Oregon voters overwhelmingly pass health care taxes

Oregon’s Medicaid program survived intact Tuesday, after voters approved hundreds of millions of dollars in health care taxes in a special election. Measure 101, which led 64 percent to 36 percent with returns partially tallied, was the only issue on the ballot. It will raise $210 million to $320 million in taxes on Oregon’s largest hospitals and many health insurance policies by 2019.

Source: Oregon voters overwhelmingly pass health care taxes | OregonLive.com

Local Presentation on Climate/Jobs Legislation – Jan. 30

 

The Democratic Party of Lincoln County would like to extend an invitation to attend a presentation on climate / jobs legislation that will affect the state of Oregon. Representative David Gomberg will moderate the presentation.

Our local group of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is sponsoring a presentation about the Clean Energy Jobs bill at 6:00 pm, Tuesday January 30th, at the Newport Recreation Center [225 SE Avery St, Newport, OR 97365].  This ambitious legislation to be considered by the upcoming State Legislation session places a cap and trade on greenhouse gas emissions by large emitters in Oregon.

We have four speakers for the event:
Representative Ken Helm, Chair, Clean Energy Jobs Work Group on Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Rural Communities, and Tribes
Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall
Renew Oregon coalition director Shilpa Joshi
Portland State University Professor of Environmental Biochemistry John Perona

For further information about this event please contact Martin Desmond at 541-968-5143 or cclnewport@gmail.com Please feel free to circulate this news release.  Thank you.

Copyright © 2018 Lincoln County Democratic Central Committee, All rights reserved.
From the LCDCC Contact fileOur mailing address is:

Lincoln County Democratic Central Committee

PO BOX 882

Gleneden BeachOregon 97388

 

Oregon’s Death with Dignity: Barriers remain 20 years later

The law was the first of its kind in the nation when it went into effect 20 years ago. There is no longer any active opposition but most people don’t know how the law works. It’s still difficult for patients to find physicians and the preferred prescription costs up to $3,800.

Source: Oregon’s Death with Dignity: Barriers remain 20 years later | OregonLive.com

Support HB 2004, the Just Cause Eviction and Rent Stabilization Bill

This is a letter sent from all Oregon NOW Chapters to the Oregon Senate in support of HB2004, the Just Cause Eviction and Rent Stabilization Bill.  There will be a hearing on Wednesday, May 4 at 1 pm.  Please contact Sen. Roblan and let him know that you support this bill.

May 3, 2017

Dear Chair Gelser and Members of the Senate Committee on Human Services,

On behalf of the Oregon chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW), we respectfully request your support for HB 2004A to end no-cause evictions and repeal the ban on rent stabilization. As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life. We are part of the Fair Shot Coalition, and we urge Oregon legislators to act upon this opportunity to implement a just-cause eviction policy and lift the statewide prohibition on rent stabilization.

Many landlords are fair and do right by their tenants, but those bad actors who are using no-cause evictions to raise rents or even to discriminate against certain tenants are harming families and damaging communities. The risk of eviction for no reason and extreme rent increases make many renters afraid to request the most basic repairs, and result in extreme financial hardship on working families, the depletion of savings, deepening poverty, and even homelessness, which women are experiencing at increasing rates. According to federal estimates, the percentage of women at shelters has risen by ten percent (from 35 to 45 percent of people at shelters) since the recession. Further, these practices disproportionately impact communities of color and exacerbate inequities. Four in ten Oregonians rent their home; this translates to roughly 1.5 million people in our state being potentially vulnerable to unpredictable housing changes.

We support HB 2004A because it protects housing stability by creating a just cause eviction standard, requiring a legitimate reason for termination, such as a lease violation or a landlord’s business or family necessity; and by repealing the state prohibition on local jurisdictions’ ability to consider rent stabilization policies, such as ordinances that would slow the rate and speed of rent increases for tenants while still allowing landlords a reasonable rate of return.

We hope that you will join us in supporting HB 2004A, which will help keep more families in their homes and create more economically stable and diverse communities.

Sincerely,

Lisa Frack for the Oregon state chapter of the National Organization for Women (Oregon NOW)

Sheila Swinford for Central Oregon Coast NOW

Bud Feuless for Greater Portland NOW TeriAnn Mason for High Desert NOW

Renee Reichert for Mid-Willamette NOW

Laurie Notaro for South Willamette Valley NOW

P.O. Box 15146 | Portland, OR 97293 | info@NOWOregon.org | www.noworegon.org

League of Women Voters – Oregon ACTION ALERT!

ACTION NEEDED: Ask the State Land Board not to sell off the Elliott State Forest!
This Tuesday, the Department of State Lands will decide whether to proceed with the sale of our first State Forest, the Elliott State Forest. Tell them no!
The State Land Board agenda for February 14th pushes for privatization: “The Department will initiate negotiations in good faith with the plan proposers towards a binding Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA), and an eventual transfer of ownership of the Elliott Property to the Elliott Forest LLC, unless and to the extent the Board directs the Department otherwise.”
The proposed sale would:
  • Sell off our public lands
  • Severely reduce protections for spotted owls, marbled murrelets and Coho Salmon
  • Open thousands of acres of rare older forests to industrial-style clearcutting and pesticide spraying
Only members of the State Land Board can stop this sale. The League of Women Voters of Oregon is working with our Conservation allies on long-term solutions that would provide needed money to schools and education, protect critical forest values, create jobs in the timber industry and other fields, and maintain public access.  Governor Brown has provided this opportunity to reconsider the sale.
 
Please get involved NOW!:
  • Call Governor Kate Brown (503) 378-4582
    Treasurer Tobias Read (503) 378-4329 and

    Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (503) 986-1523 and ask them to keep the Elliott State Forest public and protected.

  • Attend the State Land Board meeting next Tuesday, February 14th-10 a.m. Speak up & wear green. Details here.
  • Send a personalized note to Governor Brown, Secretary of State Richardson and Treasurer Read sharing how important this spectacular forest is to you and future generations.  Once sold, its public value is no longer in our control.

Greater Newport Area Vision 2040 – Kickoff Celebration FEB 17 & 18

CELEBRATE THE FUTURE WITH US!

Over the coming months, the City of Newport will develop a long range, community wide vision. Take this opportunity to help shape the community’s future.

 Come one, come all! Join us in kicking off the Greater Newport Area Vision 2040 project and celebrate the future of our city. Pick a time that works best for you.

newport-area-vision

Big topics on the 2017 ‘to do’ list – Tina Kotek’s Newsletter

Source: Big topics on the 2017 ‘to do’ list

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 79th Legislative Assembly convened this week for the 2017 session.  My focus continues to be making sure all Oregonians have the opportunities and resources they need to succeed – and this session won’t be any different.  Now, more than ever, Oregonians should lean on our shared values – equal opportunity for all, respectful communities, and a healthy world – to guide us in meeting the challenges in the months ahead.

Last month, when legislators took the oath of office, I was also elected by my colleagues to serve a third term as the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.  I’m deeply humbled by this responsibility and eager to get to work on the enormous “to do” list ahead of us this session.

During the Joint Session of the Legislature on opening day, I spoke about how Oregon is both a leader – and a work in progress – when it comes to ensuring equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity in our neighborhoods, our schools, and our places of work. You can click here to read the speech, or click on the image above to watch.

I also want to say THANK YOU to everyone who attended the pre-session town hall last Saturday at Portland Community College.  With a standing-room-only crowd of over 300 people, we had a great conversation about a lot of issues – school funding, housing, transportation, health care, air quality, foster care, and much more.  Please stay engaged!

In this newsletter, I’m going to talk about two big topics on the legislative “to do” list – budget/revenue and housing.  Next time, I’ll have an update on transportation, including the results from December’s survey.

The Big Picture – Oregon’s Budget and Revenue Reality

The state budget is a reflection of our values and priorities, in good times and in bad. It is the result of choices that have been made by voters and lawmakers over many years.

Currently, Oregon is projected to have $1.8 billion less than it needs for the next two-year budget to fund core existing programs in education, health care and public safety, as well as three recently passed ballot measures for career and technical education, outdoor school, and veteran services. Without any additional revenue, this budget gap will mean painful cuts to schools and critical programs. People in every corner of the state will feel the impact of these cuts.

These potential cuts include:  larger class sizes; a shorter school year; teacher layoffs; fewer educational supports; higher college tuition and reduced financial assistance for struggling students; less help for seniors, people with disabilities, and struggling families; cuts to mental health care, substance abuse treatment programs, and health insurance coverage for low-income families; and fewer resources for our public safety system to be smart on crime.

Click here to read the Co-Chairs Existing Resources Budget Framework released in January.

Our current budget gap is due in large part to revenue decisions that were made 25 years ago that slashed funding to K-12 schools. Since the 1990’s, we have been trying to fund schools and critical programs with nowhere near the revenue needed to sustain them.

Even in the face of difficult budget decisions, I remain committed to fighting for the needs of students, low-income seniors, working families, and other vulnerable Oregonians. We know there is no magic solution to creating a budget that protects Oregonians’ priorities. It will require us to improve efficiency in programs where we can, streamline the way we deliver critical services, make difficult decisions about what can’t get funded, and find sustainable ways to support core services.

Efficiencies and wise spending decisions alone won’t solve the problem. Can we have the state we want while still having the lowest corporate taxes in the country? Without broader reform to our revenue system, future budgets will only continue to get worse. Band-Aid fixes to our budgets are only shortchanging our children and our state. I hope all of us can get behind really solving this problem.

Because of the size of the challenge facing us, the budget committee will be holding pubic meetings around the state in the coming month. Legislators need to hear from you about what’s at stake and how we should address this crisis.

The schedule is below – I hope you will make your voice heard!

Friday, February 10 – Salem
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Hearing Room F
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, Salem

Saturday, February 11 – Portland
Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Main Mall, Amo DeBernardis CC Building
PCC Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland

Friday, February 17 – Hermiston
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Main Commons
Hermiston High School
600 S 1st Street, Hermiston

Saturday, February 18 – Madras
1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Performing Arts Center
Madras High School
390 SE 10th Street, Madras

Friday, February 24 – Ashland
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland

Saturday, February 25 – Eugene
1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Avenue, Eugene

Friday, March 3 – Tillamook
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Officer’s Mess
Port of Tillamook Bay
6825 Officers Row, Tillamook

Taking on Oregon’s Housing Crisis

Oregon has a housing crisis.  It is our shared responsibility to solve it.

The foreclosure epidemic and the Great Recession pushed a tidal wave of Oregonians into the rental market at the same time construction of new housing slowed down. And, over the past few years, people have been moving to Oregon in record numbers. Construction has not been able to catch up, creating intense competition for rental housing. Based on 2016 data, our state economist estimates that Oregon would have needed to TRIPLE our production of units just to keep pace with new demand.

In Portland alone, housing has been underbuilt by 23,000 units over the past decade. The City recently released a report that revealed that there are no neighborhoods anywhere in the city where the average African-American household, Latino household, Native-American household, or single-mother household can afford to rent. ZERO neighborhoods are affordable – not one.  And the possibility of home ownership is even bleaker.

A housing crisis of this magnitude is not just bad for renters – the ripple effects of this crisis also negatively impact Oregon businesses. It’s simply harder to recruit and retain middle-wage workers. Rising rates of homelessness also create public safety and public health concerns, which are not only bad for people, but also bad for business.

The Legislature made some progress last year, but more must be done. In order to truly get ahead of this crisis, we need to focus on three key strategies:

  • Preserve the affordable housing stock that we have;
  • Build more affordable and market rate units; and
  • Protect tenants who are experiencing immediate hardships.

 

Preservation   Since 2006, the state has invested over $122 million to help preserve a total of nearly 10,000 publicly-supported, affordable units. Oregon is up to the task of preserving units, but it needs to be an ongoing priority. That will be a major challenge because, as described above, the state budget has a $1.8 billion gap between current services and forecasted revenue. I’m working on that, but it’s a big challenge.

Construction  I firmly believe we need to address barriers to development at the local level to allow developers to do their job as cost effectively and as quickly as possible. I’ve been meeting with developers and investors, seeking their input and suggestions about how the state can help.

If we can figure out how to raise additional revenue, I will be asking for $250 million in additional state support to help local communities:

  • $100 million for LIFT, an affordable housing program that helps finance the construction of affordable housing for low-income households;
  • $100 million for preservation for existing affordable unites; and
  • $50 million for emergency housing and shelter assistance.

 

Some people have proposed new tax incentives, and we can certainly discuss those. But they also cost money, and it seems more prudent to go directly to means-tested, existing programs for additional investment.

 

Tenant Protections  I’m going to work very hard to help us build our way out of this crisis, but that solution will take time and that’s not enough for families who are struggling right now, every day. That’s why the Legislature will also need to discuss stronger protections for tenants in order to provide some immediate relief and stability for the 40 percent of Oregonians who are renters.

I will also focus on three key tenant protections:

  • Lifting the statewide ban on rent control so local governments can pass rent stabilization ordinances designed to meet their community’s needs;
  • Implementing a one-year, statewide moratorium on rent increases; and
  • Ending “no cause” evictions to provide more predictability for renters.

 

Rent Stabilization:  Eighteen families, including 26 Rigler Elementary School students, recently received notices that their rent will double from $600 per month to $1,250 per month in April. (Oregonian Northeast Portland families face tough choice after new owner more than doubles their rent).

Thank you Multnomah County for providing a one-time fix for these families through the rest of the school year. We all know that’s not a sustainable approach to these types of disruptions. Children need stability. Families need stability. This needs to stop.

Lifting the statewide ban on rent control will allow local jurisdictions to pass rent stabilization ordinances designed to meet their community’s needs. Modern (sometimes called “second generation”) rent stabilization programs include a customized set of policies that are based on the unique housing market of the community where the policy is enacted. These policies typically include a local body that determines the rate of allowable rent increases, an appeal process for landlords who may need an additional increase for various reasons, and exemptions to ensure that landlords stay in the market and the needs of low-income renters are being met.

Rent stabilization is one effective approach to address a housing crisis that is resulting in widespread displacement. In hot housing markets, rent stabilization can maintain the supply of units affordable to low-income people and promote racial and ethnic diversity, if implemented correctly. Data shows that the crisis has already driven many low-income people and people of color out of our cities, and policies like rent stabilization would stop them from being economically evicted and displaced.

One-Year Cap on Rent Increases:  If landlords aren’t price-gouging, this proposed legislation would not affect them.  Our office consulted with housing policy experts and researched trends in property tax increases and inflation, which indicated that temporarily limiting rent increases above 5% would ensure that landlords are able to keep up with operating expenses, while still providing some immediate relief to vulnerable renters. Providers of affordable housing would be exempt from this moratorium because they are already doing their part in providing reduced rents to residents.

Ending No-Cause Eviction:  Fifty-nine children enrolled in Portland Public Schools live in Titan Manor in St. Johns. In October, this property was sold to an out-of-state owner, who recently began issuing mass “no cause” eviction notices. (Willamette Week: “North Portland Apartment Building With 59 Public-School Students Has Begun Issuing “No Cause” Evictions”).

Under current law, landlords can evict tenants without any reason – even if they have always paid their rent on time and been respectful of the property.  Families can be forced to move out in as little as 30 days.

What does this mean for the Oregonians who are evicted? Their whole lives are suddenly disrupted, their kids will likely have to switch schools mid-year, and their search for an available, affordable place will be extremely difficult because of the low vacancy rates. We know the most affected households are typically poor, often women, and disproportionately people of color.

I support ending no-cause evictions in Oregon and support my colleagues who are proposing a “just cause” standard that will help stabilize communities and also be fair to landlords. See House Bill 2004.

Please Stay Engaged

We have a great deal of work ahead of us in the 2017 session. I hope you will stay engaged and let me know what is important to you.

If you’d like to set up a constituent meeting in the district during the upcoming session, please email Cheyenne.McPherson@oregonlegislature.gov or call 503-986-1444 and my session legislative assistant, Cheyenne, will work to set up an appointment.

Best,

Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: Rep.TinaKotek@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kotek