Supporting small business and safe roads


House Speaker Tina Kotek
D-North/NE Portland
District 44

Phone: 503-986-1444    900 Court St. NE, H-269, Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The sunny, spring weather is a clear reminder that the Legislative Session is now shifting to a go-home trajectory.  With about two months remaining, many policy bills have now moved to their opposite chamber for consideration (for example, House bills in Senate committees).  Budget subcommittees are working hard on finalizing agency budgets, and we are all anticipating the May revenue forecast on the 16th so we know the final projected resources for the 2013-15 biennium.  And, like school kids, we’re all looking forward to finishing the people’s business and getting outside to enjoy our beautiful Oregon.

Speaking of rites of spring, I hope everyone will be headed out to St. Johns next Saturday, May 11, to enjoy the 51st annual St. Johns Parade and the 7th annual St. Johns Bizarre.  Come enjoy a family-friendly, small-town kind of day in North Portland!

Supporting small businesses and safer roads

On Tuesday, the House passed a long-awaited bill, Senate Bill 833, the Safe Roads Act.  Many of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, have been working closely with a coalition of business groups and public safety officials to support this bill to ensure we have safer roads and that employees can get to and from their jobs.  The bill allows the issuance of short-term driver’s cards to people who aren’t able to provide the documents needed to prove they are in the state legally, but otherwise meet every requirement needed to get a driver’s license. By passing the Safe Roads Act, we will reduce the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers who are already on our highways and streets.  On Wednesday, I joined Governor Kitzhaber in front of an enormous crowd of supporters while he signed Senate Bill 833 into law. 

Growing jobs and business at home with “Buy Oregon”

Last week, the House continued its support for homegrown jobs and businesses with the passage of House Bill 3400.  This bill brings greater transparency to state government and allows the public to better track the state’s efforts to contract with businesses that create jobs here.  Two years ago, the Legislature passed House Bill 3000, which authorized contracting agencies to provide certain preferences for Oregon goods and services. This year, House Bill 3400 requires the publication of state agencies’ percentages of in-state and out-of-state contract expenditures on the Oregon Transparency Website.  Now we have another tool to ensure public dollars are supporting our local economy.

More transparency for higher education costs

One of our goals this session has been to find ways to bring down the costs of a college degree.  While the most important thing we can do is strengthen state financial support for community colleges and universities, there are a number of steps we can take to help students and their families make more well-informed decisions as they’re wrestling with tuition and other costs when investing in higher education.

House Bill 3079 gives students better decision-making tools by requiring colleges and universities to provide information on costs, school performance, and overall value prior to an enrollment decision.  Other data would include figures for issuance of loans and total debt, completion rates for programs or degrees, average salaries, and loan default rates.

Around the district

Conversations continue on several bills I’m working on for my constituents, particularly around neighborhood livability.  Late last week, Hayden Island residents had a win when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission required increased security measures as a condition of having a liquor license for the businesses on “lottery row.”  Thank you, OLCC, for standing up for a safer community!

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you.  Please keep in touch.

Best wishes,