Bipartisanship Rains at 2023 Legislative Session

Senate President Rob Wagner

Hello Senate District 19 and beyond,

We’ve passed the halfway point of the 2023 legislative session and there is a lot of excitement at your state Capitol. Bipartisanship remains a focus as we pass bills with support from both parties, including a number of bills wholly sponsored by Republicans.

So far, of the 201 Senate bills we have passed this session, approximately 95% have received bipartisan support. We have had to spend many hours in the Senate chamber to address some slow-down tactics, but I made a commitment to keep doing the work Oregonians sent us to Salem to complete and I intended to keep that commitment.

Bipartisan wins from the past two weeks include:

  • Senate Bill 340 — Cracks down on organized retail theft by increasing penalties and providing law enforcement with more tools to fight these crime networks.

  • Senate Bill 11 — Improves government transparency by expanding community access to government meetings through new standards for online access.

  • Senate Bill 1068 — Supports rural firefighters by equitably increasing funding for rural fire protection districts.

  • Senate Bill 615 — Combats street racing by empowering law enforcement with new tools, including tougher consequences for those convicted.

SOU hang out

Senate President Rob Wagner and Sen. Jeff Golden celebrate the 150th anniversary of Southern Oregon University with representatives of the university.

Opioid Overdose Medication Bill Speech

I had the honor of carrying on the floor Senate Bill 1043, which requires health care facilities and drug treatment facilities to provide two doses of opioid overdose reversal medicine and related medical supplies upon discharge to patients who were there for treatment related to opioid abuse. The bill — which I introduced at the request of Gov. Tina Kotek — also establishes civil liability protections to people who administer opioid overdose medication to a person experiencing an overdose.

As we all know, our nation is facing an opioid overdose crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid overdose deaths nationally have more than doubled over the past half decade, from 52,404 in 2016 to 106,699 in 2021. This trend is true in Oregon as well, where overdose deaths from opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, rose from 280 in 2019 to 739 in 2021.

SB 1043 will save lives by providing naloxone to the people most at risk of overdosing. Here is my carry and closing speech:

floor speech screen cap

Mid-Session Gift for Senators

As a lover of the Oregon outdoors and long hikes in our beautiful forests, I have mixed feelings about the fact that we have had an unseasonably wet and cold spring. Some of the cold weather has impacted the Senate, where ongoing renovations and seismic improvements have left our historic chamber a little drafty. On top of that, we have installed a pair of industrial strength air purifiers to ensure any diesel fumes from that construction don’t linger. These factors have led to some chilly days in the chamber.

Cue a trip to Costco and a purchase of three dozen fluffy blankets — one for each Senator and our amazing Senate staff.

I so appreciate the work my colleagues have put in this session, and I hope this small gesture warms them as their commitment to democracy has warmed my heart this year.


Town Hall This Sunday

The rescheduled Lake Oswego legislative town hall event will be this Sunday, April 23, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the Lake Oswego City Hall Council Chambers. I’ll be joining my friends Rep. Jules Walters, Rep. Daniel Nguyen and Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck.

We are there to hear your questions, comments and concerns about anything happening at the local or state level, so come with something to say. It’s always a pleasure to see folks face-to-face and hear from them about the good and bad in their lives and think about where the government might be able to make a positive change.

town hall april

Budget Roadshow Hearings Continue

I was pleased to be able to attend the April 8 meeting of the Joint Ways and Means Committee on the Sylvania Campus of Portland Community College. Hundreds of you showed up to participate in our inclusive budget writing process by telling me and the other lawmakers in attendance what programs you want funded over the next two years.

This is a tight budget cycle, so the budget writers are focused on delivering meaningful and targeted investments in areas such as education, health care, housing, homelessness and behavioral health. Below are the times, dates and locations of the remaining stops on the budget roadshow and links to where you can sign up to testify. I will also be attending the committee hearing in Roseburg, so come say “hi” and share your thoughts on the budget if you're in town.

Friday, April 21 (5:00 - 7:00 pm) – Roseburg
Location: Umpqua Community College
1140 Umpqua College Rd, Roseburg, OR 9747
Sign Up to Testify Here

Friday, April 28 (5:00 - 7:00 pm MT) – Ontario
Location: Four Rivers Cultural Center
676 SW 5th Ave, Ontario, OR 97914
Sign Up to Testify Here

Wednesday, May 3 (5:00 - 7:00 pm) – Virtual (Statewide Testimony Opportunity)
Location: Virtual | Remote Testimony accepted
Hearing Room F
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court St NE, Salem, OR 97301
Sign Up to Testify Here

In My Own Words

“As a dad with kids who were in high school during the pandemic, I strongly believe we need to support our students who lost educational time over the past few years, which is one reason our budget framework prioritizes the state school fund with $9.9 billion and other investments.”

— Senate President Rob Wagner to Oregon Public Broadcasting

“Bill Bradbury was a legend of Oregon politics — a consummate public servant and a bright light that exuded positive energy and focused on issues Oregonians cared about. He would always take the time to meet with young people working in politics, which is how I got to know him. He leaves a legacy of strengthening Oregon’s democracy and protecting our environment. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

— Senate President Rob Wagner following the death of former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury

Headlines from Your Capitol

Statesman Journal: Peek inside Salem's first homeless navigation center

After years of searching for funding and renovating a former office building, Salem's first navigation center is set to open in May.

An estimated 1,800 people are homeless in the region. The number of people living outdoors has continued to climb even as shelter beds have been added in recent years.

Starting in late May, the navigation center will add 75 critically-needed beds to the stock of low-barrier shelter spaces.

The Oregonian: Bill Bradbury, former secretary of state who battled multiple sclerosis for decades, dies at 73

Former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, known for his energetic attitude and passion for the environment, died Friday at 73. He was on a cruise with his wife of 36 years, Katy Eymann.

His political impact will not be forgotten, former colleagues say.

“Bill Bradbury may be gone, but he leaves behind a legacy in Oregon that will endure for generations to come,” Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement.

Oregon Capital Chronicle: Oregon Senate passes bill to protect consumers against counterfeit airbags

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to protect consumers against unscrupulous auto repair shops that sell and install counterfeit airbags that fail to protect and save the lives of passengers in crashes.

Senate Bill 256 would make it illegal for someone to knowingly manufacture, sell or install counterfeit vehicle safety systems, including airbags that fail to meet federal safety standards. Federal officials have flagged the issue nationwide, as unsuspecting consumers don’t know they were scammed until it’s too late. 

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.

phone: 503-986-1600
address: 900 Court St NE, S-201, Salem, OR, 97301