Fabulous February Newsletter

Sheri Schouten

Start of Session

Hello Friends,

The 80th Legislative Session was called to order in January of 2019. Every session legislators, staff, advocates and the public come to Salem with one goal in mind: improving the lives of Oregonians and moving our state forward. Today, as in sessions past, the Capitol halls are filled with discussions of challenges, opportunities, and solutions.

Now, as always, I am humbled by the trust my community has placed in me, and by the work ahead. Leadership of both chambers of the legislature have set ambitious goals for this session: protecting funding for our Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, limiting our carbon emissions, protecting tenants from price gouging, and historic investments in public education. And, while at times the legislative session will be contentious, I am again reminded that all ninety members of the Oregon Legislature have the same goal: to make Oregon a better place.

It is my hope that through reading these newsletters you will be able to take part in the public process, and learn more about what is going during session here in Salem.


Energy & Environment Committee

This legislative session I am serving as the Democratic Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee.  This committee will consider policies associated with air quality, renewable fuels, wind energy, recycling and waste prevention. As a nurse, whose policy involvement began advocating for banning toxic plastics in children’s toys long before I joined the legislature, it has been a pleasure to bring my public health background to issues concerning our natural environment, and how best to provide for our natural resource and energy needs in the present, while also considering the long term impacts of our policies on our environment, and our health. I hope to bring a lens of environmental justice to this committee, and have greatly enjoyed working with Chair Helm, a fellow Washington County Democrat.

Legislative Priorities

In these newsletters I want to share with you some of the legislation I am sponsoring, which includes issues associated with health care, our natural environment, and good governance.

HB 2883: Single Use Polystyrene Ban

HB 2883 would prohibit food vendors from using polystyrene containers in selling, offering for sale, serving or dispensing prepared food to the public. I am partnering with Representatives’ Susan McLain and Janeen Sollman as Chief Sponsors of HB 2883.  Every day Oregonians throw away literally tons of single-use cups such as take-out food containers. Among the worst forms of plastic pollution is polystyrene foam (commonly called Styrofoam), which will never fully degrade in nature.

Big urban cities like Portland and small rural cities like Silverton have already passed local ordinances to ban polystyrene containers. Michael Roth, the CEO of Roth’s Fresh Markets recently shared that Roth’s has been working on eliminating polystyrene containers from its stores. Nothing we use once should be allowed to pollute our beautiful communities like single use polystyrene containers. 

We just held a public hearing on HB 2883 and you can watch that hearing and follow the legislation here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2883

HB 2768: Dignity for Incarcerated Women

Oregon law requires that correctional facilities provide materials to maintain inmates’ personal hygiene, but does not explicitly mention menstrual hygiene products. Consequently, many incarcerated women must purchase their necessary menstrual products with the wages earned from working behind bars. The low wages they earn (typically $8-$82 per month) make providing for even basic sanitary needs prohibitively expensive. This is especially acute when and inmate first arrives at an institution since, with the exception of minimum-security prisoners, all inmates are barred from receiving pay in their first 120 days (four menstrual cycles) of incarceration.

This concept would require incarceration facilities to provide tampons, sanitary napkins, and clean undergarments to female persons in custody at no charge, and to maintain a supply of these products for detainees and prisoners. It would also stipulate that facilities maintain a barrier between male and female confined detainees and prisoners. Most importantly, it would allow that pregnant prisoners and detainees may be restrained solely with handcuffs in front of the person’s body, unless further restraint is required to protect the pregnant person—which would help Oregon avoid costly lawsuits like a recent case in New York State.

Team Schouten


I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my office staff for the 2019 Session. When you come to visit me in Salem, the odds are good that you will meet my team. If you call or email my office there is a good chance you will hear from them first.

Derek has served in my office since November of 2016 as my Chief Policy Advisor.

Carl is returning for his third session in my office as my Outreach Director and handles many of our constituent concerns that come to my office.

Kyle has served in the Oregon Legislature for several years and was hired on this year to help carry out our policy agenda.

Medha is a senior at Portland State University who after graduation hopes to complete a Master’s in Public Health. She is looking forward to being a part of the process to create positive policy this session.

Town Hall Summary

We had a wonderful Legislative Town Hall this weekend in Beaverton. We heard from constituents about education funding, housing insecurity, marijuana revenue, The Clean Energy Jobs bill and funding for healthcare.

The staff at Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation were so wonderful to open up the Tualatin Hills Nature Center for our event. THPRD Director Felicita Monteblanco moderated the forum and helped group questions about similar subjects to make sure we got to as many different policy areas during the event. We will be doing more town hall events as the session continues. Look for news in future newsletters about them.


Oregon Legislative Information System

OLIS is the most powerful resource for the public when it comes to tracking legislation. If you know a bill number, sponsor, or even part of the text, you can find it in OLIS. You can even look up legislation from past sessions. Can’t make it down to your favorite committee meeting? After a committee meeting the video feed is posted to OLIS and you can watch the committee meetings and read any materials advocates and opponents submitted to the committee. Visit OLIS.

Upcoming Events


Get to Know HD 27

The Garden Home History Project

If you love grassroots initiatives, I think you will love The Garden Home History Project. Residents of the Garden Home area with a passion for preserving local history have started a non-profit organization. You might call it a “Historical Association” or you might call it a group of local history enthusiasts determined to preserve the history of the community to be shared with future generations. From the website, “We are a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and sharing the history of the Garden Home area in Washington County, Oregon. If you have stories or photos about Garden Home’s past, we’d love to hear from you.”


They offer a free digital newsletter that is emailed out to their list and they provide a printed copy for those that do not have access to email. Filled with historic photos and stories about the local community, it helps residents share their stories with one another. Please feel free to visit their website to find interesting historic photos of Garden Home and the stories that go with them. Perhaps you have a story to share, too!

Looking forward to hearing from you this session,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1427
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, HS-280, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.SheriSchouten@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/schouten