Notable Bills, Expanding Homeownership, Bike Month & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
Springfield & Eugene
District 4
900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     May 2023

If you're having trouble viewing this message, please visit my legislative web page at, click on "News" in the lower left-hand column and scroll down.

Dear friends,

  Friday, May 5, marked another major procedural deadline of the 82nd Legislative Assembly. Any bill that passed out from its chamber of origin and was assigned to a regular policy committee in the other chamber needed to be scheduled for a "work session" to remain in play this session. May 19 is the final day to move remaining bills out of those policy committees. If it hasn't moved out of committee by then, it's considered "dead" this session and cannot advance.

    This session's procedural deadlines have been complicated by my
Senate Republican colleagues walking off the job for the fourth time since 2019, holding hostage our democratic process by denying a needed two-thirds quorum. This time, it's to prevent votes on HB 2002 (reproductive health freedom) and HB 2005 (common sense gun safety), which already passed the House of Representatives. Perhaps I'm a traditionalist when it comes to public service, but I believe that my constituents elected me to represent them in Salem. That starts with showing up to work!

    In pursuit of the stalling tactics, Republicans filed suit to delay HB 2002's consideration. A Marion County Circuit Court judge dismissed that suit the following day, yet — as I write this — my Senate Republican colleagues still remain MIA.

    On April 13, I sat down for a Zoom interview with Michael Dunne, host of KLCC's Oregon Rainmakers program. Click here to listen to our chat (or read a summary).

    Below you will find information on:

- Notable Bills that have Passed the Senate
        - Expanding Homeownership in Oregon
        - Springfield Proclaims May 2023 as Bike Month
        - Eugene Author Wins Oregon Book Award

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Notable Bills That have Passed the Senate

As the 2023 Legislative Session continues, here are a few important bills that the Senate has passed so far:

    SB 974 - Protections for Survivors of Sexual Assault: This legislation passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, and
closes a loophole in sexual abuse statutes in Oregon by criminalizing sexual abuse that occurs under the guise of legitimate medical care. In 2020, the Oregon Medical Board rescinded a West Linn doctor's license to practice due to multiple complaints of sexual abuse via fraudulent consent. Despite more than 100 alleged victims, the doctor was able to dodge criminal charges due to a loophole whereby abuse could be hidden as real medical care. SB 974 closes that loophole and now awaits consideration in the House of Representatives.

    SB 340 - Cracking Down on Organized Retail Theft: I was proud to carry this legislation to passage in the Senate to significantly increase penalties for organized retail theft. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that 57 percent of retailers have reported a rise in organized retail crime in the past year. These thefts often involve networks of criminals who target high-value merchandise, causing significant financial losses for retailers, increasing costs for consumers and an unsafe work environment for retail workers. Passage of SB 340 is a strong statement that we will not tolerate organized retail theft in Oregon and will work to ensure safe communities for all. Under the bill, individuals convicted of organized retail theft will face harsher penalties. It also amends and strengthens current statutes to allow law enforcement and prosecutors greater flexibility to detect, deter, and hold accountable those who commit organized retail theft. Finally, it will create more accountability for people who threaten retail workers while committing theft. SB 340 now awaits consideration in the House.

    SB 1068 - Support Rural Firefighters: This legislation
directs more support to rural firefighters, simplifying how property owners not currently included in rural fire protection districts can join those districts to support firefighting efforts. Specifically, SB 1068 allows property owners to consent to addition of their land to rural fire protection districts and authorizes the board of directors of a district to annex to the district, under certain circumstances, lands within the coverage area of the district. The bill closes a loophole that created pockets of land that were protected by a rural fire protection district but not paying for the service. It has the support of firefighters across the state and now awaits consideration in the House.

    SB 246 - Consumer Protection: This legislation
makes a technical fix to ensure consumers who fall victim to fraudsters selling counterfeit airbags have protection under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. SB 256 makes it illegal for someone to knowingly or intentionally make, sell, or install fake car safety parts, like airbags, that don't meet the safety standards set by the federal government for the specific make, model, and year of a vehicle. The bill will protect consumers by ensuring that only genuine and safe car parts are used in vehicles, which helps prevent serious injury and promotes public safety on the roads, and now awaits House for consideration.

Expanding Homeownership in Oregon

    The Oregon Department of Housing & Community Services (OHCS) recently developed a first-of-its kind Oregon lending program to expand homeownership opportunities to more people in our state. The Flex Lending Program helps low- to moderate-income families and individuals with down payment and closing cost assistance buy a home in partnership with approved mortgage lenders. OHCS is proud to announce the program opened last week with its first lenders already offering loans — Director's Mortgage, Bay Equity, and Axia Home Loans — with more lenders to be added in the coming weeks.

    Homeownership strengthens communities and the local economy, providing families greater stability and a solid foundation. High purchase prices statewide have left many families and individuals unable to access homes due to rising interest rates. Down payment is a top barrier to homeownership. With this program, OHCS is creating equitable pathways to affordable homes for communities that are underrepresented as homeowners in Oregon.

    The Flex Lending Program provides a fixed-rate first mortgage in combination with a second mortgage in the form of either a silent forgivable second lien or an amortizing repayable second lien. The program uses down payment assistance to help low- to moderate-income borrowers, including those in rural areas, obtain funds for a down payment and closing costs to buy a home. Borrowers receive 4 or 5 percent of the first mortgage loan amount as down payment assistance.

    Important information about Flex Lending Program eligibility:

  • Income up to $125,000 per year based on applicant(s), not the household
  • Eligible homes for purchase are owner-occupied homes in Oregon
  • Homebuyers may not own any other real estate at time of closing
  • Credit scores can be as low as 620
  • Non-occupying co-borrowers and co-signers allowed
  • Homebuyer education provided by Oregon Homeownership Centers for first-time homebuyers

    The first step for people who are interested in the program is to find an approved mortgage lender. For an approved lender list and additional information about the program, visit the Flex Lending webpage

Springfield Proclaims May 2023 as Bike Month

    The City of Springfield has proclaimed May 2023 as Bike Month! In the proclamation, Mayor VanGordon noted that "the bicycle is an economical, healthy, and convenient form of transportation and an excellent tool for enjoyment of Springfield's scenic beauty ... [and that] throughout the month of May Springfield residents can experience the joy of biking and support the local economy by biking to nearby shopping and dining." I couldn't agree more!

Eugene Author Wins Oregon Book Award

    Lauren Kessler won the Frances Fuller Victor Award for general nonfiction for her book, "Free: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home." T
he Oregon Book Awards honors Oregon writers who work in poetry, fiction, drama, general nonfiction, creative nonfiction, literature for young adult and middle grade readers and children's literature.

    As reported by the Register-Guard, Kessler has written 11 narrative nonfiction books, including her most recent award-winning title. In "Free: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home," she explores the road to reentry after being incarcerated, telling the story of six people's journeys as they are released from prison and adjust to the outside world. Congratulations, Lauren!

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your User Profile Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact