The 2019 Legislative Session just wrapped up, and it was one for the history books. This incredible session saw the legislature deliver on its commitment to tackling some of the biggest challenges facing our state, to ensure that Oregon is a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
From record investments in public education to health care affordability and access to affordable housing, I was proud to be part of the effort to move Oregon forward for everyone.
Keeping Faith with Our Veterans:
As the chair of the House Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness, I led bipartisan efforts to:
- Protect Ballot Measure 96 Lottery funds dedicated for veterans’ outreach and services from being “swept” away for other purposes (HB 5538).
- Expanded investments in veteran’s education (HB 2817) and workforce readiness programs (HB 2202); and
- Strengthened protections for veterans struggling with keeping secure housing (HB 2530). We made significant progress this year, but we have more work to do – and we have plans to continue the fight to keep fair with the men and women we sent into harm’s way.
Landmark Investments in Public Education:
Following decades of disinvestment in our public schools, this year, the Oregon Legislature took decisive action to correct course and move our state in the right direction. The Student Success Act (HB 3427) will invest $1 billion per year in early education and K-12 programs across the state, in an effort to build a model public education system. This translates to roughly an additional $36.3 million dollars for Salem-Keizer Schools and an additional $2.7 Million for Central Schools ($39 million total). We also advocated for and won record higher education funding, including an expansion of financial aid that will help 2,500 more students afford to go to college (HB 5024).
Stable, Affordable Health Care:
Too many Oregonians struggle with the cost of health care. That’s why the Legislature stabilized funding for Oregon’s Medicaid system, which provides health care for Oregon families – including 400,000 children, as well as seniors and people with disabilities (HB 2010). In addition, the legislature voted to increase transparency in prescription drug prices (HB 2658), regulate how middlemen increase the cost of prescription drugs (HB 2185), and ensure non-profit hospitals are providing adequate charity care (HB 3076).
Supporting Working Families:
Working Oregonians deserve certainty and protection in their employment. This year, the Oregon Legislature passed a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (so that no Oregonian has to decide between paying their bills and taking care of a sick loved one or a new baby (HB 2005). The legislature also passed the Workplace Fairness Act, protecting Oregonians from workplace discrimination and harassment through a member of provisions that level the playing field between workers and employers (SB 726).
Strengthening Our Community:
This Legislative Session, we made critical choices affecting our state, community, and neighborhood resilience. In addition to continuing the work involved with the rehabilitation of the Center Street Bridge, we expanded preparedness education for first responders, targeted “lifeline” airports for capital improvements, increased our 9-1-1 investments, and restored a post-catastrophe building assessment program that will greatly accelerate re-occupancy of private as well as public structures after a major disaster. Our committee is committed to transforming our statewide emergency response and recovery posture; together, we can get Oregon ready for the disasters we know are coming.
Bonding- Statewide and Regional Impacts:
The Legislature passed a 1.5 billion bonding packing that will fund key construction projects across the state, including major investments in school buildings, affordable housing, veterans’ services, and economic development.
Below are some highlighted impacts for the State and Marion and Polk counties:
- $150 million for the Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) housing programs to finance the construction of an estimated 2,168 rental units for low-income Oregonians
- $125 million to fund matching grants to school districts for capital costs including construction, improvement, or remodel of facilities and acquisition of equipment
- $120 million to provide grants for Seismic Rehabilitation of public education and emergency services buildings
- $65 million for capital improvement and renewal of public universities facilities
- $50 million to finance the construction of an estimated 500 units of permanent supportive housing.
- $30 million to recapitalize the Special Public Works Fund for municipal infrastructure projects
- $15 million for levee inspection, accreditation, certification, or repair project grants
- $15 million for water supply development projects
- $25 million for affordable housing preservation
- $15 million for affordable market-rate housing acquisition loan program
- $5 million to recapitalize the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund for cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties
- $5 million to Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program
Marion and Polk Counties:
- $27.8 million for the Oregon Supreme Court Building
- $20 million to the City of Salem for drinking water improvements
- $14.1 million for the renovation of cottages at the McLaren Youth Correctional Facility
- $10 million for the Revenue Building Electoral Systems upgrades
- $6.5 million for Salem Aviation Support Facility Emergency Enhancement
- $5.8 million for Salem and Anderson Readiness Center Service Life extension
- $5 million for the Justice Building Exterior Renovations
- $4 million to YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties for veterans’ affordable housing project
- $3 million to renovate the State Fair Horse Barn
- $2.5 million to the Center for Hope and Safety for the HOPE Plaza
- $2 million to renovate the State Fair Poultry Barn
- $1.9 million to Mill City for storm drainage improvements
- $1.8 million to renovate and expand the infirmary, clinic, and pharmacy at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility
- $1 million for the Gerry Frank/Salem Rotary Amphitheater
- $1 million to the YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties for veterans’ affordable housing
- $300,000 to the City of Independence for the Mid-Willamette Valley Trolley
- $250,000 to the Liberty House of Salem for childhood abuse assessment and support services
- $100,000 for the Salem River of Peace Mosaic