We Have Adjourned!

View Online
Conrad Header

Replies to this message are sent to an unmonitored mailbox.
To contact me, please click here: Rep.CharlieConrad@oregonlegislature.gov

2024 Rep Caucus

Hello Friends,

We have come a long way as a state since February 5th, when the 2024 short session was just getting started, and I was listening to Speaker Rayfield deliver his opening address about opportunity.  As a legislative body, we passed several significant pieces of legislation this session – legislation which will have a positive impact on people, communities, and the economy.

Clearly the most significant bill we passed was HB 4002, which recriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs.  As legislators going into the session, we knew M110 would be “fixed” -- the “how” was the question for most of the session.  I have always supported recriminalizing small amounts of drug possession because it is one way to initiate an epiphany, a moment of clarity, where someone struggling with addiction has an opportunity to make a change in their life.  We are all motivated by different things at different times in our lives, and this is, and should be, just one of many doors for people seeking or needing to make a change.  I would have preferred less deflection and a shorter time frame in the final bill, but I am open to making it work and realize it will take time and funding for counties to stand-up the deflection programs and to gauge the outcomes.  I think we are in a better place now than we were on Feb 5th, although not everyone agrees.  The proof will be in the results – proper implementation and giving the new process a chance is key.

The companion funding bill to HB 4002 is HB 5204.  I was proud to be part of the workgroup evaluating projects and programs that ultimately were approved.  For Lane County, we secured $4,000,000 for Willamette Family Treatment to construct a medical detox and resident services facility.  I’ve had the opportunity to tour Willamette Family Treatment and am very supportive of the work they do; I know this new facility will help fill a void in our regional needs.  Funding behavioral health treatment facilities and programs needs to be an ongoing priority – the legislature can’t fix decades of neglect in one session.

Another significant bill that is a continuation from the long session in 2023 is SB 1537, the Housing bill.  This omnibus bill is intended to increase the ability for developers and local governments to build homes.  Included in the bill is the creation of a new agency, the Housing Accountability Production Office (HAPO), which has some oversight, regulatory, and grant funding authority (Sections 1 -7); infrastructure support for cities to provide water, wastewater, stormwater, and transportation (Sections 12 -23); and a revolving loan program for affordable housing, which will help build homes for people earning 120 percent or less of area median income (Sections 24 -36).

In addition to SB 1537, a companion funding bill was passed which provides funding for water infrastructure projects.  As a member of the bipartisan-bicameral “Water Caucus”, I understand the need to build and improve our water infrastructure.  I was happy to see two district projects I support receive funding to assist cities with housing developments:  $1,000,000 to Creswell for their treatment facility and $3,000,000 to Cottage Grove to install water, sewer, and stormwater for a 35-acre parcel being developed for housing.

The final bill I will mention is historic – for the first time the legislature passed campaign finance reform with HB 4024. The work and ultimate passage of this bill was not anticipated at the beginning of session and resulted from two competing citizen initiative petitions that are unlikely to be on the November ballot.  The bulk of this bill will not be effective until 2027, although several sections take effect before then.  HB 4024 impacts a number of aspects of campaign finance including contribution limits (Section 4); contribution disclosure requirements (Sections 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, and 19a); and a complaint process (Sections 18, 19, and 20).  This historic piece of legislation means that Oregon will no longer be one of the five states without campaign contribution limits.  My hope is that this improves transparency and opens our elections to more people.

These pieces of legislation provide Oregon an opportunity to move forward, to improve the lives of Oregonians.  Speaker Rayfield’s resignation at the end of the session provides an opportunity for new Speaker Fahey to hold the speaker’s gavel and lead Oregon.  Speaker Fahey has already shown she is interested in pursuing opportunities for all Oregonians through continued bipartisan legislation processes and discussion. I look forward to working with her to see what we can do together.             

Yours truly,

Conrad Signature

HD 12 Funding News

  • Creswell:  $1M for water treatment facility
  • Cottage Grove: $3M for water infrastructure to support housing development
  • Junction City: $1M for the Alderdale Well project
  • Willamette Family Treatment Center:  $4M for medical detox and residential services
  • Bear Mountain: $900K telecommunications tower

Significant Bills of 2024

Going Forward

Conrad CCO

With the conclusion of the regular session, I'm looking forward to spending more time at home and around the district. On Saturday, March 23rd, I will be joining other Lane County elected officials for an "end of session" town hall. The details of this event are still coming together, so please follow me on Facebook for updated information.

In addition, I will be meeting with residents and officials in each of the cities in HD 12 in the coming weeks. Please let me know if there are any issues you would like me to address or any questions you would like me to respond to when I come to your area.

As always, during the interim I will continue working on fixing our youth behavioral health system. This involves meeting with families, medical professionals, and providers throughout Lane County and the state to better understand the needs, best practices, and state support required to support our youth and families affected by substance use disorder.

I will also continue my work on public safety and emergency management issues. In January, I was pleased to have Speaker Rayfield join HD 12 public safety officers for a public safety summit in our district (see picture at right). Further, I will continue visiting and advocating for areas of our district that continue to suffer the tragic effects of the 2020 wildfires and support the efforts of local long-term recovery groups (LTRGs) as I did on the house floor during the recent session.

Conrad Safety Summit

Finally, my focus on amplifying the voices of my constituents will continue to be a priority for me as I serve on the following committees:

Non-Policy Committees
  • Modernizing Grant and Contract Taskforce
  • Justice Reinvestment Grant Committee
  • Juvenile Justice Policy Commission
  • Interstate Compact for Juveniles State Council
  • Pacific Northwest Economic Region Delegate
Interim Policy Committees
  • House Judiciary
  • House Behavioral Health and Health Care
  • Emergency Management/Vets/General Government
  • Public Safety Ways and Means Sub-Committee 

Please note...

The state legislature is prohibited from sending official office newsletters and other communications during selected weeks of the election cycle, so my office will not be sending any official communications between March 22nd and May 21st. However, I will continue posting updates about my activities and events on Facebook.

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1412
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-483, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.CharlieConrad@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/conrad​