Sine Die is Approaching: Updates from Salem

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Representative Smith Warner

Greetings:

Whew! As we barrel toward sine die, the constitutional deadline for adjournment, we continue to pass a variety of important bills that will support Oregonians from all walks of life as we recover from the pandemic and the economic upheaval that it brought. Take a look below at opportunities to celebrate and learn about Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a few bills we passed in the last week, the Legislature’s $9.3 billion funding proposal for education, and more.

Salem

Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific Islander (API/AAPI) Heritage Month! The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. This month there are many opportunities to celebrate and learn about the many contributions, achievements, and vibrant cultures within the API community. It is also just as important to recognize and reflect how our API communities in Oregon have overcome generations of systemic barriers and acknowledge the work to be done to stamp out hate and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Below are just a couple of the many opportunities to learn and support our fellow neighbors and Oregonians: 

Support AAPI Owned Businesses
House District 45 is home to many great restaurants and shops like the Phở MeKha Restaurant, Coco’s Donuts, and Shandong Cuisine of Northern China. Mercantus compiled a guide of companies with business owners that identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander that you can support locally. 

Learn about History


New Mask Guidance

New mask and physical distancing guidance is in effect. Thanks to the diligence and commitment of Oregonians to get vaccinated we are getting closer to more reopening opportunities. Individuals in Oregon are no longer required to wear a face mask or physically distance, whether indoors or outdoors, two weeks after their final COVID-19 vaccination dose. Here are some important highlights from the new guidance:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are required to continue wearing a mask and observe physical distancing on public transportation and in schools, hospitals and clinics, homeless shelters, youth and adult correctional facilities and long-term care facilities.

  • Businesses, employers and faith institutions can choose to no longer require masks and physical distancing for fully vaccinated individuals or continue to require masks and physical distancing in their locations for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. If a business, employer or faith institution chooses to no longer require masks and physical distancing, the business, employer or faith institution must require visitors to show proof of vaccination and review the proof of vaccination.

  • Face coverings are no longer required outdoors (regardless of vaccination status). OHA strongly recommends that people who are not vaccinated and people who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease continue to wear face coverings and physically distance in outdoor crowded areas and large gatherings.
Risk Level

Bills are Moving! 

I am happy to report the progress we are making to help support and protect Oregonians.   Thank you  to all the constituents who continue to share your stories and discuss the issues that are important to you. Please continue to write letters, submit written testimony for bills, and of course call or email my office. I want to hear from you and greatly appreciate your perspective. Below, are a few bills that the Legislature recently passed: 

SB 282

SB 282: Tenant Eviction Moratorium
Every Oregonian deserves a safe place to live, especially during these uncertain times. This bill will help keep Oregonians in their homes by extending the repayment period for residential rent owed during the pandemic to February 28, 2022.


SB 704

SB 704: LGBTQ+ Trans Panic Defense Ban
I will always stand up to ensure Oregon’s LGBTQ+ community has equality under the law and was proud to support SB 704. This bill ensures perpetrators of violent crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Oregon face full accountability for their crimes and bans the use of LGBTQ+ defenses. 


SB 496

SB 496 & SB 495: Expanding Access to Unemployment Benefits
As essential workers, our school staff and educational employees have been impacted by the pandemic in unimaginable ways. This bill will ensure that educational assistants, food preparation and service workers, school nurses, bus drivers as well as early intervention and prekindergarten workers are eligible to receive unemployment benefits for any week of unemployment,even for weeks that begin during two successive academic years or terms. 


Fully Funding Our Schools

Now more than ever our schools require financial investments and resources to meet the needs of our students, families, and teachers after a year in which COVID-19 and wildfires exacerbated disparities in education. Last week, Governor Brown and Democrats in the House and Senate agreed to fund K-12 schools at a record $9.3 billion. Following the May 19 state revenue forecast, legislators will work to identify the balance of funding sources needed to support a $9.3 billion state school fund. Stay tuned for more information. 


Landlord Compensation Fund & Tenant Relief

The Landlord Compensation fund will close today at 5pm. This round offers $70 million in assistance to landlords and will cover 80% of total past due rent (accrued from April 2020 – May 2021, with no cap on the number of months covered), if a landlord agrees to forgive the other 20%. Unlike tenant-based assistance programs, the LCF does not have income eligibility criteria for tenants, but tenants do need to submit a signed declaration of financial hardship. If you are a landlord looking for assistance you can email HCS.LCFSupport@oregon.gov; call 503-986-6765 for assistance or visit the OHCS website

The Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP) is now open 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). This funding can cover current/future rent, in addition to past rent. You can find more information on the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program site

 

Money Money

Local Upcoming Event

This Friday, the Community Services Network and the Rosewood Initiative will be hosting a Social Service Fair to help connect community members to local resources and employment opportunities. More information is available in the graphic below.  

flyers

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 

Sincerely,

Sig

Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: Rep.BarbaraSmithWarner@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithwarner