It’s a Wrap - Sine Die on the 2018 Legislative Session

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Hello friends and neighbors,

In just 28 days, we accomplished a lot for everyday Oregonians. While I wish we could have accomplished more, I know we passed legislation that will level the playing field and make a big impact on our lives.  



HB 4005 (Transparency in Drug Prices): This bill creates a statewide prescription drug cost and price transparency program. The legislation requires prescription drug manufacturers to report information regarding qualifying prescription drugs, including production, marketing, and research costs, to the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). Companies could face civil penalties for failing to comply with the reporting. This legislation is one step we can take to address healthcare costs, and I was proud to have voted yes. The bill passed both chambers and is headed to the Governor’s desk!

HB 4035 (National Guard Scholarships): This bill extends scholarship benefits at the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to members of the Oregon National Guard. Oregon is the only state in the union that does not offer tuition assistance to qualified members of its National Guard for community college or 4-year college, and HB 4035 fixes this. It ensures the Oregon men and women who serve our nation have this opportunity.

HB 4155 (Net Neutrality): I spoke in favor of this bill because I know how vital the internet is to our society. With House Bill 4155, Oregon became the second state to pass legislation enshrining essential net neutrality protections that were rolled back by the Federal Communications Commission in 2017. This bill prohibits public bodies from contracting with broadband Internet access service providers that do not follow net neutrality. I support the concept of net neutrality and increasing access to the internet for all citizens. I am proud that this bill is headed to the Governor’s Desk. 

I joined Senator Ron Wyden to rally for net neutrality!

HB 4063 (Autonomous Vehicle Task Force): I began working on autonomous vehicle (AV) policy at the beginning of the 2017 Legislative Session. Rep. Rich Vial and I co-chaired a work group to begin the conversations about how to best prepare for this legislation. After more than 13 months working on this issue, I know Oregon must accelerate these conversations to prepare for AVs. As Chair of the House Transportation Policy Committee, I was able to use a committee bill to address this issue. That bill, HB 4063, designates the Oregon Department of Transportation as the lead agency for autonomous vehicle programs and policies, and establishes a 31-member Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles. The task force is required to develop recommendations for legislation and submit a report on its recommendations to the Legislature no later than September 15, 2018.  Membership includes industry, legislators, law enforcement, transit representatives, local government representatives, state agencies, and other stakeholders. The task force will address a variety of issues: licensing and registration, law enforcement and accident reporting, cybersecurity, insurance and liability, land use, road and infrastructure design, public transit, workforce changes, and more. This bill passed both chambers without a single ‘nay’ vote!


Protecting DACA recipients: At the federal level, there remains so much uncertainty for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For DACA students, SB 1563 levels the playing field, giving them the same in-state tuition status as every other Oregon student. I was proud to carry HB 4111 (with -10 amendment) to the House Floor on Saturday. That bill will allow DACA recipients and folks with a Temporary Protected Status to renew their Oregon drivers license or ID, even if the federal government revokes their status. This added protection is so important. I am proud to stand up and ensure these Oregonians have the ability to continue to carry out their daily lives… whether that’s driving to school, going to the grocery store, or taking their children to a doctor’s appointment.

My Bills: While we passed important legislation this session, we were not able to complete all of our work. HB 4126, the Household Hazardous Waste Stewardship Program, passed the policy committee. It received no action in the budget committee. There has been effort in recent years to limit new programs in the short session. My other bill, HB 4127 related to Qualification-Based Selection on public contracting, ran out of time in the Senate. I will continue to improve these policies where I can and bring them back in 2019! 

Spotlight on the Budget

During the Short Session, unlike the odd numbered year sessions, we are making changes to an already established budget. Since the budget was crafted in 2017, there have been certain areas that need more support. With House Bill 5201, the omnibus budget bill, we increased investments to a few key areas.

Foster care: We know we must do more to support foster children and the staff that support them. We allocated $13.2 million for 186 new positions within the Department of Human Services (caseworkers, case aides, office support staff, and recruitment specialists), $9.8 million designated for child care stipends for foster parents, and $2.5 million placed in reserve to continue to improve child safety, stabilize the workforce, and help foster families. These investments will help address some of the issues we see within our foster care system. I will continue to follow this issue and ensure that we are taking care of some of our most vulnerable populations.


Homelessness and Housing: In Washington County housing prices have risen 45% from 2012 to 2017, while wages have only increase 3% in a similar time frame (2012-2016). Many folks that were on the margin and pinching pennies can no longer make ends meet. The crisis we are facing as a region is a statewide problem, and one we must all address. We, the Oregon Legislature, worked to address the statewide housing crisis by investing $5.2 million to support emergency shelters, and $2 million for local communities around the state to study their housing needs to develop housing plans specific to the needs of their community. We have committed $60 million more in ongoing funding every biennium for homeless services and prevention, developing and preserving affordable housing, and providing home-ownership opportunities for low to moderate income families.

I met with Pacific University students this session.

Higher Education: Our public universities increase access to higher education to more Oregonians. We invested over $73 million to support the expansion of academic facilities across Oregon. The OSU-Cascades campus, OSU’s Northwest Marine Renewable Energy Center, Southern Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, and the University of Oregon all benefited for additional funds this session.


Healthcare: While healthcare remains uncertain at the federal level, our state continues to invest resources to support Oregonians and everyone’s access to affordable healthcare. In our state, mental health care and addiction services are some of the most vital parts of our healthcare system. We invested $2.2 million to improve reimbursement rates for residential mental health services across the state and another $2 million (plus) will be allocated toward tackling the opioid crisis. In addition, to support addiction recovery, the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission is directed to create a strategic plan to combat addiction and promote recovery.

Environment: While we were not able to put together a cap and trade program (HB 4001, Clean Energy Jobs), we did take significant steps in funding important public health and well-being programs. We allocated $1 million for the Department of Environmental Quality to clear a backlog in air quality permits and hold polluters accountable to air quality standards. We also directed the Carbon Policy Office to study the economic impact of a cap-and-invest program, understand any impacts on traded sector industries, and examine ways to utilize Oregon’s forests and fields to sequester and store carbon.

Important Information

Blackout Period (March 16-May 15): You may remember this from 2016, Legislators are barred from using state resources to send out communication 60 days before an election in accordance with House Rule 14.30. This will be my last newsletter before the primary election on May 15th. Additionally, to those that have signed up for my events list, I cannot send out my event e-blasts. Please keep an eye on my Facebook page,,  to keep up with what I am working on and hear about upcoming events!   


Session Staff and Interns: I am grateful to my team for helping me get through the session with ease. I want to thank Ivy Major-McDowell (pictured inner right) for her work in 2017 as an Legislative Intern and in 2018 as a great Legislative Aide. Izzy Pena Venegas (pictured far left)  was one of my Legislative Interns this session, and her bilingual skills, work ethic, and positivity were invaluable. I will miss having their help! My permanent staff, Nicole Stoenner (pictured inner left) , will stay on with me. Our other intern from Pacific University, Riley Stewart (pictured far right), began with us as a Legislative Intern and will transition into a Community Outreach Intern during the interim.


Community Information

Washington County Justice Reinvestment: Our county received two grants of $3.7 million and $570,289 for the 2017-2019 biennium to support alternatives to traditional punishments. These programs support safety, accountability, treatment, and victims services. The Justice Reinvestment Grant Program was created to distribute savings from averted prison growth into community-based programs that help people succeed outside of prison — services such as community corrections, re-entry programs, addiction treatment, and mental health services. It also increases funding available for community-based victim services programs that help crime victims find safety and rebuild their lives.  

Upcoming Events

Post Session Town Hall: Join Senator Chuck Riley, Representative Janeen Sollman, and myself for a discussion on the important work we completed this Session. We will meet on Monday, March 19th at 6 PM at the Hillsboro Civic Center. I hope you are able to make it!


March Constituent Gathering on Education: For a more intimate conversation, join me at my next constituent gathering. We will be discussing education, and a representative from the Oregon 529 Savings Network will be there to explain college savings programs available at the state. Join us on Saturday, March 31st at 10 AM at the Forest Grove Library.

4th annual Cherry Blossom Day at the Capitol: Next Saturday (the 17th) at the State Capitol is a celebration of our beautiful cherry blossoms in the Capitol Mall and a recognition of Japanese culture. This event is free for all and packed with great activities. Please look at this Facebook event to learn more:

With the 2018 Legislative Session behind us, I hope to hear from you about your priorities for 2019. Feel free to reach out to me at any time - (503) 986-1429 or

Yours Truly,


Representative Susan McLain

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