Your Oregon Democratic Majority at Work

A partial list of accomplishments of the 2015 Oregon Legislative Session

A Hand Up for Working Families

Investing in Education: The $7.4 billion K-12 budget funds full-day kindergarten for the first time in Oregon’s history, ensures that low-income kids can eat lunch, and boosts supports for English Language Learners and high-needs students.

Higher Education Investments: $700 million for universities and $550 million for community colleges—the biggest boosts in years. These funds will help make college more affordable for students and their families.

Paid Sick Leave: No one should have to decide between taking care of their health and keeping their job. This law will be a big help to low-income workers who currently have no paid sick time protections.

Retirement Security: The Oregon Retirement Savings Board will develop a statewide retirement savings plan that every worker can participate in. It’s one step toward a future where fewer people spend their retirement years in poverty.

Ban the Box: Prevents employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on their job application. This law will help those who have served their time have a better shot at getting their foot in the door for a job.

Personal Injury Insurance Reform: Protects auto insurance customers by making sure they can actually access the coverage they’re paying for.

Class Action Reform: Ends the practice of allowing corporate wrongdoers to keep unclaimed settlement funds. Under House Bill 2700, those funds will now go toward mitigating the harm caused by those corporations and providing access to the legal system for vulnerable Oregonians.

Protecting Kids and the Environment

Clean Fuels Program: Improves air quality, limits greenhouse gas emissions, and boosts our local economy.

Toxic-Free Kids Act: Requires companies to disclose dangerous chemicals and phase out certain toxics from children’s products.

Improving Access to Women’s Health

12-Month Birth Control: Requires insurers to cover a full year of birth control, reducing gaps in coverage and access.

Prescription Birth Control from Pharmacists: Allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control, reducing the need for women to visit a doctor for their contraceptive prescriptions.

Patient Privacy: Allows vulnerable medical patients—like women and children in domestic violence situations—to have their “explanation of benefits” statement sent someplace other than the policyholder’s address. No one should have to forgo needed medical treatment out of fear for their privacy or safety.

Social Justice

New Motor Voter: Expands access to our democracy by making sure that every eligible voter receives a ballot. While other state legislatures are working to limit voter participation, Oregon is moving in the opposite direction by removing unnecessary, outdated barriers to voting.

Ban on Conversion Therapy: Puts an end to the dangerous, discredited “therapy” that attempts to change a child’s sexual orientation.

Police Profiling: Requires local law enforcement agencies to adopt policies to end racial profiling by police.

Police Body Cams: Establishes guidelines for law enforcement agencies that utilize body cameras.

End the Drug War: The Measure 91 implementation bill includes a provision to make it easier for individuals with prior convictions for marijuana offenses that have been reclassified by Measure 91 to obtain a court order setting aside or reclassifying those convictions.

Bonding Investments 

The Legislature voted to use the state’s bonding capacity to fund numerous projects that will create jobs and improve safety, including:

  • $17 million to build sidewalks, improved roadways, crosswalks, street signals, bike lanes, buffer zones, a center turn lane, proper lighting, and a score of other safety improvements on Powell Blvd. from SE 122nd to SE 136th Ave.
  • $17.7 million to aid in the replacement of the Multnomah County Courthouse
  • $1.5 million for planning and engineering an entrance for Forest Park.

Statewide investments that will also impact Multnomah County and address local priorities:

  • $175 million for seismic upgrades to K-12 schools, and an additional $125 million in bonds to help school districts fix outdated, dilapidated, and hazardous facilities
  • $40 million to build new affordable housing for families statewide, plus $20 million for those dealing with mental health issues or addiction, and $2.5 million to preserve existing affordable housing
  • $45 million for ConnectOregon statewide transportation projects.

Education

  • Protected student’s online privacy.
  • Protected the privacy and security of student records.
  • Standardized and relaxed procedures for excusing students from the statewide “Smarter Balanced Assessment,” and called for an audit of the impact of test-based “reforms” on teaching and learning.
Posted in Blog Posts

Lew speakingvertical cropresizedLew Frederick learned the importance of public service as a young man in Atlanta during the height of the civil rights movement, where a mentor once told him “Use the talents and opportunities you have. You’re supposed to make this world better for those who come after you.”

That mentor was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Those words, reinforced by his parents’ example, led Lew to a career in public service. They still influence him deeply today, always urging him to make a difference, especially for young people.

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