2018 Legislative Session in Review – Critical Issues Facing Our Communities

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Welcome back! Last week, I reviewed some budget highlights and other successes from this year’s session as Oregon responded to actions at the national level.  We also worked hard last month to pass policies that will help to build strong communities so everyone has the same opportunities and resources to succeed. 


Taking on the Housing Crisis

The housing crisis continues to be a top priority for my office. Building on last year’s progress, here’s how we worked to address the problem in this year’s session:

  • HB 4006 requires the sharing of survey data on Oregonians who are experiencing “severe rent burden” (that is, they spend half or more of their income on rent) and an annual public conversation in cities where more than 25 percent of their renters are severely rent burdened.
  • HB 4007 increases the document recording fee by $40, which will generate an additional $60 million a biennium in dedicated funds to invest in emergency services for people experiencing homelessness, first-time home ownership programs, and efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing. 
  • HB 4010 establishes the Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership to find solutions to closing the gap in homeownership rates between communities of color and white families.
  • This November, voters will have the opportunity to approve a constitutional change (HJR 201) that, if passed, will allow cities and counties to more efficiently use general obligation bonds to provide affordable housing.
  • Dedicating $5.2 million in our budget for emergency shelters. About half of that funding will go to Multnomah County to maintain shelters and find permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Allocating $2 million for technical assistance to local jurisdictions so they can take their next housing planning step – like analyzing their housing needs, updating their zoning code, or creating a housing plan specific to the needs of their community. 

Protecting Access to Health Care

After the overwhelming passage of Measure 101 by voters in January, Oregonians made it clear that everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care.

  • HB 4005 takes a first stab at lowering prescription drug prices by requiring transparency in price-setting. 
  • HB 4018 stands up for Medicaid patients and their providers by requiring that the coordinated care organizations that serve Oregon’s Medicaid population hold public meetings and give ample notice if they are not renewing their contract.
  • HJR 203, the constitutional referral that would have made cost-effective, affordable health care a fundamental right, passed the House  but did not make it out of the Senate.
  • We allocated over $11 million to improve community and mental health, through investments in school-based mental health services, closing racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, improving access to care for adults in psychiatric crisis, and funding new ways to tackle the opioid crisis.  

Improving Air Quality

Many Oregonians are suffering from the effects of poor air quality in our communities, from diesel engine emissions to point-source pollution.  The Cleaner Air Oregon program aims to fix one part of the problem.

I supported the Cleaner Air Oregon legislation, SB1541, because it is an important step forward for improving our air quality. The bill authorizes the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt the Cleaner Air Oregon program, which will set health-based standards for reducing air toxics at new and existing facilities. It also establishes fees for the costs of implementation paid for by the permitted facilities.

While this bill is crucial for improving the health of our communities, it was still a difficult decision for me to vote for it because legislative intervention on this issue undermined an 18-month public process that brought together stakeholders from all sides of the issue. I will monitor the implementation of this program – in particular, a pilot program that may launch in North and Northeast Portland – and ensure it is adequately reducing health risks. 

In addition to the new fees to support Cleaner Air Oregon, we approved $1.0 million in funding to the Department of Environmental Quality to clear a backlog in approving or renewing air quality permits.

Thank You

Thank you for staying involved and engaged. As always, please reach out to my office with your questions and concerns. You can email us at Rep.TinaKotek@oregonlegislature.gov or call us in Salem: 503-986-1200, or at our district office: 503-286-0558.




Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

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