The first week is in the books


5 Week Legislative Short Session Begins


PC: Gordon Levitt

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are once again gathering at the Capitol in Salem for the Oregon Legislature's Short Session.  Short legislative sessions last for up to 35 calendar days. These sessions are a sprint, not a marathon.

By the end of next week, almost every bill that will be moving forward must have completed a work session in its initial committee. These initial weeks are particularly exciting as testimony is submitted in favor and opposition on new legislation, and everyone becomes more aware of the full legislative landscape. Legislators have been working on many of these issues for months and even years, refining ideas in workgroups and interim committees. Each bill has a story and its thrilling to watch the process unfold.

Prior to the start of the session, I was inspired by the anniversary of Amanda Gorman's poetic performance at President Biden's inauguration. Her poignant question "where can we find light in this never-ending shade" continues to resonate.

Please click the image below or here to read my reasons for why we should be optimistic moving forward.


Yesterday, one of this session's bills provided a whole bunch of light. Senate Bill 1509 provides that Oregon Route 35 (running from Hood River through the Hood River Valley, and up to the slopes of Mt. Hood) shall also be known as Oregon Nisei Veterans World War II Memorial Highway. My phenomenal staff member, Carol Suzuki, who grew up in Parkdale in a Japanese-American family, delivered moving testimony on her uncle's courageous service in World War II and why its important for Oregonians to remember and cherish the contributions of the Nisei Veterans who gave so much to their country, even in the face of daunting discrimination. 


Carol delivering testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness.

Due to ongoing COVID pandemic and safety concerns, this session will look similar to the sessions during 2021.  We will continue with virtual meetings and engagement that preserves public health, and empowers Oregonians around the state to participate in our legislative process without the burden of traveling to Salem. If you want to make your voice heard this session, please consult the links below:

Senate Democrats Announce 2022 Legislative Session Agenda

Earlier this week, members from the Oregon Senate Democrats’ Leadership Team unveiled the Senate Democratic Caucus Agenda for the 2022 Legislative Session. See the full press release here.

I wear two hats in the legislature - one as the state senator for district 19 and the other as the Senate Majority Leader - helping work with my colleagues on communicating our agenda for all of Oregon.

Our agenda for the 2022 session is focused on these key areas:

• Promoting access, equity and success for Oregon students in public education
• Supporting healthy communities and caring for Oregonians
• Strengthening workforce protections and advancing Oregon’s economy
• Adapting to climate change and encouraging sustainability
• Transforming justice and advocating for equal access to the courts

Congratulations to our two newest Senators

Swearing In

I'm proud to welcome our two newest senators to our chamber and caucus.  Senator Janeen Sollman, SD 15, represents a large chunk of Washington County and Senator Rachel Armitage, SD 16, represents the northwest corner of Oregon. I look forward to working with both of them in the Senate.

Oregon Coronavirus Update

Vaccines and boosters make a difference

Who in Oregon is testing positive for COVID-19? The majority are unvaccinated, according to Oregon Health Authority data. In the week between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15, unvaccinated people were eight times more likely than vaccinated people to test positive for COVID-19. Even when breakthrough cases do occur, they tend to be mild and less likely to result in hospitalization. The data are clear: get vaccinated, get boosted. For more information on breakthrough cases in Oregon, read our latest Breakthrough Report. Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose here.

Covid - Testing4

Source: CDC. Click on image to read analysis from the New York Times.

Covid - Hospital

On January 14th, the CDC updated its face-mask guidance to emphasize the better protection offered by respirators like N95s and KN95s. The Biden administration has now made 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. Stop by your local pharmacy to pick up your mask and help protect yourself and those around you.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

If you are a renter who is facing eviction for nonpayment and have been impacted financially by COVID, there are protections available.  Oregon has reopened the application portal for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  This opening is limited for three to five weeks depending on funds availability.


Applications received on January 26th or later will be processed after applications received before December 1st.  Tenants who apply on or after January 26th may receive safe harbor protections that prevent landlords from evicting them while their application is being processed.  Those tenants should expect a delay prior to processing and payment.  You can learn more and apply at

Community Highlights

Last week, over 50 constituents joined me and my wonderful colleagues Representative Prusak and Representative Salinas for a pre-session town hall. It was great to hear your questions and priorities for the session and year ahead.

I also was honored to join many of my Clackamas County legislative colleagues for a lunchtime discussion hosted by the Clackamas County Business Alliance.

The Lake Oswego Sustainability Network (LOSN) is launching a new logo, new website, and new look. Take a moment to check out their new website showcasing the beauty of Lake Oswego and their commitment to preserving a sustainable future for the next generations by promoting an economically, ecologically, and socially healthy community.


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 Sig

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

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