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Oregon Legislative Session brings big wins for human dignity and democracy

Despite some Republican lawmakers’ best efforts to prevent the functioning of our democracy, many really exciting bills made it through both houses and onto the governor’s desk.

Housing

  • Stable Homes for Oregon Families (House Bill 2001 & Senate Bill 611): This new law includes eviction reforms and a $200 million package to invest in safe and affordable housing.
  • Rent cap reduction (SB 611-B) says that tenants who have occupied their home for a year can’t receive rent increases higher than 7% of their current lease, plus inflation, or 10% altogether, whichever is lower.
  • We also put millions of dollars into new rent assistance across the state (SB 5511) and $10 million for community-based housing for farmworkers (HB 3395).

Democracy

  • Ranked Choice Voting: This legislative referral means that there will be a question on the November 2024 ballot asking Oregonians to consider Ranked Choice Voting, a system in which voters rank candidates based on preference instead of casting one vote for their favorite candidate.
  • Civil Disorder (HB 2572): This new law intends to prevent the armed activity of private paramilitary organizations that violates a person’s constitutional rights, such as voting. It gives law enforcement and residents new tools to combat illegal intimidation, including through lawsuits. 
  • Oregon Kids’ Tax Credit (HB 3235) created a fully refundable $1000 tax credit per child between the ages of 0 and 5 for families earning $30,000 or less. The bill will provide much-needed relief to families impacted by the rising cost of living. 
  • Reproductive Health Care (HB 2002 B) passed, but a number of major pieces of the original bill were cut out in order to get the Republican legislators who walked out to return to the session. The bill expands legal protections and access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming treatment, especially for students. It also protects providers and any person who offers support to individuals exercising reproductive health or gender-affirming rights, protects access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming treatment for those traveling from out of state, and more. 

Climate

  • Climate package (HB 3409): Many bills were combined into this one, including Climate Resilience Hubs, which will create a grant program that will go directly to communities to build or strengthen local disaster response resources. Natural Climate Solutions was also a part of this package, which will establish a state policy regarding natural climate solutions to trap carbon in our natural and working lands. Read more about the climate package here!

Infrastructure 

  • Indigenous Language Justice (SB 5506): This new law includes $2.5 million in funding for Indigenous language interpretation, which will support the creation of language proficiency evaluations for interpreters of Indigenous languages of Mexico, Central, and South America; establish a fund to pay living wages to indigenous language interpreters; and ensure that individuals do not have to pay for their own interpretation.
  • In Defense of Humanity (SB 337): is an initial effort to reform the state’s public defense system and make sure that everyone who qualifies for public defenders has access to competent and effective legal representation.
  • Universal Health Care Governance Board (Senate Bill 1089): This new law creates a board that is in charge of figuring out how to provide access to affordable health care to all Oregonians. 

 Source: Rural Organizing Project

 

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