Capitol News

Rob Monroe

Hello Friends and Neighbors, 

With only a few days before the close of the session, I am striving hard to help keep Oregon families safe, healthy, and financially stable. From advocating for a higher statute of limitations for rape victims to increased education funding for our schools, I am fighting for the rights of every Oregonian. And we have made progress! I’ve highlighted below a few of the important measures which are either in the works currently or now law. 

Supporting Veterans

A soldier hugs his little daughter.

I would like to thank our veterans who have served our nation and endured unimaginable dangers, and yet overcome. The sacrifice you and your family have made deserves our utmost respect and honor. To support you, I carried the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs budget, Senate Bill 5539, on the Senate floor yesterday. Passing unanimously, the budget will soon be voted on in the House. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs facilitates home loans, training, and a veterans’ suicide intervention telephone hotline.

Protecting Kids from Toxins

A baby plays with toys.

Toxic chemicals pose serious health risks, ranging from learning disabilities to cancer. However, companies are allowed to sell kids' products which include known hazards, like arsenic, formaldehyde, mercury, and phthalates. Children are especially sensitive to these dangerous chemicals. Senate Bill 478A, the Toxic Free Kids Act, would require the Oregon Health Authority to maintain a list of chemicals of high concern for children’s health, and require manufactures to disclose and in some cases, eliminate or reduce their use in children’s products. It passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee on today and I will soon have the opportunity to support it in the full Ways and Means Committee and on the Senate floor. I love kids and am really excited to see this bill move forward to protect our children’s health and safety.  

Marijuana Update

Marijuana grows in a greenhouse.

After working tirelessly for months, the Joint Senate and House Marijuana Committee passed legislation Monday that will help Oregon implement Measure 91 in a reasonable and compassionate way. House Bill 3400 creates a $20 patient card for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and allows caregivers to continue to make tinctures and other types of concentrates for their patients. Additionally, counties and cities which voted against Measure 91 by at least 55% can prohibit marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries in their area. 

Landmark Community College and Universities Budget

College students studying.

With the highest funding levels ever, the higher education budget (House Bill 5024) passed out of the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee, which I chair, on Tuesday. It signals a dramatic shift from the drought conditions universities and community colleges endured during the recession. A 30 percent funding increase from last year, universities will receive $665 million. Likewise community college funding will increase by 20 percent, totaling $550 million. This funding boost will enable Oregon universities and community colleges to keep tuition costs from rising substantially, while bolstering their career technical training and maintaining high quality education. Additionally, sports lottery funds will be used to support smaller universities’ women’s sports programs.

Student Debit Card Fairness Act

Senator Monroe stands up for student rights on the Senate Floor.

Campus debit card companies often charge students excessive fees in order to access their financial aid. These fees include a $0.50 debit card transaction fee and a $2.50 fee for every time it is used at an ATM that is not operated by the contracting company. The Student Debit Card Fairness Act encourages student debit card competition, transparency, and prohibits swipe and inactivity fees. I carried House Bill 2832 on the Oregon Senate floor on Tuesday. Watch my speech. 

Access for Every Worker to a Retirement Savings Account

I joined the Senate Democrats Tuesday to approve legislation that will ensure every Oregonian has access to a safe, easy, and effective way to save for retirement. House Bill 2960 creates access to a voluntary retirement savings account for Oregonians. Savings are deducted from employees' pay checks, invested by the State Treasurer, and are retained from one job to another, with the option of removing one's savings at any time. This is an important step toward long term financial stability for every Oregonian.

Police Accountability

A police officer on a motor cycle.

Would we have the same questions regarding law enforcement conduct if police wore body cameras? Should individuals be able to record on duty police officers without a warning? This is exactly what House Bill 2704 does because sometimes warning a police officer in the middle of a tense situation that they are being recorded only adds additional stress. House Bill 2571 allows police departments to implement body camera systems for their officers. On June 11th, I joined my fellow Senators in the bipartisan passage of HB 2704 and HB 2571 to encourage police accountability. Now they are on their way to Governor Brown.

Increasing Statute of Limitations for Rape

Governor Brown signed into law on Tuesday a measure that doubles the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes, including rape. Although I would have really liked to increase the statute of limitations to at least 20 years, I am glad that we at least increased the statute to 12 years. Every rape victim ought to be able to get justice. Oregon’s current six-year statute of limitations is one of the shortest in the country. 

Paid Sick Leave

A father holds his baby.

When you or your child gets sick, do you have to go to work? Only 20 percent of low income workers have access to paid sick leave. What kind of choice is it to choose between going to work sick or staying home and loosing badly needed pay? Whether rural or urban, individuals should have the opportunity to stay home when they or their children are sick. This is why I strongly supported paid sick leave for all Oregonians on June 10th in the Senate. Senate Bill 454 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature. 

Traffic Safety

A car stops at a stoplight.

Four of the five most dangerous Oregon interceptions are in Portland. In my district, 82nd and SE Causey Ave had 80 traffic crashes in 2013, resulting in 41 injuries and one death. House Bill 2621, in the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Committee, will allow the City of Portland to operate at its own cost a fixed photo radar system in locations where the crash rate is 25 percent higher than similar highways and the city has determined speeding has a negative impact on that area's safety. Warning signs precede the photo radar. This is an important public safety measure to save lives. Thank you, Representative Jeff Reardon from Happy Valley/East Portland, for sponsoring this legislation.

Addressing Gambling Addiction

Slot machines

For some individuals, gambling can be problematic and potentially an addition. On June 9th, I carried House Bill 3318 which establishes the "Oregon State Lottery Responsible Gambling Code of Practices", outlining a variety of approaches to address problem gambling. It passed unanimously and is awaiting Governor Brown's signature. 

Contact Me

Constituents share their thoughts at the town hall.

Thank you for coming to my town hall. I really appreciated the opportunity to hear about how I can help address the problems that face our community. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts or the opportunity to address issues you face. Keep in touch with my office by following my Twitter @SenatorMonroe, my Facebook pageby emailing us at, or calling us at the State Capitol, at (503) 986-1724. 

 Best regards,

Rod Monroe

Senator Rod Monroe

Senate District 24 – East Portland and Happy Valley 

email: I phone: 503-986-1724
address: 900 Court St NE, S-409, Salem, OR, 97301