I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating because it is so very important. Redistricting is a very big deal and we need to make sure we maintain the unique voice of the coast. For those in the Tillamook portion of our district please take time to testify this Saturday April 10th at 3:00 PM. I will be finding a way myself to step out of the House floor session to make sure I get to testify during the redistricting hearing. Join me in speaking up. Click the picture below and sign up to testify.
Landlord Compensation Fund has had many technical difficulties but those tasked with administering the program have worked diligently to work around those issues and in many cases have spent hours inputting the applications one on one with landlords.
The Oregon Housing & Community Services are committed to improving the application process. The next round of applications will open in the next few weeks.
Also I want to make sure that if you or someone you know needs assistance with housing click on the county you are in for more information. Clatsop County, Tillamook County, Washington County.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with housing click on the county you are in for more information. Clatsop County, Tillamook County, Washington County.
My staff and I met with OSHA Director Michael Wood recently to discuss the proposed permanent rules. While much of the hype is around mask-wearing, I have much larger concerns, including requiring employers to invest massive amounts of time and resources in bureaucratic paperwork, document the private health decisions of employees and spend money on additional equipment. We all want to keep everyone safe, but to put such a burden on businesses who have had to struggle just to stay in business is what really concerns me.
Just a quick note on the use of the phrase “permanent rules”. Many people have read that term and understandably think that OSHA is going to require everyone to wear masks forever. There are two types of rules that agencies make: Temporary and Permanent. Temporary rules can be made quickly with limited public input. However, they can only remain in place for 180 days. After that, if an agency wants to keep rules in place, they cannot extend them. They must go through the “Permanent” rule making process, which involves much more robust public input. Director Wood has said that the proposed rules will be repealed at the end of the State of Emergency. No matter what the rules may be, I intend to hold Director Wood to his word.
This bill was requested by the Oregon Department of Education and would have provided grant funds for numerous programs that would have been greatly beneficial to District 32. I was proud to vote for it when it came to the House Education Committee and was not surprised when it passed out of that committee with substantial bipartisan support. Imagine my frustration and disappointment when it was discovered that there was a short line in the bill that would have repealed a statute that ensures that a victim of a crime, such as rape, harassment, assault, etc. can sue a school or university if their identity is recklessly revealed by the school. “Reckless” is a specific definition which essentially means it is done on purpose, not on accident. It’s not someone accidentally letting a name slip or sending an email to the wrong person. That’s totally unacceptable and it was even more unacceptable that it wasn’t brought to our attention. I’ve been in contact with the Director of the Department of Education to get answers as to how this happened and to express my anger at how this transpired. Fortunately, because all of the bills are being read in full on the House floor before a vote (as required by the Oregon Constitution), we didn’t vote on the bill as quickly as we normally would have. That gave us time to catch the provision and have it sent back to committee to have this provision stripped out.
This session has seen an introduction of over 4,000 bills. While legislators are in the Capitol most days, most staff are not. That limits our ability to properly vet bills as they come forward. We regularly see a dozen or more bills on our committee agendas. This is a major problem, and we nearly unintentionally re-victimized people who have already suffered more than anyone should ever have to suffer. Fortunately, we avoided that disaster, but that’s only because my colleagues have insisted that bills be read in full. We could avoid this whole issue if we would simply limit our work during this extraordinary session to bills that have to do with the budget, COVID-19 and wildfire recovery.
Limiting bills to that scope would give us far more time to properly review and vet bills. I intend to continue to voice that concern and hope that, at some point my pleas will stop falling on deaf ears. Click on my picture to hear my remarks from the House floor.
Education - I'm proud to be the Vice Chair of this committee and my number-one concern has been getting our kids back to school safely and taking stock of what we’ve lost over the last year. Despite the incredible work of our teachers, Comprehensive Distance Learning has not been comprehensive at all. Many students are still without reliable internet service, others have no supervision and have fallen off the educational grid altogether. We need to do all that we can to try to fill the gaps in our kids education, but first we need to know the breadth and scope of what has happened to our kids and their education. That’s why I sponsored HB 2962 with the committee chair, Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon. This bill will ensure we take a complete account of what our students missed because of schools being closed. We can’t fix what we don’t know, and I’m happy that we were able to put party aside and work to pass this bill.
Not everything is good in Education, though. I have been incredibly concerned about HB 2942. This would allow the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission to grant teaching licenses to those who have been convicted of some serious crimes, such as selling cocaine, meth, heroin and others within 1,000 feet of a school, as well as prostitution. While I always want to give someone a second chance, it can never, ever be by putting children at risk. I’m proud to be someone who crosses the aisle to get things done, working hard to find common ground. Allowing individuals who have been convicted of life-destroying crimes right at a school’s doorstep to become teachers is absolutely unacceptable and I will fight tooth and nail to prevent this misguided bill from becoming law.
Early Childhood - Just this week we passed four bills with bipartisan support to make childcare more affordable and accessible for families, provide broader and more immediate access to paid family leave and address a safety concern to protect infant lives.
Accessible childcare and paid family leave are so important for providing stability in family life. Whatever we can do as legislators to make life easier for Oregonians should be our top priorities.
You can read the actual bill and testimony by clicking on the bill number below.
HB 3109:Reduces restrictions to allow for additional childcare locations.
HB 2484: Allows more dwellings to be used as family childcare homes.
HB 2474: Includes closure of childcare providers or schools due to a public health emergency as a qualifying purpose to take paid family leave. Reduces the amount of time before an employee can take family leave from 180 days to 30 days.
HB 3379: Bans the sale of crib bumper pads in Oregon that have caused infant deaths.
Housing - The House Housing Committee has taken up a great deal of technical bills that I hope will be "arrows in the quiver" to address the housing crisis we have not only in District 32, but in the entire state.
For example, HB 2007 was supported by Habitat for Humanity. It would provide technical assistance for organizations that work with low-income households to increase homeownership among underserved communities. While we also need to ensure that we work on increasing rental housing, homeownership is the best guarantee of wealth-building in Oregon and in the entire country. Because of that, I've been pleased to support bills like HB 2007 that encourage homeownership for those who may not have been able to achieve the American Dream otherwise.
I need to continue to hear from the people throughout our district while the legislative process continues so that I can stay in tune with what is happening locally.
Contact my office directly at Rep.SuzanneWeber@oregonlegislature.gov or by calling 503-300-4493.
Adam Schwend, my Chief of Staff, is located in Tillamook and advises me on policy and bills. While most of his time is spent working remotely, he is at the Capitol once per week.
You may email Adam directly at email@example.com.
Katy Pritchard, my Constituent Services Director, is located in Astoria and is one more way that I am able to stay connected to our district while serving in Salem.
Contact Katy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-986-1432.
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1432
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-483, Salem, OR 97301