[Ed. note: Do not stop at her signature! There is more to read]
Friends and neighbors,
I stepped down as House Republican Leader at the end of November. This role was an honor and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the caucus and state in this leadership position. I will continue to serve our community as your State Representative in Salem through 2022. Because of this change in leadership responsibilities, my legislative committees have also changed. I served on Rules as Vice Chair in my role as caucus leader so my service on that committee is complete. I have served on economic development and health care in prior years, and requested a return to the Health Care Committee, but instead I will be serving on the Housing Committee. My service on Ways and Means full committee and Emergency Board is unchanged.
During the 2022 session, I will once again propose legislation to prohibit tolling existing lanes on I-205 and am working again with Rep. Boshart Davis on legislation to protect healthcare workers from experiencing assault while working in hospitals. I have sponsored legislation to restore the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction as a statewide elected. This will create the autonomy and independence this role has lacked, and the leadership and accountability students deserve.
2021 was a tough year. Mandates impacted schools, youth sports and businesses. Illness, whether it was COVID related or delayed access to care, impacted families and health care settings, while so many of our friends and colleagues left the state this year in search of more opportunity, greater affordability and a culture of state governance that has integrity with reasonable limits in its scope and purpose, that doesn't crush hopes and dreams. For those of us who have chosen to stay and fight the good fight, we have seen firsthand that the State is a lousy parent, a terrible landlord and a bad boss. The good news is that we have made it through the worst of it—jobs are plentiful, schools are open and medical innovation has resulted in approved therapies to treat COVID-19. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
May your 2022 be healthy, joyful, and bright with freedom and opportunity.
My door is always open. Please do not hesitate to reach out with your concerns, questions, and ideas.
Second Special Session of 2021
On December 13th, 2021 the legislature convened for the third session of 2021.
Senate Bill 891 – Extension of eviction moratorium to Sept 30, 2022.
Tenants must provide landlord with documentation that they have applied for emergency rental assistance, a landlord may not initiate a termination for nonpayment while the rental assistance application is pending. Tenants must provide documentation to landlords before June 30, 2022 with eviction protections ending on September 30, 2022.
The difficulties renters and landlords are facing today are due to a continued pattern of failed leadership at the state level. The state agency responsible to get payments out the door to landlords has failed to promptly distribute funds. Housing providers have worked with Governor Brown and continued access to housing when businesses were shut down. But this extension of the moratorium has nothing to do with a loss of income due to government shutdowns. The economy has returned to normal and ongoing government intervention in housing markets to compensate for an ineffective agency is the wrong answer.
Senate Bill 892 – Drought Relief
Statewide drought funding was requested immediately following drought impacts this summer. Funding has been readily available and could have been distributed at any time through the emergency board. Instead, Democrat leaders held critical drought funding hostage to advance the special session agenda. The details of this legislation are:
- Directs Oregon Department of Agriculture to establish a forgivable loan program to provide financial assistance to farmers or ranchers with lost gross farm income in 2021 because of a qualifying natural disaster. Directs ODA to ensure that at least 14% of the money appropriated is available as loans to persons residing, farming, or ranching in Jefferson County. Eligibility requirements:
- Oregon based farming or ranching operations or an Indian tribe with farming or ranching operations in the state
- Has an AGI of less than $500,000 for 2021
- The person's farming or ranching operations in Oregon suffered an economic loss in 2021 due to a qualifying natural disaster
- Loan may not exceed $125,000 ($150,000 for historically underserved producers)
- May not cause the gross farm income in 2021 to exceed 90% (95% for historically underserved producers) of the recipient's 3-year baseline
- Loan is forgivable unless the combined 2021 farm income plus this loan plus any federal disaster payments received under the Continuing Appropriations Act (2022) exceeds the applicable percentage limitations for the recipient's 3-year baseline. The recipient must then pay the lesser of either the full loan or the amount of money that caused them to exceed the 3 year baseline amount
- If the loan must be repaid it must be paid in full by June 1, 2023.
Senate Bill 893 – Marijuana Enforcement
This bill provides much needed financial assistance to tackle the human trafficking and labor violations related to the Southern Oregon cannabis crisis. Criminal activity around illegal grows have created a dangerous environment and a humanitarian crisis in Southern Oregon. Local and regional agencies and organizations must be central to understanding and mitigating the illegal cannabis crisis. SB 893 authorizes local law enforcement agencies who receive funds under the Criminal Justice Commission's Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program to partner with community-based organizations to provide services such as translation, housing, and legal assistance to victims of unlawful marijuana grows.
Senate Bill 5561 – Appropriations
- $330,000,000 Housing
- $99,725,000 Drought Relief
- $24,000,000 Marijuana Enforcement
- $68,313,810 Other Funds, projects including funding for dental care, Travel Oregon for a grant program for guides, short-term food and shelter, legal assistance for Afghan refugees. Also includes $5 million to the Port of Portland for a mass timber modular housing project.
I am appreciative of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association for their representation of the hardworking employees and employers within the hospitality industry in Oregon. They have persevered through almost two years now of shutdowns, mask mandates, and many other obstacles, to keep Oregonians fed and employed. It is an honor to be recognized as their Legislative Champion for 2021.
Oregon's nursery and greenhouse industry remains our most valuable agricultural commodity. The 37,200 farms and ranches that make up our state's diverse agricultural community deserve to be celebrated. 9,162 workers are employed by Oregon nurseries and 74% of Oregon's gross nursery sales are exported to other states and countries. I am please to support our nursery industry. This month I was able to visit and tour the J. Frank Schmidt Nursery in Boring, Oregon and see first hand the hard work that makes this industry boom. I am humbled to be named the Oregon Association of Nurseries 2021 Legislator of the Year.
How Can I Help You?
If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can reach me at: