Taking Action on K-12 Education

Tina Kotek Banner

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Lots going on at the Capitol this week!  Here's a quick recap of some of the recent action on key issues.

Expanding Opportunity by Prioritizing Education

This week, the Oregon House passed a K-12 budget that will fund full-day kindergarten for children throughout Oregon for the first time in our state's history.

All Oregon children will finally have access to a stronger foundation for future academic and social success.  Plus. free full-day kindergarten will be a major help for working families who are juggling responsibilities at home and at work. 

We prioritized the K-12 budget as our first major budget to pass because we want to make sure we can provide stability for our schools.  By passing this budget earlier than any K-12 budget in the last 25 years, local school districts will have the certainty they need to plan for the next school year.

At the same time, I’ve heard from parents and teachers across Oregon – including many of you – and I know that we have more work to do to give our schools the resources they need to ensure that every child can succeed.  While passing this budget is an important step, it’s far from the final word on education this session.  I’ll keep working to create opportunities for every child to succeed.

For those of you interested in more detail on the K-12 budget and how it fits into the larger budget framework, check out this video featuring the House’s chief budget writer, Rep. Peter Buckley from Ashland:

k12 video


Ensure Fairness by Improving Access to Affordable Housing

I believe that every Oregonian should be able to afford a safe, decent place to live. Unfortunately, access to safe and affordable housing is out of reach for far too many Oregonians.  Improving access to affordable housing is a priority for me.

In 2013, I introduced a bill to make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against Oregonians based on their source of income to pay the rent.  Before then, too many low-income Oregonians were routinely turned away as prospective tenants because they received federal rent assistance through the Section 8 voucher program.  Thanks to a great deal of hard work and collaboration with advocates and landlords, the bill passed and now thousands of low-income Oregonians have a fair opportunity to choose the neighborhood in which to live and raise their family.  The Oregon Law Center recently put together a great video to explain this Section 8 reform – you can watch it here:

section 8


Our work to improve access to affordable housing is not over, though.  I’m working closely with Representative Jennifer Williamson this session on House Bill 2564 to allow local governments to use inclusionary zoning to improve the availability of affordable housing in their communities.  I’m also exploring proposals to increase construction and preservation of affordable housing.  I’ll keep you updated as our efforts progress this session.

Protecting LGBT Youth

The House recently took an important step to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.  On March 17, we passed the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (House Bill 2307) to protect Oregon’s young people from the dangerous, discredited practice known as “conversion therapy,” which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress their gender identity or expression.

Many brave Oregonians who have been subjected to this harmful practice, along with many mental health professionals, came before the House Committee on Health Care to share their experiences and ask us to take action.  They made it clear that conversion therapy poses devastating risks for gay and transgender young people, including depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse and even suicidal behavior.  The practice has been roundly discredited by the nation’s leading mental health organizations.

I’m proud that the House supported this important effort to ensure that licensed professional health care providers do not engage in this harmful practice.  The bill is now in the Senate for their consideration, and I will work with my colleagues there to make sure Oregon's youth are protected with final passage of the bill.

News from the Community

Looking for work?  The 2015 Portland Community College Cascade Job Fair will be on Tuesday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cascade Campus Gym (705 N. Killingsworth St.).  More than 70 employers from a variety of sectors will be represented, including Legacy Health System, New Seasons Market, Hoffman Construction, Portland General Electric, US Bank, Aflac, and a variety of local government agencies, among others.  For a full list of participating employers and additional information, visit www.pcc.edu/cascadejobfair.

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you.



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: Rep. Rep.TinaKotek@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kotek