Education Bills, Rev Forecast, Small Biz Loans & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     September 2015

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Dear friends,

The latest state revenue forecast, released on August 26, was largely unchanged from the close-of-session forecast. It confirmed a personal income tax kicker of $402.4 million that will direct tax credit rebates to taxpayers for 2015 tax returns. This amount is less than the $477 million kicker projected in May 2015. A $79.1 million corporate kicker is projected to direct $79.1 million to K-12 funding.

    In its seventh year of economic recovery, Oregon continues to see strong, sustained growth in employment, GDP, and wages. State economists project a stable state economy for the near future, with rising incomes and gains in employment. However, Oregon's labor participation rate (individuals employed or seeking employment) remains low, and some regions of the state have yet to experience a strong economic recovery. Outside the metro areas, only the Columbia Gorge region has fully regained the jobs lost during the 2008 recession; the southern half of the state has especially struggled.

    Oregon's unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in July, significantly below the 7 percent unemployment rate a year earlier in July 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in July. Oregon added more than 50,000 jobs in the last year, for growth of more than 3 percent. This pace is mostly reflective of urban job growth, and will only be sustained in the short term until a wave of retirements and demographic changes weigh on Oregon employment growth.

    This latest forecast is good news for Oregon, and it indicates that our state's economy is stable and continues to improve.
As students and teachers head back to school, I'm also glad to say that this latest revenue forecast indicates we're on the right track to deliver on the priorities we funded in the 2015-17 budget, which made historic reinvestments in education. All that said, I believe it's important that we continue to advocate for those Oregonians who are still struggling to make ends meet in this economic recovery.

The first set of "legislative days" for the 2015 interim will be September 28–30. This is when the various committees will hold informational hearings and discuss legislative concepts for the 2016 short session in February. You can review committee agendas (once posted) and watch live hearings using the Legislature's online information system. Committee assignments for the 2015-17 interim and 2016 short session in February session were recently announced. I will serve on three committees: the Senate Judiciary Committee (which I chair); the Joint Committee on Marijuana Legalization (which I co-vice-chair); and the Environment & Natural Resources Committee.

Beginning with this e-bulletin, I'll be providing in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2015 session by subject area. Below you will find information on:

        - 2015 Session Accomplishments: Education & Kids
Support for More RAIN
Loan Program to Help Small Manufacturers Grow
        - DPSST "Listening Tour"
        - Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Now Available
        - The Great Oregon ShakeOut - October 15

    In closing, I'd like to take another opportunity to recognize the soldiers of the Oregon National Guard who have been helping with fire suppression efforts this season. Our servicemen and women deserve our thanks every day; your sacrifice is appreciated!


    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

2015 Session Accomplishments: Education & Kids

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the Legislature delivered a state budget that reinvested in essential services and funded innovative programs. We passed an early and robust K-12 school budget and expanded grants for students at Oregon's colleges and universities. A comprehensive listing of session accomplishments related to education and kids  by senate/house bill and in numerical order  follows:

Senate Bills

    SB 79 - CPR Training in Schools: Schools in Oregon are currently required to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on campus, and many schools provide elective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). SB 79 requires that school districts provide instruction in CPR and the use of AEDs to seventh-graders through 12th-graders, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. The bill only requires the instruction to include hands-on CPR, and can be provided by community partners. This bill will better equip school community members to help save a life and prevent disability in an emergency, before First Responders are able to arrive.

    SB 187 - The Oregon Student Information Protection Act: Schools are increasingly using online and mobile applications to enhance learning and provide feedback on student performance. Concerns about student data privacy have emerged as applications and software for testing, tracking grades, pairing classroom learning with online modules, and other uses for this technology have become more common. Developed by Oregon’s Attorney General, SB 187 establishes the Oregon Student Information Protection Act, which requires providers of these educational applications or websites to provide security for student information, and prohibits companies from selling student information, amassing student profiles, and targeting advertisements to students through sites or applications.

    SB 213 - Early Learning Hubs: In 2013, the Legislature authorized the creation of sixteen regional, community-based Early Learning Hubs to establish an aligned, coordinated, and family-centered early childhood system. Hubs have organized across the state, working together to create community-based plans that meet the needs of children and families in their areas. SB 213 makes these Hubs permanent, and requires Oregon’s Early Learning Council to develop shared metrics to evaluate short- and long-term success of the Hubs. This bill supports the commitment that local partners have made to improve early learning and close the achievement gap.

    SB 215 - Reorganizing the Oregon Education Investment Board: A major overhaul of the Oregon Education Investment Board and its duties, this consensus legislation dissolves the appointed OEIB Board, transfers many of the Board’s duties to the Chief Education Officer, and creates the Chief Education Office to execute these duties. SB 215 will allow Oregon to make progress toward improving education outcomes for students.

    SB 240 - Job Training for Youth Offenders: Provides flexibility needed to allow youth offenders under the supervision of the Oregon Youth Authority to participate in apprenticeship programs through the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council. Participating in and getting credit for apprenticeship helps youth offenders build skills and credibility needed to find a job upon their release.

    SB 321 - Raising Compulsory School Age: Decreases Oregon’s compulsory school age from 7 to 6 years of age, helping to combat Oregon's notoriously high rate of absenteeism. Studies have demonstrated that delayed entry into the classroom can have a negative impact on students' success, and that these early setbacks can be hard to overcome.

    SB 439 - Outdoor School Program Account: Outdoor school programs are associated with increased graduation rates and renewed student interest in their education. Senate Bill 439 directs the Oregon State University Extension Service to assist school districts in providing outdoor school programs through the creation of an Outdoor Education Account. This bill will expand access to Outdoor School Education for many districts that were previously unable to offer the program individually. The bill does not provide any direct funding.

    SB 447 - Facility Upgrade Grants for School Districts: Establishes a grant program to provide matching grant fund grants to school districts for their capitol construction costs. Through the creation of the Office of School Facilities, matching fund grants will be administered to school districts for improvements on hazardous, dilapidated facilities.

    SB 478 - Toxic-Free Kids Act: The Oregon Toxic-Free Kids Act requires the Oregon Health Authority to establish a list of chemicals especially hazardous to children's health and requires some manufacturers to incrementally phase out the use of these chemicals in kids' products. The bill addresses increasing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals that are known to cause developmental disorders and other damaging health effects in children.

    SB 520 - Improving Oregonians' Access to Vaccines: Currently, qualified pharmacists in Oregon can administer certain vaccines to children 11 and older. To improve accessibility and convenience of child immunizations, Senate Bill 520 lowers this allowable age, permitting pharmacists to administer vaccines to children age 7 and older. Vaccines will still be stored and provided in keeping with existing regulations and recommended schedules, this will simply allow for another venue for parents to access necessary immunizations for their kids.

    SB 553 & SB 556 - Responsible School Discipline: "Zero tolerance" school discipline has been shown to cause more harm than good, especially for students of color, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students, who are disproportionately impacted by exclusionary discipline. SBs 553 and 556 help make sure school discipline is applied appropriately and effectively, especially for young students. SB 553 prohibits school districts from imposing out-of- school suspensions on elementary school students for minor infractions. SB 556 will prohibit Oregon schools from using expulsion as a disciplinary measure to address truancy. Both bills were part of a package introduced to improve graduation rates and close the school-to-prison pipeline.

    SB 561 - Crisis Response Following Youth Suicide: In the aftermath of a youth or teen suicide, support at the local level is often critical in helping peers, students, and a community through crisis, and preventing other suicides. SB 561 directs the Oregon Health Authority to develop a plan for communication among local mental health authorities and other local systems to improve notification and information sharing when a suicide of someone under 24 occurs.

    SB 612 - Identifying Dyslexia Early: This bill requires that school districts screen students for specified risk factors for dyslexia and ensure staff members receive annual training on dyslexia. Definitions for dyslexia vary, making determining prevalence difficult, though it is widely accepted to be one of the most common learning disabilities. Senate Bill 612 is one more way that we can help make sure students with dyslexia are identified early so that they can receive proper assistance.

    SB 660 - Oral Health Promotion: SB 660 directs the Oregon Health Authority to promote oral health throughout the state by ensuring availability of dental sealant programs to students attending school in Oregon.

    SB 667 - Supporting Oregon's Small Schools: In the face of declining enrollment and other factors, Oregon's small and rural schools often face challenges in maintaining important classes and programs for their students. SB 667, which I was proud to co-chief sponsor, will continue an annual investment in the Small School District Supplement Fund through 2020, helping to ensure that children at small schools have the same opportunities as students in other parts of Oregon.

    SB 686 - Work Experience for Out-of-School Youth: Senate Bill 686 helps dropout students get back into school by allowing alternative high schools to qualify for federal money to provide training and work experience for their students.

    SB 698 - State School Nursing Consultant: In 2009 the Legislature recommended that Oregon achieve a ratio of one school nurse for every 750 students by 2020. Currently, Oregon is far from this target with only one school nurse for every 4,054 students. SB 698 provides the state with the tools necessary to meet this goal by 2020. The bill creates a School Nursing Consultant in the Oregon Health Authority, to work in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education, and establishes a Task Force on School Nursing to recommend sustainable funding sources for school-based health and nursing services.

    SB 777 - ABLE Act for Oregonians Living with Disabilities: The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) program creates a savings program for children with disabilities, or adults with disabilities whose disability manifested before 26 years of age, allowing those eligible to set and reach financial goals and become more self-sufficient. Prior to passage, individuals with disabilities could not build assets because if they saved more than $2,000 at any one time, they risked losing access to Medicaid, Social Security, and other benefits. This made it nearly impossible for people with disabilities to save money for a house, a car, education services, or even medical necessities. SB 777 aligns state law with federal law, creating a path to financial security and independence for Oregonians living with disability.

    SB 5017 - Full Day Kindergarten Funding & Stability for Oregon Classrooms: The Legislature approved the budget for Kindergarten through 12th grade education in the first week of April. This early approval set the baseline for school funding and included a $600 million increase over the last budget cycle, which provided stability for most school districts while also funding full-day kindergarten for children throughout Oregon for the first time in state history. Following an increase in revenues in the May economic forecast, lawmakers added $117 million to the state school budget, further bolstering our schools.

    SB 5507 - Improving Foster Care in Oregon: To improve the quality and effectiveness of foster care in Oregon, the Legislature has invested nearly $1 million in the Department of Human Services to work with community-based organizations to develop and implement two pilot programs, one serving a rural part of the state and the other one serving an urban area. The programs are intended to target youth who have been through multiple foster care placements, and who are at risk due to unsuccessful placements in the foster care system. The programs will include supports for foster parents, such as care training, behavioral supports, respite care, and assistance connecting with a child’s biological family members.

    SB 5507 - Restoring Funding for the Family Preservation Project: The Family Preservation Project (FPP) grew out of an educational program started at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in 2003, which was taken over and funded by the Department of Corrections (DOC) in 2010. The FPP addresses the impact of incarceration on mothers and their families by enabling mothers to maintain a bond with their children and learn parenting skills while incarcerated. However funding in the DOC budget was not projected to be renewed in 2015. Senate Bill 5507 includes a one-time investment of $400,000 over the 2015-17 biennium to for a community-based organization — the YWCA of Greater Portland — to continue running the FPP. The YWCA will implement the FPP, and the DOC will continue to play a significant cooperative role in partnership with the YWCA.

House Bills

    HB 2015 - Improving Employment-Related Day Care: This legislation will significantly improve eligibility, accessibility, and quality of childcare assistance in Oregon. The bill revises the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, providing one continuous year of eligibility, granting eligibility to working students and the self-employed, and providing reduced co-pays and incentives for providers who meet certain quality standards. Expanded eligibility and an investment of nearly $17 million in the ERDC program under HB 2015 will shrink the current wait list by nearly one-third, covering hundreds of additional eligible families.

    HB 2545 - Eliminating the School Lunch Co-pay: The Oregon Department of Education offers free and reduced meal programs in schools for eligible students. Depending on family income, students may receive meals or milk without charge, or with a "co-pay" up to 40 cents. For Oregon families struggling with essentials of housing, food, or doctor's visits, even a modest co-pay for school meals adds up, and can be a barrier to keeping kids fed. HB 2545 invests nearly $2.4 million to cover this co-pay for families, so that an estimated 30,000 Oregon K-12 students can get nutritious meals free of charge at school.

    HB 2601 - Reporting Kidnapped Children: House Bill 2601 requires a police officer with probable cause to believe a child has been kidnapped or taken by a non-custodial parent to notify the Oregon State Police within 24 hours. This change will keep the State Police database as up to date as possible, making it more likely that taken children will be found safely and quickly.

    HB 2655 - Student Testing Bill of Rights: Establishing a "Student Assessment Bill of Rights," HB 2655 came in response to growing concerns from educators, parents, and students about testing in schools. The bill standardizes the process to excuse a student from participating in statewide standardized tests, such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment, improves notice and information provided to parents and students, and strengthens student data privacy protections.

    HB 2680, HB 2713, & HB 2715 - Standardized Testing in Schools: In 2014, Oregon began implementing new Smarter Balanced Assessments, tests aligned with Common Core teaching and content standards. These standards for teaching and testing are relatively new. Concerns have arisen about how the results may be used, what the costs and benefits of new testing methods are, and whether or not student privacy is adequately protected, especially in the early years of implementation.

HB 2680 prohibits using the results of these tests to determine school ratings, or to evaluate teachers or administrators—because these tests are still so new, they may not be an accurate indicator of teacher or school effectiveness. This reprieve applies to tests administered in the 2014-15 school year. The bill also directs Oregon’s Superintendent of Public Instruction to pull together a workgroup to consider designing a new system of school testing.

HB 2713 directs Oregon’s Secretary of State to conduct an audit on the fiscal, administrative, and educational impacts of Smarter Balanced statewide standardized tests in public schools. HB 2715 prohibits school employees and volunteers from posting, publishing, or making public any personally identifiable information in relation to testing results. This bill will ensure that test scores cannot be used punitively, or to shame students.

    HB 2846 - Breakfast After the Bell: In schools, making sure kids can have an adequate breakfast on campus is associated with better test scores, better attendance, increased attentiveness, and better health and nutrition. HB 2846 allows for up to 15 minutes of morning classroom time spent eating breakfast to also be considered instructional time. Allowing teachers to teach kids while they get a nutritious meal will increase the number of kids taking advantage of a school nutrition program, and provide an opportunity to maximize limited teaching time by joining the two together.

    HB 3014 - Recognizing Grandparents' Role for Kids: Ensures that both sets of grandparents can have a right to notice of a court proceeding and a right to request visitation of their grandchild in foster care, regardless of whether their child (the parent) has had their parental rights terminated by the court.

    HB 3035 - School Zone Road Safety: If a school has a parking lot across the street from a school and the street has a speed limit under 45 miles per hour, House Bill 3035 allows the school to use a flashing light to caution the traffic of the school zone between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

    HB 3499 - English Language Learner Programs: Directs the Department of Education to convene an advisory group to address budgets and spending for English language learner (ELL) programs. The ELL student population in Oregon has increased by 120 percent over the last decade and HB 3499 will reform and improve programs for ELL students in Oregon.

    HB 5016 - Department of Education Budget: Authorized major increases in funding for early learning, bringing the total to more than $75 million for all early learning programs, which includes early learning hubs, kindergarten readiness, and preschool programs. Career and Technical Education and STEM programs share a total investment of almost $35 million, of which $26 million is new funding this biennium. The budget includes a $7 million special purpose appropriation for accelerated learning programs to help high school students earn college credits with advanced coursework.

    HB 5016 & HB 3072 - Expanding Career & Technical, STEM Education: To get students ready for apprenticeships, community college, and family wage jobs, these bills more than double the previous investment in Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM) to $35 million. This investment will fund teacher training and mentorships, grants to schools to expand CTE programs, and grants to help ensure school programs connect to industry-recognized credentials.

Support for More RAIN

    The recently-concluded 78th Oregon Legislature designated $2 million for the 2015-2017 biennium to the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network "RAIN" to continue its work supporting startup companies in the South Willamette Valley and Mid-Coast through the OSU Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis and RAIN Eugene. RAIN is an Oregon consortium of government, higher education, and the business community. With the renewed support from the legislature, RAIN will continue to grow the "entrepreneurial eco-system" in the South Willamette Valley.

    To date, 48 companies started by faculty and/or students at Oregon State University or the University of Oregon, or by community members in the region, have participated in RAIN programs, and 36 companies have "graduated." RAIN companies have created 44 new full-time jobs and generated $5.2 million in new local revenue. In addition, RAIN graduates have attracted $1.3 million in investments.

    In its first year of operation, RAIN expanded its organizational footprint as well: RAIN Eugene found a home for the future in a 12,800-square-foot space located in downtown Eugene. In the next biennium, RAIN plans to establish a pool of capital investors who will support regional startups; transition both accelerators into permanent homes; create a resource database for startups, and develop outreach initiatives throughout the region.

    I look forward to meeting with RAIN’s executive director this month to discuss how the state may continue to assist RAIN.

Loan Program to Help Small Manufacturers Grow

    Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, is launching a $250,000 loan program to help small manufacturers increase their revenue and grow jobs in Oregon. Our state has about 5,300 manufacturers; 75 percent of them have 20 or fewer employees. When they look to expand, these small companies often don't qualify for traditional commercial loan programs. The Small Manufacturing Business Expansion Program (SMBEP) seeks to fill that gap for six to 12 companies.

    The SMBEP will target traded sector companies that export their products to other states and countries in the technology, outdoor gear or wood products industries. The loans are capped at $50,000 and may be forgiven for companies that meet specific performance goals. To be eligible, companies must have no more than 25 employees and provide at least 50 percent of the project cost from its own resources.

    Learn more about the program details and qualifications on the Business Oregon website. Please contact your local business development officer for an application. To Learn more about Business Oregon, click here.

DPSST "Listening Tour"

    The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) has announced that its leadership team will be traveling across the state for their 2015 Listening Tour. As a service organization, it is essential that DPSST receive citizen input. It is equally important that the public knows what the department is doing and why.

    Please consider attending the Listening Tour session scheduled in Senate District 4. It will take place on October 8 from 4-6 p.m. at the Public Safety Building in Roseburg (700 SE Douglas Ave.). Sessions usually last about an hour and a half 1.5.

    The goals of the Listening Tour are to share information on the work of DPSST, to
receive feedback on how the department is performing, and to provide a forum through which citizens can ask questions.

Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Now Available

Critical relief for wildfire victims is now available and accessible through the Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account. Created through HB 3148 during the 2015 legislative session, this program serves as an additional resource for Oregon families who lose their homes or housing in a wildfire.

    The Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account is administered by the Housing and Community Services Department to assist households of lower income that suffer a loss of housing due to a wildfire. The department provides assistance from the account in the form of grants in the amount of $5,000 each. Eligibility guidelines and applications can be found on the Oregon Housing and Community Services website, here. Additionally, Oregonians who have lost their homes due to a wildfire can contact the Housing and Community Services Department at 503-986-2062 or

The Great Oregon ShakeOut - October 15

    One of the most effective methods of earthquake preparedness is to practice what to do in an emergency. That's why drills like the Great Oregon ShakeOut are so important for residents and visitors. It's an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: "Drop, Cover and Hold On." The ShakeOut, being held on October 15 at 10:15 a.m., has also been organized to encourage residents to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies.
    Register today (click here) to:

  • Be counted in the largest-ever earthquake drill in Oregon
  • Be listed with other participants in your area (optional)
  • Be an example that motivates others to participate & prepare
  • Be updated with ShakeOut news and preparedness tips
  • Have peace of mind that you, your family, your co-workers and millions of others will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from our next big earthquake

    For the most up to date information on the ShakeOut drill, "Like" the event on Facebook: Then on October 15, 2015, at 10:15 a.m., "Drop, Cover, and Hold On."

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