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    Join Jennifer Williamson at Ruby Vineyard

    JW Vineyard InviteWine tasting

    6pm – 8pm

    $50 suggested minimum donation

    We also invite you to join us for a VIP tasting of Ruby Vineyard’s premier wines 

    5pm – 6pm

    $200 suggested minimum donation

    (also includes general tasting)

    Thank Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for standing up to protect Roe v Wade

    **Once your RSVP is complete, suggested minimum donations can be made HERE.

    Questions? Contact madeleine@jenniferfororegon.com.

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    Protecting Our Privacy

    Dear Friend,

    In the 21st century, the technology in our lives literally changes every day. Data that used to take rooms full of file cabinets to store can now be carried around on an ultra slim laptop or pulled down from the cloud on your smartphone.

    This new technology has made extraordinary improvements in our lives and economy, but it also poses very real threats to our privacy and our constitutional rights.

    Thankfully, even though we live in a time of extraordinary change, the safeguards in the Bill of Rights are constant. The 4th Amendment to our US Constitution protects us against unlawful searches and seizures by the government. And Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution does the same thing.

    But while technology keeps leaping forward, our laws are lagging behind in protecting Oregonians. 

    Privacy is an issue of personal freedom, not a partisan one. That’s why my Democratic colleague Senator Chip Shields and I have been reaching across the aisle to find common ground with Republicans in the Legislature on actions we can take together to protect our individual freedoms.

    This summer, I’m proud to be part of an interim workgroup developing policy recommendations to update our privacy laws in Oregon.

    I wanted to update you on a number of issues we are considering and ask for your views about the challenges you face protecting your right to privacy.

    Here are a few of the key privacy issues our committee is working on:

    1. Transparency in Government Surveillance

    We have a right to understand what technologies government is using to monitor, observe or analyze the behavior or activity of Oregonians. And we have the right to know what policies govern the use of those technologies. We are considering new laws to promote transparency in government surveillance activities and ascertain what measures agencies are taking to protect privacy.

    2. Protect Private Electronic Communication Records

    Our electronic communication shouldn’t be treated differently than our postal mail or written notes when it comes to monitoring by the government.  And yet outdated laws allow that to happen with law enforcement being able to take advantage of loopholes in our laws to collect digital data and records without having to go before a court for permission. We are considering updates to Oregon privacy laws to ensure online and digital activity receives the same protection our snail mail does. 

    3. Protect Cell Phone Location Tracking Records 

    GPS records and cell phone location records give us a digital footprint that can allow us to be tracked in almost every moment of our day. This data can reveal highly personal, and even intimate, details of an individual’s life. We are looking at an update to Oregon law that would require a warrant for probable cause (except in an emergency) before the government could obtain cell phone location records. 

    4. Protect Smartphone Privacy

    It used to be that police had to get a warrant and conduct extensive investigations before they could track a person’s communications, movements and private life after an arrest. Today, law enforcement can strip a smartphone of all its data for review during an arrest encounter. This can amount to a violation of constitutional rights and an extreme invasion of privacy.  We are considering new updates to Oregon laws that would protect smartphone privacy and require a warrant to search a cell phone.  

    5. Establish Guidelines for Automatic License Plate Readers

    Today in Oregon, law enforcement agencies can deploy automatic license plate readers on our roads and retain location information and a photograph of every vehicle that passes each camera. This stored data can reveal the private movements of thousands of Oregonians who have committed no crime. We are considering new laws to put long overdue statewide guidelines in place for the use of automatic license plate readers and safeguards against the retention of private personal data and unnecessary sharing of these records between governments and private companies. 

    At least 16 other states have either passed or are currently considering legislation to address the collection, aggregation and dissemination of information on ordinary citizens. Oregon is falling behind in protecting our privacy right now and we need to catch up. 

    If you want to make sure these issues are addressed during the next legislative session, please add your name to our citizens’ petition here.

    It may be 225 years old, but the Constitution still guarantees our basic right to privacy even from the newest technological advances.

    We can work together to make sure Oregon leads the nation in protecting those rights.


    JW Signature

    Representative Jennifer Williamson

    P.S. Please take a few moments to fill out our survey on your privacy concerns and make sure you add your name to our citizens’ petition by clicking here.

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    Panel Discussion with Piper Kerman

    An event you don’t want to miss is coming to House District 36!

    Please join me for a panel discussion with Piper Kerman, best-selling author of “Orange is the New Black”, now a top Netflix series. Since leaving prison, Piper has worked to raise awareness about the issues impacting women incarcerated in America.

    The facts are startling. From 1980 to 2010, thenumber of women behind bars has increased646%. Most have been sentenced for non-violent offenses and an overwhelming percentage have a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.  Piper will discuss this growing crisis with a panel that includes Portland State’s Dr. Keva Miller and Alverada McCoy of Mercy Corps Northwest. I am excited to facilitate the conversation.  


    What: Panel Discussion Featuring Piper Kerman

    When: April 23rd, 5:30 pm – 7 pm

    Where: First Unitarian Church in Portland

    1034 SW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97205  

      Click here to reserve your place now.

    On the door step, at town halls, through surveys and in emails, I have heard again and again that House District 36 cares about smart public safety policy. You understand that we need books, not bunks and that investing in our communities is better than investing in our prisons. 

    This is sure to be an extraordinary discussion focused on these very values.

    Tickets will go fast so reserve yours today.

    I hope to see you there!

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    33 Days in Salem


    Dear Friend,

    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

    P.S. Don’t forget to fill out our new survey to let me know your thoughts on Oregon’s future priorities.

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    Steve Duin: A golden opportunity to repair class-action law and rescue Legal Aid

    When Kris LaMar worked for Legal Aid’s Family Law Center in 1973, she remembers the painful Monday morning ritual:

    “We had to turn the intake phones off by 10 a.m,” says LaMar, who retired in January from the Multnomah County Circuit bench.  “It was a spigot.  And we had to turn it off.”

    And what would that mean, for the rest of that grueling week, for the victims of domestic violence, tenants unfairly evicted from their apartments, or the dirt-poor women clawing their way through a bitter child-custody dispute?

    “They just had to fend for themselves,” LaMar says.

    “That’s our state.  We have never committed as a society to provide legal services to the poor for anything other than criminal cases, which the state and federal constitutions require.”

    Never.  Forty years later, Legal Aid receives less than $6 million from the state’s General Fund, and serves only 15 percent of the Oregonians who need its counsel for landlord-tenant disputes, fraud cases and family-law beefs.

    So, you can not possibly imagine the relief and celebration in legal circles when two legislators — Reps. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, and Tobias Read, D-Beaverton — finally came up with a creative solution to this perennial funding problem.

    Seriously.  You can’t. Unless, of course, you have followed the disheartening arc of Dave Frohnmayer’s legal career.

    Williamson and Read took note of the fact that Oregon is one of only two states in the country that returns the unclaimed proceeds in class-action cases to the very parties that ripped everyone off.

    Let’s say a jury determines that BP West Coast Products recklessly violated the Unlawful Trade Practices Act at its gas stations — as a Multnomah County jury did in January — and awards a class of 2.9 million consumers $200 each.

    If many claimants are impossible to locate because BP destroyed the debit-card receipts, BP (formerly British Petroleum) is allowed to keep the unclaimed portion of the $580-million award.

    David Sugerman, class counsel in the case, estimates that unclaimed monies will easily exceed $100 million.

    Read and Williamson have, in House Bill 4143, a better idea: allocate those unclaimed class-action awards to the endowment fund for legal-aid services.

    “This is a game-changer for Legal Aid,” says Bob Stoll, a retired Portland attorney and one who has neither clients nor financial interest in the legislation.

    Not only will Legal Aid be able to reopen and support many of its rural offices, Stoll notes, but companies like British Petroleum and Philip Morris would no longer “keep most of the damages a jury determined belonged to others.”

    LaMar — who ended her career providing “shotgun justice” for the folks who couldn’t afford a lawyer — framed the issue rather well:

    “Why would anyone possibly be opposed to that?”

    Why, because Frohnmayer and Bill Gary are (a) stalwart defenders of the Oregon Constitution, or (b) the very lawyers who are being paid so handsomely by cigarette manufacturers and oil conglomerates.

    Tough call.

    The Eugene attorneys represent Philip Morris in an ongoing class-action suit, and have been hired by BP to curtail its damages.  They have also lobbied passionately against this godsend for Legal Aid.

    In a letter to Oregon legislators, Frohnmayer and Gary called the bill “unconstitutional, unfair and fundamentally unworkable.”

    And speaking by phone Friday afternoon, Frohnmayer said, “This bill has been seriously misrepresented by people who should know better.  The problem with this bill is that Legal Aid is a stalking horse for serious and controversial changes in class-action rules.  The additional problem — and I can’t believe no one is talking about this — is that the law was made retroactive, to existing cases.”

    Yet it is the Frohnmayer/Gary lobbying effort — rather than what Frohnmayer calls “this hand-grenade of a bill” — that has been met with disappointment and derision by many in the Oregon legal community.

    LaMar said she was especially disappointed because Frohnmayer, as Oregon’s attorney general from 1981-1991, “was charged with prosecuting many of the violations of law that class-action plaintiff attorneys pursue.  Many of these class-action lawsuits develop because attorneys general can’t take on that kind of case-load.

    “I respect Dave Frohnmayer,” LaMar said, then added, “Why has Dave changed so much?  That’s kind of painful.”

    “The act of advocacy alters one’s opinions,” Portland attorney Greg Kafoury observes.  “When you have spent your career defending what large corporations do, much of it marginally criminal or against the public interest, you develop a point of view, and one diametrically opposed to the view that sent you to law school.”

    Stoll is even more blunt:  “I think Frohnmayer is making a bogus argument.  He sold out to Big Tobacco, and now to Big Oil.” Referring to three prominent supporters of the bill, AGs past and present, Stoll added, “You can hardly say that Hardy Myers, Ted Kulongoski and Ellen Rosenblum are radical legal scholars.  They are very balanced in their approach.”

    “Bob Stoll is not a disinterested party,” Frohnmayer fired back.  “He’s a plaintiff’s lawyer who brings class-action suits.  And this one is a bum rap.

    “This is a compelling set of constitutional considerations, and I’m getting blown off as the captive of special interests.  There’s not a word that I said (Thursday) that I would not have said as a state representative, while setting up the Council on Court Procedures; as the attorney general, while prosecuting or defending class-action suits; and as a law professor, looking at constitutional adequacy affecting individual rights.”

    At the moment — the Williamson/Reed bill has already passed the House — the opinions that matter most are in the Oregon Senate.

    Those legislators have a choice to make, and one they’ve had a great deal more time to consider than the Nike tax break rushed through in 2012’s one-day special session.

    They can ask themselves if justice is better served, and funding for Legal Aid finally secured, by adding Oregon to the list of states that insist defendants in class-action suits pay fully for the havoc they unleash.

    Or, once again, they can tell the most impoverished Oregonians to fend for themselves.

    — Steve Duin

    Source:Oregon Live

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    2013 Legislative Report

    Jennifer Williamson is working hard to keep her promises to the people of House District 36. This Report covers the highlights of what she achieved in the 2013 legislative session.

    Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 9.45.21 AM

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    Pendleton Lawmakers Try To Keep Blue Mountain Hospital Open

     by Christopher David Gray

    Sept. 18, 2013 — The Oregon Health Authority has laid out the timetable to legislators for the closure of the Blue Mountain Recovery Center, even as Pendleton lawmakers strive to keep Eastern Oregon’s mental hospital open.

    “The train’s already left the station,” Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton, told The Lund Report. “We got to find the sidetrack somehow.”

    Blue Mountain is set to stop taking patients next month and close for good Dec. 31. The hospital has a long track record, opening in 1948.

    Pamela Martin, the director of the Addictions and Mental Health Division, said half of Blue Mountain’s 60 patients will be ready for discharge, but any civilly committed patients who need further treatment will be transferred to two mothballed 26-bed wings in the new Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

    Those hospital wings are scheduled to open in November, with patients transferred over the following month. They were built the same time as the new hospital but have sat empty for lack of funding in the previous budget.

    After Blue Mountain stops taking patients, new civilly committed patients will be sent to either Salem or the Oregon State Hospital in Portland, but there is already a waiting list to get into state psychiatric hospitals. The Legislature has budgeted money for a new hospital in Junction City, near Eugene, but it won’t open until 2015 at the earliest.

    At Wednesday’s meeting of the full Joint Committee on Ways & Means, lawmakers accepted Martin’s report, but talk stirred of potentially keeping the hospital open and staffed until next spring so it could be turned into a geriatric hospital for the Department of Corrections.

    The prison hospital idea was pitched by Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, who said it would be wise to keep the facility in place with its skilled workforce because the Department of Corrections needs to increase hospital capacity with an aging population, driven by mandatory prison sentences.

    Her idea was immediately grasped by Jenson and his Pendleton Senate counterpart, Sen. Bill Hansell, as well as Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem:

    “It’s a piece of the puzzle that needs to be worked on to come to fruition,” Winters said.

    If the hospital closes, Jenson and Hansell are concerned that the professional staff, particularly the nurses, would be cut to the wind and leave Eastern Oregon. Recruiting newcomers to move to Pendleton could be difficult with the state suffering a nursing shortage. Jenson reminded his colleagues that even the Oregon State Hospital in Salem has had trouble filling all its positions with qualified applicants. “If we lose the workforce, we’re going to have to restart,” said Hansell, who also learned that most workers would prefer to remain in Pendleton, according to the Service Employees International Union.

    In place of Blue Mountain Hospital, three new residential mental health facilities, each with five beds, are being built in Pendleton. One will serve as an acute crisis unit while the other two will act as transitional residential treatment homes, one for adolescents and the other for adults.

    “Every effort will be made to place people from Eastern Oregon in those two facilities,” Martin told legislators.

    Some Blue Mountain employees will find work in the new units, but with only 15 beds and less intensive care, the new residential treatment units will only employ a fraction of the people if the hospital closes. Others could find work in Salem. And some of the staff has already left voluntarily, requiring the state to hire temporary employees.

