May revenue forecast, budget bills, and transportation

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Hello! What a wonderful spring we’ve had. Crops growing, hay being cut, baseball games and the state track meet completed. There are only a few weeks of school left, and my grandchildren are counting the days!

While many of my priority bills have already passed or are working their way through the process, there are still six weeks of session left before we adjourn for the interim. The bills that remain in my committees and more importantly in Ways & Means represent some of the most significant bills of the session, and ones that deserve the most careful consideration. We also recently got the May revenue forecast, which plays a large part in shaping the conversation for the rest of session. 

May Revenue Forecast

Overall, the May Economic and Revenue Forecast is good news for Oregon families and the priority services—like K-12 schools—that they depend on. The economy continues to improve, driven by new jobs, lower unemployment, and wage growth. Because of the K-12 budget bill that passed in March, $105 million in additional funds will automatically go to K-12 classrooms for the 2015-17 budget. The economic growth also means that we’ll be able to meet needs in critical areas: public safety, services for kids and struggling families, and higher education—and set aside some money in savings for the future. 

Budget Bills

There are still a number of budgets that need to be passed this session, including both the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Quality, two budgets that are particularly important to our community.

  • Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ): This agency has been in the news in my district many times in recent months related to the processing of air and water quality permits from Intel in Hillsboro. DEQ is, in some cases, up to twenty years behind on processing permit requests for different organizations (see a great article in Street Roots from February of this year). The budget for this agency, House Bill 5018, is currently in the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources, where a work session is scheduled for May 28. A recent report by the Legislative Fiscal Office at the request of the committee recommended that DEQ be allocated an additional $11 million over their 2013-2015 budget in order to improve processing times for water and air quality permits, and improve other service areas.
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW): Currently the department’s budget (Senate Bill 5511) is in Ways and Means, in the Subcommittee on Natural Resources. It has had six public hearings since March, and is awaiting further action. This budget is intimately linked to another budget policy bill, House Bill 2402, which is also in Ways & Means. HB 2402 relates to certain new and increased fees for ODFW, a critical issue for a department that is heavily dependent on fee revenue.  I am following both of these bills closely and am hopeful we can reach a compromise that allows the Department to continue offering quality services and protects hunters and fishers.
  • Other budget bills: We have passed 20 Budget Bills since May 8th. A few budgets we have passed so far include: Department of Aviation, Department of Justice, Department of Land Conservation and Development, and the Department of State Lands.  Click the link above to see a list of all budget bills assigned to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Other Important Legislation

House Joint Resolution 31 –Passed the House on May 19th, 47-12, referred to Senate Rules

Currently, Oregon is the only state in the nation in which the legislature has no impeachment authority. HJR 31 vests the power of impeachment with the Oregon Legislature for “malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty or other high crime or misdemeanor.” The impeachment would be started in the House of Representatives, and then tried in the State Senate. It would require a three-fifths majority in the House, and a two-thirds majority in the Senate to pass. 

If passed by the Senate, HJR 31 will be referred to the voters on the November 2016 ballot. 

Senate Bill 321 A – Passed the House May 20th, 31-29, awaiting Governor signature

Currently, all Oregon students are required to attend school no later than age seven, with some exceptions for students who are homeschooled, in private school, or not developmentally ready to attend regular public school. This bill amends the age from seven to six, but does not change current opt-out procedures, nor does it affect the right of parents to delay their child going to school until they are ready. 

SB 321 Snapshot

Click the photo at left to hear my remarks about SB 321 A on the House floor. 

Senate Bill 188 B – Unanimously passed the House May 28th, awaiting Senate concurrence

          This bipartisan bill will ban the sharing of intimate personal images without the consent of the person in the image. So-called “revenge porn” has been used to harass, humiliate, or injure men and women by disseminating intimate personal images depicting sexual acts or explicit nudity, most often taken consensually within a romantic relationship. These photos are then often posted online after a relationship has ended. Senate Bill 188 will classify revenge porn as a Class A misdemeanor, elevated to a Class C felony for a second or subsequent conviction.

The Work That Lies Ahead

Finally, an issue critically important to our state: Transportation Funding. Ever since my first days as a Metro Councilor in the 1990s, I have been told that Oregon’s transportation infrastructure is in serious danger of falling into a severe state of disrepair. According to a 2013 report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Oregon’s transportation infrastructure is a C-. Their data shows that, for example, 23 percent of our bridges are either “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” This is the same information I was given nearly 10 years ago.

The 78th Legislative Assembly has both a unique opportunity and a critical mission to act to craft a transportation package that funds much-needed repairs to our aging infrastructure and develops a sensible path forward for improving our transportation system. I intend to be a part of the solution this session, and will work with my colleagues to reach a balanced compromise. 


On May 21st I was honored to host the first Oregon Youth Speech and Debate Leadership day at the Capitol. 

We had students from Glencoe, Westview, Tigard, Grants Pass, Clatskanie, Three Rivers, and Oak Hill High Schools - including a few former students who are now coaches!

Speech and Debate Day
Susan and Senator Riley

Senator Riley and I presented the first place trophy to the first student to finish the Team Up for Students 5K Fun Run and Walk in Cornelius on Saturday, May 16th.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward student supplies and classroom materials in Washington County. This year’s proceeds will go to Cornelius Elementary.

I was happy to be there supporting students in my district. 


May 16th was also the 4th annual "Take Care of Cornelius Day." 

Every year my church volunteers, and this year we helped spread bark dust at the Cornelius Library. 



Volunteering in Cornelius
Conversion therapy signing

On May 21st Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2307 into law. Also known as the "Youth Mental Health Protection Act," HB 2307 bans the practice of conversion therapy in the State of Oregon. 

Until Next Time

Let our office know if you need any information or have any questions about work or bills before us in Salem. See you soon!

Yours truly,


Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301