Major Legislation Headed to the Governor's Desk

Senator Wagner

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Assistance for tenants is available through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP), which opens applications today, Wednesday, May 19 for most Oregon residents and will distribute $204 million in federal funding. This program can help with rent or utilities payments for low income households (households at 80% of Area Median Income or less, and which have experienced a financial hardship). 

Unlike the Landlord Compensation Fund, OERAP can cover current and future rent in addition to past rent. To apply, there will be one centralized, statewide tenant application run by Oregon Housing and Community Services. Visit the OERAP website for more information and for a link to the application portal once it goes live.


Please be aware that OERAP cannot yet accept applications from Clackamas County tenants. In the meantime, rental assistance is available in Clackamas County through the traditional means. The County has Supporting Tenants Accessing Rental Relief (STARR) funds remaining, and their own allocation of Emergency Rental Assistance from the U.S. Treasury. For more information, visit the Clackamas County's Coordinated Housing Access line.

Protecting Homeowners with House Bill 2009

On a 19-9 vote, the Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2009 on Monday to reestablish the residential foreclosure moratorium. This measure will provide protections for homeowners who have struggled throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

As we begin to recover from the pandemic, it remains critically important to protect Oregonians’ ability to stay in their homes. This is especially true for our Black, Indigenous, and people of color neighbors who have been disproportionately impacted by the health crisis, and who already face higher barriers to homeownership. Foreclosure disrupts the lives of families and communities, and I’m grateful to my colleagues and the stakeholders who came together to find a path forward on this issue. View the Senate Democrats' full statement below.

HB 2009 statement

House Bill 2526 - Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, and it has been celebrated nationwide since 1971 on the second Monday in October. For our indigenous neighbors and communities across the country, however, it represents a celebration of the deaths and forced assimilation of millions of Native people. While Oregon does not formally observe Columbus Day as a state holiday, it is time to acknowledge the legacy of systemic racism and violence of the day and rethink how we celebrate American history.

Passing the Senate yesterday on a 22-7 vote, House Bill 2526 designates the second Monday of October of each year as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Oregon. Our state will become the 11th state in the United States to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, honoring the languages and cultures that contribute incredible richness and vitality to the tapestry of the place we now call Oregon. View the Senate Democrats' full statement below. 


Senate Passes Energy Affordability Act

Last week the Oregon Senate approved House Bill 2475, also known as the Energy Affordability Act. This legislation will improve participation for environmental justice advocates within the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) process, and expand the PUC’s ability to establish rate classes based on differential energy burdens on low-income customers and other social equity or environmental justice factors that affect affordability for utility customers.

After all of this past year’s challenges, HB 2475 does important work to improve access and equity in the delivery of critical services. The cost of basic utilities disproportionately impacts low-income Oregonians, especially in communities of color, and this bill brings them much needed relief. 

House Bill 2475 passed the Senate with a vote of 18-11. The bill now goes to the Governor for her signature. View the Senate Democrats’ full statement below.

SenDems Energy Affordability Act

LGBTQ+ Panic Defense Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk

Last month I shared that the Senate had passed Senate Bill 704, a bill that I partnered with Senator Lieber on after my summer intern Lane Duckett raised this important issue with me during the interim. I’m proud to share that SB 704 has passed the House with unanimous support, and now heads to the Governor for her signature. 

The bill ends the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defense—legal strategies claiming that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent or lethal reaction. SB 704 helps ensure that perpetrators of violent crimes against LGBTQ+ people in our state face full accountability for their crimes. Violence against the LGBTQ+ community is never acceptable, and we must continue to make that true both in our courts and our culture.

Thank you again to Lane, Senator Kate Lieber, Basic Rights Oregon, and all of the co-sponsors for their work to improve legal rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community in our state. Watch my floor speech and Senator Lieber's remarks on the bill by clicking the image below.

RW/KL Floor Speech

Get Vaccinated!

As more Oregonians get vaccinated, the safer it is to see friends and family in the meaningful ways we’ve all missed over the past year. This has been a long haul of mask wearing, virtual education, and missing time with our loved ones. By getting vaccinated, we can do all of those things more safely.

When you choose to get your vaccine, you protect yourself and your vulnerable community members. Now that kids 12+ are able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, it will also help us to keep schools open and our student athletes in their sports. In addition, you'll be supporting Oregon’s economy and our ability to socialize and spend time together and enjoy Oregon’s local businesses.

Get Vaccinated Oregon

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