    “One of the major barriers is the physical quality of the [Pendleton] hospital,” said Martin, who toured the 65-year-old facility after assuming her leadership position in May. “It’s outlived its natural life span.”

    Martin said that it costs about $1 million a month to operate Blue Mountain, but the two new mothballed units in Salem will cost only $700,000 a month to run, she added, comparing them to empty floors of a hotel.

    If Blue Mountain Hospital were renovated, it would cost an estimated $11 million, and it’s uncertain if the hospital has significant asbestos insulation or lead pipes, which would increase costs exponentially.

    Jenson rebuffed the asbestos concern, noting that most of the facilities have undergone substantial renovations in the past 25 years. “If there’s a lot of asbestos in the building for these patients, maybe we have a good class-action lawsuit waiting for us,” Jenson quipped. Before it was razed, the state had been fined by the federal government previously for asbestos in the old Salem state mental hospital.

    Martin expects to report back to legislators with detailed information about the impacts of the closure on Pendleton, as well as the potential for its reuse as a prison hospital. But that could be too late to delay closure of Blue Mountain Hospital. Lawmakers may not be back in Salem until nearly Thanksgiving, just weeks before the last patients are moved across the Cascades.

    Source: The Lund Report

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    Nine Legislators Named 2013 Health Center Heroes by OPCA

    Portland, Ore., Aug. 6, 2013 – The Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA) is honoring nine policymakers for their outstanding support of community health centers.

     OPCA will award its second annual Health Center Hero Awards to:

    • Five Portland-area legislators:
      • Oregon Senators Laurie Monnes Anderson and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
      • Oregon Representatives Mitch Greenlick, Alissa Keny-Guyer & Jennifer Williamson
    • Oregon Representatives Peter Buckley, Nancy Nathanson, Val Hoyle & Jim Thompson

     Awards presentations planned to date:

    • Sen. Steiner Hayward and Rep. Greenlick – August 7 from 10 – 11 a.m. atCentral City Concern’s Old Town Recovery Center/Old Town Clinic, 33 NW Broadway, 3rd floor, Portland
    • Sen. Monnes Anderson – August 22 at 9 a.m. at Wallace Medical Concern, 124 NE 181st Ave., Portland
    • Rep. Keny-Guyer – October 1 from 10 – 11 a.m. at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic’s Rosewood Family Health Center, 8935 S.E. Powell Blvd., Portland

     The remaining awards will be presented at times to be determined over the next two months.

     OPCA is recognizing Sen. Steiner Hayward for her long commitment to primary care.  She focuses on improving access to care for all Oregonians, particularly the uninsured.  Rep. Greenlick provided exceptional oversight of Oregon’s health care transformation process during the 2013 legislative session and remains a champion of the work of community health centers.

     Sen. Monnes Anderson supported key health care legislation during the 2013 session, including the OPCA-sponsored “care continuity” bill, HB 2132.  Reps. Keny-Guyer, Buckley and Thompson earned awards for strongly advocating access to culturally competent care.

     OPCA is recognizing Rep. Williamson for her focus on access to health care for all Oregonians, with an emphasis on Portland’s homeless population. Rep. Nathanson promoted accountability and transparency in health care reform, and Rep. Hoyle showed exceptional leadership in raising the profile of health care and health policy in her caucus.

    About OPCA:

    The Oregon Primary Care Association is a nonprofit membership organization of 31 community health centers operating through more than 200 sites across the state.  OPCA advocates on behalf of health centers at the state and federal levels and provides technical assistance and training to its members.  Our mission is to lead the transformation of primary care to achieve health equity for all.  For more information, see http://www.orpca.org.

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    Williamson called ‘Freshman of the Year’ in Willamette Week Legislator Ratings

    Williamson, 39, a smiley first-termer, has ably replaced Mary Nolan, who resigned her seat for an unsuccessful run for Portland City Council. A former First Amendment lawyer, Williamson spent a couple of sessions in Salem lobbying before running for office. That familiarity with the capitol is worth a lot in a culture proud of its traditions. As a rookie, Williamson chaired theJoint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety. “You’ve usually got to be here for 10 years to get that kind of assignment,” says an observer. “Freshman of the year,” says one of many admirers.

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    Townhall Meeting With Senator Burdick on September 9

    Portland Legislators Announce September 9th Town Hall
    PORTLAND – Senator Ginny Burdick (D – NW/SW Portland/Tigard) and Representative Jennifer Williamson (D – NW/SW Portland), will hold a Town Hall meeting on Monday, September 9th at Portland Central Library. Community members will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with the legislators, and to discuss the recent legislative session. Who: Senator Ginny Burdick and Representative Jennifer Williamson What: Town Hall on recently adjourned legislative session When: Monday, September 9th, 6:00 to 7:30pm Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland