April 14th, 2021
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.
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