Celebrating a Successful Legislative Session


2022 Legislative Session Concludes

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today, we wrapped up an incredibly successful 2022 legislative session. It was a true honor and privilege to serve as the Senate Majority Leader, helping my colleagues to advance crucial policies to address homelessness, drive down the cost of living, support kids and teachers in public education, improve public safety and much more.

For a summary of Senate Democrats’ accomplishments, please read my statement below.

Summary of Senate Democrats' Successes


Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner Statement
on Adjournment of the 2022 Legislative Session

SALEM – Oregon’s 81st Legislative Assembly adjourned the 2022 Legislative Session today at noon, with significant accomplishments in addressing homelessness, driving down the cost of living, supporting kids and teachers in public education, improving public safety and more. Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) made the following statement on the accomplishments of the Oregon Senate Democrats:

“I am incredibly proud of the work we accomplished this Session. I am truly grateful to have joined with my talented and compassionate Senate Democratic colleagues to deliver on the job Oregonians sent us here to do. The past few years have been challenging for everyday Oregonians and working families as we’ve navigated the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we have set our state back on the path to stability – and we passed many pieces of legislation that will respond to homelessness, support small businesses, drive down the cost of living, help kids and teachers in our public schools and improve public safety statewide.

“This year, Oregon Senate Democrats moved forward on a comprehensive package to address statewide homelessness and housing issues. We advanced a $400 million package of investments to reduce homelessness, address the affordable housing crisis and connect people with critical services. We took action to build a coordinated response to reduce homelessness by providing grants to local governments and nonprofits to build capacity at the local level in many areas that need our support. Creating better access to behavioral health and addiction services will also help many Oregonians on their path to stability and help keep folks off the streets. I’m excited about our recent $132 million investment in behavioral health workforce and our action to direct $333 million in incoming funds towards evidence-based programs to treat opioid use disorder and other behavioral health issues.

“We entered into the 2022 Legislative Session knowing that we had to take action to build an economy that works for working families and small businesses. That meant making investments in skills training and helping hardworking Oregonians on their paths to good paying careers. I am excited about the promise of Future Ready Oregon’s $200 million investment towards building career pathways in targeted sectors to build our economy and diversify our workforce. It meant reducing barriers to people starting and expanding small business. We improved access to capital for small businesses and created an Economic Equity Investment Program. We made targeted investments to drive down the cost of everyday necessities that eat up the largest portion of Oregonians paychecks, like paying rent, or maintaining access to health care for lower-income Oregonians and addressing child care costs by stabilizing Oregon’s child care workforce.

“We also had many successes, improving and investing in public education. With the increased stress of the pandemic, we knew we had to take action to reduce teacher burnout and help address the shortages of teachers and substitute teachers. We moved a $100 million package of investments to assist with recruiting and retaining education staff. By addressing these issues, we knew we could help schools stay open for in-person learning five days a week because it’s what’s best for kids and families. We also worked to make sure that school environments are free and safe from intimidation and harassment by passing legislation to preserve stability in school district leadership. “We moved forward on legislation to help reduce crime and improve public safety in communities around the state. We know communities need police to be able to focus on preventing and solving crimes, especially violent crimes. That’s why we passed legislation to reduce unnecessary traffic stops, while improving law enforcement best practices and distributing funding to culturally-specific, community-based organizations. We also advanced a package of smart investments in public safety, including violence prevention, public clean-up efforts, crime victim support and more.

“With the close of the Session, Senate Democrats will be able to return to their communities, work with their constituents and prepare critical legislation for the year ahead. We have accomplished a lot over a short period of time, and we’ve set the groundwork to continue to lead towards a productive 2023 Legislative Session.”

Legislative Highlights


Many of my personal priorities for the legislative session made it through both chambers of the legislature and now await the Governor's signature before becoming law. Below are summaries of a few of the important bills that made it through the legislative process.

Protecting immigrants: Senate Bill 1543 establishes a system for universal legal representation - providing immigrants with community focused, accessible, and culturally responsive legal services. This will help many immigrants stay with their families in Oregon. Thank you to my fellow chief co-sponsors on the bill - Senators Lieber, Jama, Dembrow, and Manning, and Representatives Salinas, Alonso Leon, Pham, and Valderrama - for all of your hard work to pass this legislation.

Helping our education professionals: Senate Bill 1572 adds public universities and community colleges to the list of employers that must provide full-time teachers and school nurses with information regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. In addition, it allows all subcommittees of the Transfer Council to make recommendations on the development of a common course numbering system. After many years of working in higher education, I'm thrilled to see both of these needed changes moving forward.

Equal pay for farmworkers: House Bill 4002 phases in farmworker overtime pay and maximum hours over the next five years. Farmworkers have long been excluded from requirements for overtime compensation. When the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 it excluded agricultural workers, and still today, agricultural workers remain exempt from both state and federal overtime protections. The legislation also creates refundable personal and corporate income tax credits for eligible employers that provide overtime compensation to agricultural workers. The tax credit is structured to support family farms and help with the transition into this new system. Thank you to my fellow chief co-sponsors - Senators Taylor, Frederick, Jama, and Manning, and Representatives Salinas, Holvey, and Valderrama - for your tireless efforts in support of this legislation.

Protecting our elections: House Bill 4144 allows election workers to exempt their residential address from disclosure as a public record and makes the crime of harassment against an election worker a Class A misdemeanor. Across the nation, we are seeing a huge spike in election misinformation, as well as an increase in threats and harassment of election workers. Oregon is not immune to this disturbing trend. We know that election workers are concerned about their personal safety and we should be too. They are unsung heroes of our democracy, ensuring that our elections are trustworthy, well-run, and accessible. This legislation is a necessary first step in protecting our election workers from threats and intimidation. 

Honoring our veterans: 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. I can't wait to see recognition for the incredible history and contributions of Oregon's Nisei veterans along this stunning stretch of Oregon highway. 

Women's History Month

Over the month of March, we celebrate women's contributions to history, culture, and society. This year's theme is Women Providing Healing and Promoting Hope. Please take time to recognize the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic, as well as all of the women in our lives.

Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow


Covid-19 Updates


Oregon joins other West Coast states in lifting mask mandates in schools on March 12 - OPB

The updated Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework that provides details about these adjustments has been released by the Oregon Department of Education.

Get free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. If you haven’t already, order yours today.

Starting next week, every home in the U.S. will be able to order an additional set of 4 tests.

Order Free At-Home Tests.

Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?
Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).

Stand with Ukraine


The tragic events occurring in Ukraine over the past week bring great sadness to my soul. I condemn the brutal conflict that is wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent Ukrainians and I am committed to peace for the region. I stand with Ukraine.

As we watch this tragic situation unfold on television and social media, I would ask that you think about the many children and citizens of Ukraine that are growing more desperate by the day. New York magazine has compiled a helpful list of charities and The New York Times has also identified four aid organizations that I hope you'll consider supporting. We are not powerless to help the Ukrainian people. Please keep them in your thoughts, hearts, and prayers as we stand with them in their fight for freedom and democracy.

Remember our Veterans in Need

When armed conflicts break out, it can be a traumatic reminder to many of our veterans and others who have been in conflict zones. The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs has resources available if you or someone you know needs help. You can also reach out to my office and we will assist you to the best of our ability in these trying times.

afghan vets

Spring Forward - Daylight Saving Time - 3/13


Daylight Saving Time 2022 begins Sunday, March 13th.  Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour.  People aren't the only ones stressed by the change in time.  Check out this great article on how to help your pets deal with the stress of daylight saving time.

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.


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Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner