Rural Northwest ​Oregon Capitol Updates Vol 22

Senator Suzanne Weber

Hello Neighbors and Friends,

Over a week has passed since the fallout began in the senate, and the fight continues as Republicans and Independents continue to try to stop the majority from passing some of the most partisan, extremist legislation the Oregon Legislature has ever seen. There is bipartisan support for legislation dealing with housing, transportation and infrastructure, and Senate President Rob Wagner insists on holding those common sense, consensus policies hostage to jam through extremist policies on social issues that do nothing but bitterly divide the legislature and the state.

Happy Mothers Day!

Mother's Day is a special occasion to express our gratitude and love for the amazing women who have shaped our lives. This day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the unconditional love, sacrifices, and tireless efforts of our mothers who have been our constant support system. We thank them for being our guiding light, for showering us with endless love, and for being our rock in tough times. Let's make sure we take the time to appreciate and cherish the wonderful influence that our mothers have had on our lives. Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!


Education Committee

Committees are still up and running, and as such, there is still work to be done. Pictured above, my colleagues and I are working through various pieces of legislation in the Senate Education Committee. And below, in the Subcommittee on Education, we are working through HB 5015, which appropriates money from the General Fund to the Department of Education for State School Fund. A large concern of mine being that the entire state be considered when passing such impactful pieces of legislation, and especially areas such rural Oregon.

Sub Ed Committee


Students from Lane Community College

Meetings continue regardless of what happens on the Senate Floor. This week I had the pleasure to meet with students from Lane Community College. It is always encouraging to meet with bright young minds that are eager to make a difference.

LCC Students

Local Matters

Rainier Oregon Historical Museum Gets A New Star Attraction! 

A new addition is being added to the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum. The first ever fire truck to service the town of Rainier back in 1936. It will be show-cased in the new museum along with another local historical vehicle. Pictured below is Mayor Jerry Cole and Duane Bernard accepting the firetruck on behalf of the museum. Driving the truck is Jeremy who is the mechanic for the Rainier Fire Department. Be sure to make a trip over to the museum to get a gander and this amazing piece of local history! You can learn about their hours and exhibits on their website


OR 6 Safety Study: Online and In Person Open Houses

ODOT will be conducting online and in-person open houses to discuss safety concerns and safety solutions on OR 6 between Tillamook and Banks. Local feedback is highly encouraged, and is essential to determining potential safety solutions in the corridor. As many of you know, this particular stretch of highway has seen its fair share of unfortunate occurrences. 

You can learn more about the project in person. 

  • When: Tuesday, May 16 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Port of Tillamook Bay, main conference room, 4000 Blimp Boulevard,  Tillamook, OR 97141

If you can't make it, you can visit their project webpage or their online open house.

Astoria School District - Habitat Conservation Plan Letter

The Astoria School District recently sent a letter to the Oregon Board of Forestry (ODF) expressing their concerns over the draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Clatsop County comprises 80% state forest land, and their school district receives timber revenue funding. The HCP proposes to cut around $2 million from the social services budget of Clatsop County, which includes a decrease in funding for education service districts.

As a result, the budget of Northwest Regional Educational Service District (NWRESD) is likely to be reduced by about $380,000. NWRESD provides a variety of services to school districts in the northwest region, such as early intervention, special education, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and others. As mentioned in the letter, the proposed 35% reduction in timber harvesting would have significant and immediate economic impact on the Astoria community. And in particular, it’s students.

Other Matters

Shemia Fagan/La Mota Scandal

Much has been covered in the news recently on the La Mota Scandal involving former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. Resulting from the discoveries made about Fagan’s business dealings, a large cannabis industry business guild called the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon has petitioned lawmakers to pass legislation that would prevent similar scandals from occurring. The CIAO has also sent a letter to state lawmakers calling for an investigation into the business practices of La Mota. 

In the letter, CIAO claims, “The owners of La Mota have funded and accomplished their expansion by remaining in significant arrears with the Oregon Department of Revenue and IRS, by refusing to pay vendors for products sold in their stores, and by taking advantage of the OLCC’s unmetered issuance of licenses.”

In the aforementioned letter, the CIAO asked lawmakers to change a cannabis-related bill, HB 2515, that is now being considered by the House Rules Committee. They specifically seek to add clauses that would hinder La Mota from further expanding its operations. 

According to CIAO, HB 2515 should include “language that restricts the OLCC from renewing or issuing licenses to businesses that refuse to remain in reasonable good faith with the Oregon Department of Revenue” as well as language to “ensure vendors are paid for cannabis sold at retail stores,”.

You can read more about this developing situation here.

Kip Memmott letter to Oregonians - Rebuilding trust in audits

Kip Memmott, the Director of the Oregon Secretary of State's Audits Division, has released a letter addressing recent concerns about the conduct of Secretary Fagan. In the letter, Memmott acknowledges the mistake made by Secretary Fagan when she accepted a contract with a cannabis business, which compromised her credibility and “cast a shadow” over the work of the audits team. However, the Director asserts that Secretary Fagan did not influence the final findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the 2021 Audit Plan. For those interested in reading this letter themselves, you can find it here.

For new data centers, Amazon will receive $1 billion in tax benefits in eastern Oregon.

Amazon has received nearly $1 billion in tax breaks from the state of Oregon to build data centers in rural areas, where the company's expanding network of facilities will generate new jobs and economic opportunities. The project has already created hundreds of construction jobs, and it's expected to bring in additional revenue to local businesses. However, critics say that Amazon's tax incentives are too generous, and that the company is not doing enough to address concerns about the environmental impact of its data centers, which consume vast amounts of energy. You can learn more about the new data centers here.

Oregon, Washington lifting many COVID-19 measures Thursday(May 11th) as U.S. emergency status ends

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ended the COVID-19 public health emergency status, which means that some of the regulatory flexibilities and funding streams for healthcare providers will expire. However, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has said that the state will continue to provide support for vaccination efforts and COVID-19 testing, and that it will work with healthcare providers to ensure that they have the resources they need. 

To encourage consistency in student instruction throughout this school year, a similar vaccine mandate for teachers and school employees in private and public education settings will be lifted on June 17, which is the end of the last week of classes. You can read more on the matter here.

Preparing Oregonians for benefit changes

Throughout the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the US government extended health coverage to people with disabilities and older adults, in addition to offering extra food benefits and various regulatory flexibilities. However, these temporary programs and flexibilities will be discontinued as the federal COVID-19 PHE is phased out.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are collaborating to prepare for the conclusion of the COVID-19 PHE. Through the Oregon Eligibility (ONE) system, the two agencies provide benefits and services to a third of the population of Oregon. The joint effort of these agencies focuses on ensuring that medical services and support for people with disabilities and older adults, as well as food benefits issued through ONE, are not disrupted during the unwinding of the PHE. More information regarding the situation can be found here.

Stay Connected!

Don’t forget to follow me on my social media pages! That is one of the best ways to keep up with what I am up to. I post regular updates and commentary about local and statewide issues. Below you will find several links. Feel free to follow me on whichever platform you prefer.

Oregon Legislative Information System

Both committee hearings and floor proceedings are available to watch online. You can track bills and be notified when a hearing is scheduled. I recommend spending some time learning about it by visiting Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). Links to the instructional videos for each of the "How To" lines below are included in the attachments.

We are here for YOU!

As per usual our floor schedule is beyond our control.  But we will make time for you. Please email or call and my staff will get you on my calendar. My staff and I are here to help you! If you have a problem, question or comment, please feel free to email me at or

I do ask you to PLEASE include your phone number and your address. This allows me to call you to follow up or ask any questions I might have. Your address lets me know that you’re a constituent. I get thousands of emails every week, but I always make sure that constituents get top priority. If you’d prefer, you can also call us at 503.300.4493.

If you’d like to visit me in Salem, you’re always welcome to come by! If you drop by without an appointment, I’ll do my best to meet with you, but to ensure that I don’t have any other commitments, please call or email first for an appointment. That way I can make sure to give you my undivided attention.

Thank you so much for this opportunity to be your State Senator. It truly is the honor of my life, and I look forward to being your voice in the Senate for the next four years!​​​​​

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1716  District Phone: 503-300-4493
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-405, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Sen​
Website:  ​​