Legislative News April 2024


We asked a couple of our Oregon State Legislature representatives to offer their thoughts on the recently ended 2024 “Short Session” that began on February 5, and ended on March 7, and specifically what affects us in Cedar Mill.

Lisa Reynolds

I couldn’t be prouder of my colleagues and our staff for tackling some of the most difficult challenges in our state this session.

Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment
The CATT Center finally has the funds to move forward thanks to the 2024 legislature.

We focused on substance use treatment and prevention by addressing Measure 110. Close to home, the legislature allocated almost $9 million going to the Washington County Behavioral Health Division to support the development of the Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment project. This ambitious and comprehensive center for those struggling with addiction is already being lauded as a blueprint for other communities. And it’s in House District 34! (HB 5204)

The legislature also funded upstream interventions such as Nurse-Family Partnership (my personal bill) and Relief Nurseries. These are both programs for families with babies and toddlers, offering support and connection to resources and services. The fact that these programs are viewed as part of our addiction prevention strategy shows that the culture is changing, and folks are listening – we cannot treat ourselves out of the addiction crisis, we must focus on prevention. And the earlier, the better. 

All of these projects were part of a total package of about $211 million for addiction treatment and prevention statewide—a historic step forward!

In addition to combatting addiction, the legislature passed many other impactful bills this session. We continued our efforts on housing and homelessness, with $379 million going to prevent and solve homelessness and to build affordable housing stock. We also passed campaign finance reform (HB 4024)! Soon, campaign contributions will be limited to $3,300 for organizations and private citizens to prevent the outsized influence of wealthy individuals.  

Another important bill (SB 1576) ensured that public and private landowners are not liable for injuries sustained while recreating. This bill will make sure that Oregon’s glorious parks and trails stay open to the public – and was a personal favorite of mine!

Lastly, for all those Sunset High School families out there—the legislature unanimously passed my bill about International Baccalaureate Diploma Reciprocity. This bill says that if students complete the requirements of their IB program, they will have met the requirements for an Oregon High School diploma. Removing these scheduling barriers will increase equity and accessibility to the IB diploma program. Full disclosure: the Oregon Department of Education and local school districts can tinker with this a little bit. 

As we barrel towards 2025, I’m following Washington County’s ban on flavored tobacco closely. I plan to revive my bill banning flavored tobacco across the state in 2025, along with introducing a major bill package to support maternal and early childhood health. Stay tuned!

“In just a few short weeks, the legislature was able to pass huge accomplishments for Oregonians that will be felt in every corner of our state. Some of the biggest investments were in housing, behavioral health, and public safety. I was proud to champion the housing package which invested a historic $376 million to fund homeless shelters, support renters, build critical infrastructure, and boost housing production. These dollars will be coming to Washington County soon to address the urgent needs we are seeing in our communities.”

Her Outreach Coordinator, Mie Kumin, provided this summary. Rep. Dexter is most proud of the historic housing package that she championed and led which invested a historic $376 million into housing production, home ownership, public infrastructure, shelters, and rental assistance. HB 1530, a key piece of legislation in the housing package, makes significant investments into recovery housing including $1,555,274 to Bridges to Change for down payment and operational support for Washington County scattered housing sites, $750,000 to Free on the Outside to support the purchase of a home in Washington County serving justice involved individuals, and $1,020,000 to Transcending Hope (Familias Transcendiendo) for down payment and operational Support in Washington County. 

In addition to the housing package, the legislature passed HB 4002 and HB 5204, which include substantial investments into our behavioral health system and public safety. HB 5204 allocates $8,900,000 to Washington County Behavioral Health Division to support the development of the Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment project in Beaverton and Hillsboro. Additionally, $9.7 million was allocated to stabilize and expand treatment courts by providing permanent funding for treatment court coordinator positions that are currently funded through Oregon Criminal Justice Commission grants. This funding will stabilize specialty court coordinator positions in many counties including Washington County. HB 4002 will provide $20.7 million in grants to counties and tribal governments to fund deflection programs. The bill includes direct allocations for 23 counties that have indicated they intend to implement a deflection program, including Washington County.

While there are many more bills that were passed that will impact all Oregonians, these packages represent the largest investments and Rep. Dexter looks forward to seeing the positive results from this funding in Washington County.