Legislative update

Virtual Town Hall with Senator Steiner Hayward, Representative Dexter, and Representative Helm

Rep. Dexter, Rep. Helm, Sen. Steiner Hayward

Monday, July 19, 5:30-6:30 pm, registration required. Register here.

Join local state legislators to ask questions about the 2021 session and discuss what’s next on the political calendar. 

Session wrap from Representative Dexter

With the legislative session behind us, I want to highlight some of the significant bills passed this session. Please note that by no means is this a comprehensive list of all the bills passed, rather some of the bills that stood out as especially mention-worthy.

HB 3073 Addressing the Child Care Crisis – Representative Power: Childcare is essential infrastructure for an equitable economic recovery. HB 3073 will respond to the state’s child care crisis and provide immediate and long-term relief to the state’s most vulnerable families in need of child care by establishing the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) as an independent agency, incorporating and making reforms to the state’s child care subsidy program—Employment Related Day Care (ERDC)—to create more financial stability for providers and parents, including low-income and single parent families, BIPOC mothers and caregivers. This bill was passed with broad bipartisan support. 

HB 3352 Cover All People – Representative Campos: Health care is a human right. Making sure all Oregonians are covered, regardless of immigration status, will drive down costs and give people the preventative care they need. Cover All People will make health care coverage available to people who are today only eligible for expensive, federally mandated emergency care: low-income Oregonians who are DACA recipients, legal permanent residents, young adults who age out of Cover All Kids, undocumented pregnant women, and other adults. I am proud to have been a co-chief sponsor on the bill. 

Mental and Behavioral Health Package: The House passed a slew of bills that will address our state’s growing mental health crisis. The past year—between the economic recession, housing crisis, and pandemic—has been traumatic and people urgently need support. This investment will diversify our mental health workforce pipeline and focus on retaining talent; provide accessible, affordable, culturally-specific and adequate care for all Oregonians and especially low-income and BIPOC communities; and give Oregonians the care they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. 

HB 2544 Support for Unaccompanied & Unhoused Youth – Representatives Smith Warner & Drazan: Our youth need to feel safe and secure. HB 2544 will add $3.6 million to support services to unaccompanied and unhoused youth. This bill passed unanimously and creates two programs through the Department of Human Services (DHS) that will help fund community organizations providing unaccompanied and unhoused youth with resources and access to shelter, culturally-responsive services, mental health and substance use support, tutoring, and nutrition services that will help youth earn a diploma.

HB 2021 100% Clean Energy Bill – Representatives Marsh & Pham: This bill will help to create living wage jobs and target investments in community-based renewable energy projects as we transition to 100% clean energy by 2040. The focus is local. HB 2021 will fund and support small-scale, community-based energy projects through a Community Renewable Investment Fund of $50 million that increases disaster resilience and prioritizes rural, coastal, low-income, and BIPOC communities.

SB 762 Wildfire Recovery: invests $188 million in wildfire response and recovery efforts, coordinates a comprehensive statewide response to plan for and mitigate wildfires with a focus on community preparedness and public health, and updates building codes and safety standards for fire-hardened infrastructure. The bill also forms a local Wildfire Programs Advisory Council to monitor and provide input on investments and planning. Since 2017 the state has spent over $1.4 billion in fighting fires. 

SB 554 Safe Storage – Representatives Grayber, Reynolds, Prusak, & Sollman: Requires gun owners to secure firearms with trigger or cable lock, in a locked container or in a gun room except in specified circumstances to reduce gun deaths.

HB 5006 is the bill that approved the community investments Representatives and Senators made with the federal funds we were allocated—$4 Million per Senator and $2M per Representative—through the American Rescue Plan Act. I specifically contributed to five projects:  The property acquisition fund for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) to purchase a building for a community center in Washington County; To create a new Beaverton Homeless Shelter with a health clinic to provide care for houseless neighbors; the Beaverton Support Fund for Innovative Startups and Emerging Nonprofits; Central City Concern for a Clinical Respite Center in Portland; Washington County for additional public restrooms in THPRD parks. 

The Washington County legislators coordinated our contributions and together funded over 21 projects in our districts. The Multnomah County legislators worked with city and county leaders to make sure we worked together to make the biggest impact possible with the funds we were allocated. 

In-person Constituent Events

After receiving great feedback from our poll about doing in-person events, I’m excited to host two types of in-person events this summer (see below). I will still be available over Zoom if you prefer, my office can help set up a time for that as well. 

Forest Park Walks

Starting July 6th, I invite you all to join me on my morning walk every other Tuesday at 8 am (my work schedule permitting) meeting at the beginning of Leif Erikson trail (4099 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210). We will walk and talk as we proceed up the main trail. Wear comfortable walking shoes. This is an out and back walk so that people can change the distance they wish to go as their fitness and calendar allows.

Morning Coffee

Sunday, July 18, 9-10:30 am, The Fields Park in the Pearl, 1099 NW Overton St, for a morning constituent get together. Feel free to bring a cup of joe or grab one nearby.

Stay in touch!

The best way to stay informed and connect with my legislative work is through my Facebook page (State Representative Maxine Dexter), my Twitter account (@RepDexterOR), and my Instagram (@RepDexterOR). In addition, please feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov.