The 2023 Legislative Session

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Hello Friends,

After three years of responding to crises like the wildfires and the pandemic, the 2023 legislative session was an important opportunity for lawmakers to come together, re-group, and act on critical issues facing our state. This session was not without its challenges, including a 6-week Republican walkout, but I’m very proud of how we were able to get things back on track and pass legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of Oregonians. Our work this session included:

  • Historic investments to address our housing affordability and homelessness crisis by building more homes, keeping more people housed, and getting people off the streets and on the path out of homelessness
  • Increased access to behavioral health care and addiction treatment
  • Significant investments in K-12 schools, including a focus on early literacy
  • Legislation to combat the climate crisis, with a focus on drawing down federal funding for green infrastructure
  • Support for homegrown businesses and key industries to help Oregon create good-paying jobs
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2023 House Democrat Caucus

This work represents bold and transformative action ​to improve the lives of all Oregonians and will help make our state a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Throughout the session, I’ve appreciated all of my constituents who reached out to share their thoughts about legislation under consideration, testified in front of the legislature, voiced their concerns about important issues in our community, or simply shared their encouragement and support! The participation of Oregonians in our legislature makes our democracy run, and I’m grateful to each and every one of you who made your voice heard.

Read on to learn more, or listen to my post-session interview with Ken Boddie at KOIN here.

Session Accomplishments

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

Oregon needs to build over 100,000 homes just to meet the needs of its current population – our lack of housing is driving the homelessness crisis and making housing unaffordable for too many working families. This session, I championed key policies and investments that will help us build more homes and increase access to homeownership. I also supported Governor Kotek’s approach to responding to our homelessness crisis – requiring local governments and providers to collaborate in new ways and ensuring that funding from the state is tied to commitments to produce specific results.

  • Affordable Housing & Emergency Homelessness Response Package (HB 2001, HB 5019): This housing & homelessness response package was the first piece of major legislation we passed this session. The policies and funding in this package will help get people off the streets, connected to services, and on the path out of homelessness. The package also addresses the root causes of homelessness by funding eviction prevention work and youth homelessness programs. Finally, important policies in the package will help ramp up housing production across the state. 
  • Housing Supply and Stability Investment (SB 5511, SB 5505, HB 3395): At the end of the legislative session, we passed nearly $2 billion in investments in housing and homelessness response and a key omnibus housing bill, HB 3395, that will help cut red tape for housing siting and construction.
  • Converting Commercial Buildings to Residential Use: HB 2984 makes it easier to convert commercial buildings into residential housing. 
  • Protecting Tenants: SB 611 updates Oregon’s tenant stabilization law to help keep Oregonians housed.
  • Rebuilding homes destroyed in disasters: HB 3215 establishes the Disaster Housing Recovery Fund to provide assistance when rebuilding housing destroyed by a disaster. 
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Addiction Treatment & Behavioral Health

Too many Oregonians are struggling with addiction and mental health crises – when someone wants to seek help, they deserve access to affordable care.

  • Behavioral Health Care Delivery Investment (HB 2757, SB 5525, HB 5026, SB 5506): Over $150 million to add capacity for residential treatment facilities and to stabilize and support the behavioral health workforce.
  • Funding the 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention crisis line: HB 2757 provides stable funding for the 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention & Behavioral Health Crisis Line, a critical resource for Oregonians experiencing mental health crises.
  • Preventing Overdose Deaths: The Bipartisan Opioid Harm Reduction Package (HB 2395) will address the state’s fentanyl crisis and save lives by increasing access to naloxone.
  • Improving the Implementation of Measure 110: The Hope & Recovery Bill (HB 2513) makes important improvements to the implementation of Measure 110 so Oregonians struggling with addiction can get on a path to recovery.

Community Safety

This session, the legislature committed to improving public safety across the state. Critical components of this work included ensuring the Oregon State Police and other public safety agencies have the resources they need, as well as major reforms to and investments in the state’s public defense system. We also focused on reducing gun violence and funding community-based violence prevention efforts.

  • Public Safety & Accountability Investment: A $4 billion investment to fund public safety agencies, including an unprecedented $1.3 billion to fully fund the Oregon Department of Emergency Management. Funding for the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training will create additional training slots so more law enforcement officers can move through the academy and become qualified to serve Oregonians.
  • Increasing penalties for possession of fentanyl: HB 2645 holds bad actors accountable through penalties for possession of fentanyl.
  • Addressing the Public Defense Crisis: SB 337 ensures an accountable, transparent, and efficient public defense system so that Oregonians are afforded their right to representation. 
  • Banning ghost guns: HB 2005 banned untraceable and undetectable firearms (like 3D printed guns) that are often used by gun traffickers or people legally prohibited from buying firearms.
  • Investing in gun violence prevention programs: Nearly $4 million in funding was allocated to community organizations that serve victims of violence and work to reduce future crime, arrests, and emergency room visits.
  • Expanding Oregon’s DUII Law: HB 2316 keeps Oregon’s roads safe by expanding our Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants laws to include any intoxicating substance.

Climate & Environment

Climate-fueled extreme heat, drought, and wildfires are threatening our way of life. It’s crucial that we take bold action at the state level, which is why I supported the Climate Resilience Package that will increase our energy efficiency and build a more resilient energy system.

  • Climate Resilience Package Investment (HB 3409, HB 3630): Invests $90 million in sustainable solutions that will leverage federal funding to create jobs, protect Oregonians from extreme weather, and drive down household energy costs for working families.
  • Drought & Water Investment (HB 2010): Invests $100 million in new and existing resources to ensure families, farms, and wildlife across Oregon have clean, safe water – now and into the future.

Stronger Schools

One of the most important duties the legislature has is to ensure that our K-12 schools have stable and sufficient funding – this session we delivered on that responsibility by funding the State School Fund at $10.2 billion. We also focused on building up our educator workforce and on early literacy, ensuring our schools have what they need to teach students to read in evidence-based ways.

  • Record K-12 Education Investment (HB 5015): Invests an historic $10.2 billion in the State School Fund (a 10% increase over the 2021-23 biennium funding of $9.3 billion), which will ensure Oregon’s K-12 students and educators have the support they need.
  • Early Literacy Success Initiative: I’m proud to have been one of the sponsors of HB 3198, which invests $144 million to support evidence-based literacy strategies to improve how we are teaching kids to read and write.
  • Educator Workforce: SB 283 addresses the shortage of educators in Oregon’s K-12 schools by funding educator training and retention initiatives. SB 279’s passage means Oregon will join the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact.
  • Higher Education Opportunity Package: HB 5025 invests $3.7 billion to increase access to college, affordability, and completion for Oregonians who choose to purse postsecondary education. The Includes $1 billion for the Public University Support Fund, $800 million for the Community College Support Fund, and $24 million to the Tribal Student Grant program. I was especially glad that that $308 million was allocated to the Oregon Opportunity Grant program – the Oregon Opportunity Grant is Oregon's largest state-funded, need-based grant program for low-income college students.

Supporting Working Families

Working families are the backbone of our economy. I was proud to sponsor Oregon’s first-ever child tax credit and to support policies that will help make child care more accessible.

  • Oregon Kids’ Credit: HB 3235 helps struggling parents make ends meet and lifts families out of poverty with a child tax credit that will provide $1,000 per year per child.
  • Child care investment: The legislature invested nearly $100 million to expand Oregon’s childcare infrastructure, creating a grant program to provide financial assistance to help build and open new child care programs (HB 3005). 

Economic Development

Democrats saw a clear opportunity this session to help create good-paying jobs by ensuring Oregon will be able to attract federal funding available for the semiconductor industry. We also made specific investments in rural economic development and focused on expanding access to broadband.

