House District 22 representative reflects on successes of recent session
The end of last week marked "Sine Die" at the Capitol, our way of saying that the legislative session has come to an end. I want to take a moment to reflect with all of you on a few highlights of this session.
I had the privilege this session to continue work on a project that I first learned about as a Woodburn city councilor: building a community center. I advocated to include $1 million of bond funding to get this project started so that our community can have a place to come together for events, classes and programming for youth and seniors. I am proud to announce that this funding passed and will be available for our city to take the next steps to make this vision a reality.
I was also proud to fight for good policies that will benefit my constituents here in House District 22. One small piece of legislation that I believe will have a large impact on seniors is House Bill 2661. This bill creates regulation and consumer protections around companies that offer seniors and their families referrals to long term care providers. Our seniors and their loved ones deserve to know how these referral companies make their money so that there is transparency in the process of choosing a care facility. This was part of a bipartisan package of bills we passed this session to protect seniors in assisted-living facilities and to ensure transparency and accountability in how our health care dollars are spent.
We also had major victories for our hard-working families. Senate Bill 828 creates fair work week requirements for employees of major employers in the retail, food service and hospitality industries — including requiring advance notice of schedules. This is vital for parents who need to plan out day care and doctors' visits, and for young people who are working their way through school. With the passage of House Bill 2005, Oregon now has the strongest equal pay protections in the country. This will give women and people of color the tools they need to ensure that they are being fairly compensated for their work.
As a member of both the Health Care and Human Services Budget committees this session, one of my top priorities was ensuring that low-income Oregonians did not lose their health insurance due to our state's budget deficit. We were able to preserve the health insurance of over 1 million Oregonians who rely on Medicaid, and even managed to expand access to health care for 14,000 children who were previously excluded due to their immigration status. We also greatly expanded access to reproductive health care for all Oregonians, ensuring that no one is denied this basic health coverage. In Oregon, we recognize that health care is a right, especially for our children.
Finally, I'm proud to say that House Bill 3464, which I co-sponsored with Rep. Diego Hernandez, Governor Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and others, passed through both the House and Senate and is on its way to being signed by the governor. This bill will give school districts and state agencies the clarification they need in dealing with federal authorities, particularly on immigration enforcement. This bill will help protect Oregonians' privacy in the face of overreach by the federal government.
It was an honor serving this district through my first legislative session. Your calls, emails and letters throughout the session were invaluable to my decision-making process, and I look forward to continuing to hear from all of you about your priorities.