Oregon Capitol Rotunda (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Salem, you may have some new faces representing you in the state legislature this year.
With several retirements and resignations over the past year, and the expulsion of Rep. Mike Nearman, Marion and Polk counties have three newly appointed state representatives, including Salem City Councilor Chris Hoy.
The 2022 short session kicks off Feb. 1. Legislators don’t have to pass a budget, but are considering bills that could boost Salem’s revenue from state-owned land, require your school to post its curriculum online or let you look up certifications for home healthcare workers.
We asked members of the Salem area’s legislative delegation what their priorities are for the upcoming session. We’ve also noted any plans they’ve announced for elective office beyond 2022, such as retiring or running for a different position.
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton speaks during a joint committee work session (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Sen. Frank Girod, R-Stayton
District 9 (Santiam Canyon)
Took office: 2009
Committee leadership: Co-Chair, Joint Committee On Ways and Means Subcommittee On Capital Construction and Co-Vice Chair, Joint Committee On Ways and Means
Session priorities: Girod’s office did not respond to questions from Salem Reporter about his legislative priorities for 2022.
Oregon Senator Deb Patterson (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem
District 10 (south Salem)
Took office: January 2021
Committee leadership: Chair, Senate Committee on Health Care
Session priorities: Patterson is a chief sponsor of SB 1556, which establishes an online certification registry for home care workers. The registry would include information about their background check and trainings completed, which are already required to be kept by the agency the worker is employed by.
“This would allow agencies to more quickly check the qualifications when hiring home care workers, would give home care workers more flexibility in changing jobs, and would give consumers the protection of being able to check to see if someone who is caring for a loved one has a valid background check, and if they have had CPR or First Aid training, for example, along with other classes,” Patterson said in an email.
She’s also a chief sponsor for SB 1557, which would establish a pilot program to help renters in Marion and Washington counties if their affordable housing complex shifts to market rate rent.
Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem
District 11 (central and east Salem)
Took office: As senator in 1999, as senate president in 2003
Committee leadership: Co-chair of Joint Committee on Legislative Counsel
Plans after 2022 session: Courtney has said he won’t seek re-election. His term expires at the end of 2022.
Session priorities: Courtney is sponsoring SB 1505, which requires companies producing jerseys, trading cards and video games of Oregon collegiate athletes to pay royalties to those athletes.
“Oregon’s college athletes haven’t been compensated fairly for the blood, sweat, and tears they sacrifice for the NCAA and the universities,” Courtney said in a statement. “We passed a bill last session that allowed our athletes to finally receive pay for the work they do on and off the field. Almost 30 other states have now passed similar bills. All members of a team deserve their fair share, not just the stars. This bill will level the playing field.”
He’s also pushing for more funds for summer school and activity programs for Oregon kids.
Sen. Brian Boquist at his Dallas farm. (Aubrey Wieber/Salem Reporter)
Sen. Brian Boquist, (I-Dallas)
District 12 (Rural Polk and Yamhill counties)
Took office: 2009
Session priorities: In response to a question about sponsored bills and legislative priorities, Boquist said in an email, “Zero expectations. Priorities are meaningless. Decisions are made in secret. Announcements anonymous. No bill may pass out of a committee without personal approval of soon-to-be Speaker Rayfield and President Courtney by rule … Public testimony is meaningless. Facade for the record. Common members exist for show only - unless they cut a deal or sell out their constituents. Even then Elkhorne 2020 leaves only one branch – the executive. Citizens on all sides should be outraged.”
(Elkhorne refers to the 2020 Oregon Supreme Court ruling siding with Gov. Kate Brown after a number of Oregon churches and individuals challenged the governor's pandemic stay-at-home order and other executive actions.)
Sen. Kim Thatcher. (Jaime Valdez/ Portland Tribune)
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer
District 13 (Keizer and Newberg)
Took office: 2015
Committee leadership: Vice-Chair, Senate Committee On Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation
Session priorities: Thatcher is a chief sponsor of SB 1575, a bill requiring Oregon school districts to list all textbooks and instructional materials used in courses online, as well as to post course syllabi or summaries.
“There has been a lot of controversy around what is being taught in Oregon’s classrooms. Transparency can help de-escalate those heated conversations,” Thatcher said in an email. “Oregon law already requires that school districts make this information available to parents, but it doesn’t say how. This often means only parents with extra time to attend parent-teacher conferences have access to this kind of involvement with their child’s education. We want to give every parent that access.”
Her other priority is SB 1584, which would allow Oregonians wrongfully convicted of crimes to be compensated for time spent in prison. Oregon is one of 13 states that does not compensate people wrongly sent to prison.
“We need safe communities. But, when the criminal justice system gets it wrong, we owe it to these people to help them get back on their feet. There is no way to replace the years a wrongful conviction took from them. They’ve missed birthdays and funerals, family milestones and career opportunities. But we must do what we can to help them,” Thatcher said.
Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, right, at SEDCOR’s Annual Meeting (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)
Rep. Raquel Moore Green, R-Salem
District 19 (east Salem and part of south Salem)
Took office: Appointed in 2019, won election in 2020.
Committee leadership: Vice Chair, House Committee On Behavioral Health.
Session priorities: Moore Green is sponsoring HB 4022, which requires school boards to ensure the curriculum of each course of study offered by school districts is made available to the public on the district’s website.
“Parents want to know that their kids are learning fundamental skills in the classroom to catch up after more than a year of remote learning. These basic skills should be a priority. If they aren’t, then parents have a right to speak up and get involved in their kids’ education. They can’t do this if they don’t know what that curriculum is,” she said.
She’s also sponsoring HB 4023, which exempts some mergers and acquisitions of health care companies from review by the Oregon Health Authority, Department of Consumer and Business Services or Department of Justice. It also requires those agencies to report to the legislature how often they're conducting reviews and the cost of doing so.
“This is a fix for HB 2362 from the 2021 session which was known as the Mergers and Acquisitions Bill. Changes are necessary so there is clear, consistent, and objectivity with regards to what transactions need to be reviewed. A fix will establish ways to ensure that costs are controlled through tightening up on the fee structure and when consultants can / should be used,” she said.
Oregon Rep. Paul Evans speaks during a Veterans Day Celebration in front of the Oregon State Capitol (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth
District 20 (west Salem, Independence and part of south Salem)
Took office: 2015
Committee leadership: Chairs the House Special Committee on wildfire recovery and is co-chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on public safety.
Session priorities: Evans is pushing for HB 4068 which he said serves as a clean up bill for a law passed in 2021 to reform the statewide Emergency Management system.
Evans said it would accelerate the transition of the state Office of Emergency Management into 24/7 availability and establish a permanent personal protective equipment stockpile, among other changes.
“It is the biggest committee priority, and of everything listed on this response (personal as well as committee) my most important highest priority asks,” he said.
Evans is also sponsoring HB 4141, intended to incentivize the production of renewable diesel fuel for heavy trucking.
“It tries to harness the policies embedded in the Oregon Clean Fuels program to incentivize increased availability and production of renewable diesel and move away from petroleum based diesel,” Evans said.
He said that would reduce emissions for vehicles using renewable diesel by 60%.
Salem City Councilor Chris Hoy. (Courtesy/ Chris Hoy)
Rep. Chris Hoy, D-Salem
District 21 (east Salem)
Took office: Appointed in 2021 to replace former Rep. Brian Clem.
Plans after 2022: Hoy is running for mayor of Salem and has said he won’t seek election to the Legislature.
Session priorities: Hoy is sponsoring HB 4036 which is intended to provide funding to the city of Salem to help offset the loss of revenue from state-owned land.
“The cost of providing public safety services (police, fire, 911) to state-owned buildings which pay no property tax, is significant. Several of the properties are high utilizers of these services (state hospital, prisons, etc). This bill would help city taxpayers not have to bear the full burden of those facilities,” he said.
He’s also sponsoring HB 4037 to make it easier to site micro shelters on state-owned land.
“As you may be aware, we are living through unprecedented and unpredictable weather events in Oregon and sheltering those who are experiencing houselessness has never been more important, or more time sensitive. Covid, ice storms, and heat domes are a few examples of extreme and deadly weather that Salem has experienced in just the last year,” he said.
Rep. Teresa Alonso León (Courtesy/Oregon House Democrats)
Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn
District 22 (Northeast Salem and Woodburn)
Took office: 2017
Committee leadership: Chair, House Committee on Education
Session priorities: Alonso Leon is sponsoring HB 4112, which would offer $1.2 million to provide professional learning opportunities for educators related to ethnic studies.
"As we become an increasingly diverse state, especially in my district where the Latino/a/x community has roots, making sure our education is inclusive—that it highlights our many cultures and stories—and that all children have the knowledge they need to think critically, will be extremely important," she said.
She’s also sponsoring HCR 203, which declares legislative intent to address risk to workers due to climate change impacts and climate hazards.
It’s “a statement/expectation that we will invest in protecting our outdoor workers who’ve been impacted by climate-hazard conditions,” she said.
Rep. Anna Scharf (Courtesy/Oregon Legislature)
Rep. Anna Scharf, R-Amity
District 23 (most of Polk County and some of Benton County)
Took office: 2021
Committee leadership: Vice chair of the House Committee on Human Services.
Session priorities: Scharf is sponsoring HB 4094, which exempts prescription drug sellers, like pharmacies, from paying a corporate activity tax. The tax was passed in 2019 to bolster state spending on education.
“Drug wholesalers and manufacturers are able to pass along the impact of the (corporate activity tax) to pharma by increasing the cost of drugs sold to the pharmacy. However, the pharmacy is unable to pass along any of the cost tax burden to the consumer. Pharmacies are being double taxed as they have to pay the taxes of the drug suppliers and again pay the CAT when they sell the drugs,” she said.
“This is not the first time this exception for pharmacies had been requested. However, with the closure of Bi-Mart pharmacies and many other small local pharmacies on the verge, coupled with the increased demands on pharmacies brought on by COVID19, now is the time to pass HB 4094.”
Jessica George, left, responds to questions from county commissioners during her appointment hearing on Friday, Dec. 10 (Joey Cappelletti/Keizertimes)
Rep. Jessica George, R-St. Paul
District 25 (Keizer, Newberg, north Marion County)
Took office: Appointed in December 2021 to replace former Rep. Bill Post.
Session priorities: George is sponsoring HB 4025, which aims to increase affordability of Sudafed.
“Her proposal would allow pharmacy interns to sell Sudafed behind the counter and allow pharmacies to ‘swipe’ the ID of the individual purchasing Sudafed. Currently, pharmacies have to manually enter the information as ‘swiping’ is technically not allowed,” said Andrew Fromm, spokesman for the House Republican Office.
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