It's a Wrap! Short Session Success & Summary

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Rep. Pam Marsh

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2022 legislative session ended Friday, March 4. Despite the limitations inherent in this short, 32-day session, the legislature took important actions to address the critical issues facing the state, including wildfire response, homelessness and housing, and economic recovery. 

An unpredicted spike in state revenues allowed us to make strategic, one-time investments in housing, climate resilience, rural infrastructure, workforce training, K-12 schools and summer programming and childcare. The pandemic and wildfires have been hard on our families and communities, and the legislative session was a chance for the state to step up.

No question that it’s been a long two years. But as the pandemic fades from the front page and summer beckons, we will see a return to treasured community activities we’ve been missing—parades, concerts, picnics, and neighborhood gatherings. And over the course of the next few months we will start to see increased production of permanent housing for families displaced by the Almeda fire. We have lots of reasons to feel optimistic about the future.

As always, thank you for your support and feedback. I am deeply honored to represent you in the Oregon legislature.


Pam signature

State Representative
Oregon House District 5 - Southern Jackson County

Testimony photo

In this Issue - Quick Links

My Priorities Pass Successfully

Wildfire Impacted School Districts Funding - 
HB 4026

Our community is resilient, and we are pursuing rebuilding with great vigor and all available resources. But recovery is a long process, and it will be a while before all of our displaced families have permanent housing back in the community. In the meantime, the school district is making extraordinary efforts to reach out and stay in touch with families.    

But because Oregon’s funding formula is based on student attendance numbers, the displacement of families due to wildfire threatens to upend the budgets in Phoenix-Talent and three other school districts. These districts have reported a collective enrollment drop of 500 students, translating into the potential loss of millions of dollars of funding for teachers, social and emotional supports, and other critical targeted investments like career and technical education and dropout prevention programs. Wildfires also exacerbated inequities in these communities, particularly for students navigating poverty and students living in rural areas.

To ensure districts impacted by wildfires can count on stable funding while our communities rebuild, I collaborated with the Coalition of School Board Administrators to draft HB 4026, which will transfer $25 million from the Student Success Act’s Statewide Education Initiatives to support qualifying wildfire-impacted districts through the 2024-25 school year.  

HB 4026 provides a critical foothold to allow school districts that suffered wildfire losses in 2020 to focus on the recovery of children, families, and the community without fear of financial ruin. I am proud to report that this bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate. 

Connecting Oregon for the 21st Century - HB 4092

Access to high quality broadband is no longer optional for my constituents in the Applegate or Greensprings—or in any Oregon community. Individuals and families who lacked access to broadband over the past two years missed out on public health information, remote work opportunities, online learning, health appointments, digital grocery deliveries, live-streamed religious services, and much more.

But there is a tremendous opportunity on the way. The federal government is poised to make once-in-a-generation capital investments to address deficiencies in broadband deployment in rural and urban areas. Oregon will receive more than $250 million for broadband investments from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act. That’s a lot, but that’s just the start. After the initial distribution, states will compete for billions of more dollars to serve unserved and underserved communities. This is a watershed moment, and we need to be ready.

I drafted HB 4092, an omnibus broadband bill, to prepare Oregon for this work. The bill establishes a strategic framework for state and federal broadband investments, and addresses the need for mapping, oversight, grant review and data collection. This framework sets an appropriately ambitious course for the work, addressing issues such as the use of multiple funding streams, system architecture, redundancy, project coordination, and cost-effectiveness.  

HB 4092 is an important step towards a robust, sustainable and truly statewide broadband system, and it earned strong bipartisan votes of support in the House (55-1) and Senate (24-2).

Manufactured Housing Sector - HB 4064 

The September 2020 fires that swept across the Oregon landscape destroyed approximately 20 manufactured home parks in multiple communities, most of those in the Almeda fire scar.  As we surveyed the disaster left behind, it was clear that the state’s manufactured home programs could be critical to the re-establishment of our parks and the recovery of park residents. HB 4064 is the latest piece of legislation in my ongoing effort to support our manufactured housing sector. 

HB 4064 makes changes to the state’s home loan replacement program to allow residents whose homes were destroyed by a natural disaster to purchase new homes in parks that were not affected. While most residents dearly want to return to their old neighborhoods in familiar parks, in some cases, those parks are not coming back, or residents may need to move to a different community, perhaps to be closer to family. Wildfire survivors can now use the home loan replacement program in whatever park fits their needs.

HB 4064 also allows that state home replacement loans to be used for the purchase of prefabricated structures in addition to manufactured homes; it allows prefabricated units to be sited in cooperative owned parks; and it clarifies that local jurisdictions must allow prefabricated units to be located in parks.

Finally, this bill addresses the placement of manufactured and prefabricated homes on land outside of parks—within conventional residential neighborhoods—by making them subject to all of the same requirements that would be applied to a site-built home on the same parcel.  

Project Turnkey Expansion

In 2020 I was part of a group of stakeholders behind Project Turnkey, a landmark program focused on the acquisition of older motels for conversion to shelters and transitional housing.  Project Turnkey aimed to create new temporary housing and to do it quickly and economically. It succeeded on both counts. In less than seven months, Project Turnkey created 19 new shelters in 13 counties, leading to a 20% increase in the state supply of shelter beds. These facilities comprise 865 new units.

This year I spearheaded development of Project Turnkey 2.0, which will invest $50 million in a second round of funding to establish approximately 10 additional Turnkey projects across the state. The project will focus on Oregon communities that have not yet received this funding. This request was approved as part of a $400 million package to address homelessness (see below).

Heartfelt thanks to Oregon Community Foundation, which has again agreed to take on the role of project administrator. 

Briscoe School Rehabilitation Project – $1.3 million

Built in 1948, the Briscoe School building is now owned by the City of Ashland and occupied by the Oregon Child Development coalition, which provides migrant and low income childcare to more than 250 children. I’m happy to report that Senator Golden and I were able to secure a state allocation of $1.3 million to upgrade the building, including floor replacement, asbestos abatement and a new HVAC system.  

Phoenix Public Safety Building$2.5 million

The legislature allocated $13.8 million in the 2021 budget for construction of a new Public Safety Building in Phoenix that will combine the fire and police stations, along with city hall.  In 2022, we added $2.5 million to close the last gaps in the project budget.  

Environment & Natural Resources Committee Report

Emergency Heat Relief Act –
SB 1536

In June of last year, heat domes scorched communities across the state, resulting in the death of approximately 100 Oregonians in 26 cities. This was the second worst natural disaster in the state’s recorded history.  

We started working on the legislation that would become Senate Bill 1536 within weeks after that disaster. It was clear, looking at the deaths that occurred, that many vulnerable Oregonians, especially older people, and residents of manufactured homes and multi-story buildings, had no access to life-saving, cooling technologies. They didn’t have a place to go, and they suffered and then died in their homes.

Oregon has been a place where, quite frankly, we didn’t think we needed cooling devices. But conditions are changing, and rapidly. As Oregon experiences hotter summers, we need to make sure people have access to the cooling options they need to stay safe. SB 1536, the Emergency Heat Relief Act, prepares our state for extreme weather and protects the health and safety of vulnerable Oregonians.

First, the bill establishes clear guidelines to protect a tenant’s ability to install portable cooling devices, including window-mounted air conditioners. The bill includes limitations on installation if specific conditions are present, including a violation of building codes or a lack of amperage required to service the device. It also establishes similar guidelines for use of a cooling device in a planned community or condominium.  

SB 1536 also creates a program to distribute air conditioners and filters to vulnerable people on an emergency basis and expands a grant program to support emergency shelters that provide shelter in case of poor air quality or extreme heat or cold.

Finally, SB 1536 helps homeowners and landlords cope with the new reality of heat. Landlords will be able to receive subsidies for the installation of energy efficient heat pumps in rental units. For homeowners, the bill establishes a Heat Pump Deployment Program to promote bulk purchase and installation of residential energy efficient heat pumps. Grants can be used to cover up to 100% of the purchase and installation of the heat pump, as well as possible upgrades to the electric system or other weatherization needs. Funding will be prioritized to serve environmental justice communities, individuals who rely on bulk fuels or electric resistance heating, and those who live in a home without functioning heating or cooling.  

The hard truth is that the loss of lives we saw last summer was likely a significant undercount. Other deaths were attributed to underlying conditions, such as heart and respiratory disease, that are severely exacerbated by extreme heat. We have a mandate to act. SB 1536 provides comprehensive solutions to ensure that Oregonians are protected as our weather gets hotter and more unpredictable.

Wildlife Crossings Investment - HB 4130

The Wildlife Crossings Investment Act, which allocates $7 million to wildlife crossing projects, was approved as part of a budget reconciliation bill. This bill gained enormous support from diverse interests, including environmental organizations, Tribes, and hunting/sporting groups—and it soared through the Committee with a unanimous (10-0) vote of support.

Wildlife collisions result in damage, injury, and fatalities to motorists, and significantly impact Oregon’s iconic wildlife, such as mule deer, elk, antelope and bear. From 2017-2021, ODOT documented 30,951 wildlife-vehicle collisions, with many more collisions going unreported. In 2020, collisions with mule deer and elk alone cost $56.9 million. Wildlife crossings have proven to save lives and money—for example, the Lava Butte underpass near Bend reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by more than 85%.

This $7 million allocation is just one piece of the funding puzzle. Advocates are organizing to ask the Oregon Transportation Commission to direct $10 million of the $1.2 billion that the state received as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act toward planning, design, and construction of wildlife crossing solutions.  

The Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition, formed in 2021, is pursuing construction of wildlife safety passages on I-5 south of Ashland. I encourage you to learn and support their efforts here:

Sprinkler Efficiency – HB 4057

Many parts of Oregon are facing unparalleled drought conditions, with no end in sight as a warming climate reduces rainfall and increases evaporation. HB 4057 establishes water-saving and energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial spray sprinklers. 

Known as pressure regulated sprinklers (PRS), the devices are designed to operate at a water pressure of 30 pounds per square inch (psi) rather than at the 60-80 psi of many irrigation systems, using an internal pressure regulator that reduces the misting and overspray commonly seen in urban landscapes.

Analyses show that PRS devices can reduce annual water usage in Oregon by 5,820,000,000 gallons in 2030, and 8,955,000,000 gallons by 2040. They are anticipated to reduce energy costs in the state by approximately $74 million in 2030, and nearly $130 million in 2040. 

Private Forest Accord - Overhauling Oregon's Forest Management Practices

Conservation allies across the state are celebrating this monumental legislation, and rightly so. The Private Forest Accord is the culmination of decades of advocacy, and negotiations among environmental organizations and timber and forest products groups convened by Governor Brown, which overhauls forestry practices to benefit 10+ million acres of Oregon’s private forests.

The agreement increases riparian buffers for streams, rivers, and bodies of water, protects steep slopes to minimize erosion and habitat damage, and creates a better approach to upgrading forest roads. It also sets a path forward to make adjustments and adaptation to forest practices in the future.

SB 1501 passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate (22-5 vote) and the House (43-15).

Addressing Illegal Hemp & Cannabis

The short session saw multiple bills to address the impacts we’ve seen from the proliferation of illegal hemp and cannabis in southern Oregon. 

HB 4074 – There are many aspects of the illegal industry that have been deeply troubling, including obvious public safety concerns and the illicit use of water, especially in a region plagued by persistent drought. Reports from authorities who enter illegal grows consistently describe desperate worker conditions including minimal sanitation, with workers living in containers or grow houses or camping in the fields. HB 4074 responds to repeated evidence of worker exploitation on these sites.  

HB 4074 authorizes the Criminal Justice Commission to issue grants to community-based organizations to provide essential worker services such as translation, housing and legal assistance. The bill allocates $6 million for the work. This is critical funding to help our communities start to understand and address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in front of us. 

HB 4061 – Illegal cannabis operations are using surface and groundwater without water rights, depleting limited water resources for legitimate agricultural, recreational, residential, municipal, and other uses. These abuses often occur when water haulers legally obtain water from municipal fill stations, but then deliver the water to unregistered or unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites. 

HB 4061 prohibits water hauling to unregistered or unlicensed cannabis grow sites. It will require water suppliers that sell water to the public, and purchasers who buy water for nursery or irrigation purposes, to keep records of that transaction for 12 months and to provide those records, when requested, to law enforcement. HB 4061 also establishes civil and criminal penalties for violation of the record-keeping requirements and for the use of surface or groundwater without a permit at an unregistered or unlicensed cannabis grow site that is growing a quantity of plants not allowed under state law. 

SB 1564 – Allows the governing bodies of counties that have declared a state of emergency related to cannabis (like Jackson County) to ask the State Department of Agriculture to deny the issuance of new hemp grower licenses. The suspension would be in effect for a single growing season, and counties would need to renew the request annually. Growers already participating in the legal hemp system would be allowed to continue.  

Protecting Communities from Climate Change

In response to the intensifying effects of climate change, the Legislature approved a $100 million Climate Resilience Budget to support drought-impacted communities, keep vulnerable Oregonians safe from extreme weather events, make infrastructure investments that will reduce carbon emissions and address other urgent environmental priorities.

In addition to the Emergency Heat Relief Act (see above), components of the package include:

  • Drought Relief: Widespread drought across the state impacts more than 1.8 million Oregonians. This investment package includes additional, targeted funding to make Oregon more resilient to drought conditions. These new funds join $100 million in drought relief passed during the Legislature’s December 2021 special session to aid Oregon’s rural communities severely impacted by drought, heat, or fire.
  • Improving Home Energy Efficiency: The package includes fresh support for the bipartisan Healthy Homes Repair Fund, helping low-income Oregonians repair and rehabilitate their homes to improve health, safety, and energy efficiency.
  • Encouraging Solar Energy: The plan invests in solar and storage rebates for low-income Oregon residents and service providers who install solar energy systems in their homes and businesses. The Legislature established the bipartisan Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program during the 2019 legislative session (HB 2618).
  • Reducing Emissions: In an attempt to lower transportation emissions – the largest source of emissions in the state – key investments will be made in zero-emission vehicles, including charging networks for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and new incentives for Oregonians to drive electric vehicles. The Legislature will also establish the Resilient, Efficient Buildings Task Force to reduce emissions from homes and buildings, the second-largest source of climate pollution in the state.
  • Seismic Upgrades of Oregon’s Fuel Storage: Oregon’s aging fuel storage infrastructure is extremely vulnerable. A major earthquake would result in the critical failure of these storage systems and a major statewide disaster. Additional funding will support seismic planning at oil and liquid fuel terminals. 

More Key Investments: Housing, Education, Economy & Health Care

The combination of a spike in state revenues and federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars enabled the Legislature to make critical investments in climate resilience, housing and homelessness, education and child care, economic recovery and workforce, and health care. The state will retain $2.7 billion in reserve, including projected balances of $760 million in General Funds, $1.3 billion in the Rainy Day Fund, and nearly $700 million in the Education Stability Fund.

A Place to Call Home - Housing Package

  • A $400 million package to tackle the urgent housing and homelessness crisis, including:
  • $165 million for homelessness services
  • $215 million to build and preserve affordable housing
  • $20 million to improve access to homeownership

Education & Child Care

  • A $300 million education package to address the staffing crisis in Oregon’s schools, create summer learning opportunities, support wild-fire impacted school districts, and address education disparities by funding the Pacific Islander Student Success Plan and adding $5 million to the African American/Black Student Success Plan.
  • A $100 million investment to expand access to child care and rebuild the child care workforce.

Economic Recovery & Workforce

  • An investment in workforce development to help workers access the training they will need to succeed, including $200 million for Future Ready Oregon (SB 1545)
  • Over $100 million to help rebuild critical infrastructure in rural Oregon, which will support local economies and create jobs across the state
  • HB 4157 will provide a $600 one-time payment to a quarter of a million low-wage households who qualify for and utilize the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This will help cover the cost of daily essentials like prescriptions, diapers and groceries.

Access to Healthcare & Healthy Communities

Over $300 million for healthcare needs, including:

  • Protecting health coverage for low-income Oregonians (HB 4035)
  • $150 million to support behavioral health workers and providers (HB 4004)
  • $45 million to address the crisis in Oregon’s health care workforce at OHSU
  • Support for Oregon nurses who are experiencing burnout from the extreme stress of the pandemic (HB 4003)

Farmworker Overtime - HB 4002

The most contentious issue of the session was the passage of HB 4002, which will require farmworkers to receive overtime pay after 40 hours worked.  

Farmworkers were originally excluded from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, a landmark policy that introduced overtime pay, banned child labor, and established the minimum wage. Farmworkers at the time were predominantly Black. Today, 77% of farmworkers in Oregon are Latino. A study by Oregon Health & Science University in July said that farmworkers routinely work up to 16 hours a day. Overtime work is linked to a higher mortality rate, chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, depression, poor sleep and family conflict. Those effects are worse for those who work at least 52 hours a week.  

The legislature began considering a farmworker overtime policy in 2021. In the intervening year, the discussion moved to the courts with a lawsuit filed in the Oregon Court of Appeals in December against BOLI on behalf of two farmworkers. The suit seeks to force the agency to include farmworkers in Oregon’s overtime rules on constitutional grounds that not doing so is discriminatory. 

An alternative to an outcome forced by the courts, HB 4002 will phase in overtime pay to give farmers time to adjust, establishing the maximum hours employers may require of agricultural workers before paying time-and-a-half for additional hours. It specifies maximum hours worked as:

  • 55 hours per work week in 2023 and 2024;
  • 48 hours per work week in 2025 and 2026; and
  • 40 hours per work week in 2027 and beyond.

Eligible farms will also receive economic support through refundable personal and corporate income tax credit to help offset the added costs of paying overtime wages and is structured to support smaller farms.

Oregon will join seven states who have already adopted maximum hour and overtime requirements for farmworkers, including California, Washington, and New York.

In the News - Recent Media Coverage

It was indeed a busy legislative session with plenty of news to share. Here is a link to a list of recent media coverage about bills I am involved with and other work to serve House District 5. A few highlights are:

Contact Rep. Pam Marsh

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1405
District Phone: 541-282-4516
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-474, Salem, Oregon 97301
Website and e-Subscribe: