Rep. Marty Wilde: Legislature moving forward slowly
April 12, 2021
The foot-dragging on the floor by the other party continues in Salem, slowing our work for the people. The best and most appropriate response to this is exactly what we are doing – working long hours to pass bills that will benefit all Oregonians. We stayed late into the night 6 days last week, and that allowed the House to pass legislation to meet challenges in housing, healthcare, and education. We will continue to stay as long as it takes to get the work done.
Housing. Oregon does not have adequate housing for its population at almost every income level. The pandemic has worsened this problem. Last week, we passed a foreclosure moratorium to help people stay in their homes and to provide super-siting authority for shelters for the unhoused, funding for Eugene’s navigation center, and property tax relief for the owners of property damaged by the fires. Most of these passed by wide, bipartisan votes, although the foreclosure moratorium only received two votes from the other party. We’ll keep working on bills to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in rental assistance.
Healthcare. We passed a number of bills to ensure affordable healthcare for all. In the last week, we moved a bill forward to make sure that immigrants do not jeopardize their ability to stay in the US simply by seeking healthcare. Bills to improve contact tracing and to support adequate nurse staffing in our hospitals also passed.
Education. Joining the House in supporting education, the State Senate passed our budget measure to fund summer school and school reopening this week. The bill now goes to the Governor for her signature.
Equitable Policing. The House Judiciary Committee successfully passed police reform bills out of committee and to the floor on unanimous votes. If passed on the floor and through the Senate and Governor, these will improve policing from hiring through termination. In addition to the benefits that they will bring to all of us, the bills will help provide clearer guidance and a better working environment for officers themselves.
Other Important Bills. Two of my good government bills, HBs 2214 and 2221, passed the House almost unanimously. HB 2214 requires public justification for hiring outside lawyers at high hourly rates – a recurring problem for both the Executive and Legislative Branches. HB 2221 similarly requires a public justification to hire a state public servant at a salary of over $240,000 a year. If passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, these bills will introduce an element of transparency to how we spend your tax dollars and hopefully provide at least some restraint on excessive spending.
Linn Dems to consider GAPS school board candidate endorsements on April 17
If you've been reading local or statewide news, its apparent that Albany is quickly becoming the next target in a sweeping effort to roll back diversity, equity and inclusivity in our education system, and to silence our neighbors from underrepresented communities. Intimidation and threats have been levied against the parents and children who've had the courage to share their own lived experiences, leading to even more marginalized voices being silenced. Instead of leading, some school board candidates are perpetuating the vitriol.
The three candidates with support from conservative organizations, conservative leaders and political action committees have coordinated their campaigns in order to stoke anger and propagate misinformation regarding district power in school openings, school resource officers, and more.
Their campaigns are doing nothing but pitting parents against one another in an effort to score political points. You don't have to look too hard at their voters' pamphlet statements, their social media posts or their press releases to see that they have no real plans, only anger and empty rhetoric. But there is hope.
There are several progressive-minded candidates running for Albany School Board as well in the May 18 Special District Election, and those individuals have a positive vision for improving educational outcomes, resources for kids returning to classes, and they understand that we do better as a community when all voices are heard, valued and considered. It is for this reason the Linn County Democrats will hold a special session, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 17, on Zoom (registration required), to endorse in the Greater Albany Public Schools races. There is too much on the line, and we must do our part to help defeat those who would love to tear down the progress that has been made.
We hope you will join us in our work to make Albany, and all of Linn County, a community that truly respects and values all voices and one that we can all be proud to call home.
Linn County Democrats Chair
Oregon Democrats condemn
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