The Oregon State Legislature adjourned Monday night, closing out a productive session during a challenging time for our state and the country. We finished a day ahead of schedule, and I'm proud of the work we did to maintain and create jobs, protect vital services, and move the state towards economic recovery.
I look forward to spending more time at home and catching up with individuals and community groups in the district. There's always more work to do and problems to solve. I hope you will join me at my upcoming town hall to debrief about the session and discuss ways I can be helpful to our community in the months ahead.
Wednesday, July 15, 7:00 p.m. Session Wrap-Up Town Hall Kenton Firehouse, 2209 N. Schofield Street
I will also be attending the following neighborhood association meetings:
St. Johns NA, Monday, July 13, 7:00 p.m., St. John's Community Center, 8427 N Central Street
Arbor Lodge NA, Thursday, July 16, 6:30 p.m., Kenton Firehouse, 2209 N Schofield Street
Overlook NA, Tuesday July 21, 7 p.m., Kaiser Town Hall, 3704 N Interstate Ave
Session Highlights from My Office We passed hundreds of bills this session, ranging from a variety of minor technical things to some major policy initiatives. I personally worked hard on dozens of bills and spent a good deal of my time focused on the Department of Human Services budget as the co-chair of the human services budget subcommittee. As the Majority Whip for the House, I also played an integral role in managing how bills moved and how we worked in a bipartisan fashion on the House floor. Here are a few of the bills I considered priorities this session:
Health Care Reform and Expanded Access to the Oregon Health Plan (HB 2116 and HB 2009): I served on the House Health Care Committee, where we did the bulk of the work to craft bills to increase access to health care by enrolling an additional 80,000 kids and 35,000 low-income adults in the Oregon Health Plan and create the Oregon Health Authority and implement cost-containment strategies to reform health care in Oregon.
Nutrition Information for Consumers (HB 2726): I led the fight to require chain restaurants across the state to post calorie information on menus and menu boards and provide additional nutrition information to consumers to empower them with the information needed to make healthier choices.
School Nurses (HB 2693): I sponsored a bill to implement task force recommendations to improve the availability of school nursing services across the state, including establishing timelines for the state to achieve the national nurse-to-student ratio (1 nurse for every 750 students) over the next decade.
Neighborhood Livability (HB 3201): I co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Sal Esquivel from Medford that would have allowed the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to exercise greater enforcement authority over serious or persistent problems with licensed bars and taverns. The bill passed the House, but died in a Senate committee, so I hope to bring this bill back in the future.
Foster Children and Psychotropic Drugs (HB 3114): I passed a bill that addresses the overmedication of children and youth in foster care by requiring a mental health assessment before the prescription of any new psychotropic medication and an annual review for children under 6 and youth who are taking more than one psychotropic drug.
Metal Theft (SB 570): My bill dealing specifically with catalytic converter theft was addressed in the bipartisan comprehensive bill that strengthens protections against metal theft by clarifying the role of scrap metal dealers in reporting suspected stolen metal and keeping records of transactions, banning cash payments which incentivize metal theft with immediate reward, and increasing the tools that law enforcement has to combat the growing problem in our communities.
Farm-to-School and School Gardens (HB 2800): I worked with co-sponsor Rep. Brian Clem from Salem to seek additional investments in farm-to-school and school garden programs in Oregon. Although our bill did not make it out of the budget committee, we were successful in making sure the statewide positions in the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education were not eliminated so we can keep momentum on this important initiative.
Facing the worst economy in generations, the Legislature was tasked with prioritizing essential services: health and human service programs, education, and public safety. My colleagues and I focused on passing smart policies that improve the quality of life in Oregon. We asked big corporations and households making over $250,000 a year to contribute their fair share in taxes, minimizing the burden for working families while protecting the small businesses that will be the engine of our economic recovery. And we combed the budget for ways to do more with less so we could make your tax dollar go further.
I hope you are pleased with the work we accomplished in Salem.
Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts.