We can't wait.

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Expanding access to paid sick days

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have a problem in Oregon: nearly half of workers in our state cannot take a day off to recover when they or a family member gets sick. For the vast majority of low-wage workers (nearly 80 percent), that means taking care of a sick child or following a doctor’s order can cost them a paycheck or even their job.

I believe we have to tackle this sick day dilemma and make a real difference for working families. The legislature is working hard to pass a statewide policy to make sure workers throughout our state can earn paid time off for sickness or to care for a family member (Senate Bill 454).

For me, the bottom line is simple: modern workplace protections like paid sick days are good for all Oregonians.

A few months ago, an inspiring 11-year-old from Eugene named Salvador Trejo traveled to our state Capitol to share his story about how paid sick days – and the lack thereof – have impacted his family. He urged lawmakers to support a statewide sick leave policy and moved many people at the crowded public hearing to both applause and tears by the end of his testimony.

"I'm only a little kid, I know,” he said, “but I know human rights are important to everyone."

Please take a minute to watch Salvador’s compelling testimony: 

Paid Sick Days hearing


Clearly, earned sick days are good for families and good for public health. Research shows that offering paid sick time is also good for business.

Providing paid sick time results in higher productivity, less absenteeism, reduced turnover, and other benefits for businesses and local economies. (Learn more about the social, economic, and health implications of paid sick time policies by following the link here.)

Policies that better support working families can meet the needs of both employers and employees alike. It’s time to pass legislation to ensure Oregonians throughout our state can earn a reasonable number of paid sick days each year.

Prioritizing fairness and opportunity

This session, we are working to increase police accountability and put an end to profiling in Oregon by defining the problem in statute, collecting better data, and providing a path to enforce the prohibition on profiling (House Bill 2002). We want to provide one place, for the entire state, for people to call when they believe they've been profiled. We want to better understand what's happening and work toward a way to stop it.

Read more in the Portland Tribune about the progress we’re making to end profiling: “'Profiling' bill moves toward House vote.”

The Oregon House made another important stride to improve opportunity by voting to ban “the box” – the section of employment applications where applicants must disclose an arrest or conviction (House Bill 3025). Employers would still be able to discuss a criminal background in an interview, but applicants would not be routinely screened out by checking "the box."

By removing this barrier to employment, we can give a second chance to thousands of Oregonians with prior convictions who simply want to earn a paycheck to support themselves and their families. I look forward to this bill passing in the Senate and heading to Governor Brown.

Background checks on all gun sales

This week, the Oregon House voted to make our communities safer. Senate Bill 941 will help keep convicted felons, domestic abusers and people in severe mental crisis from buying guns online or through other direct private sales because criminal background checks will now be required for those transactions.

I was proud to support this common sense legislation that will help save lives while maintaining Oregonians' Second Amendment rights. The bill now heads to Governor Brown for her signature.

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: Rep. Rep.TinaKotek@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kotek

St. John's Parade

P.S. Don’t forget, the St. Johns Parade is tomorrow, May 9 – starting at noon. Hope to see you there!