Happy First Day of Session!

Senator Kathleen Taylor

Hello Friends,

Happy first day of the 2020 Legislative Short Session! As some of you may know, the Oregon State Legislature convenes every year but alternates between ‘long’ and ‘short’ sessions. This year is a short session, which means throughout the next 35 days I will be dedicated to working with my colleagues to pass policies I believe will have a meaningful impact and better the lives of Oregonians. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, my top priority is passing the Oregon Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In addition, my personal bill this session will protect student borrowers from the harmful practices of student loan debt servicers. If you are interested in learning more about these priority bills, provided below is a policy summary: 

Oregon Greenhouse Gas Initiative 

Climate change is the issue of our time and it is critical for Oregon to take action. My priority for the 2020 session is to pass a bill addressing greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. I am working with climate experts and my colleagues in the legislature on Senate Bill 1530, the Oregon Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to create a policy that makes meaningful impacts on Oregon's carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. There is still much work to do finalizing the details of the policy, but I am hopeful we will reach an agreement to meet our goals. 

For me, meeting these goals includes first, ensuring a pathway towards reduced greenhouse gas emissions across the State. Second, ensuring the appropriate entities are paying the costs of this policy. Lastly, I want to make sure we support communities that are the most impacted by climate change including ensuring that SB 1530 doesn't result in job loss. 

We also have an opportunity with SB 1530 to pave a way for other states by creating a cap and trade policy model that other State Legislatures can implement. Caping greenhouse gas emissions is only one part of the equation of combating climate change, however, I strongly believe this is a monumental step that will inspire further change, help communities across Oregon, and will directly fight climate change. 

Student Loan Bill of Rights

My person bill for the 2020 session seeks to protect Oregonians who take out student loans in order to pursue their education. There are over 44 million Americans with student loan debt, and student loan debt is currently the second largest category of debt in the United States, second only to mortgage loans, and higher than credit card debt and car loans. In Oregon, outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $18 billion. 

Since 2017, I have been working with the Attorney General’s office as well as my republican and democratic colleagues to create legislation that protects and empowers borrowers as they pay back their loans. Student loan servicers, the companies that collect payment from and advise borrowers, are largely unregulated and often do not have the borrowers best interests in mind. These debt servicers often engage in dual tracking, fail to communicate with borrowers, and steer borrowers toward default. A 2016 investigation into one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers found that call center workers were incentivized based on how quickly they could get struggling borrowers off the phone. Given the lack of federal action in this area, states must step forward to protect against servicers that game the complex system at the expense of borrowers trying to pay their debts. 

Senate Bill 1540 creates a system of licensing under the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to monitor and, if necessary, sanction the servicers of student loans, including the servicers of both private and public/federal financial aid. The licensing process will be managed through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, and the program supported by licensing fees. In addition to licensing, the bill establishes an ombudsman position within DCBS to assist students with complaints against student loan servicers and provide them with information. Connecticut was the first state to pass similar legislation, and there are now a total of 13 states as well as the District of Columbia who have taken steps like those proposed in Senate Bill 1540. This bill will provide the same increased protections for Oregon students.

Watch out for my next newsletter for an update on the session and progress of SB 1530 and SB 1540. If you’d like to track these or any bills throughout the session, submit public testimony, or watch committee hearing on the bill, you can do so on the Oregon State Legislature website here for SB 1530, and here for SB 1540. If you have any trouble navigating the website, you can call my office at (530) 986-1721 and my Legislative Assistant, Kali, is happy to talk you through the steps.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came out to my Joint Town Hall with Senator Hass on January 22, 2020. It was wonderful to have a full house and lively discussion where I heard directly from constituents, answered questions, and talked about the work I’m doing in the legislature. I greatly value the opportunity to hear your stories and talk about the issues that are important to you.  

Lastly, I would like to invite you to my next event! I will be joining Representative Power for a Constituent Coffee event. I’m looking forward to sitting down with constituents to discuss the 2020 Session and answer any questions you may have.

When: Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9:00am - 10:30am.

Where: Willamette View, 12705SE River Rd, Portland, OR 97222   


Please continue to reach out to my office with any questions, comments, or concerns. Thank you.



State Senator Kathleen Taylor

Senate District 21

email: Sen.KathleenTaylor@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1721
address: 900 Court St NE, S-423, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/taylor