33 Days in Salem
On March 7, we completed the 2014 legislative session in Salem. It’s called a short session because it only lasts for 33 days.
Your feedback and ideas from town halls, emails and community meetings helped me focus on the issues that matter most to the people of Portland’s westside.
I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some of the key priorities I fought for in the Legislature this year:
1. Investing in Education. I continued to make strengthening our public schools from pre-K through college my top priority
- I supported a new $2.2 million investment in early learning programs to help more Oregon children succeed in school.
- I voted for new summer learning grants so 5,000 children at high poverty public schools can get additional learning time.
- I worked to make higher education more affordable by voting for the Aspiration to College Bill to support more first generation community college students.
- I supported “The Oregon Promise” to study whether it’s realistic to allow high school graduates to attend community college for free.
2. Protecting Our Privacy. Weekly revelations about federal intrusions into our private communications made it a top priority for our state government to focus on safeguarding our privacy.
- I sponsored SB 1583 to prohibit law enforcement from obtaining private electronic information without a warrant.
- I supported SB 1522 to place limits on how long law enforcement can hold data from Automatic License Plate Readers and who they can share it with.
3. Keeping Oregon Pro-Choice. I’ve worked to protect reproductive rights for over 20 years. Now, I’m fighting hard in Salem to stop far-right attacks on our right to choose.
- I was chief sponsor of HB 4061 to safeguard Oregon women’s access to medically accurate information.
- This legislation prohibited a public body from forcing medical practitioners to give false, politically motivated advice on reproductive health issues.
4. Standing Up for Consumers. Oregon is one of only two states that allows at-fault corporations to recover unclaimed penalties they have been ordered to pay consumers in class action lawsuits.
- I was proud to co-sponsor HB 4143 with my colleague Tobias Read to close this loophole and demand fairness for Oregon consumers when they have been injured or defrauded.
- The bill would have transferred unclaimed penalties from at-fault corporations to Legal Aid to help more Oregonians get access to legal services.
- The Oregonian’s Steve Duin called HB 4143 “the best idea to come out of the legislature in recent memory.”
- The bill passed the House but unfortunately failed in the Senate on a 15-15 vote after an all-out assault by lobbyists for BP and big tobacco.
5. Demanding Accountability and Transparency. We shouldn’t have to wait for access to quality health care, but problems with Cover Oregon kept thousands from getting the care they deserve.
- I sponsored HB 4122 to safeguard taxpayer dollars with tough new standards for oversight and accountability on large, public IT projects.
- I sponsored HB 4154 to direct Cover Oregon to get a federal waiver so Oregonians who couldn’t use the website can get the subsidies they deserve.
6. Taking Care of Our Most Vulnerable. I was elected to represent everyone in District 36 and I’ve worked hard to give a voice to those who can’t always speak for themselves.
- I supported more assistance for our community mental health system by voting for $10 million in additional housing.
- I voted for $2 million in additional funding for emergency housing and the state’s homeless assistance program.
We didn’t win on every issue this session, but I was proud to lead the way on our progressive values. When it comes to safeguarding reproductive rights, protecting consumers and privacy and keeping our public schools strong, many more challenges lie ahead.
Please let me know your thoughts on the top priorities facing Oregon. Click here to complete our newest survey.
Thank you for giving me the honor of representing you in the State House.
Representative Jennifer Williamson