Riley Report: December, 2015 Edition

Chuck Riley Senator Header

December, 2015

I hope this newsletter finds you and your family well this holiday season! Looking back on 2015, I’m proud of all we were able to accomplish during my first legislative session as your state senator. Many of the pieces of legislation that we passed during the 78th Legislative Session go into effect on January 1 – see below for more details on these important changes. And, please join me at Manaia Coffee on January 23rd for my first constituent coffee of the new year!

Community News & Announcements

Constituent Coffee: My first 2016 Constituent Coffee will be Saturday, January 23rd at 10 a.m. at Manaia Coffee located at 203 E Main Street in Hillsboro. This is a great opportunity for you to meet with me in the district to discuss any issues you or our community are facing. It is also a chance to hear about the legislation I’m introducing for the 2016 session. I hope to see you there!

New Year - New Laws: While many bills that were passed during the 2015 legislative session have already become law, there are some important changes that go into effect on January 1, 2016. Here are some of the key pieces of legislation going into effect next month:

SB 454: Paid Sick Time. With the passage of Senate Bill 454, Oregon joins a growing number of states requiring a statewide paid sick time policy for workers. SB 454 requires most employers having ten or more employees to implement a sick time policy allowing an employee to earn, accrue, donate, or use at least 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Additionally, the bill requires most employers who employ fewer than ten employees to implement an unpaid sick time policy. This legislative victory will ensure that Oregon workers don’t have to choose between their health—or the health of their children—and their livelihood.

HB 2007: Equal Pay for Equal Work. House Bill 2007 protects workers by prohibiting retaliation against employees who discuss wages amongst themselves. Prior to passage, workers in Oregon could face consequences for sharing their wage or salary rate with their coworkers or for voicing their right to a fair wage. Threat of retaliation has been cited as an impediment to progress on equal pay for equal work for Oregon women.

SB 552: Domestic Worker Protections. Domestic workers are a crucial workforce comprised primarily of women and, particularly, women of color. These workers provide in-home services such as childcare, cooking, and housekeeping. Senate Bill 552 establishes workplace protections for primarily domestic workers who live in the home they serve and classifies violations as unlawful employment practices. The protections for domestic workers in SB 552 include overtime pay, periods of rest, paid vacation time, and freedom from harassment.

HB 3025: Bans Consideration of Criminal History before Job Interview. House Bill 3025, “Ban the Box,” will help those Oregonians with prior arrests or convictions seek gainful employment. The bill creates an unlawful employment practice that bans employers from excluding consideration of a job applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. The bill does not prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s criminal history in making their hiring decisions.

SB 411: Personal Injury Protection and Stacking in Car Insurance Policies. Senate Bill 411 will put injured drivers’ needs ahead of insurance companies by changing state laws on uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection coverage. There are two main provisions in SB 411: the first allows injured motorists to add their uninsured motorist coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage so injured consumers get the coverage they paid for with their premium. The second provision addresses Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Currently, a policyholder’s PIP coverage is repaid to the insurance company before the injured party is paid total damages. SB 411 allows the injured motorist to recover their total damages first.

SB 482: Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership. Senate Bill 482 creates the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership Advisory Committee (PNMP), a consortium dedicated to accelerating the resurgence of manufacturing in the Northwest. The PNMP will sit within Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. Staff in the department will focus on facilitating regional collaboration amongst the manufacturing sector by working with relevant education and research institutions.

HB 2734: Cleaning up Polluted Sites for Business Development. House Bill 2734 gives local governments the ability to create land bank authorities - an innovative tool to clean up brownfields —former industrial or commercial sites where development is hindered by real or perceived environmental contamination. Left untouched, these properties pose threats to human health and the environment while also undermining economic development and failing to contribute to the local and state economies. The 2015 Legislature also allocated $7 million for these efforts to help cities and counties make better use of their land.

SB 320: Supporting Small Home Businesses. Currently, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) requires anyone who would like to sell baked goods made in his or her home kitchen to meet specific requirements and obtain a domestic kitchen license. Senate Bill 320 allows small-scale operations to prepare and sell baked goods without ODA licensure. These food entrepreneurs throughout Oregon will still be required to label and safely handle their products but will be able to do so with fewer burdens on their budding businesses.

