Keeping Kids and Communities Safe

Senator Wagner

Landmark Gun Safety Bill Passes

After years of hard work, the Oregon Legislature has passed a monumental gun safety measure. Senate Bill 554 improves the safety of the many employees who work to serve Oregonians across the state by bringing public buildings like the Capitol into alignment with federal standards and recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security.

With schools returning to in-person instruction, the measure also empowers schools to make decisions that keep staff and children safe from intimidation and violence. Granting local school boards the ability to choose to limit firearms ensures those closest to the community can choose what best suits their needs and values.

SB 554 also includes safe storage requirements for firearms. In Oregon the second leading cause of death among children and teens is interaction with firearms. We have seen an average of 29 deaths a year, and more than two thirds have been suicide. By limiting the accessibility of firearms, we can prevent senseless loss of life and ensure our kids can grow and thrive.

I am so grateful for the leadership of Senator Ginny Burdick, who serves one of our neighboring districts, and all of our incredible gun safety advocates here in the legislature. I’ve also been driven by the hard work of our community members who show their support for gun safety every year.

We have lost too many to gun violence, and this legislation will save lives. The bill now goes to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for a signature.

SB 554

House Bill 2395 Brings Jobs, Sustainability and Innovation to District 19

Last Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 2395 on a 20-5 vote. Currently, the definition of “recycled paper checkout bag” only accounts for conventional paper making materials. It fails to account for technology or the products of the future like bags made from straw, hemp and other materials.

This oversight was originally brought to me by the Willamette Falls Paper Company in West Linn. They pointed out how the ban limited the kind of sustainable innovation that brings jobs to our community, strengthens Oregon’s economy and helps address the environmental crisis.

For more than 100 years, the paper industry has been a key part of West Linn’s and the region’s economic fabric. The Willamette Falls Paper Company is bringing jobs back to our district and passing HB 2395 supports their good work. The plant is striving to play a pivotal role in helping the greater metro area achieve significant energy and environmental savings through the use of local resources for local needs.

RW & Willamette Paper Co

Willamette Falls Paper Company was generous enough to send me an example of the sustainable products that would finally be allowed for use in our businesses and stores under HB 2395.

Landlord Compensation Fund: Round Two Open Through May 17

The second round of the Landlord Compensation Fund, which helps tenants and supports landlords rectify past due rent payments, is open now until May 17. The program covers 80% of past due rent (April 2020 – now) for tenants with a signed declaration of financial hardship if a landlord agrees to forgive the other 20%. The first round helped more than 1,900 landlords, and will cover rental debt for approximately 12,000 tenants. 

This program is not first-come, first serve, and applications will be open until May 17. If you are interested in applying in the second round, please see this checklist and visit the Landlord Compensation Fund website for more information.

Tax Credits to Businesses Offering Paid Time Off for Employees to get Vaccinated

The American Rescue Plan includes a paid leave tax credit for certain businesses who provide their employees with paid time off used to get the COVID-19 vaccine and recover from any side effects. The tax credit offsets the cost for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees—nearly half of all private sector employees in America—between April 1 and September 30, 2021. 

The IRS has compiled this fact sheet, which includes eligibility criteria, details about the tax credit and how to claim it.

Getting vaccinated is the strongest tool we have in the fight against COVID-19, and this program is another important part of improving vaccine access and supporting businesses as we work to recover from this pandemic.

You can learn more about the help available to individuals through the American Rescue Plan Act below.


Earned Income Tax Credit

If you worked last year and had an income of less than $56,884 you may be eligible for the EITC, the Earned Income Tax Credit. This tax credit for workers either directly lowers taxes owed or adds to a refund. In order to claim the EITC, you must file a federal tax return, even if you owe no tax or aren’t required to file a return. 

Everyone who qualifies for the EITC also qualifies for free tax preparation through AARP, CASH Oregon and others. Learn how you may qualify for up to $6,600 and find free tax help online at or call 2-1-1. You can also check your eligibility using the EITC Assistant feature.


National Asian and Pacific Islander Month

In Oregon, the month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time when we celebrate the contributions and shared history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders here in our state. Take a couple of minutes to listen to Commissioner Jackie Leung from the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs as she reads Governor Brown’s proclamation making May 2021 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

As we uplift the voices and experiences of AAPI communities in Oregon, we must recognize the increase in hate and bias towards our AAPI neighbors and work to end it. It takes all of us to #StopAsianHate. Learn more about Oregon AAPI communities' culture and history on the Oregon Legislature's website.

National Teacher Appreciation Week

Last week was National Teacher Appreciation Week, and this year more than ever I am so grateful to all of our teachers for showing incredible resilience, dedication and care as we have all navigated this pandemic together.

I am proud to be the son and brother of teachers, and it has been an honor to spend much of my career working with and on behalf of educators, who work every day to ensure our children and our state enjoy a brighter future.

As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get your questions answered as quickly as possible.


RW signature

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301