Happy New Year & Looking Forward to the 2020 Legislative Session

Senator Rob Wagner

Welcome to the 2020s and Happy New Year!

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a joyous and restful holiday season with family and friends. I enjoyed spending quality time with my wife, four teenagers, and extended family over the holidays, as well as taking time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the start of a new decade.

Now that we are through our January legislative days, there are only a few weeks until the short legislative session begins on February 3rd. I am meeting with folks all over Senate District 19 to hear about their legislative priorities for 2020 and beyond. Two years into my service in the state senate, I am incredibly grateful for the continued opportunity to serve my constituents and advance priorities that benefit all Oregonians.  

Reflections on 2019

While the 2019 legislative session ended in some frustration, the session as a whole was historically productive and marked by major victories. During this past year, I worked with my colleagues to move Oregon forward. We delivered an impressive list of accomplishments that put Oregon students first, promoted family wage jobs and protected our investments in vital social services across the state. Some of the bills that were most significant to me included:

Community College Four-Year Degrees: Senate Bill 3 expands opportunities for Oregon students by allowing community colleges to offer applied baccalaureate degree programs, better preparing students for career success.

Youth Suicide Prevention and Response: According to the 2017 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians aged 10 to 24. Senate Bill 485 requires the Oregon Health Authority to collaborate with multiple education entities on a communication plan for responding to suspected suicides of those 24 years or younger. Senate Bill 52 (Adi's Act) requires school districts to adopt policies and plans on youth suicide prevention. To pass this bill, I worked alongside two courageous parents who lost their daughter Adi to suicide, a fate all too common for transgender youth. Basic Rights Oregon was instrumental in supporting this bill, which addresses populations at higher risk for youth suicide.

Holocaust/Genocide Education: Senate Bill 664 requires school districts to provide instruction about the Holocaust and genocide. I started working on this bill after a 13 year old constituent encouraged me to meet with the amazing Alter Wiener, a dedicated community activist and Holocaust survivor. During the 2018 legislative session, he testified before the Senate Education Committee and inspired me and several of my colleagues to advance a holocaust education bill. He was tragically killed in a crosswalk later that year, but his memory and vision lives on with the passage of this important policy. The bill directs the Oregon Department of Education to provide technical assistance to school districts on implementing the curriculum, and the new instruction requirements will apply beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.

Upcoming Events

Please join me for a Joint Town Hall with Representatives Rachel Prusak and Andrea Salinas focusing on the e-cigarette epidemic. There will be presentations from the Oregon Health Authority, Washington County Tobacco Prevention, Clackamas County Tobacco Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the Providence youth group Rebels for A Cause.

When: January 23, 2020; 6:30PM - 8:00PM

Where: Tualatin High School

22300 SW Boones Ferry Rd

Tualatin, Oregon 97062

E-cig town hal

In and Around the District

W2D event

I was honored to speak to the Willamette Women Democrats last week with my amazing colleague House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner.

CCBA panel

Great discussion with many of my fellow Clackamas County legislators at the Clackamas County Business Alliance Legislative Summit.

WA co transportation forum

Talking transportation with local, regional, and state elected officials in Washington County.

CAC tour

Amazing tour of the Children's Center in Oregon City. I'll be co-sponsoring legislation in the short session that increases funding for these centers and the crucial work they do for our communities.


Updating the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network on the status of climate change legislation.

ja biz

Touring the Junior Achievement BizTown location - a very cool opportunity for 5th graders to learn about the economy, civic engagement, and cooperation.

mayor ja biztown

I had the privilege of meeting with the Mayor of JA BizTown while on the tour - the future is bright with next generation leaders like Koen!


Learning about electric grid reliability and energy purchases at Portland General Electric headquarters.


Great tour of Oregon Health and Science University to learn more about nursing education programs.

Back in October of 2019, I was interviewed at the inaugural Multi-City Equity Summit at Lake Oswego - please take the time to learn about the important equity work happening in our communities.

Last month, I was interviewed by the Lake Oswego Review and provided a preview of some of the education issues I'll be working on during the 2020 legislative session.

In the Capitol – My Priorities

Protecting Vulnerable Youth

In 2018, a constituent made me aware of a blind spot in Oregon law. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) protects young people who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or guardians. SIJS allows that person to acquire a work permit, keeps them from being deported, and grants them eligibility to apply for permanent residence. Oregon’s statute is currently misaligned with federal requirements, leaving vulnerable youth at risk of being deported. During the 2020 Short Legislative Session I will be introducing a bill to fix Oregon’s statute so that these youth can safely remain in our communities.

Senate Education

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, I am committed to working towards a better, more equitable education system for all our students. During the legislative session, the committee will be working to pass three bills:

1. Strengthening the Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to improve students' experience with credit transfer between institutions of higher education.

2. Making technical changes to aid the Oregon Department of Education in implementing the Student Success Act.

3. Passing legislation to support school districts in implementing the provisions of Senate Bill 155 (protecting children from inappropriate sexual conduct by strengthening child abuse investigatory responsibilities and accountability).

New Staff and Interns

staff & interns

I'm so excited to welcome new staff and interns to my office for the 2020 legislative session. From left to right: Mamadou Fall, Aleesha Kazi, and Emily Williams.

Mamadou Fall is an international student from Senegal. At Portland Community College, he is studying International Relations and hopes to one day focus on public relations in the humanitarian aid sector. He speaks six languages and looks forward to learning about the legislative process in Oregon.

Aleesha Kazi is a junior at Willamette University studying Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics. She was born and raised in West Linn, Oregon, and is passionate about supporting her community, especially in the fields of education, health care, and civil rights. She plans to attend law school after graduating next year, and aspires to one day work in the judicial branch or as counsel to the legislature.

Emily Williams is a sophomore at Portland Community College studying Sociology with an emphasis on Civic and Community Engagement. She plans to dual enroll at Portland State University next year and looks forward to learning more about the legislative process and constituent relations.

Sarah Strobel is a senior at Oregon State University studying Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Music Education. She was born in Bakersfield, California to two teachers, inspiring her education career trajectory. She plans to continue learning about and advocating for public education during her graduate studies.

Statewide Update

Education Savings Tax Credit

Thank you to Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read for his dedicated advocacy to help Oregon become the first state in the nation to offer a refundable tax credit for post-secondary education savings, allowing more families to benefit from saving for college.

The Education Savings Credit replaces the previous deduction and provides the same maximum credit to all Oregonians who are saving for college, community college, trade school, or other post-secondary education through the Oregon College Savings Plan.

Designed to reach diverse communities across the state and the income spectrum, the credit is tiered, with low- to moderate- income families receiving a higher percentage match; reducing barriers to accessibility and helping to achieve that dream of attending college or trade school.

For example, a family making $70,000/year who contributes $600 into their Oregon College Savings Plan account will receive the full $300 refundable tax credit for that tax year. Click here to see where you fit in.

Here is a link to a helpful Q&A document as well.

Thank you for reading my newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or comments.


Senator Rob Wagner



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