SALEM, Ore. - Here are a series of news releases issued by Oregon's Democrat and Republican lawmakers after the 2019 legislation session adjourned Sunday evening:
First, from the Oregon House Democrats:
News release from the Oregon House Republican Office:
2019 Session Defined by Overreach
Democrat Supermajority Punishes Working Families
SALEM, Oregon – The 2019 legislative session was an indictment against one-party rule. Instead of working with Republicans to pass legislation that would benefit Oregonians throughout the state, the Democrat supermajority decided to make life harder for Oregon's workers and their families. Oregon is now more unaffordable as a result of what occurred these past months in the Legislature.
"Oregon is on the wrong track," House Republican Leader Carl Wilson declared. "Governor Brown and the supermajority have made it clear they have every intention of rewarding their campaign donors and tightening their grip on power. They have no intention of looking out for the working people of this state who want nothing more than to feed their families, keep a roof over their heads, and ensure a better future for their children."
Despite having record tax revenue, the supermajority colluded with corporations and well-connected special interests to ram through a $2.8 billion hidden sales tax that will be paid by low-income Oregonians and families living paycheck to paycheck. House Democrats then voted to implement Cap and Trade, which would've devastated communities, forced businesses to relocate, and ended thousands of jobs across Oregon.
"The failure of Cap and Trade was a turning point. The thousands of workers that came to the Capitol this past week sent a clear message to the supermajority that enough is enough," Rep. Wilson added. "House Republicans stand with working families, even if the Democrat supermajority won't. We provided common sense solutions that would've made it easier for people to get ahead, but the supermajority refused to consider such legislation. When Republicans regain the majority, we will advance an agenda that supports working families and makes Oregon a more affordable place to work and live."
Statement by Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick on 2019 Legislative Session Sine Die
SALEM – Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) released the following statement today regarding Sine Die of the 2019 Session of the Oregon Legislature:
"In all of my time in the Legislature, this session stands out as historic. For more than 40 years, our state has been trying to figure out how to adequately fund schools. This session, we created billions of dollars in dedicated, sustainable school funding that will help our children get ahead. It will help us improve graduation rates and keep our kids engaged in school so they grow into productive adults.
Senate Democrats also were there for working families all over the state. We passed paid family leave legislation, because no family should have to choose between paying bills and caring for loved ones. We passed the first-of-its-kind statewide rent stabilization bill and delivered historic legislation that will benefit Oregonians for generations.
Among our major accomplishments was significant reform to fix aspects of Measure 11 that are doing more harm than good for kids who get caught up in the justice system. We also tightened requirements for imposing the death penalty. In nearly all cases, the death penalty process yields nothing more than years' worth of legal costs and heartache without actually carrying out the death sentence.
We have more work to do in the battles against climate change and gun violence. Those issues are top priorities for us moving forward. We have not given up on those fights."
Two news releases from the Office of House Speaker Tina Kotek:
Legislature Approves Major Investments in Education,
Housing, Child Welfare, and Mental Health
Strategic, sustainable investments define 2019-21 budget
SALEM – Today the Oregon Legislature wrapped up its work on the next biennial budget, approving significant new investments in education, housing, mental health services, and other critical programs for vulnerable children, seniors, and working families across the state.
"This has been a historic legislative session for many reasons, with structural budget reforms at the top of the list," said Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. "Finally, Oregon is addressing the persistent budget challenges that have been holding back our state for a generation. We approved structural revenue reform to fix our chronically underfunded education system, and we took strong steps forward to stabilize our investments in health care, child welfare, and other critical programs."
In addition to renewing current budgets, new investments for the 2019-21 biennium focused on areas of immediate need. This includes additional funding for:
- Higher education, including increases in college financial assistance (Oregon Opportunity Grant) and community college and university base budgets to help stave off significant tuition increases (this is in addition to a new billion-dollar-per-year investment in the preK-12 education system from the Student Success Act passed in April).
- Housing, including preventing homelessness, preserving affordable housing, and increasing housing supply.
- Child welfare, including additional caseworkers and increased support for foster care.
- Mental health services, including more help to divert people from jail, supporting the behavioral health workforce, and suicide prevention.
Additionally, the Legislature is directing 2% of its ending fund balance to reserves, giving the state a total of $1.8 billion in emergency reserves to protect services in case the economy softens over the next two years. Typically, the Legislature holds back 1% for reserves.
Below are some of the highlights of the 2019-21 budget:
Strengthening Public Education
- K-12 State School Fund - $9.0 billion
- Student Success Act (HB 3427, second year of the biennium)
- Student Investment grants to districts - $472.7 million
- Early Learning Equity Fund - $10 million
- Student Success Teams grants and staff - $14.1 million
- Nutrition program expansion (school breakfast and lunch) - $41.6 million
- Early childhood education increases:
- Oregon PreK/Head Start - $44.4 million
- Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education - $37.5 million
- Preschool Promise - $30.8 million
- Early Head Start - $22.3 million
- Early Learning Professional Development - $12.5 million
- Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program - $125 million in bonding to support capital improvements by school districts
- Higher Education:
- Oregon Opportunity Grant - $164.2 million ($12.5 million increase)
- Community Colleges – $640.9 million ($50.1 million increase)
- Universities - $836.9 million ($59.5 million increases)
- Capital Improvement - $65 million in bonding for deferred maintenance on existing university buildings
- University Innovation Research Fund - $10 million
- This funding will allow universities to pull in additional research dollars to make them more competitive nationally and improve Oregon's workforce
Tackling the Housing Crisis
- $50 million for state homeless assistance programs - $45 million total to Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) and State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP) and an additional $5 million to strengthen temporary shelter options in high-need areas
- $14.5 million to prevent and end homelessness for very low-income children.
- $150 million for affordable housing development
- $50 million for developing permanent supportive housing, plus $2.9 million for rental assistance to individuals living in this kind of housing
- $25 million for affordable housing preservation
- $15 million for manufactured home park preservation and supply
- $15 million for affordable market rate housing acquisition loan program
- $5 million for workforce housing development in rural areas
- $3 million for survivors of domestic violence to get needed housing
- $3 million for renter resources for education and navigation in tight rental markets
- $1.5 million for homeownership counseling services
Helping Vulnerable Oregonians
- Medicaid - $432 million from hospital and insurer assessments to provide long-term stability for the Oregon Health Plan (HB 2010 passed in February)
- Earned Income Tax Credit - $56.7 million to maintain and expand this important tax break for low-income workers
- Child Welfare - an overall $176 million increase to reduce caseloads and provide social services to children in need:
- 347 additional frontline workers, including:
- An additional $8.9 million to add 46 positions to improve staffing levels for the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline.
- Create 44 positions by retaining and restructuring $45.6 million in total funds built into current service level by applying "best practices standards" approach for staffing.
- $8.5 million to pay for therapeutic foster care, foster home recruitment, and foster parent training and support.
- 347 additional frontline workers, including:
- Mental Health - $97 million in new one-time and ongoing investments in strategies to improve statewide mental and behavioral health, including:
- Nearly $10 million in IMPACT grants to support local and regional supports for people with mental illness and/or addictions who cycle through the emergency room, courts, and jails
- Over $7 million to bolster community support for Aid & Assist patients to promote rehabilitation for the Oregon State Hospital population
- $10 million in suicide prevention funding
- $13 million in substance use disorder and mental health fee-for-service provider rate reimbursement increases
- Aging and People with Disabilities - $31.6 million to fund 20 client care surveyor positions, along with program investments that include cost of living adjustments for assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, in-home agencies and PACE
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - $30 million increase to provide meaningful increases in wages for direct support providers to stabilize the workforce by reducing turnover and providing better continuity of care
- $23.9 million of dedicated Measure 96 Lottery Funds for veterans' services across multiple agencies (Department of Veterans' Affairs, Criminal Justice Commission, Oregon Health Authority, and Bureau of Labor and Industries)
- 24% increase of the 2017-19 Legislatively Approved Budget and a 175% increase over the 2015-17 Legislatively Approved Budget for veterans' services (excluding debt service)
- Immigrants and Refugees:
- $2 million to assist in legal defense of immigrants who are at risk due to federal action
- $2 million for grants to refugee resettlement agencies to provide services to refugees
Ensuring Public Health and Safety
- Oregon State Police - $12.3 million for 40 trooper positions
- $20 million to the Public Defense Services Commission for system improvements
- Courthouses - $135 million in bonding for new courthouses in Clackamas, Lane and Linn counties and $8.5 million to complete the new Multnomah County courthouse
- Seismic Renovations - $120 million in bonding for seismic rehabilitation grants for schools and emergency services buildings
- $30 million in bonding for the Special Public Works Fund
- $15 million in bonding for new grant program to maintain levees
- Lottery bonds for local water systems:
- $20 million to the City of Salem for drinking water improvements
- $7.8 million to the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs for water system improvements
- $7 million to the City of Sweet Home for their wastewater treatment plant
- $4 million to the City of Newport for the Big Creek Dams
Supporting Rural Communities
- Health Clinics – $8.6 million in lottery bonds for health care services in Curry, Jefferson and Wallowa counties
- Main Street Revitalization Program - $5 million for main street projects around the state
- Rural Broadband – $1 million to support the expansion of rural broadband
- Farm to School Expansion - $10 million to strengthen the purchase of locally produced food for school nutrition programs
- OSU Extension – $12.75 million increase, including new investments in fire resilience, water basin research, organic farming and berry research
- Deschutes Basin Piping Project - $10 million
- Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation - $14 million
- Port of Coos Bay - $20 million for rail line repairs and channel deepening
80th Oregon Legislative Assembly wraps up historic session
Student Success Act highlights legislation years in the making
SALEM – The 80th Oregon Legislative Assembly adjourned today on the same day as the constitutional adjournment deadline.
"The significant accomplishments this Legislature achieved were many years in the making and will benefit Oregonians for many years to come," House Speaker Tina Kotek said.
At the start of the 2019 session, legislative leadership announced four top priorities for the session: creating a new source of funding for preK-12 education, addressing the housing crisis, stabilizing Medicaid funding, and providing new ways to address the impacts of climate change.
Below is an assessment of the progress the Legislature made on these goals, as well as additional key legislation passed in the final months of the session.
On May 16, Governor Brown signed House Bill 3427, also known as the Student Success Act. The legislation provides $1 billion per year in new funding for Oregon's preK-12 education system by creating a commercial activities tax on businesses that earn more than $1 million in annual Oregon sales. The bill also includes a personal income tax reduction for every Oregonian.
"The Oregon school system has been chronically underfunded for 30 years," Kotek said. "The Student Success Act will be a catalyst to reduce class sizes, increase graduation rates and ultimately help every Oregon child achieve their full potential."
Additionally, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1049 to address the rising rate increases associated with the Public Employee Retirement System. The bill will save school districts and local governments millions of dollars in the coming biennium to prevent layoffs and service cuts.
Early in session the Legislature passed Senate Bill 608, the first bill in the nation to create a statewide law against extreme rent gouging and establish a just-cause standard for evictions.
"SB 608 was artfully crafted to provide renter protections desperately needed across the state, while not discouraging the need for new construction," Kotek said.
The latter half of the session was focused on addressing housing supply, including:
House Bill 2001: Re-legalizes "missing middle" housing, such as duplexes, triplexes and townhomes, in areas where it is currently banned.
House Bill 2002: Appropriates funding and expands protections to preserve affordable housing.
House Bill 2003: Gives local jurisdictions additional direction and resources to plan for their housing needs.
House Bill 2006: Provides funding for grants to support programs and services for low-income families in need of housing.
House Bill 2896: $15 million to help residents of manufactured home parks.
Overall, in bonding and general fund dollars, the Legislature is allocating $350 million in targeted investments to address the state's housing crisis.
The Legislature passed House Bill 2010 in February, which extended an assessment on hospitals and insurers to create a six-year funding stream for the Oregon Health Plan and allow the state to obtain significant federal matching funds.
This Medicaid funding package will protect health care for Oregon's most vulnerable individuals and families – including 400,000 children, as well as seniors and people with disabilities. House Bill 2010 is projected to generate $335 million in revenue for the 2019-21 biennium and more than $1.8 billion for the 2021-23 biennium.
Additionally, House Bill 2270 passed the Senate on the final day of the session to refer a tax increase on tobacco products to voters in November 2020. If implemented, officials estimate the tax would raise $340.4 million for the 2021-23 biennium. Revenue would be distributed on a 90/10 split, with 90% of revenue going to Oregon's Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan and 10% going to fund tobacco cessation and prevention programs.
"The stability House Bill 2010 will provide to the Oregon Health Plan is essential for the health of our state" Kotek said. "If voters approve House Bill 2270, it will help fill an additional $320 million gap in the next biennium and help cut down on youth tobacco use."
Following more than a decade of discussion, the House passed House Bill 2020 on June 17 by a 36-24 margin. The bill created a cap-and-invest system in Oregon, charging polluters to pay for a transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.
The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction met for more than a year to craft the bill, including a statewide tour to solicit further feedback. The bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate.
"The science has been clear that we are facing a shrinking time window to take strong action to fight climate change," Kotek said. "While it's incredibly disappointing that House Bill 2020 did not make it through the Senate, I remain committed to fighting for bold action to address the crisis of our lifetime."
ADDITONAL SIGNIFICANT LEGISLATION
The Legislature also took up recommendations of a report by the Oregon Law Commission to make necessary and significant improvements to workplace culture in the Capitol and address issues of harassment.
House Bill 3377 creates a new independent, nonpartisan Legislative Equity Office and the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Conduct Committee, among other key steps. HCR 20 replaces the current Legislative Branch Personnel Rule 27 and expands the list of individuals subject to the respectful workplace rule beyond just legislators.
Additionally, several more bills passed both chambers that were many years in the making: House Bill 2005, House Bill 2007, House Bill 2015, House Bill 3076 and Senate Bill 1008.
House Bill 2005 will create paid family and medical leave insurance in Oregon. When the benefits start in 2023, employees will have access to paid leave to care for or bond with a child during the first year after birth, adoption, or foster placement; care for themselves or a family member with a serious health condition; and access for those who have experienced domestic violence.
House Bill 2007 will require certain motor vehicle users in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties to transition to clean diesel engines by 2025. Diesel emissions contribute to the state's acute air quality problems and put children, seniors, and those with health challenges at risk.
House Bill 2015 will allow Oregon residents who pass written and driving tests, pay the fees, and provide proof of identity and residency to receive a standard driver's license. The bill includes anti-discrimination language for those with standard licenses or ID cards that are not Real ID compliant and explicitly states that they are not evidence of the holder's citizenship or immigration status.
House Bill 3076 will require the Oregon Health Authority to work with hospitals to create a minimum requirement for community benefit and charity care, as well as establish reasonable limits to medical debt collection and establish written financial policies in commonly spoken languages for patients below 100% of the federal poverty line.
Senate Bill 1008 is a comprehensive bill that is the result of a year-long work group on reforming the juvenile justice system. The bill will ensure that minors charged with Measure 11 crimes will not receive automatic life sentences and will have greater access to a second look hearing, along with other key reforms
News release from Oregon Senate Democrats:
Senate Democrats deliver on education and other priorities for all Oregonians
Oregon Senate Majority Office releases wrap-up of 2019 Legislative Session
SALEM – Senate Democrats delivered on an ambitious agenda in the 2019 Legislative Session to build a healthy and prosperous Oregon.
"The Senate Democrats had big plans this session, particularly when it comes to transforming our schools," Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) said. "So we delivered a historic victory by creating the first dedicated and sustainable revenue source solely for education. Oregonians all over the state also are grappling with housing issues, so we passed a first-of-its-kind rent stabilization bill. Democrats also delivered on key funding for the Oregon Health Plan and criminal justice reforms that will make our state better going into the future."
Democrats earned several key victories fitting with key general priorities for the session. Those include the following bills, listed by topic area in the Oregon Senate Democratic Caucus 2019 Session Agenda:
- Supporting Oregon's environment and natural resources
- SB 90: Bans single-use plastic straws statewide
- SB 256: Bans oil-drilling off the Oregon Coast
- SB 1044: Transitioning state fleet to zero emissions
- HB 2007: Invests in clean diesel upgrades to reduce carbon emissions
- HB 2509: Banned single-use plastic bags across the state
- HB 2623: Banned fracking in the state of Oregon
- HB 2209: Oil train safety plans
- Investing in educational opportunities for all Oregonians
- HB 3427: Student Success Act creates dedicated, sustainable fund for schools
- SB 3: Allows community college to offer bachelor's degrees in pertinent topics
- SB 155: Strengthening sexual misconduct investigations when school employees are involved
- SB 664: Requires genocide education in all school districts in Oregon
- SB 859: Increasing access to Oregon in-state tuition for ‘Dreamers' in grad school
- HB 2191: Mental health excused absences in schools
- HB 2023: Statewide inclusive curriculum standards
- Encouraging healthy communities to thrive
- SB 52: Adi's Act provides supports to help prevent youth suicide
- SB 250: Prohibits health benefit plans from discrimination
- SB 262: Extends sunset on program encouraging multifamily housing development
- SB 278: Extends rent guarantee program to foster youth
- SB 526: Universal voluntary nurse visits for families with newborns
- SB 608: Establishes first-in-the-nation statewide rent stabilization law
- SB 698 and HB 2935: Legislation requiring multiple languages on prescription drug instruction labels, as well as making readers available from pharmacies for the visually impaired
- SB 770: Creates a committee to create a plan and transition plan for universal health care for all Oregonians
- SB 910: Increases access to addiction-treatment medications
- HB 2005: Establishes paid family and medical leave insurance program for all Oregonian workers
- HB 2010: Continues funding mechanism to keep thousands of Oregonians insured through the Oregon Health Plan
- HB 2016: Public Worker Protection Act protects workers' right to participate in labor unions
- HB 2270: Raises tobacco tax, creates new vape product tax to fund Oregon Health Plan and keep thousands of Oregonians on their health insurance
- Advancing government accountability and transparency
- SJR 18: Constitutional amendment referral for allowing campaign contribution and expenditure limits
- SB 15: Gives Oregon Youth Authority ability to inspect facilities where Oregon's youth are detained
- SB 420: Expunging past marijuana convictions
- SB 478: Prohibits campaign funds' use as ‘hush money'
- SB 861: Paid postage for Oregon's ballot return envelopes
- SB 870: Joining the National Popular Vote Compact
- SB 944: Requires audits after every election to ensure accuracy of results
- SB 1049: PERS reform
- HB 2027: Gives Child Care Office more enforcement tools to protect child safety in child care facilities
- HB 2430 and HB 2353: Public Records Advisory Council and public records accountability
- HB 2716 and HB 2983: Campaign finance donor transparency
- HB 3310: Oregon Voting Rights Act will give greater voice to the underrepresented
- Promoting public and workplace safety
- SB 1: Creates coordinating council to ensure better services for youth
- SB 474: Neglectful parents won't be able to collect in lawsuits when their children die under Department of Human Services care
- SB 479: Requires written workplace discrimination policies
- SB 576: ‘Kaylee's Law' prohibits campus security from looking like police
- SB 577: Cracks down on hate crimes
- SB 726: Protections for survivors of workplace harassment
- SB 944: Requires audits after every election to ensure accuracy of results
- SB 962: Streamlines U Visa process to increase reporting of human trafficking and other crimes
- SB 995: Extends period a survivor can file for a Sexual Assault Protective Order
- SB 1008: Establishes process for second-look hearings, gives juveniles a second chance to reform instead of becoming hardened criminals
- SB 1013: Death penalty reform
- HCR 20 and HB 3377: Update Oregon Legislature's current safe and respectful workplace policies, establish new response procedures for harassment and create independent Legislative Equity Office to address complaints
- HB 2013: Closing the ‘intimate partner and stalker loophole'
- HB 2015: Improving public safety by making driver licenses available to all
- HB 2328: Cracks down on auto theft
- HB 2393: Updates ‘revenge porn' definition to include text messages and other methods of distribution