Oregon State Representative Raquel Moore-Green
There is little that has not been historic about the last 18 months. As we are now on the other side of a worldwide pandemic and the 2021 Legislative Session, I want you to know that it continues to be an honor to serve as your representative in the Oregon House.
Over the course of this session I have heard from thousands of Oregonians on any number of issues, with varied opinions, and approaches to problem solving. At the end of the day, or as we call it here at the Capitol, sine die at 5:37 PM Saturday, June 26, 2021, we passed some extremely large, and complicated pieces of legislation ranging from capping carbon admissions to mergers and acquisitions of health care providers to revamping portions of our transportation system including the addition of road tolling. Overall it will be a little more expensive to live in Oregon, as we have expanded all three branches of government.
From the day I took my oath, two years ago July, I have prioritized the needs and desires of our community to the best of my ability. Education, health care, economic opportunity, and public safety. Coupled with these priorities is the need to ensure that the resources to recover from COVID19 and the wildfires that raged through the Santiam Canyon set the stage for a challenging and rewarding legislative session.
To that end here are a few of the over 800 pieces of legislation that passed through the house and senate:
HB 2247 A – Pandemic and Wildfire Property Tax Waiver (Passed) Alleviates burdens for property owners who show that they were severely burdened by wildfires and/or COVID-19 hardships by allowing County Commissioners to waive interest on their delinquent real property taxes.
SB 464 Property Tax Relief (Passed) Requires tax collector to prorate and cancel property taxes imposed on taxable property destroyed or damaged by wildfire during September 2020 in county covered by state of emergency declared in response to wildfire as if property were destroyed property under current law. Coordinates timing of proration of taxes for property destroyed and damaged by fire or act of God.
HB 3386 Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund Solvency (Passed) Modifies requirements regarding the calculation and payment of unemployment insurance taxes to provide employers immediate and longer-term relief, and makes adjustments to the long-term solvency and stability of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
HB 2333A Prescription Drug Reporting Foster Youth (Passed) Request DHS to report on the first day of each quarter to the Legislative Assembly with information on the number of psychotropic prescriptions and prescribers for youth in DHS custody, starting on April 1, 2022. Oregon’s Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Coordinator within the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), is responsible for periodically updating the Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan, and works on youth mental health and addiction issues. The Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains the Oregon Foster Children’s Bill of Rights, which includes access to physical and mental health care, including services and treatments available without parental consent. Currently, an assessment by a qualified mental health professional or licensed medical professional is required prior to the issuance of a prescription to a child in foster care for multiple psychotropic medications; prescriptions to children in foster care under a certain age must be reviewed annually when medications exceed a specified number; and prescriptions are prohibited unless they are for a medically accepted indication that is age-appropriate.
HB 3375 Offshore Wind Policy Alignment (Passed) Requires the policy position of the State that any federal planning or permitting process for offshore wind energy research and development in federal waters off the Oregon coast would adequately consider the prompt decommissioning of any offshore facility after permanent cessation of use of the facility. The measure would require the Oregon Department of Energy to conduct a literature review and gather feedback from stakeholders, including the United States Department of Defense, on the benefits and challenges of integrating up to three gigawatts of floating offshore wind energy into Oregon’s electric grid by 2030.
HB 5011 – COVID19 Rent and Landlord Relief (Passed) Appropriates additional resources for renters and landlords for back rent due to the COVID19 pandemic and resulting job and income losses.
Looking ahead we are moving into what is commonly called Interim Legislative Days. These are days between the long session of the odd numbered years and the short sessions of the evenly number years. I will be hosting more “Your District – Your Voice” listening sessions. Notifications of dates, times, and locations will be communicated via this newsletter as well as social media – I hope you are able to attend and participate.
Additionally, we have one Special Session scheduled for late September as it will address the only major piece of legislative business that remains to be completed – redistricting. While we are constitutionally required to have redistricting done, once every ten years, due to the backlog of federal census data it will be completed later this summer. The legislature is posed to return to the floor the week of September 20th to adopt new maps. For the latest on redistricting you may visit https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/redistricting
There is no doubt this session marginalized the voices of Oregonians. While everyone had access to participate, not everyone has the technology to do so, and in many cases the technology highway was littered with poor connections, incorrect links, and mute buttons that had a life of their own. More importantly the inability to interface in-person with constituents, lobbyist and even other members made the process two dimensional – these challenges are reflected in some of the policy and budgets that passed.