Dawn of a New Session

Senator Rob Wagner

Dawn of a New Session

sunrise capitol

Early morning light illuminates the Capitol on Tuesday, February 4th.

Dear Friends,

Even after 20 years of working in the Capitol - from my days as a student to my current senate service - I still love the daily displays of democracy in action. The first week was filled with meetings with constituents, impassioned committee hearings, and rallies by folks from across the state. It’s great to be back with my colleagues and my team working to address Oregon’s most crucial issues - the climate crisis, gun safety, balancing the budget, addressing our homeless crisis, and improving educational systems for all of Oregon's students.

Here is a brief recap of the first week of the short legislative session, a preview of this week, and some updates on my legislative priorities this session.

One Week Down - Four To Go

Short legislative sessions last for up to 35 calendar days. By the end of the first week, almost every bill that will be moving forward must have a date for a work session scheduled in its initial committee. The first week is particularly hectic as testimony is submitted in favor and opposition on new legislation, and everyone becomes more aware of the full legislative landscape.

I testified four times during the first week, supporting a wide variety of legislation. 

student health testimony

I joined my colleagues Representatives Susan McClain and Andrea Salinas to testify before the House Education Committee in support of an improved student health survey. This bill will help schools make data informed decisions to prevent suicide, sexual assault, and substance abuse.

Susan and senate

My constituent Susan Dussault delivered exceptional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 1568, my priority legislation to protect vulnerable youth from human trafficking and homelessness.

MDA mtg

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action filled the building to support the safe storage bill (House Bill 4005) and sensible gun safety. Representative Salinas and I had a great conversation with constituents about the bill and why we'll be doing all that we can to get it across the finish line.


Great meeting with Mt. Hood Community College students to discuss the importance of career technical education programs.

Laurie appointment hearing

I am super proud of my wife, Laurie Cremona Wagner, for her testimony and appointment to the Oregon Workforce and Talent Development Board!

Second Week Preview

During the second week, almost all bills must have a work session in committee, allowing committee members to vote on whether the bill should move to the floor of the Senate or the House for a vote, or move to another committee, such as Joint Ways and Means, for further analysis.

My Priorities in the Capitol

Protecting Vulnerable Youth

During the 2020 Short Legislative Session, I am championing Senate Bill 1568, which creates a technical fix to Oregon law so that vulnerable youth between the ages of 18 and 21 can ask an Oregon court to appoint a trusted adult as their guardian. A formalized legal relationship with a trusted, responsible adult promotes the vulnerable youth’s long-term well-being and stability, decreases reliance on public resources, and reduces youth homelessness between the ages of 18 and 21. The bill would help protect an estimated 70-100 young people in Oregon each year. 

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. Senate Bill 1521: Strengthening the Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to improve students' experience with credit transfer between institutions of higher education.

2. Senate Bill 1520: Making technical changes to the Student Success Act to help feed more students and decrease food insecurity.

3. Senate Bill 1522: Passing bipartisan legislation to support school districts in continuing to protect children from inappropriate sexual conduct by strengthening child abuse investigatory responsibilities and accountability.

Other Bills I am Sponsoring:

Senate Bill 1572: Working with Senator Mark Hass to clarify Oregon's diploma requirements and eliminate arbitrary test requirements to graduate from high school.

House Bill 4112: Working with Representative Anna Williams to invest in Children's Advocacy Centers so that abused children can receive trauma-informed care and are more likely to have better long-term outcomes.

House Bill 4146: Working with Senator Michael Dembrow to provide part-time faculty health care. We have been advocating on this issue for more than 10 years and are ready to pass this bill!

House Bill 4160: Working with Representative Teresa Alonso Leon to establish a task force on success in higher education for underrepresented students.

Upcoming Events

Save the Dates!
I'm organizing a town hall series focused on children's well-being. Locations and additional details will be sent out in the coming weeks.
  1. Sunday, March 22, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  2. Sunday, April 5, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  3. Sunday, April 19, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  4. Sunday, May 3, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
I look forward to seeing you at one or several of these town halls!

Staff and Intern Updates


I'm very proud of my Legislative Assistant, Aleesha Kazi, who was chosen as last week's "featured Bearcat" by Willamette University. Outside of her work in my office, Aleesha is a rockstar residential assistant, a member of Willamette's Contemporary Ensemble, and the leader of the Muslim Students Association.  

Interns & GKB

Mamadou, Sarah, and Emily were thrilled to meet Governor Brown and celebrate her proclamation honoring Black History Month.

sunny friday

This past week, we welcomed another intern to our team! 

Sam Sullivan (right side of picture) is a freshman at Portland Community College, where he is earning his Associates of Art transfer degree. He plans to attend the University of Oregon, where he will be studying political science and history. He aspires to one day work in government. He completed his K-12 education in the Lake Oswego school district, gaining an appreciation for good education and the value it brings. 

Statewide and District Updates

Check out this neat Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project Fly-Through! If you're curious about the TriMet project, click here to learn more.

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-215, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner