End of Session Newsletter - Part 2

Richard Devlin

End of Session Newsletter - Policy Bills

email: Sen.RichardDevlin@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-213, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/devlin

This is the second of two newsletters I am sending out as reflections on the recently concluded legislative session.

The 2017 Legislative Session has now concluded, and I would like to share some of my reflections from the 6+ month process. Despite a backdrop of a $1.4-1.8 billion dollar deficit, the Legislature passed a balanced budget in the 2017 Legislative Session, which recently concluded, and also passed a number of important bills that will impact Oregonians across the state. Whether you are interested in healthcare, transportation, education, economic development or our state’s natural resources (or all of the above!) we have worked collaboratively to move Oregon forward during our more than 6 months of intense legislative work.

We made great strides on a number of important topics. A few bills I would like to highlight include:

Policy Bills:

SB 187: Lions Vision Screening  

  • The Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation provides low-cost vision and hearing screenings in schools across the state. Catching vision issues early is proven to be an important way to help kids learn and stay on track throughout their academic careers. I'm proud to be a chief sponsor of SB 187, which allocates funds to assist with the provision of comprehensive screenings.

SB 256: Willamette Falls Locks

  • I sponsored SB 256, which creates the Willamette Falls Locks Commission, a body to negotiate with the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the future ownership and use of the Willamette Falls Locks. The Locks are not only an important piece of Oregon heritage, but, if restored, create an important means of river transportation. I look forward to following this project closely, and will continue to advocate for the use and protection of the Falls and Locks.

SB 754: Tobacco 21

  • For me, this bill is not only a public health issue but a financial bill as well. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States, with more than 95 percent of adult smokers starting to use tobacco before the age of 21. My hope is that we can protect many young folks from tobacco addiction and reduce the number of Oregonians experiencing tobacco related diseases.

SB 847: State Lands Trust Land Transfer

  • SB 847 creates a process for the State Land Board, the Department of State Lands and the Legislative Assembly to transfer lands managed for the Common School Fund to other public agencies that may be better suited for their management. In light of all the work on the Elliott State Forest, this process allows for similar lands to be transferred out of a revenue generating requirement if they are better suited for conservation, and allows for productive lands to be managed for harvesting natural resources or some other economic purpose.

SB 719: Extreme Risk Protection Order

  • SB 719 creates a legal process to protect Oregonians who are at risk to themselves or others. An Extreme Risk Protection Order is a civil order, which allows for the temporary removal of firearms and other deadly weapons, and includes all standard due process protections. This is an important tool for family members and police officers to help protect someone who is temporarily in an at-risk situation.

SB 1050: Life Sentence for Serial Predatory Sex Offenders

  • This bill enhances safety by increasing the assumed sentence for repeat sex offenders with prior felony convictions.

HB 2005: Pay Equity

  • HB 2005 moves forward equitable treatment of employees, regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age. Pay inequality occurs in many sectors, and this bill adds important provisions to ensure Oregonians are paid a fair and commensurate wage.

HB 2017: Transportation Package

  • After over a yearlong statewide study, the Joint Committee on Transportation Modernization & Preservation put together a comprehensive bill that addresses road construction and preservation, pedestrian and bike paths and Safe Routes to Schools, as well as safety and seismic upgrades throughout the state.  Additionally, several policy changes are included to increase accountability in the Department of Transportation, cost controls in programs and some jurisdictional transfers of roads.

HB 2246: Implementation of M98

  • In the November 2016 election voters approved Measure 98, which directs the state to designate  funding to school districts for career technical education, college-level educational opportunities and expanding dropout prevention strategies. I am proud that we were able to fund these important programs that will create and support educational opportunities that will best support Oregonians by helping them spark passion in new educational opportunities or provide supports that help kids graduate.  

HB 3149: Oregon Coast Trail

  • The Oregon Coast Trail was started in 1971, connecting more than 380 miles of scenic Oregon beaches, wooded trail and coastal roads. HB 3149 directs the Department of Transportation to create a plan for the remaining 60 miles of the project.

HB 3202: SW Corridor Light Rail Project

  • HB 3202 provides direction to the Metro Council regarding planning for the Southwest Corridor MAX Light Rail Project. The bill requires open notice and comment periods to gather input from the community, as well as criteria for the siting and process of the project. The addition of a MAX line will help ease congestion and provide rapid transit options to the SW Metro region.

HB 3391: Reproductive Health Equity

  • I was proud to be a chief sponsor of HB 3391, which closes loopholes in healthcare policy – securing critical coverage at no cost to the patient. Investment in reproductive health services -- including contraception, cancer screenings, pregnancy care and abortion -- allows Oregonians to stay healthy and plan their futures.


Budget Bills:

SB 1032: Expanding Oregon Promise

  • In 2015 the Oregon Promise program was created to provide tuition support for students attending community college in Oregon. SB 1032 removes the $10 million dollar cap originally placed on the program. I am pleased that we were able to triple the funding invested in the Promise program for the next two years, effectively allowing many more Oregonians to get a strong start on their educational career.

SB 1067: Cost Containment

  • SB 1067 was a key component to passing a balanced budget for the 2017-19 Biennium, and for reducing the budget deficit the state will face in future budget cycles. A number of items are contained in the bill, including review of how agencies classify positions, merging public employee health care programs, modifying some procedures for PERS and putting reasonable limits on payments to hospitals and on the growth of health care premiums. 

SB 5517: State School Fund

  • Despite a very tough budget year, the Joint Ways and Means Committee was able to invest $8.2 billion dollars in public schools across the state, an 11-percent increase from the last biennium. This budget will sustain many school districts. However, there will be some who will face cuts in the coming year. The Joint Ways and Means Committee worked hard to provide more funding to support schools statewide. While this is a historic investment in education, we’d all like to be able to do more, and we will continue working on ways to do that in the next legislative session.

HB 5039: Implementing Increased Veterans Funding

  • In the November 2016 election voters approved Measure 96, which dedicates 1.5 percent of net Oregon lottery funds to a Veterans Services Fund. The 2017-19 budget reflects that vote by increasing veterans services by the full $18.7 million  in lottery revenue and continuing existing general fund support for veterans. Providing the best services possible to our veterans is a priority, and I am pleased to be able to increase our state support this biennium.   

I am honored to serve as your state Senator, and these are just a few of the significant bills that we passed this session.  These bills are reflective of the broad range of issues that come before the legislature.

Looking Forward:

My staff frequently says that I should have some positive comments about the state’s budget. To that end, I would say that I am heartened by our strong economy, our innovative and collaborative way of developing policy and the incredible advocacy by the public. Oregonians are active in making sure their voices are heard and listened to – which I very much appreciate.

Building off of the work we accomplished this session I am mindful that there is still much to do and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and continuing to work on the issues that matter most to Oregonians. These include improving our educational opportunities for our students, ensuring the health and safety of all Oregonians, supporting job-creating small businesses and protecting the environment, as well as operating government more efficiently.



I am proud to be a lifelong supporter and advocate for women's reproductive rights, and I am honored to receive the Marilyn Epstein Pro-Choice Champion Award from Planned Parenthood.   

Over the last year I have worked with the Oregon Lion’s Sight and Hearing Foundation to support their work in providing vision and hearing screening in elementary schools across the state. I am proud that the Legislature passed SB 187 so they may continue their fine work helping kids learn and achieve to their greatest potential. I am honored and humbled to have received their Helen Keller Benefactor Award.

Again, thanks for engaging with the legislative process, and please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. 


Senator Richard Devlin