Legislative Newsletter Week of February 24th

Representative Raquel Moore-Green

Session Updates

Hello Friends,

Last Tuesday the 18th, through the collective decision of our Republican caucus we were able to create windows of time that allowed the public and fellow members to take deeper dives into the legislation on the floor and in committee.

Many of you wrote in both opposition and support of the stance that I took to send a clear message that the short session is not the time or place for major pieces of legislation. The lengthy floor debates in the House on some bills continue to emphasize: these are big issues and we needed more time to work out the intricacies.   This is further evidence that all members feel the pressure of the limited time and massive amounts of legislation.

Please know that I take my job as HD19 Representative seriously. I am committed to understanding what I am voting on – I am not voting for me; I am voting for YOU.   The impacts of legislation on our daily lives is real, whether it the price of insulin or the reporting of a child being bullied in school. The votes I take impact all working families, seniors, our youth, and everyone in between!

To those who wrote me – thank you I appreciated hearing from you. I responded with the following:

Last night I was not present on the Floor for session along with my caucus members.  I had time to study some of the complex legislation that is coming to the Floor for a vote today.  Many of these bills passed through committees on which I do not serve, and they are bills that deserve a full vetting before I cast a vote.  The pace of short session has not provided adequate time to study the legislation and ask questions I have prior to voting; and we are now beginning to receive bills that have passed the Senate.  I believe the constituents of HD 19 deserve to have bills read thoroughly and thoughtfully before I cast a vote – that is my job.  Today I will join my colleagues on the floor as we consider the 16 bills, including 2 minority reports, for a total of 197 pages of legislation that will affect HD 19 and all Oregonians.  (Wednesday 02 19 20)

Accomplishments on the Floor & Committee

On Monday the 17th I had the privilege to bring to the floor HCR 204. This concurrent resolution commemorates the centennial of Oregon’s ratification of the 19th amendment. For the full discussion please see here.

I am happy to report that the Senate also passed this resolution out of committee on Thursday the 20th, it now goes to the Senate Floor. During discussions and testimony some interesting history was revisited:

The walkout of 1897 led by Rep U’Ren, a Republican, led to the initiative process to allow for women’s suffrage.  Checked corporate special interests and took on the corrupt political system. 

U'Ren's Legacy:

For the first time since its creation in 1857, the Oregon Constitution was amended with the 1902 vote on initiative and referendum. This opened the floodgates to additional progressive legislation in the next 10 years including the direct primary in 1904, the direct election of U.S. senators in 1906, the recall of public officials in 1908, the presidential preference primary in 1910 and woman's suffrage in 1912. By continuing to exercise U'Ren's legacy of direct legislation, Oregon voters made direct and significant impact on the actions of the legislature and state government. Read more at Forging the Oregon Constitutional Amendment Process

Several other pieces of legislation were voted on this week in the House. Here is a sampling: one that made the travel and lodging tax permanent; establishes regulations for kratom products, including labeling requirements and minimum age for sale; and one that reduces the number of electors who must be registered as member of minor political party in order for minor political party to retain political party status from one-half of one percent to one-third of one percent of total number of registered electors in state.

The work of policy committees will wrap up this week, while there remains active ongoing work in both the Rules and Ways and Means Committees.   For up to the minute information and viewing visit: OLIS.

In Other News

RMG & Ernesto

On Tuesday I had the honor of welcoming Ernesto Toskovic and his nephew, Tobias to the Capitol. Due to the schedule that day I was unable to share Ernesto’s unique story, it is a story worth sharing:

Ernesto Toskovic would live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Vienna and Germany before coming to the United States. He arrived with his parents and sister as refugees in 1998. It would take five years for them to become citizens at a naturalization ceremony in Portland.

It was a long, and winding road. Toskovic was a student in Croatia when the Bosnian War started. He lived in Vienna for a year as a refugee and worked to get his parents and sister out of the war zone from there. "The process to get to Germany was very difficult, very complex, a very long story, but we got there," he said.  After four years in Germany, he said they were accepted into the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program following interviews, background checks and some exams. All four of them arrived in Tucson, Arizona, on June 30, 1998.Arriving in the desert in the middle of summer was jarring. 

"I remember the first night we arrived to Tucson, we went to bed, we were very tired," Toskovic said. "All of us woke up at 4 in the morning and just cried. We were happy to come to the U.S., but we were confused and a little bit scared."  The next few weeks were difficult until they started taking English classes and found jobs, but they would only be in Tucson for about six months. After connecting with someone from back home who lived in Salem, they decided to move here. 

Toskovic and his family applied for green cards after being in America for two years, and then applied for citizenship after five. The four of them were naturalized together in 2003 at an "elegant and very official" ceremony in Portland."It was a very proud moment for us," he said. A culmination of hard work, patience and commitment to American principles. Things started going "really well" for Toskovic after he received an MBA through Willamette University, an opportunity that led him to become a commercial banker, a Willamette University contributing associate professor and founder of SwiftCare, an urgent care facility in West Salem. "This is the land of opportunities," he said. "Use the opportunities, grab them and contribute."

Zellee Herman, one of the younger constituents in HD19 served as an Honorary Page on Friday. She is a 7th grade student at Pratum School. Zellee is a bubbly, outgoing 12-year-old with a fun sense of humor. She enjoys softball, basketball, hiking, spending time with animals and helping with the children’s ministry at her church. My other guest on the floor this week included my son in-law Bill Newell.

RMG & Zellee
RMG & Bill

As I attended my duties in committee and floor our office hosted numerous visitors from various groups. We heard from constituents concerned about suicide and urging more support services, members of OOPA visited sharing concerns of the eye doctors for complete eye screening tests and the Alzheimer's Association to name a few.

Thank you for engaging with your state government. Please know my door is always open and my staff, Pam McClain, Lena Prine, and I welcome your participation.

All my best, rmg


Representative Raquel Moore-Green
House District 19

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1419
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-385, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.RaquelMooreGreen@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/moore-green