  • Oregon CHIPS Act: SB 4 invests $260 million to secure Oregon as a global leader in the semiconductor industry, create good paying jobs, and boost our economy for generations to come.
  • Rural Infrastructure and Economic Development Package: HB 3410 revitalizes rural communities by investing $32 million in building critical infrastructure, bolstering key rural industries and sectors, and addressing workforce housing shortages.
  • Expanding Access to Broadband: HB 3201 will help Oregon access federal funding to improve our broadband infrastructure, and to spend those dollars efficiently and effectively.

Consumer Protection

This session, the legislature focused on strengthening our privacy, insurance, and other consumer protection laws so that bad actors are held accountable and Oregonians’ online data and information can be protected.

  • Oregon Consumer Privacy Act: SB 619 gives Oregonians important rights over their online data and empowers Oregonians to protect their privacy online, especially children under 15.
  • Scam Robocalls: HB 2759 strengthens Oregon anti-robocall law to hold telemarketing companies liable for illegal scam robocalls. 
  • Insurance Claims Post-Disaster: HB 2982 makes it easier for Oregonians to recover the value of property destroyed in a disaster. 

Access to Health Care

Despite Oregon’s trailblazing work to transform our health care system and ensure that all Oregonians have access to quality care, too many of our neighbors are unable to seek medical care when they need it due to high costs. Meanwhile, the healthcare workforce across the entire spectrum of care — from clinics to nursing homes to hospitals — is still dealing with the lingering effects of the pandemic, burnout, and inadequate staffing.

  • Safe nursing staffing levels: HB 2697 ensures nurse staffing levels are appropriate so nurses can have safe working conditions and can provide quality care for all Oregonians
  • Health care workforce development: allocates $27 million to increase training opportunities for nurses and health care workers.
  • Prescription drug prices: HB 2725 and SB 192 will help us better regulate pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen of the pharmaceutical industry that drive up the cost of prescription drugs

Reproductive Health

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Democrats committed to protecting and expanding access to abortion in our state. We delivered on that promise by passing the Reproductive Health & Access to Care Act.

  • Reproductive Health & Access to Care Act: HB 2002 ensures people in Oregon will maintain the rights we had under Roe v. Wade, protects Oregon medical providers and clinics that provide abortion care, and closes insurance gaps, including for gender-affirming care.

Strengthening Democracy

As Chair of the House Rules Committee, I helped shepherd a policy agenda through the legislature this session that was focused on ensuring free and fair elections, expanding access to the ballot, and instituting key ethics and accountability reforms in government.

  • Expansion of Automatic Voter Registration System: HB 2107 expands automatic voter registration to include people who are on the Oregon Health Plan.  
  • Ranked Choice VotingHB 2004 asks voters to approve the use of ranked choice voting for some elections in Oregon. RCV helps ensure that the winners of elections with more than two candidates better reflect the preferences of voters.
  • Impeachment of Elected Officials: HJR 16 asks voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would establish an impeachment process for executive branch elected officials, creating a new tool to hold politicians accountable.
  • Transparency of Elected Official Outside Income: HB 2038 closes a longstanding loophole that allowed some politicians to shield the sources of their income from public disclosure.
  • Independent Salary Commission: SJR 34 asks voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would create an independent Salary Commission to set salaries for elected officials and judges, making it so that politicians don’t have the ability to increase their own salaries.

Constituent Events

Now that the 2023 legislative session has concluded and I’m back home in Eugene, I’m looking forward to getting some down time with my family and loved ones. I’m also glad I’ll be spending more time in district with constituents – I plan to host several events this summer and fall, and I’d love to see you there!

The first event will be a joint townhall with other Eugene/Springfield legislators on Saturday, August 12th at 4pm at Harris Hall (125 E 8th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401).

Whether in session or out, my office and I are always here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance navigating local or state government services or to share your thoughts and ideas on the issues facing our community and state. 

Yours truly,

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Capitol Phone: 503-986-1414
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-295, Salem, Oregon 97301