Final 2022 Session Wrap=Up

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Michael Dembrow

March 7, 2022

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, staying healthy, and looking out for your neighbors and friends during this past week.

Today might well have been the final day of the 2022 legislative session (since it marked the 35th day from the beginning of the session); however, as I mentioned in Thursday evening’s newsletter, procedural agreements between the two parties made it possible for us to complete our work around noon on Friday, and that’s exactly how it played out.

So I was able to spend today at home, looking back and working on this end-of-session newsletter.  In it you’ll find a list of the major bills of the session—those that passed and those that didn’t, including the vote breakdown for those that did.

It also allowed me to think about some of the major themes of the session.  Overall, I have to say that from my perspective, a perspective that reflects my values, and I believe those of SD 23, this was an extremely consequential session, with the creation of a number of long-overdue programs and policies.

It definitely helped that we still had a great deal of one-time federal and state dollars to put into priority investments in workforce, needed programs, and infrastructure. But as I think back on the session, I see a number of themes that may help us understand the session and in some cases be positive models for the future.  You’ll find them below, right after the info about Wednesday evening’s town hall.

Following that, you’ll find the list of the major bills that passed and those that didn’t. (Obviously, most of the introduced bills did not make it all the way through, but these are the ones that I found particularly disappointing.) Of course, each of these bills has its own story and its backstory.  I’ll go into some of those in future newsletter.  In each of the next few weekly newsletters, I’ll focus on one or two of the issue areas, starting with Education next time.   

Towards the end of this newsletter I’ll again include links to several news articles about COVID.  They all appear to confirm that we are indeed entering a new, more optimistic phase in the dynamic of this pandemic.

I wish the news coming out of Ukraine were equally positive.  I know you join me in feeling enormous compassion for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, sympathy for what they are experiencing, and admiration for their courage.  When I think of our own “battles” over masking and vaccinations here at home, I can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment and shame. In any case, let’s pray that things get better over there soon.

Until Thursday’s newsletter, please stay healthy and safe, and let me know if you have any questions about information in tonight’s newsletter.



Coming on Wednesday:  Post-Session Town Hall!!!

 Reps Smith Warner and Pham and I will be holding a post-session zoom town hall on Wednesday (March 9) evening at 5:30.  We’ll be giving a quick roundup of the major bills that passed (and did not pass) and answering your questions.

By the way, Representative Smith Warner has decided not to run again for reelection, so this (sigh) will be her last post-session town hall with me. Tomorrow at 5 pm is the deadline for filing for office, so we’ll very quickly know who’s in the running to replace her.

You can register for the town hall here.

town hall


SOME OF THE THEMES OF THE SESSION (in no particular order)

Nearly all the bills passed on bipartisan votes, most with strong majorities.  As you’ll see by looking at the list, most of the bills that passed this year did so with supermajorities or even near-unanimous votes. This is actually pretty remarkable for bills of this consequence.

There was more coordination between the chambers. There were very few bills that passed a floor vote in one chamber, then died in committee in the other chamber. That's all too often the case.  In part, this may be due to the many bicameral, bipartisan work groups that preceded the session.  This may also be a sign of improved communication between committee chairs in the two chambers, resulting in fewer surprises. No conference committees were needed this session. (A conference committee is needed when the second chamber amends the bill in a way that the chair of the first chamber cannot support.)

If at first you don’t succeed . . .  Some of the most consequential successes this session were bills that were disappointments last session.  Thanks to work groups, coalition-building, public organizing, and refocused attention, they were ready to pass this time, even in the more challenging environment of a short session.  Here are some of the examples that come immediately to mind:

  • HB 4002 (Farmworker Overtime)
  • SB 1510 (Transforming Justice)
  • SB 1520 (Bottle Bill Modernization)
  • SB 1584 (Compensation for the Wrongfully Convicted)
  • SB 1543 (Universal Representation)
  • SB 1522 (various elements in the Omnibus Education Bill)
  • SB 1567 (Fuel tanks in the CEI Hub, based on a bill first introduced in 2019)

This should be an important silver lining to the disappointment we feel for the priority bills that didn’t make it this session.  If we put in the effort and can build support, we can get there next time (or maybe the time after that).

Upfront agreements really help.  Some of the biggest victories this session came about as a result of warring parties sitting down and working out agreements up front.  This was the case for the Private Forest Accords bill and the Elliott State Forest bill.  Environmentalists and Timber interests were able to sit down and find compromises that worked for both.  I want to give credit to the Governor and her staff in bringing this about.  It also helped that we’re in an election year, and the result of failure would have been expensive, highly-divisive measures on the November ballot. In any case, let’s hope that this is a trend that continues.

Criminal justice reform returns to being a campaign casualty. Speaking of the November ballot, one of the challenges of the short even-year session is that campaigns are already getting underway for the primary and the general. This makes it more likely that the Legislature will stay away from measures that lend themselves to bumper stickers.  I would say that several of the Judiciary failures can be attributed to this: Charging the other candidate with being “soft on crime” can unfortunately be a winning strategy, the fear of which can create just enough uncertainty to kill a short-session bill.  The same, sadly, was true of the long-overdue bill to increase legislative pay to a living wage.

There was a higher level of comfort with virtual committee hearings. Last year we heard continual demands from Republican colleagues to dispense with remote hearings, compel staff to return to the Capitol, and return to in-person hearings, despite the ongoing COVID risks.  We fortunately didn’t hear much of that this session. (This session the arguments were around whether or not visitors or legislators needed to remain masked.) I know I’m not alone in coming to appreciate our ability to more easily hear testimony from people from all over the state (and hear from experts from other states).  I’m hoping that we find a way to open our hearings to both in-person and remote testimony.

We had new leadership in both chambers, but largely very experienced staff. With a new Speaker, a new House Democratic Leader, a new House Republican Leader, a new Senate Republican Leader, and a Senate President in his last session, this could have been a recipe for disaster.  Fortunately, aside from the House Republican Leader, these individuals are all very experienced, quite capable, and we had good continuity among the staff in those offices, all of which really helped.  

Many new faces, many short-timers. One of the striking things about the session was how many of the members were new, including many who were appointed as a result of legislators leaving after the 2021 session.  Some will be running to retain their seats, but many won’t.  Some will be running for other offices and won’t be returning.  We’re anticipating a number of retirements and a number of legislators who have decided to move on (sadly, in some cases due to their inability to make ends meet on inadequate legislative salaries). It added an odd note to the session.

A lot of good bills died in Ways and Means. For those of you veterans out there, your response to this statement will be, “So what else is new?” And you’d be right.  Very often bills go to Ways and Means to a near-certain death.  Other times, if they’re not in the top tier of priorities, they can get lost in the process and never make it out.  During a short session, the latter is more prevalent.  Even though we limit the number of bills that can be introduced during the short session, there’s generally not enough time in the 35-day session for every policy bill with budget requirements to be analyzed and evaluated by Legislative Fiscal Office analysts.  They generally only have a week or at most two weeks to do this.  So, many bills that have no significant opposition will still fail to come up for a vote, simply because LFO ran out of time.  And for those that do have significant opposition, that opposition could cause a delay that is ultimately fatal.

You CAN get a lot done in a short session.  In past newsletters I’ve discussed the tendency of those who are opposed to a particular bill to argue that it should not be taken up in a short session, where it presumably cannot receive a thorough airing.  First of all, let me point out that I’ve never heard anyone argue that THEIR priority bills should not be taken up during a short session, only those that they are hoping to fend off. I would add that our experience with this session is further proof that IF one has done the necessary work ahead of time, building support, and engaging others in a workgroup process in the months leading up to the session, and especially if it’s a bill that has already gone through a session, has had a lot of public testimony, and is a caucus priority, the 35-day session is enough time. This is especially true when the advocates are willing to keep working throughout the first weeks of the session, remain nimble, and be creative.  The Farmworker Overtime bill is a good example of this process, and the same could be said for other successes.  




Bills That Passed

SB 1521 (Superintendent Protections): 16-7 Senate, 31-25 House, 16-8 Senate Concurrence

SB 1522 (Omnibus Education): 22-4 Senate, 38-20 House

SB 1545 (Future Ready Oregon Workforce Development): 23-2 Senate, 48-10 House

SB 1572 (Access to Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Higher Ed Part-Time Faculty): 24-2 Senate, 58-0 House, 21-4 Senate Concurrence

SB 1583 (Minimizing Standardized Testing): 17-7 Senate, 37-23 House

HB 4005 (Access to Childcare, including $100 million in investments): House 52-7, 24-3 Senate

HB 4026 (Relief for Districts Affected by Wildfires, $25 million in investments): 60-0 House, 27-0 Senate

HB 4030 (Educator Shortages, including $100 million in investments): 48-11 House, 24-2 Senate

HB 4124 (Tracking District Use of Standardized Tests): 49-10, House, 23-3 Senate

$150 million in Summer Learning/Enrichment Investments

$120 million to relocate Tubman Middle School in wake of ODOT I-5 project

Did Not Pass:

SB 1587 (Creating authority and staff for ODE to investigate inequitable access to education and discrimination complaints)

HB 4029 (Training for school board members and superintendents)

HB 4091 (Statewide Education Success Plan for Students Who Are Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander)

HB 4099 (Racial Equity and Justice Youth Collaborative)

HB 4112 (Professional Development Funding for Educators Preparing to Teach Ethnic Studies)



Bills That Passed:

SB 1501 (Private Forest Accords/Stream Protections): 22-5 Senate, 43-15 House

SB 1518 (Task Force on Resilient, Efficient Buildings, formerly the Reach Code Bill): 19-7 Senate, 36-21 House

SB1519 (Property tax exemption for community solar): 25-0 Senate, 54-4 House

SB 1520 (Bottle Bill Modernization): 23-4 Senate 46-12 House

SB 1536 (Right to Cooling and Funding for Air Conditioners/Heat Pumps): 22-5 Senate, 49-9 House

SB 1546 (Elliott State Forest Becomes a Research Forest) 22-5 Senate, 49-9 House, 22-3 Senate Concurrence

SB 1567 (CEI Hub/Fuel Tank Protections): 23-2 Senate, 50-7 House

SB 1576 (Mattress Stewardship/Recycling): 18-7 Senate, 37-22 House

SB 1589 (Prohibiting Wakeboarding in More Parts of the Willamette): 22-1 Senate, 33-25 House

HB 4057 (Requiring High-Efficiency Sprinklers) 48-10 House, 22-3 Senate

HB 4077 (Environmental Justice Council) 43-14 Senate, 19-7 House

Did Not Pass:

SB 1534 (Using Natural and Working Lands for Climate Action)

HB 4115 (Requires Treasury to report on investments in fossil fuels)

HB 4133 (Improving Wildlife Crossings and Corridors): Bill did not pass, but $7 million allocated in HB 5202, the Budget Bill



Bills That Passed:

SB 1510 (Omnibus “Transforming Justice” bill, limiting unnecessary police stops, improving interactions with parole officers, funding support for community-based organizations): 16-11 Senate, 34-24 House

SB 1584 (Compensation for Victims of Wrongful Conviction) 25-0 Senate, 56-0 House

HB 4105 (Reducing Cost of Photo Radar): 32-23 House, 17-6 Senate, 36-23 House Concurrence

HB 4075 (Making it easier for victims to obtain restitution): 58-0 House, 26-0 Senate

Did Not Pass:

SB 1511 (Reconsideration of cases decided by non-unanimous juries)

SB 1512 (Improved pathways to professional licensure for people with criminal convictions)

SB 1568 (Compassionate Medical Release)



HB 4003 (Creates Nursing Internships/Apprenticeships): 57-0 House, 25-0 Senate

HB 4004 ($132 million grant fund for recruitment/retention of mental/behavioral health workers): 58-0 House, 24-2 Senate): 58-0 House, 24-2 Senate

HB 4005 ($5 million for violence prevention): 57-1 House, 25-1 Senate

HB 4035 (Creates Basic Health Plan, a “Bridge Plan” for those earning too much to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan): 40-19 House, 18-8 Senate



Bills That Passed:

SB 1543 (Universal Representation for those facing deportation) 17-8 Senate, 38-21 House

SB 1550 (Transfers new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement from the Governor’s Office to DHS): 21-4 Senate, 42-16

SB 1560 (Replacing “alien” with “noncitizen” everywhere in statute): 24-1 Senate, 48-9 House



Bills that Passed:

HB 4002 (Farmworker Overtime): 37-23 House, 17-10 Senate

HB 4157 ($600 to Low-Income Working Oregonians): 42-16 House, 23-2 Senate

Did Not Pass:

HB 4126 (Prohibits non-profits from using state dollars to deter their staff from forming a union)



Bills That Passed:

$400 million in HB 5202, the budget bill, for a variety of housing/houselessness investments

HB 4064 (Manufacturing Home Reforms): 40-12 House, 21-5 Senate

HB 4123 (Coordinated Response to Homelessness): 57-1 House, 24-1 Senate



Bills That Passed

SB 1579 (Investment Equity): 17-9 Senate, 39-20 House

HB 4015 (Loans for Small Business): 53-1 House, 24-3 Senate

HB 4092 (Broadband Investments): 55-1 House, 24-2 Senate

$100 million in Rural Reinvestment Infrastructure



Bills That Passed:

SB 1565 (Requires businesses to accept cash): 23-2 Senate, 39-11 House, 22-3 Senate Concurrence

HB 4133 (Allows Online Voter Registration): 33-23 House, 18-7 Senate

Did Not Pass:

SB 1566 (Would have made legislative salary equal to the average Oregon wage)

HB 4151 (Would have allowed allowed self-service gasoline)

Various campaign finance reform proposals


Additional Brief COVID Updates and Links


Want to See Past Newsletters?

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my lislative website (, click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there.  Also, if someone forwarded you this newsletter and you’d like to get it directly, you can sign up for it there.


dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

phone: 503-281-0608
mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301