Do What You Can Do 2/8/19

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Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”                    —Helen Keller

Welcome to the second edition of Do What You Can Do. This week we're starting a format that has two parts:

  1. What's Up: A quick summary of what I'm working on and other important bills you might care about.
  2. What Do You Think: Where I ask for your thoughts on a particular issue where I'm unclear as to where the Rogue Valley folks stand.

What's Up

Affordable Housing:

On Monday, February 4th, our Housing Committee passed on to the full Senate SB 608, which would make Oregon the first state to limit rent increases and eliminate (with narrow exceptions) no-cause evictions after the first twelve months of tenancy. This bill came out of months of negotiations with tenant and landlord groups at the table. It caps rent increases at 7% plus inflation per year and strengthens the right of tenants who follow the rules to stay in their homes. We listened to nearly 100 passionate witnesses in a marathon Housing Committee meeting, with roughly 2/3 supporting the measure. Opponents included tenants who think it doesn't go far enough, and landlords and property managers who believe that the bill will devastate their businesses and end up hurting those we're trying to help.

Some of the criticisms made sense to me, but I voted to send it to the Senate floor as-is, with no amendments. Solutions to this crisis have been under debate for years, as more and more Oregonians lose decent housing and the ability to keep their lives together. We've told these families to wait for too long. Once this bill passes so that we know we won't kick this problem down the road yet again, I'm open to re-visiting some of the concerns we've heard. For example, some critics insisted that we won't really solve this problem unless we increase the supply of affordable housing. They're right about that, and legislation to do just that is on the way. In the meantime, though, there's a lot of present-day pain that needs relief, and this bill takes a good step in that direction.

Senator Golden and Representative Rayfield Talk Campaign Finance Reform


Campaign Finance Reform:

Besides working on the language for a state constitutional amendment to allow limitations on campaign donations, we’re planning a meeting of experts on what’s sometimes known as the “small donor” model public campaign financing. Candidates who qualify by collecting a minimum number of $5 contributions can opt in to the program: if they agree to limitations on the size and sources of donations they’ll accept, they can receive $6 in public money for every $1 dollar they raise. That would mean that the “special interests” financing their campaigns would be you and me, the people of Oregon.

There are a few successful (and popular) examples of this approach.  We’ll be studying up on the details. One of the big challenges will be finding a source for the public dollars. Many will object to tapping into the state’s General Fund, accurately pointing out that there are vital unmet needs for those dollars.  So we’ll be looking for other options.  It’s a high hurdle, but one we have to clear if we expect to make vital changes that entrenched interests have been blocking.

Senator Golden and Climate Activists


The much-anticipated bill on climate action—known last session as the Clean Energy Jobs Bill—was handed to the Carbon Reduction Committee last week.  I serve on that panel with 13 other legislators from both chambers and both parties; based on early discussions, it’ll be hard to secure much if any Republican support for this effort.

HB 2020 is 55 pages long and they are dense pages. It’s too early to guess how strong the final product will be—how powerful the incentive will be for polluters to reduce emissions, how much revenue will be available to boost clean energy ventures and protect economically vulnerable people and communities. All that will depend largely on what Oregonians tell us. Our committee will be holding public hearings around the state.  One is tentatively scheduled in Medford from 9am-noon on Saturday, February 23; watch for the next edition of this newsletter to confirm. If this is a vital issue for you, please consider attending to offer your views.

What Do You Think?

Coyote Photograph, Courtesy of ODFW

Photo Courtesy of Rick Swart of ODFW

SB 723

At the request of the Humane Society, I’ve signed on as a co-sponsor of SB 723, which would ban coyote-killing contests in Eastern Oregon. Some have sent in their thanks. Others are angry, seeing it as an infringement on hunting rights; tonight an email from Eastern Oregon told me to “leave us the hell alone.”

There's been some confusion about the scope of the ban. For example, the bill wouldn't affect fishing contests under the current legal definition of "wildlife," but the language of the bill doesn't make that explicit. 

What do you think?  Write

Do you know other people in the Rogue Valley who might want to know about the issues we’ll be tackling this session, including climate, wildfires and smoke, affordable housing, education (pre-K through higher ed), health care, economic fairness and campaign finance reform?  Please invite them to sign up for this newsletter at We will not share contact information with anyone else for any reason.

And if you like Twitter, follow @SenatorGolden for more frequent and impulsive updates.

Our best to you for now. Please remember to do what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden
Chair, Campaign Finance Committee
Senate District 3 (Rogue Valley)

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301
Twitter: @SenatorGolden