Making Strides for Oregon's Families and Youth

new banner

Investing in Oregon’s Students

This week, my colleagues and I voted to pass House Bill 5514 to allocate $9.3 billion dollars to the State School Fund—the largest investment we have ever made to the fund. After more than a year of COVID-19 and the unique challenges it has imposed on our K-12 learners, this budget will provide the resources to foster healthy learning that Oregon students need to thrive in the classroom and beyond.

This budget follows on the Senate Democrats' support for the Student Success Act in 2019, which is expected to provide up to $2 billion in additional support to our schools as they recover from the pandemic. Additional strategic investments for education are making their way through the legislative process. 

Find the Oregon Senate Democrats statement on HB 5514’s passage below.

HB 5514

Expanding Leave for Families and Workers

Given the unique challenges and burdens the last year’s public health emergency has placed on Oregon’s families and workers, the Oregon Senate also passed House Bill 2474 to expand eligibility for protected leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act. 

Passing this bill is a continuation of Oregon’s leadership in establishing family leave and worker protection laws. It is also a recognition of the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on women leaving the workforce to care for children during school closures. By passing HB 2474, we ensure that Oregon families and workers—inclusive of all gender identities—will have more tools for overcoming future public health emergencies with fewer employment disruptions.

HB 2474

Preventing Online Vape Sales to Protect Oregon Youth

House Bill 2261 closes loopholes that have allowed underage Oregonians to purchase inhalant delivery systems or vape products. Oregon had already prohibited the online sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products from taking place online in 2017, and now brings inhalant delivery system sales in line with that policy.

This is an important step in limiting youth exposure to habit-forming and detrimental nicotine products. Lung injury associated with e-cigarette and vaping products has skyrocketed and flavored options have made e-cigarettes and vaping more popular among our youth, according to the CDC. The bottom line is that these products are harmful to our kids, and this legislation will keep young Oregonians safer and healthier.

HB 2261

House Bill 2631 - Carson’s Act

This week, I carried House Bill 2631—Carson’s Act—on the Senate floor. Carson Bride was a bright and active member of our community who we lost last summer, shortly after the end of his sophomore year of high school. In honor of his memory, HB 2631 creates notification requirements for school districts when there are reports of harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyberbullying. 

In 2019, I worked with the Staub family to develop Senate Bill 52 - Adi’s Act - requiring schools to develop comprehensive suicide prevention policy plans. This was a step forward in the work to protect Oregon’s students, but we need more and better tools to support young Oregonians. The implementation of this new framework will mean increased support for schools, students and parents to limit and remedy behaviors that lead to unsafe learning environments. 

By coming together as a community to fight against all forms of bullying, intimidation and harassment, we make it possible for students to learn in safe and nurturing environments and give them the opportunity to access help before it’s too late. My heart is with the Bride family, and I thank them and Representative Drazan for their advocacy. You can watch my speech on the Senate floor by clicking the image below.


Watch my speech on HB 2631 on the Senate floor by clicking the image above.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when we recognize the importance of taking care of mental and emotional well-being, just as we do with any other aspect of our health. One in five Americans is affected by mental illness, and when we speak honestly and openly about it, we come together to end the stigma for mental illness and mental health treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling, please consider one of the following local resources:

safe + strong

Operational Cost Assistance Grant Program

Earlier this year, the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board made a $100 million allocation to provide commercial rent relief assistance and operational costs assistance to small businesses and landlords affected by COVID-19. After two rounds of Commercial Rent Relief assistance grant distribution, there is still approximately $28 million in funding that remains. 

As of Wednesday, this money will be distributed through the Operational Cost Assistance Grant. This program is designed for businesses with 100 or fewer employees in the restaurant, fitness, and personal services industries. Applications for the grant close on June 6. For details on eligibility, and to access the application, click here.

Community Spotlight - AAPI Month in Millennium Park Plaza

As the days get brighter and the future is less uncertain than it was a year ago, it’s important to celebrate the positive things happening in our community. This week as we wrap up Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I want to recognize the city of Lake Oswego and LO for Love for putting on a wonderful celebration at Millennium Park Plaza.

The event to honor our AAPI community members was beautiful, and it reminded me how grateful I am to live among such talented and generous neighbors. Thank you to the organizers, speakers and performers for all of the hard work you put into Sunday’s event. 

I'm wishing everyone a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 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