HB 3343: Improving Access to Birth Control. House Bill 3343 makes Oregon the first state in the nation to ensure that women can access a full 12-month supply of birth control by requiring insurance companies to cover the cost up front rather than across multiple trips to the pharmacy. Along with House Bill 2879 which will allow women to obtain birth control directly from pharmacists without a doctor’s visit, these bills will improve women’s access to using birth control by helping to support consistent birth control use and driving down unintended pregnancies in Oregon.

SB 759: Helping Victims of Campus Sexual Assault. In response to pressing concerns about how sexual assaults cases are handled on college campuses, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 759. This bill requires higher education institutions in Oregon to adopt and make public a written protocol for responding to a sexual assault involving a student, faculty member, or staff member. The protocol must include information on victims’ rights and resources on or off campus. In addition, a law that has already taken effect—House Bill 3476—ensures that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking can seek support services without compromising their privacy. Under this bill, information shared with a certified advocate will be privileged communication and kept confidential unless a victim consents to disclosure. Together, both bills will help ensure that victims are informed, supported, and respected, especially on college campuses.

HB 2317: Doubling the Statute of Limitations on Rape. Oregon’s six-year statute of limitations on rape and other certain sex crimes was one of the shortest in the country. House Bill 2317 doubles the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes, including rape, to 12 years. Under current state law, there is no statute of limitations when DNA evidence is present.

SB 3: Increased Penalty for Violating Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Oregon faces a domestic violence death nearly once a month. This bill better protects victims of domestic abuse by strengthening the enforcement of restraining orders. Senate Bill 3 increases the penalty for violating a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, if there is clear risk of physical injury, to a Class C felony. The bill also gives judges the ability to make violations punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $125,000 fine, or both (Class C Felony).

SB 492: Work Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence. Senate Bill 492 allows employees to use sick leave or personal business leave to seek services, assistance, or treatment if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Prior to passage, employees could be limited to using only vacation leave for such purposes. The bill applies to workplaces with six or more employees.

SB 641: Smartphone Data Privacy. Data stored on a smartphone or other portable electronic device can paint a near complete picture of even the most intimate and personal details of someone’s life. To ensure that law enforcement only access this data appropriately, Senate Bill 641 requires a warrant or consent to copy data from a portable electronic device and allows information obtained without a warrant or consent to be excluded from use in court.

SB 839: Good Samaritan Immunity Law for Drug Overdoses. Senate Bill 839 allows individuals to seek medical attention without fear of arrest when a person experiences a drug overdose. SB 839 will provide narrow legal immunity for possession charges against a person when they call for help with a drug overdose. The bill increases the likelihood that a person overdosing on drugs, or someone in their company, will call for medical assistance in time to make a critical difference.

SB 921: Fritz-Fairchild Act for Highway Cable Barriers. Senate Bill 921 directs the Oregon Department of Transportation to complete installation of lifesaving median barriers on interstate highways where the space between opposing lanes of traffic measures 100 feet or less. The measure is known as the Fritz-Fairchild Act in memory of Dr. Steven Fritz and Cary Fairchild, both employees of the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, who were killed in a cross-over crash while commuting to work on September 24, 2014.

HB 2225 & HB 2226: Holding Criminal Elder Abusers Accountable. House Bills 2225 and 2226 ensure that people who take advantage of or steal from elderly individuals are held accountable. HB 2225 provides greater flexibility for investigation of financial crimes against seniors by broadening the jurisdiction of a search warrant issued for this purpose. HB 2226 ensures that a person who steals from a senior citizen does not avoid paying restitution simply because the person they stole from has died.

HB 2300: “Right-to-Try” Treatment for Terminally Ill Patients. House Bill 2300 creates a “Right-to-Try” law in Oregon, outlining the process by which certain terminally ill patients can try an experimental treatment that hasn’t yet been FDA approved. Several other states have considered and passed similar legislation in recent years.

SB 89: Local Assistance for Veterans. Many local communities in Oregon rely on volunteers who assist and advocate for veterans. This valuable volunteer service is offered differently from one locality to the next, sometimes in conjunction with County Veterans Service Officers. Senate Bill 89 allows counties and the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to appoint qualified, vetted volunteers to provide specified support services. This bill will improve support for veterans across the state, especially in rural Oregon.

SB 253: Confidentiality for Veterans. Senate Bill 253 allows veterans, active-duty, reserve, and National Guard members of the armed forces to be exempt from having certain personally identifiable and contact information subject to public records requests. The bill will assist the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs in protecting the information of people accessing their services, helping to foster trust between veterans and the department.

HB 2645: Supporting Veterans in Higher Education. House Bill 2645 requires Oregon’s public universities, and allows community colleges, to give eligible service members and their dependents enrollment priority over other students. Many eligible veterans receive Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits which help cover the cost of tuition for 36 months and provide a housing stipend for enrolled students. HB 2645 will help ensure that veterans can get the most from the benefits available to them by increasing opportunities to participate in higher education.

HB 3524: Boosting the Supply of Affordable Housing. House Bill 3524 requires the State of Oregon to give nonprofit organizations the first right of refusal to develop affordable housing on property that the State no longer needs. This measure will help address an ongoing shortage of buildable land for affordable housing.

Economic Forecast: The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis recently released its quarterly economic and revenue forecast and presented their findings to the State Legislature. I’m thrilled to say that this forecast brought some very welcome news as Oregon’s economy continues to grow not only in urban parts of the state but also increasingly in rural communities as well.

Oregon’s economy continues to make significant gains with strong, sustained growth in jobs, wages, and income. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in October, well below the 6.8 percent unemployment rate a year earlier in October 2014. This number has climbed slightly since early 2015, due in large part to recent population growth across the state driving an increase of job seekers. However, the total number of jobs in Oregon has never been higher—Oregon is gaining approximately 4,000 jobs per monthmore than adequate to compensate for population growth. Recovery and job growth in rural Oregon also continues to improve. Though some disparity persists between rural and urban Oregon economies, every rural region of the state is adding jobs at around an average 2 percent rate year-over-year, and nearly every rural county in Oregon is experiencing real population growth.

Oregon’s growing economy means projected state revenues for the 2015-17 biennium are up $56.3 million since the September forecast. The forecast shows that revenues are on track with our budget from last session—total General Fund and Lottery resources are $8.3 million more than projected at the close of session. That means we can stay on course to deliver increased funding for schools and other critical services for Oregonians. The February 2016 session is right around the corner. While our economy is stable for now, we will have an opportunity to make adjustments to the budget if conditions should change.

We still have work to do, and I’m hard at work preparing for the February 2016 session with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fund schools, help small businesses, and expand family-wage job creation to help more Oregonians share in the economic growth that our state is enjoying.

For more detailed information about recent job growth numbers and Oregon’s economic outlook, the recent economic and revenue forecast is available at

Community Events

If you’re going to be in Salem, please check out the schedule for Holidays at the Capitol. Musical performances will occur in the Capitol Rotunda daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through December 22nd (tomorrow!). Click on the link above to look at the schedule and see who will be performing!

The Winter Village at Orenco Station is now open! The Winter Village features the only open air ice skating rink in the area. You can visit now through January 3rd, and start a new family tradition!

As we look to the new year, we think of the opportunities it will bring us. Oregon has launched the Oregon Promise, a new state program that gives the high school Class of 2016 and qualified GED recipients the opportunity for full or partial tuition grants to attend community college. If you or someone you know is going to be graduating high school this year encourage them to apply now. The application period closes on March 1, 2016.


Grimm 100th episode

Celebrating the 100th episode of Grimm!

 Signing clean air and clean energy ballot initiatives!

clean air/ clean energy ballot initiatives

Stay in Touch!

Please be advised that my capitol office will be operating on reduced hours during the interim. My staff will be available during normal business hours Tuesday through Friday. You may reach us by email: or by phone: 503-986-1715. The Salem office mailing address is 900 Court St NE / S-303, Salem, OR 97301.

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As always, I am here to serve you.  If there is something I can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.


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Senator Chuck Riley

Senate District 15

email: I phone: 503-986-1715
address: 900 Court St NE, S-303, Salem, OR, 97301

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