in past sessions.
Now that the dust has settled, I wanted to put together a list of legislative accomplishments that might be of interest to you.
HB 2955–Funding Civics training for Oregon Teachers.
HB 3499–Allocated $12.5 million every two years from the State School Fund to English Language Learner programs to improve graduation rates for some of K-12 students, particularly Latino students.
HB 5016–Provides $15 million for Early Learning Hubs, $9.1 million for Kindergarten Readiness grants, an additional 8.8 million for Oregon Pre-Kindergarten. Provides $3 million to help close the achievement gap for African American students, and $1.5 million to improve education for Native American students.
HB 5017–Funded Oregon’s K-12 education system at $7.4 billion, about $500 million more than the Governor recommended at the end of 2014, not enough to meet the Quality Education Model we need but better than the last several biennia.
SB 612–Requires that school districts screen students for dyslexia and ensure staff members receive annual training on dyslexia.
HIGHER EDUCATION & CAREER READINESS
HB 2407–All qualified students will receive a second year of the Oregon Opportunity Grant if they meet academic standards.
HB 2728–Sets up the Oregon Talent Council to fund innovative new programs to help Oregonians develop the science, technology, engineering, math, and other technical skills to get good jobs.
HB 2973–Establishes an Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Act, which requires public universities to offer two or more bachelor’s degrees at the cost of $10,000 dollars or less.
HB 3072–Invests $35 million in shop classes and vocation education to help people secure good jobs.
HB 3149 –Provides that a student who has not been enrolled in a school for 90 days may receive medical treatment from a registered nurse who is employed by a public or private school.
HB 5005–Invests $240 million for construction projects and upgrades to Oregon’s public universities.
SB 81–The Oregon Promise, offers community college tuition waivers for needier recent high school graduates, expected to help as many as 6,000 students in its first year.
HB 2734–Creates land bank to spur cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields, or sites where toxic substances are left over, such as old gas stations.
SB 324–Provided for cleaner air in Oregon and contributing to the global effort to address climate change by requiring fuel companies to develop cleaner fuels
HELPING WORKING FAMILIES
HB 2007–Supports pay equity for women and minorities by ensuring employees may inquire about and disclose compensation information without risk of retaliation.
HB 2015–Keeps families from having day care subsidy cut off if their income rises slightly. Allows families one year of eligibility so they don’t lose their child care when they experience a change in income or work hours and allows working parents enrolled in college classes to qualify.
HB 2171–Reauthorized the Individual Development Account tax credit program that helps low income Oregonians develop financial management skills. Extended the Working Families and Dependent Care tax credit, helping Oregonians afford childcare. Prevents corporations from sidestepping their obligations to help support basic state services by requiring all corporations to at least pay the corporate minimum tax, and prohibiting the use of tax credits to bring corporate taxes to zero. Protects full-time military members from an Oregon Department of Revenue action that taxed their income even though they were nonresidents.
HB 2545–Expanding access to the free school lunch program. Requires that school districts provide lunch free of charge to students who are eligible for reduced price lunches, to ensure that students have access to food so they can focus on learning.
HB 2578– My bill to allow patients in hospice care to end their contracts with telecommunications and cell phone companies without being charged termination fees.
HB 278–Protects Oregonians from unlicensed predatory lenders.
HB 2893–Allows savings accounts that earn entries in prize raffles in lieu of interest, which can be more effective at motivating people to build their savings.
HB 2960–Groundbreaking legislation that helps address the growing problem of workers facing retirement without the resources to support themselves. Ensures all workers in Oregon are able to set aside part of each paycheck to save for retirement in appropriate investment accounts overseen by the Oregon State Treasury.
HB 3025–Reduces burden on taxpayers resulting from persistent unemployment of individuals convicted of crimes by requiring that potential employers wait until interviews before asking about criminal history.
HB 3172–My bill to curb overly aggressive collections tactics by Oregon Department of Revenue in pursuing payment of tax debts owed by low income Oregonians.
HB 3236–Protects workers from being forced by employers to comply with inappropriate and overly restrictive non-competition agreements.
HB 3380–Expands access to state-funded pre-school, providing access to preschool children in families up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
HB 5005–Invests $40 million in affordable housing construction, and 2.5 million to help preserve existing affordable housing.
SB 454–Protects public health and protects workers from being forced to work while sick by requiring that workers across Oregon get paid sick time.
HB 2015–Expands working parents’ access to child-care subsidy payments and provides subsidies over a longer period.
HB 2075–Provides needed resources for improvements at Oregon’s regional airports.
HB 2171–Extends the Film and Video Production tax credit that helps create jobs in Oregon’s acting, film, animation, and video gaming industries. Eugene’s growing gaming and general software businesses will benefit.
HB 5005–Provides $50 million to fund water projects that could bring additional Columbia River water to Oregon farmers and allow them to increase production.
HB 5030–Invests $10 million for upgrades to the Coos Bay Rail Line, a critical piece of infrastructure for Oregon’s economy.
HB 5030–Invests $45 million to upgrade rail, air, marine, and other transportation infrastructure.
HB 5040–Provides $10 million to continue Amtrak service in the Willamette Valley, a major initiative of Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and the Lane County Legislative Delegation.
SB 5507–Grants $130,000 to the Department of Transportation to fund the Seniors and People with Disabilities Transportation Program to help counties, tribes and transit districts with transportation, particularly in rural areas.
SB 61–Reduces the ways multi-national corporations use subsidiaries in certain foreign countries to avoid paying their fair share of Oregon income and excise taxes.
SB 611–Removes barriers to technology companies creating jobs for Oregonians by reforming property tax assessment policies to encourage top technology brands to build facilities in Oregon.
HB 2171–Extended the Rural Medical Provider Tax Credit to make sure rural Oregonians have access to health care services.
HB 2546–Regulates retailers of electronic cigarettes, prohibits purchase by minors and places use under the restrictions of the Clean Air Act.
HB 2758–Protects women’s privacy by allowing patients to keep sensitive medical information private. Ensures that a person may have their Explanation of Benefits forms sent directly to themselves instead of the insurance policyholder. This ensures that victims of domestic abuse who are still dependent on their spouse aren’t forced to reveal private medical information.
HB 3343–Helps women avoid unintended pregnancy by making it more convenient for them to get birth control. Requires that birth control prescriptions may be dispensed in amounts that cover up to 12 months.
SB 1–Reforming and retooling governance of Oregon’s Health Insurance Exchange.
SB 478–Provides for monitoring potentially toxic chemicals present in children’s’ products such as toys and sippy cups, and creates process to ban using toxic chemicals in children’s products.
SB 5507–Provides $20 million for new housing dedicated to individuals living with mental illness or addictions. Allocated $3 million in lottery bond money for Trillium Family Services to build a 16-bed facility for teenagers in the Secure Adolescent Inpatient Program, replacing an outdated treatment center in Corvallis. Provides $10 million for grants to safety-net clinics for children, including school-based health centers, federally qualified health centers and rural health centers. Extended and boosted funding for Farm to School and School Gardens programs by $3.3 million, helping school districts purchase local foods and offer food-based education programs run by school districts, non-profit partners, or commodity commissions.
SB 895–Makes sure parents are able to be informed about how many students at their children’s’ school could contribute to the spread of contagious preventable diseases because they have not received recommended immunizations.
SB 900–Helps inform Oregonians of the cost of medical procedures, requiring the Oregon Health Authority to publish the costs of in-patient and outpatient medical procedures performed at Oregon Hospitals.
HB 2002–Bans racial profiling by prohibiting police from targeting suspects based on age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, sex, political affiliation, or religion.
HB 2317–Helps deter rape and crimes of sexual violence, and helps victims pursue justice by doubling the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes from six to twelve years.
HB 2628–Helps protect stalking victims by disallowing court fees in protective stalking actions.
HB 2931–Creates a radon-testing program for all of Oregon’s schools to make sure students are safe from this substance, which kills approximately 21,000 Americans each year.
HB 3035–Encourages safety in school zones by allowing greater use of flashing lights in certain school zones.
HB 3225–Protects Oregonians by improving the state’s capacity to respond to accidents involving trains carrying hazardous materials.
HB 3468–Protects victims of domestic abuse by making it a crime to manipulate a person by threatening harm to their pets.
HB 3549–Increases accountability for aerial pesticide applicators to protect neighbors from harmful chemicals.
HB 5005–Sets aside $300 million to pay for earthquake readiness improvements at Oregon’s K12 schools.
HB 5030–Invests $35 million to improve safety at some of Oregon’s deadliest intersections and roadways.
SB 525–Protects families from gun violence by prohibiting domestic abusers from owning guns or ammunition.
SB 941–Ensures criminals, the mentally ill, and others who cannot legally own a gun are not able to sidestep background checks by buying guns through classified ads, websites, or other private transactions. The bill makes sure all gun buyers go through a background check.
INCREASING GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY
HB 2375–Increases public accountability and transparency in Oregon’s contracts with businesses for the procurement of goods and services.
HB 2566–Streamlining the permitting process for out-of-state businesses who come to help Oregonians after a disaster or emergency.
HB 3479–Creates position of Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator in Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
SB 515–My bill to improve usability and add content to the Oregon Government Transparency Website.