Do What You Can Do 6/25/2021

View Online
Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  
—Helen Keller

Main newsletter photo

Almost there...

I write this on Friday afternoon, either hours or a day-plus from the end of the 2021 session—I don’t know. There are plenty of unknown things, unless you’re in top leadership in the session's last hours. It feels a little crazy, or at least like an altered reality. There are rushed last-minute meetings in small rooms around the Capitol (and on Zoom screens this year) to do CPR on bills that are dying, swap out this language for that to gain a critical vote, stuff a piece of a dead bill into another with an appropriate “relating clause” to give it a chance—a whole toolbox for making sausage. I’ll go back on the floor soon to vote on the last survivors and budget slices that have to be finalized.

How did the big bills turn out?

Tune in for another newsletter soon, because we still don’t know how they all turned out. Hint: good news on recycling, mental health resources and 100% clean energy.  Not so much at all on forestry bills and campaign finance reform. Mixed verdict on criminal justice reform and racial equity.

The BIG good news?

...The Omnibus Wildfire Bill

Senator Golden Carrying SB 762

This morning I carried SB 762, the massive wildfire bill that’s been a centerpiece of this session’s work, to the floor of the Senate.  Roll the tape!

It’s hard to describe the wildness of the 72 hours before this vote. We’re down one Democratic Senator this week because of a family tragedy, and at the last minute two more decided that the bill didn’t have clear enough safeguards on regulating private property rights for them to be comfortable. This came out of a weeks-long campaign from some quarters to convince Oregonians that fire risk reduction under this bill would mean scraping the earth for a big radius around homes, uprooting orchards and vineyards and generally wreaking havoc on the lives of rural Oregonians. It was just...well, I won’t get started. Though I do speak to it in the video.

The campaign to nail down all the votes we needed was a whirlwind of rushed meetings and shuttle diplomacy, until a deal was struck through a final technical amendment last night. If I described it, which would take a whole rather boring page, you might shake your head at the kind of things we get hung up on. But it calmed things down, paved the way for my speech this morning and the 22-7 vote for passage that followed. It goes now to the House Floor, where my legislative partner Pam Marsh will carry it to the floor. I’m sure as I can be that they have the votes on that side to get it to the desk of the Governor, who will sign it with a smile.

When I drive home soon to a 100-degree+ weekend with hot winds whipping through the Valley—a June weekend—this will feel like the right bill to take home. We have a tough reality ahead. As I said in my floor speech, ODF just reported that 597 fires have burned about 15,300 acres in Oregon so far this season. By this date last year we had 243 fires burn about 4200 acres. So about twice as many fires, burning about four times as many acres as this time last year. It’ll take care, vigilance and a measure of luck to get through this wildfire season in good shape. That will probably be true annually for the rest of our lives. SB 762 is a strong framework for wildfire reduction and response, and I’m proud of it. But it’s on all of us to do what we can do to keep our homes and communities fire safe.  

Have to go take some last votes. Look for a post-session summary soon.

Jeff (Signature)

Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Cooling Shelters

Heat Stroke versus Heat Exhaustion

48 Fifth Street. 12pm-8:30pm Sunday June 26 through Thursday July 1.

Medford Senior Center, located at 510 E. Main St. 12pm-8pm Saturday, June 26th through Monday, June 28th.

Talent Community Center, located at 110 East Main Street. 12pm-6pm from Saturday, June 26th through Monday, June 28th.

COVID resources

Jackson County's COVID vaccination rate

This just in...

COVID-19 Vaccine

Testing Center

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, visit this page to find your closest testing location.
COVID in Jackson County

Bills of Interest

Graphic of a legislative bill

SB 582

  • Senate Bill 582 establishes statewide recycling rates for plastic and recycling contamination reduction goals, and requires large producers of packaging, paper products, and food service ware to help fund the expansion of recycling services.
  • The bill will increase accessibility in rural areas and apartment complexes.
  • SB 582 directs the Department of Environmental Quality to take various actions to help modernize Oregon’s recycling system, including approval and oversight of producer responsibility organizations.
  • The measure requires DEQ to conduct several studies, establishes the Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council, and the Truth in Labeling Task Force.
  • The measure allows DEQ to set a one-time producer responsibility program plan review fee and an annual producer responsibility organization fee. These fees are intended to support the ongoing costs of administering the program.

HB 2021

  • House Bill 2021, known as the 100% Clean Energy for All bill, will fund and support small scale, community-based energy projects through a $50 million Community Renewable Investment Fund that will support disaster-resilient energy systems following a year of wildfires and ice storms. The fund will invest in renewable energy projects that are 20 megawatts or less in size outside of Portland, prioritizing rural, coastal, low-income and BIPOC communities.
  • HB 2021 creates the strongest electricity emissions reduction timeline in the country, setting the goal of 100% clean energy by 2040 with interim targets of 90% by 2035 and 80% by 2030.
  • HB 2021 establishes a clean energy standard for Oregon and implements a broad range of programs, studies, and statutory changes related to clean energy.
  • The measure requires certain retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to certain levels within a specified timeframe. As part of this requirement, each company needs to develop a plan to meet their targets and submit to the Public Utility Commission.
  • Additionally, the measure appropriates $50 million General Fund to the Community Renewable Investment Fund for the Department of Energy to provide grants for eligible community renewable energy projects

SB 278

  • This session, Senate Bill 282 was signed into law, which extended the grace period for repayment of rent accrued during the eviction moratorium until February 28, 2022. Senate Bill 278 furthers those protections by ensuring a tenant cannot be evicted within 60 days of filing for rental assistance. Additionally, the Landlord Compensation Fund will retroactively and prospectively reimburse successful applicants at an increased rate of 100% of unpaid rent accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wildfire Safety and Prevention

We'll only get through this together.
What are you doing to make yourself and others safe this wildfire season? Tag us in your posts about wildfire safety on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #dowhatyoucando. We'd love to feature those posts in this newsletter.

Firewise logo

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301 
Podcast: Capitolizing