1/20/23 Senate District 15 Newsletter

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Senator Janeen Sollman

Friends and Neighbors,

Upcoming Events

Save the Date - Virtual Joint Town Hall

Join me, along with Representatives McLain and Sosa, on Saturday, February 18th, from 10:30am-12:00pm, for a virtual town hall. Watch for the registration link to come!

town hall flyer

Legislative Updates

Youth Voices

This week was the first time I chaired the Senate Energy & Environment Committee and it was an amazing experience. We started something new for this committee called Youth Voices. At the end of each meeting, we will hear from students on how our Energy & Environment decisions (or lack thereof) impact their lives. Thank you to Senator Sara Gelser Blouin for starting Youth Voices in the Senate Human Services Committee, which gave me the idea. This week, we heard from you on climate action, methane gas, a meatless diet, zero waste and more. If you know a K-12 student that would like to sign up to speak or submit written testimony, visit the committee page here for more information.

Youth Voices

Zero Waste Initiatives

Every year it’s becoming more and more clear: We need to turn off the plastic tap. Plastic waste is piling up in our landfills, our communities and our environment. This session, I am introducing several bills related to a Zero Waste Initiative and recently participated in a Plastic Policy Roundup with advocates to bring awareness to these policies. You can watch the event at this link here and learn more about the individual bills below.

  • SB542: Right to Repair 

    This bill would give every Oregonian and every small business access to the parts, tools, and service information they need to repair products. This will allow more people to have affordable access to technology and reduce equity barriers for low-income households, protect consumers by allowing them to fully own their own product, and boost small businesses like small independent repair shops that are part of our Main Street business economy.

  • SB543: Polystyrene Foodware 

    This bill will phase out polystyrene foodware and PFAS in food packaging. A proposed bill would ban polystyrene foodware, coolers and packing peanuts, as well as phasing out PFAS, a toxic "forever chemical," from food packaging, which has been linked to thyroid, kidney, and ovarian cancers.

  • SB544: Plastic Source Reduction 

    This bill requires producers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic packaging and foodware by 25% over the next decade.

  • SB545: Legalize Reusables for Food 

    This bill would establish “legal” reuse systems and opportunities under Oregon’s Health Code for consumers and businesses alike to transition away from harmful single-use items.

Plastic Policy Roundup

HCR 8:  Designating rescued shelter dogs and cats as official state pet

Yesterday, I testified in the House Rules Committee on HCR 8. I am a Chief Sponsor of this bill along with Representative David Gomberg that will designate rescue shelter dogs and cats as Oregon's official state pet. We were joined by former Oregon Kid Governor, Emerie Martin, whose platform was preventing animal abuse. Designating rescue animals as our state pet will help bring better awareness to helping them find their forever homes and reduce our unwanted pet population. You can watch the committee hearing back at this link here. HCR 8 is the second hearing on the link, following after a hearing for HCR 11, an important bill that I am also Chief Sponsoring that will recognize and honor the Indian community and extend congratulations and support for ongoing celebrations of India's independence, on their 75th Anniversary.

Read testimony submitted from Quatama Elementary students on HCR 8 here!


Education Updates

Computer Science Implementation Plan Consult Group

Shared from ODE

Accepting Applications

To expand access to comprehensive computer science education,  the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) are establishing a Computer Science Consult Group. The group, which will support development of a statewide implementation plan for computer science education*, will meet regularly from February  through September 2023 to review engagement summaries, draft recommendations, and advise ODE and HECC staff. If you are passionate about computer science education, we encourage you to lend your voice and apply to be part of the Computer Science Consult Group. To view application requirements and find out more, please visit our Consult Group Application and apply by 11:59 PM on January 31, 2023.

The Consult Group Application is also available in Spanish.  

*Background on the Computer Science Implementation Plan Consult Group

In May 2022, Governor Brown directed the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to develop a statewide implementation plan for computer science education, which would provide access to comprehensive computer science education opportunities to every public school student in this state by the 2027-2028 school year. For more information about this plan, please visit our Computer Science Implementation Plan website or email us at ode.csinitiative@ode.oregon.gov.  You can also subscribe to our listserv to receive newsletters, updates, and announcements about this project.  

Mechatronics Program

PCC’s Electronic Engineering Technology (EET) and Microelectronics Technology (MT) programs offer options for those wishing to learn the principles of mechatronics and enter advanced manufacturing as a career. These programs provide a variety of options, whether you’re a high school student interested in exploring a career in advanced manufacturing, or an adult learner interested in gaining new skills or upskilling for a current job. After completion of a degree, graduates can expect to earn around $69,000 annually in any EET- or MT-related mechatronics field. Follow the links below to learn more:

Semiconductor Industry Education and Training at PCC


Veterans Affairs Updates

Shared from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs


Grants Available for Veterans & War Memorials

Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering grants for the construction or restoration of veterans and war memorials throughout Oregon. The grant application period is open now and closes March 31, 2023.

Local and regional governments and federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for funding for monuments placed on publicly-owned properties. Grants may fund up to 80 percent of projects and require a 10 percent match from grant recipients.

New monuments should acknowledge veterans and/or wars not already recognized in the community. Restoration projects may address broken monuments, missing elements, and/or additions to existing monuments. Proposals must demonstrate active participation of a veteran organization and community support.

A free online workshop about the grant program will be held February 16, 1:00-2:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required. For more information about the Veterans and War Memorials grant and other grant programs, visit www.oregon.gov/oprd/gra/pages/gra-overview.aspx.

VA proposes rule that would waive copays for eligible Native American and Alaska Native Veterans

Tthe Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed a rule that would waive copayments incurred on or after Jan. 5, 2022, for eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans. Upon publication of the notice, there will be a 30-day period for the public to provide comments on this rulemaking. VA will review the comments and develop the final rule.

If finalized as proposed, eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans who have submitted appropriate documentation to the VA would no longer be required to pay copays for health care services.

The intent of this policy is to encourage Veterans to seek regular primary care treatment, which can yield better health outcomes. Copayments for more than three visits to community-based urgent care in any calendar year would still be required, as for all Veterans. Follow-up care provided by a VA-authorized primary care provider would be exempt from copays.

In addition, VA is proposing to make this copayment exemption retroactive to Jan. 5, 2022. If finalized as proposed, eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans would be reimbursed for any copayments paid on or after Jan. 5, 2022, upon submission of their official documentation to the Veteran Health Administration. 

“American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans have played a vital role in the defense of the United States as members of the Armed Forces for more than 200 years,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This rule makes health care more accessible and allows us to better deliver to these Veterans the care and health benefits that they have earned through their courageous service.”

This regulation implements a requirement in the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 Public Law 116-315, signed Jan. 5, 2021.

Learn about VA benefits and programs for American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans and information about VA’s recognition of Tribal Organizations for purposes of claim representation.

Veterans in Suicidal Crisis can go to any VA or Non-VA Facility for Free Emergency Health Care

Starting Jan. 17, veterans in acute suicidal crisis will be able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost — including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days.

Veterans do not need to be enrolled in VA health care to use this benefit. This expansion will increase access to acute suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in the VA system.

The final policy, which takes effect on Jan. 17, will allow the VA to:

  • Provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
  • Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
  • Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
  • Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

If you or someone you know is struggling: Don’t wait. Reach out. Visit www.va.gov/REACH for resources and information, or call 988 (then press 1) to quickly connect with caring, qualified crisis support 24/7.

Tax Updates

Shared from the Oregon Department of Revenue

Tax Season begins January 23

The Oregon Department of Revenue will begin processing 2022 state income tax returns on January 23, 2023, the same day the IRS will begin processing federal returns.

Returns will be processed in the order they are received. However, as in years past, the department won’t begin to issue personal income tax refunds until February 16. Once the department begins processing returns, filers can check Where’s My Refund? On Revenue Online to see the status of their refund. 

E-filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit, receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

Free and reduced-cost filing options

Several free or low-cost preparation options for both federal and Oregon tax returns are available for taxpayers who meet the qualifications.  All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns can file electronically at no cost using Oregon’s free fillable forms. Visit the Department of Revenue website to take advantage of software and free offers and get more information about free tax preparation services

Out and About in Senate District 15

WEA Legislative Reception

Last night, I was part of a legislative panel at the Westside Economic Alliance's Legislative Reception. We talked with members about a variety of topics coming before the legislature this session, including the semiconductor committee, long-term planning around infrastructure, the Willamette Water Supply, and healthcare.


PCC 2023 Legislative Reception

Last week I attended a legislative reception at PCC highlighting student success and educational needs moving into the New Year.


MLK, Jr. Day of Service

Thank you to Solve Oregon for organizing volunteers to help spruce up the community around Irving Park on MLK, Jr. Day of Service. It was a great day to volunteer. The sun was shining and I happened by a beautiful Wishing Tree in the neighborhood. I even got to spend time with my friend, Hillsboro City Councilor Beach Pace, and join so many others in giving back on this day.


Habitat for Humanity Groundbreaking

Shared from Habitat for Humanity Portland Region

Habitat for Humanity Portland Region breaks ground on an affordable 18-home community in SE Hillsboro in the Reedville neighborhood.  

“There will be over 80 moms, dads, kids, and grandparents that will move into this site.” said Steve Messinetti, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Portland Region. “Their kids will be able to stay in that same home, and have the same friends and go to the same schools until they graduate. 92% of kids that grow up in Habitat homes around the state graduate” 

We thank everyone who joined us during our ground-breaking ceremony, including Oregon State Senator Janeen Sollman, State Representative Susan McLain, State Representative Nathan Sosa, Wlnsvey Campos for State Senator, OHCS Director Andrea Bell, and Mayor Steve Callaway. Learn more about this new community: https://habitatportlandregion.org/homes/century-commons/


Community Outreach

Lunar New Year - Sunday, January 22nd

chinese new year

Lunar New Year is coming up this Sunday, January 22 and is a celebration of the upcoming year by Chinese and other Asian countries. It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, fifteen days later. Every year has an animal as its zodiac, and this year it is the rabbit. Lunar New Year is celebrated with a festival that brings together family for delicious foods, fun games, and gifts containing goodies for both young and old to represent luck and prosperity. There will be plenty of events throughout Portland including a traditional performance at the entrance of Lan Su Chinese Garden, welcoming everyone to join in the new year celebrations. Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Visit the Chinese Lan Su Garden website for more information and events.

Additional Resources

 Senate District 15 Links

Federal Delegation Links

Education Links

Food and Housing Assistance

Be good to yourself and each other. ❤

Onward & Upward,


Senate District 15 lies on Kalapuya land. The Atfalati were the northernmost band of the Kalapuya that lived along the Tualatin River in present day Washington County. Many of the Atfalati descendants are members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon today. The Indigenous Peoples of this land experienced a painful history of colonial violence, sickness and removal from their land. The Atfalati are the foundation of Oregon’s past and we must honor them well into our future.    

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-207, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Sen.JaneenSollman@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/sollman