Housing and Semiconductor Bills Advance

Senate President Rob Wagner

Hello everyone in Senate District 19 and beyond,

It's been a monumental couple of days here in Salem, so I wanted to share an update with all of you on what your Legislature is doing and what lies ahead. A colleague described the first two months of the 2023 legislative session as "a short session inside of a long session" and I couldn't agree more.

Two of the Legislature's biggest priorities made significant progress on Wednesday. Our package addressing housing and homelessness passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, while the semiconductor manufacturing bill moved out of our joint committee with broad bipartisan support. We are acting with urgency to address some of the biggest challenges facing our state and position Oregon to have a robust economy for decades to come, all in the first couple months of session. We are on track to send both of these bills to the governor's desk in the next few weeks.

Wagner and habitat for humanity

Senate President Rob Wagner with Habitat for Humanity on the floor of the Oregon Senate.

Housing Package heads to Senate

House Bill 2001 and its budget bill House Bill 5019 passed out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday with broad bipartisan support, a huge accomplishment for everyone involved on both sides of the aisle. The bill will now move to the Senate side and we will take it up next week. My fellow senators and I are eager to send this package to the governor's desk for her signature as quickly as possible so the state can continue combating our housing crisis with renewed vision and resources. 

The package fully funds Gov. Tina Kotek's homelessness state of emergency declaration with $130 million; commits $25 million to expand that homelessness support statewide; relieves pressure on Oregonians facing eviction for non-payment; ramps up affordable housing production; and makes building affordable housing the top priority for the state through structural changes to our land use system.

We know Oregonians are deeply concerned about our housing and homelessness crisis, both in Portland and around the state. This package puts us on a path toward helping our homeless population and making housing available and affordable for years to come.

Semiconductor Bill Moves Out of Committee

The Joint Committee on Semiconductors passed on a bipartisan vote the OR CHIPS Bill — Senate Bill 4  the Legislature's first step toward securing the future of Oregon's semiconductor economy. The bill will empower Oregon businesses to apply for a share of $52 billion in federal money from the federal CHIPS and Science Act. 

The bill allocates $190 million to the Oregon CHIPS Fund to be distributed via grants and loans for:

  • Development and acquisition of a site for semiconductor manufacturing
  • Semiconductor research and development
  • Workforce development, including internships and apprenticeships

An additional $10 million is dedicated to the newly established Industrial Lands Loan Fund for financial assistance to local governments to prepare sites for semiconductor industrial development. The University Innovation Research Fund will also receive $10 million for public universities to leverage federal research grants.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solidify Oregon's place as a global leader in semiconductor development and manufacturing.

Senate Bill 4 now heads to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

Holodomor Remembrance Day

Since my last newsletter, I had the honor of carrying Senate Bill 583 in the Senate, a bill that would designate the fourth Saturday of each November as Holodomor Remembrance Day. The Holodomor, which means "death by starvation" in Ukrainian, was an intentional famine of the people of Ukraine by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union from 1932 to 1933. Through the policies of forced agricultural collectivization and grain seizures  which were enforced by state-sponsored brutality  between 4 million and 7 million Ukrainians starved to death while the grain grown in their fields was being sold by the Soviet Union around the world.  

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on February 27 and is on its way to the House of Representatives for a final vote soon.

Here are the remarks I made on the Senate floor, in front of Ukrainian citizens and members of the Ukraine Foundation:

Holodomor speech screen shot

Scenes from the Senate President's Office

Chinese Delegation meeting

Senate President Rob Wagner speaks with Consul General Zhang and other members of a Chinese delegation from San Francisco with Sen. Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).


Senate President Rob Wagner with members of the Oregon School Employees Association.

Carpenter's Union

Senate President Rob Wagner speaks to carpenter apprentices on the floor of the Oregon Senate.

Budget Framework on the Horizon

The Legislature is bound by the Oregon Constitution to pass a balanced budget every two years; it's a responsibility we take very seriously. Later this month, the co-chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee will release their initial framework for the 2023-2025 biennial state budget.

This is a tight budget year, which means we need to have laser focus on key priorities facing our communities. Very soon, we will have a framework to address our budget challenges  with Oregon's values and needs at the forefront.  My colleagues from Ways and Means committees will keep our state's priorities in mind as we debate what the state should spend taxpayers money on. Watch for upcoming dates for our “road show” hearings in communities around the state so you can share your voice on the budget.

Headlines From Your Capitol

Oregon Capital Chronicle: Oregon lawmakers, climate advocates push for environmentally friendly buildings

Oregon lawmakers and climate advocates are pushing for legislative action to build more efficient homes and office buildings to protect the environment and reduce long-term homeowner costs. 

Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, D-Beaverton, and Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, are spearheading the effort after spending much of last year leading a task force that recommended policies for making homes and office buildings more environmentally friendly and resilient to heat, smoke and air pollution. Those recommendations have turned into four bills they want passed.

Statesman Journal: Peek inside: After 3 years and $55M in renovations, historic Oregon Supreme Court reopens

For more than 100 years, the Oregon Supreme Court hosted landmark legal cases, the state law library and several generations of justices.

With a $55-million renovation — which involved closing the site for three years, relocating the entire court and reconstructing its foundation — now completed, Chief Justice Meagan Flynn said she hopes the beloved building will stand for centuries to come.

Oregonian: Gov. Tina Kotek laser focused on housing, homelessness in first 60 days

Gov. Tina Kotek describes her first 60 days in office as an all-out dash to set her priorities in motion.

A sprinter on her high school track team, Kotek said her administration probably needs to downshift to a sustainable pace soon “but it’s really important for people to see us working hard to set the foundation.”

It’s clear two months in that Kotek is running hardest at the state’s twin crises of homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, problems that loomed large for voters last year and were top concerns for Kotek dating back to her years as state House speaker.

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Oregon Senate bill would expand higher education options for students with disabilities

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oregon could soon have more opportunities to pursue higher education.

The Oregon Senate Committee on Education had its first public hearing Tuesday for Senate Bill 572 which, if passed, would support and expand postsecondary programming for students with disabilities.

If you would like to contact the Senate President's Office, send an email or call and either myself or a staff member will assist you. If you are a constituent coming to Salem and want to arrange a meeting, I'm always happy to meet, so please let us know well in advance as my schedule fills up quickly.

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov 
phone: 503-986-1600
address: 900 Court St NE, S-201, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner