The Halfway Point

Hello friends and neighbors,

We are over halfway through the Session! Time has flown by, and we are all still working hard in Salem. We have passed one of the important deadlines; all bills must pass out of committee in the chamber they originated in. I have great news - all of my priority bill passed out of their House committees! 

One of the things I enjoy most about my day are the openings on the House Floor. Last week, the Oregon State University Meistersingers performed the Star Spangled Banner and the OSU Fight Song. Click the image below to listen to their performance or copy and paste the link below in your browser.

We have had some great opening performances this Session!

Update on my priority bills

HB 2720: This bill directs the Department of Education to study certain aspects of virtual public charter schools, and would create a better understanding of how this growing educational platform works and where there are areas needing support. My bill passed out of committee with bipartisan support! It is currently in the Ways and Means.

HB 3105: The Household Hazardous Waste Stewardship Program Bill passed out of committee! I wrote about this bill in depth in my last newsletter. In case you missed it, you can read the newsletter at this link.

HB 2722: This bill promotes water conservation in Homeowners Associations and Condominium Associations. It unanimously passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Environment, and passed the House with 57 ayes! We are eager for the public hearing in early May in the Senate committee.

HCR 18: This bill recognized the importance of speech and debate, and celebrated the civic education and engagement it encourages in young people. The resolution also establishes March 3rd as National Speech and Debate Education Day. I’m happy that it has made it’s way along through both chambers and was filed with Secretary of State!

HB 2717 and HB 2721: The bills are paired together and both create additional protections for transportation workers that help Oregonians get from Point A to Point B safely. They passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support and are now in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 3397: You may already know the work I’ve been doing with W.L. Henry. On February 6th, I helped arrange a public hearing with the parents of Hillsboro’s W.L. Henry Elementary School. The students that attend the school are predominantly Latino, and the parents that came to speak did not feel comfortable giving their testimony in English. To resolve the issue, W.L. Henry was able to borrow headsets from the school district for our Committee Members, and our office sought-out an Spanish interpreter to translate their testimony in real time. While we were happy to help them, we realized that translation and interpretation services should be provided to make the legislative process more accessible, understandable, and provide an opportunity for the people's voice to be heard. This was the inspiration for my translation and interpretation services bill. HB 3397 requires the Legislative Assembly to provide translation and interpretation services, free of charge, to anyone who would like to express their civic engagement. This is a much needed service that is not currently provided in the Capitol. Our public hearing was on April 4th, and we eagerly worked on amendmendments for the bill. The amendment is complete and we are ready for the bill to hit the floor! It is in the House Committee on Rules, which does not have to adhere to legislative deadlines.

Team McLain at our after work get together!

Other Bills

HB 3430: With a $1.6 billion budget deficit to consider, it is essential that our Oregon legislators look for all possible avenues to provide a sustainable funding source to support, protect, and improve our public schools. House Bill 3430 is a step toward that goal. I am proud to sponsor this bill, and will continue to push for its success.

Today, there is approximately $595 million of unclaimed property in the State of Oregon, which is not being utilized due to Oregon statutes that prohibit the state from withdrawing money from the unclaimed property account. The proposed bill would enable the state to allow the Department of State Lands to annually distribute funds from the unclaimed property account to the Common School Fund after the unclaimed property has been there for 25 years or more. This would provide us an opportunity to open up a new source of revenue for our education system. Based on numbers from the fiscal year 2016, $22,574,733 would be immediately available for use for the Common School Fund. This additional funding would mean new revenue for each school district, including school districts within House District 29. By opening up funds from the unclaimed property account, the Forest Grove school district could potentially receive an additional $237,968 in revenue, while Hillsboro could receive $808,651.

There are  amendments that will make the bill more effective. The proposed amendment is to remove the requirement to have the General Fund reimburse a citizen if they claim their property after 25 years. Instead, the amendment would create a revolving account that would have no less than $100,000 in it at any time, and to hold 1% of each disbursement for repayment. This would ensure that we do not overuse or drain the unclaimed property account and further burden the General Fund. Another amendment that would be proposed is to make the disbursements occur biennial instead of every year, so that the disbursement would coincide with other Oregon disbursement plans in the budget process.

HB 2864: I am excited to announce that the bill on cultural competency passed out of the House floor! This bill directs public universities and community colleges to establish and implement cultural competency standards for the institution and employees. It is important that colleges enforce empathetic administrative practices to create the best possible learning opportunities for our students.

HB 2845: I am proud to sponsor this bill which would require ethnic studies to be apart of Oregon's K-12 education. In the Legislature, we are deeply concerned with the achievement gap. This effort will help students from different backgrounds see themselves in lesson plans. As more and more public schools incorporate Ethnic Studies into their curriculum, evidence of its positive effects on attendance, academic performance, and graduation rates mounts as well, particularly for students from historically underrepresented groups in K-12 curriculum. We passed this bill out of the House Committee on Education on April 17th.

I was happy to meet with local teachers this month!

Affordable Housing Bills

HB 2002: This is a housing preservation bill that passed out of the House Human Services and Housing Committee on the 11th. The bill expands preservation laws to include all publicly supported housing and  requires a 2 year notice of intent to convert the property to market rate. Requires property owners of publicly supported housing to offer Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) the opportunity to purchase property before third parties. It is so important that we focus on preserving public housing properties to help accommodate the housing crisis in Washington County and across the State. Preserving existing buildings is more cost effective than purchasing and developing new ones, and we need to keep as much of these structures as we can intact and available to individuals in need

HB 2007: This bill fast tracks affordable housing permit applications by directing cities and counties to review and make decisions on qualifying applications within 100 days. Also under this bill, a county may not deny an application within Urban Growth Boundary if the development complies with clear and objective standards contained in the zoning ordinances of the county.  I am most excited that HB 2007 permits religious organizations to build affordable housing on their land.This is an effort that the Forest Grove United Church has undertaken. I am hopeful that this bill will speed the process of making affordable housing units more readily available to help aide the housing crisis in the State.

HB 3175:  I am happy to announce that on April 10th, HB 3175 passed off the floor. The bill modifies the definition for low income households in the Local Innovative and Fast-Track Housing program (LIFT) Housing Program. This bill is a technical fix that would increase homeownership for low-income Oregonians.Under current law a low income household renting or purchasing an affordable housing unit is defined with a combined income at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI). This law amends the requirements for purchasing, a combined income at or below 80 percent of the AMI. The LIFT program awards subsidies to developers building affordable housing for low-income households in Oregon with a focus on rural communities and communities of color. With the passing of HB 3175, families can grow in affordable, safe, and stable homes.

Budget Realities

Going into this Legislative Session, I knew we had challenging work before us. We are facing the largest deficit in Oregon history and, if we do not find ways to contain long-term costs and raise revenue, Oregonians will be facing deep cuts to services they rely on. We will continue to streamline agencies and look for redundant or unnecessary programs. However, even with our due diligence, we cannot solely cut our way out of this $1.6 billion deficit. 

For the last two decades, our services have suffered. As a teacher, I felt each cut made by the Legislature. Funding for education is a substantial issue, and it motivates me to serve as your state representative. We cannot risk class sizes growing beyond what they are today. From my first year of teaching in the 1970s to my last year in 2014, I saw class sizes grow at an alarming rate. Since the passage of Measure 5 and Measure 50, our schools have not had a stable source of funding. 

Schools are not the only service that needs additional support. We have underfunded the Department of Human Services, putting children in substandard conditions. They are unable to process new foster parents in a timely manner due to a clear lack of staff. Caseworkers have requested additional training and lower caseload so they can better serve the children in their care, and we have not been able to provide those reliefs.

I am committed to ensuring we can provide a viable economy and adequate supports for underprivileged Oregonians. That commitment means that I am supportive of raising revenue to support vital services and programs. Without raising revenue, we will see larger class sizes and shorter school years. Without raising revenue, senior services like Oregon Project Independence, a service that prevents low-income seniors from entering a nursing home by providing at-home care, could be cut. Without raising revenue, we cannot hire more caseworkers and improve the quality of DHS care.

Increasing revenue is an on-going conversation in the Capitol. I am supportive of thoughtful tax reform that will ensure corporations pay their fair share and the burden of supporting services does not fall on working Oregonians. As we move deeper into the session, I look forward to continuing these conversations with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Around the District


April Constituent Coffee: My last constituent event took place at the Forest Grove Public library. We had a wonderful open dialogue about racial equity and social justice, education, housing, and revenue. I was thankful that Leif Gustavson, Dean of education at Pacific University,  Lonnie Winkler, Forest Grove School Board Chair, and Police Chief Janie Shultz, were able to attend and be part of the discussion. I heard some wonderful ideas. Thank you to all those who made it out!


Pacific Events: I was invited to speak to two different groups at Pacific University this month. The first meeting was with students involved with the student government. We had a wide ranging discussion on the priorities of the session and their goals for Oregon. The second meeting was a town hall about water infrastructure and water conservation. The students had great questions about water, and I was happy to join the conversation.

Veteran's Day Assembly:  I was happy to help students prepare for the Veteran's Day Assembly at Glencoe High School this past weekend! It was an honor to be there, and to support our veterans.




Important Information

LifeWorks NW Children’s Relief Nursery: This month LifeWorks NW paid our offices a visit to inform us about the integrated prevention, mental health, counseling and addiction services they provide families, and individuals of all ages.  The work they do with families include teaching parenting skills, providing targeted services, reducing child behavioral problems and improving social-emotional development in very young children. I especially impressed by the home-based services they offer. In this program, parents are taught positive parenting techniques, including  attachment and bonding. LifeWorks NW have provided outstanding services to families in need in HD 29 from their Main Street location. Please visit their webpage here if  you are interested in more information.

Oregon Food Bank Network: The Oregon Food Bank Network serves about 800,00 people a year. It  consists of 21 regional food banks across Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Last year, Oregon Food Bank secured 50.3 million pounds. This includes food that is shared across the Network. I am grateful for all the hard work the Food Bank Network has done in making sure families are not left hungry. I also want to thank all the Foodbank Network Partners that serve Washington County.

Volunteer Opportunity: Have an hour? Give a lift!


Want to make a tangible, meaningful difference? If you have even one hour a week to share, you can help someone stay active, independent, and connected to the places that mean the most to them. Every day, Volunteer Drivers take older adults, Veterans, and people with disabilities to medical appointments, the grocery store, lunch at the Senior and Community Center, cancer treatment, or to visit a loved one in a care facility across town. Right now, a special area of need is getting community members to their life-sustaining dialysis appointments. Here are some of our friends sharing what having a friendly, reliable ride to dialysis means to them:

If you have at least five years of driving experience, a good driving history, and a clear criminal record, contact Pam Monahan at Ride Connection today to find out how you can get involved! (503) 752-5417,

Upcoming Events


May Coffee: My next constituent gathering will be held at BJ’s Coffee in Forest Grove on Saturday, May 13th from 10:30-12:00. We are in the depths of the session and I will provide an update on the Legislature’s priorities, including transportation, affordable housing, and the budget. I also hope to hear your thoughts on the bills that are moving and may become law. I hope you can make it!


Save the Date! My June coffee will take place on Saturday, June 10th from 10:30-12:00 in the cafeteria of Lincoln Street Elementary School in Hillsboro. The conversation will center around healthcare, mental health services., and other updates. Hope to see you there!

Yours Truly,


Representative Susan McLain

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301