Legislative Victories Across the Board for Democratic Priorities

The 2019 Legislative session ended in high controversy when Senate Republicans fled the state in an attempt to thwart the remaining policy goals of Democrats, who hold a majority in both the House and Senate. But despite the shutdown tactics of the GOP, Oregon Democrats succeeded in passing laws that will help people across Deschutes County.

For all the talk about partisanship, did you know that 92% of all bills that passed the Oregon House this year featured bipartisan support?

Here are just some of the major pieces of legislation that passed this year.

Electoral reform

Oregon elections have been plagued with the infusion of large donations from corporations, out of state interests, and wealthy individuals - but this session the Democratic-led legislature took steps to provide more transparency and start the process of reigning in these unlimited campaign donations. That last question of campaign finance limits will go to the voters in 2020. Victories for our elections include:

Paid postage on every ballot!

Joined the National Popular Vote Compact!

Constitutional limits on campaign spending (referred to ballot)

Greater transparency in political giving

Housing

At a time when Oregonians are experiencing a housing crisis and affordable housing is hard to come by in quickly growing Central Oregon, Democrats took bold action, passing a first-in-the-nation statewide law to provide for more multi-family housing in cities like Bend and Redmond. Legislative success in the area of housing include:

Lifted ban on smaller, less expensive housing options (first in the nation!)

Expanded laws regarding preservation of publicly supported housing

More than $350 million for renter resources, homeless services, affordable housing, and more

Statewide rent stabilization

Working Families

A new Workplace Fairness Act will help workers all over Oregon by strengthening protections against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. One key measure of the new law is that workers now have more time to bring their claims of discrimination - up to five years. Victories for working families in Oregon include:

Paid family leave insurance

Passed the Workplace Fairness Act

Increased Oregon's Earned Income Tax Credit

Improved the safety of foster youth

Funding for rural broadband

Healthcare

Oregon Democrats continue to lead in the area of healthcare, and passed a Paid Family and Medical Leave program that is one of the strongest in the nation. Everyone should have the ability to take care of a newborn, a loved one, or their own health problems without constant worry about their job status or making ends meet. Great advances in the area of health care this session were:

Paid medical leave insurance

Stable funding for Medicaid

Increased transparency in prescription drug prices

Home visitations for families with newborns

Education

Even though the GOP walked out, they couldn’t stop a historic bill to move toward funding Oregon’s education system at the level our children need to succeed. The Student Success Act will not only send millions of dollars to school districts around the state, it also requires investment in early education and student supports like mental health counseling. Legislative victories for education include:

Passed the Student Success Act

Reformed campus security for better safety (Kaylee's Law)

Record funding for public universities and community colleges

Increased state need grants under the Oregon Promise

Environment

Despite logging trucks driving through Salem demanding their right to pollute our air, Democrats stood firm on pushing for laws that will protect our environment for generations to come. Governor Brown remains steadfast in her goal to move forward, now, on climate change. Even though HB2020 didn’t get through this session, the following important laws were passed to protect the natural beauty and resources in our state:

Passed the Oregon Environmental Protection Act

Moratorium on fracking & banned offshore drilling

Stricter rules for oil trains

Statewide plastic bag ban

Phasing out dirty engines in the Portland metro area

Justice & Equal Rights

This was a historic session for criminal justice reform in Oregon. A sweeping juvenile justice reform bill was passed with bipartisan support and Oregon strengthened hate crime laws. Big changes in the area of justice and equal rights include:

Reformed mandatory minimum sentences for juvenile offenders

Passed first-of-its-kind legislation to address unlawful summoning

Strengthened hate crime laws

Abolished the death penalty for most crimes

Ensured that domestic abusers and those with stalking orders don't have access to firearms

Made it easier to expunge old marijuana convictions

Equal access to roads, regardless of immigration status

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