End of Session Wrap-Up


The day has come: the Legislative session has ended, and I am able to sit down and reflect on what has transpired over the last several months. It has been a whirlwind of an experience, let me tell you! As I look back at photos from the day I took my oath in January, it strikes me how long six months really is, and how much has happened since January 11th.

Today, I want to do two things: I want to take a look back at the session together and I want to thank you for your words of encouragement, letters, and engagement over the past several months.

House of Representatives on Swearing In Day

Here is the entire House of Representatives from the 78th Legislative Assembly, taken on opening day, January 12th, 2015.

Priority Legislation

House Bill 2927 – Equity is and always has been one of the central issues in our education system. In fact, if I were to use one word to describe the general themes of the bills we covered In the House Education Committee this session, it would be equity. One area where this is particularly true is in school funding. No school- and by extension, no student – should be affected because they provide the services that special needs students require and deserve. House Bill 2927 reaffirms this by doubling the funding fo the High Cost Disabilities Account, a grant program designed to reimburse school districts for excessive costs related to educating high-needs fragile students. Forest Grove School District, where my children went to  school, has one of the highest spending levels per student for fragile students, and will benefit greatly from this increase in funds. The grant money follows the student, meaning that all districts can benefit if they have high cost students. At least 99 other school districts statewide will benefit from the relief of additional funding, freeing up general education dollars to stay in the classroom. It was an honor to carry this bill.

Senate Bill 411 – I joined the Consumer Protection Committee a few weeks into session, and as a result I didn’t have the same sense of the kinds of issues it covered as my colleagues. Senate Bill 411 was a great issue to work on so soon after joining the committee, because it set the tone for the other important issues we would tackle later on.

Senate Bill 411 removed a longstanding loophole in Oregon law that prevents Oregonians from getting what they pay for when it comes to auto insurance. Through a practice called “stacking,” uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage is compared among the parties in an accident, and like coverage- instead of accumulating- cancels each other out. Thousands of Oregonians have been in a position of financial ruin because their insurance coverage wasn’t enough to pay for the damage of their healthcare. I believe this will provided a better choice for people to pay their premium, and actually get what they are paying for.

House Bill 2002 – With recent attention on racial profiling by law enforcement across the country, House Bill 2002 ensures that Oregon’s public safety system is held accountable by directing law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies and procedures prohibiting profiling. No one should be criminalized simply because of their race, sexual orientation, or gender. This bill resonates with me because of an instance of racial profiling that happened in winter of 2014 to one of my former students. This event shook our community and greatly affected me. This bill is a step toward the goal of better treatment for everyone. House Bill 2002 will establish a precedent that Oregon and its citizens do not support profiling of any kind, This bill will start to process to allow all community members to feel more secure moving within their neighborhood without being targeted.

House Bill 2680 and House Bill 2655 – As someone who was in the classroom for 42 years, I understand the role that standardized tests play in the classroom, and in identifying student learning gaps. However, I have heard time and time again from parents and teachers that a one-size-fits-all approach to testing like the Smarter Balanced test does not provide an accurate assessment of a child’s achievement, nor does it provide sufficient information for student teacher or school performance ratings I agree, and I also agree with the parent advocates who believe they should be able to make the choice about whether or not their student should take high-stakes standardized tests. That is why I introduced House Bill 2680 and co-sponsored House Bill 2655, two great bills relating to standardized testing that passed and became law this session. I am in favor of assessment that furthers the learning process, skill development, and growth of the student.

House Bill 2928 – Another issue facing our education system is growing class sizes. According to the latest available statistics, Oregon has the 3rd largest class sizes in the nation. Studies have shown that heaving too many students in a classroom is detrimental to student learning. The last meaningful review of class size conducted in Oregon was completed in 2011, and was largely based on older data from other states. If we want to come close to reaching the 40-40-20 goals by 2025, we need to start addressing the individual needs of teachers and students in the classroom. Which why I introduced House Bill 2928, which establishes a Task Force on class sizes. The Task Force will be directed to conduct both grade-level and classroom-type specific research to take into account a variety of factors affecting optimal class size. The Task Force will work alongside the Quality Education Model to determine the components of a quality education and then estimate the cost of those components. This bill will provide updated information and look at new factors that impact classroom learning such as development patterns and the use of technology in the classroom. The point of this bill is not only to give power back to the teachers and school administrators to better address the individual circumstances of their school’s immediate and long term needs, but to provide them with updated information to back up their decisions.

House Bill 2730 The Breast Cancer License Plate Bill – There aren’t many people in our state who haven’t been touched in some way by cancer. The Legislature is no exception. My aunt had breast caner as number of years ago, and I lost my husband Cliff to cancer in 2009. I was proud to Co-Chief Sponsor a bill to create a breast cancer license plate with my colleague, Representative Bill Kennemer, whose first wife passed away from breast cancer. This bill had an interesting journey, at one point failing to move forward in committee, and was later amended into a larger bill that will completely change the license plate program, and create both the breast cancer license plate and a Trail Blazers license plate for Oregonians to purchase. I am happy that I was able to work across the aisle with Representative Kennemer to create a breast cancer awareness plate that will provide much-needed funding to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for use for early detection of breast and cervical cancers. Each year approximately 5,000 low income, uninsured, and medically underserved individuals receive services through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program the OHA administers, and their services are critical.

SB 478 Toxic Free Kids Act – No parent or grandparent should have to worry that the toys they are buying for their children are harmful to their health. Senate Bill 478 is a commonsense and bipartisan approach to protecting kid’s health. By establishing a list of chemicals that pose the biggest threat to children’s health, and requiring manufacturers to notify the Oregon Health Authority when their products contain these chemicals, we can reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases and improve the wellbeing of all Oregonians.

House Bill 3125 – Valued at over $5 billion, Oregon agriculture is the second largest economic driver in the state. Roughly 1 and 8 jobs is directly or indirectly related to agriculture, and 5 percent of our top 25 exports are agricultural products. Businesses that process the fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seafood that come from the agricultural sector have access to a tax exemption on the newly-purchased machinery and equipment they use. Since 2005, this exemption has encouraged food processors not only to improve aging equipment (often times making it more energy efficient in the process) but also to make significant investments in growing or expanding their business, thus contributing to growth in the economy.

Extending the tax credit to include diary, eggs, bakery, and grain processing will provide the economic development tool needed to continue growing Oregon’s food processing industry and provide more jobs. Currently, the bakery and dairy sectors combined make up 24% of total food manufacturing employment in Oregon – roughly 6,300 workers. This tax credit could help companies make the decision to located food processing facilities right here in Oregon, and help us compete nationally and worldwide. These investments could mean an increase of jobs and local tax revenues for rural counties in need of economic development. I was happy to be a co-sponsor of this bill.

Bipartisan Session

As the 2015 legislative session winds to a close, a new analysis shows that the vast majority of bills have passed the House chamber this session with wide bipartisan support.

Graph of Bipartisan VotesBipartisan Support Vote Graph

Upcoming Events

Don’t forget about the Town Hall!

Join us on Thursday, July 2015 at 6 pm at the Hillsboro library, 2850 NE Brookwood Parkway, Hillboro, OR, to hear from myself and Representative Joe Gallegos about the session. We’ll be recapping the 2015 legislative session and taking suggestions about future issues to work on such as transportation and education.

 I look forward to seeing you there!

Office Photo

Form our office to you, thank you, and we look forward to working with you in the interim!

I look forward to spending some much-needed time with my family, and to taking my grandchildren to the beach!

Please stay in touch by emailing us at rep.susanmclain@state.or.us, calling us at 503-986-1429, or writing us at 900 Court St. NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301.

 Have a great summer!

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain