Contact: Rose King, (503) 863-1363, rose@brinkcomm.com 

Governor calls Cover All Kids legislation a take-home issue, urges legislators to make kids a priority

(Salem, Ore.)— At a rally held today at the Oregon State Capitol, Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke in support of the bill known as “Cover All Kids”, calling for the legislature to ensure all Oregon children have the same access to health care. 

House Bill 2726 and Senate Bill 558 will extend health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all kids. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Kruse, Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan. 

“As Oregonians we know health care coverage is foundational,” Governor Brown said. “Today, we stand together to ensure that all Oregon children have access to health care coverage.”   
Over the past decade, Oregon has made significant strides toward ensuring every child has access to quality, affordable health care. However, more than 17,000 kids are currently excluded from Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status. 

Governor Brown, a strong proponent of the Cover All Kids legislation, prioritized funding to extend coverage for every child in Oregon in her 2017-19 budget and also testified in the House Committee on Health Care in support of the bill.  

“It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults, and to access to education, health care, and a bright future,” Governor Brown said. “Cover All Kids gives us an opportunity to fulfill this duty.” 

When children have access to health care through Medicaid, studies show they have improved education outcomes and higher incomes later in life. The proposed Cover All Kids legislation will promote the health of all Oregon children and put every child on the pathway to success.   

Governor Brown was joined by Representatives Hernandez, Huffman, Keny-Guyer and Alonso Leon. 

“By investing in every kid who calls Oregon home, we will correct a longstanding injustice in our health care system,” said Rep Alonso Leon. “It also means that children will get the preventative care they need to stay healthy and a medical emergency won’t turn into a family bankruptcy.” 

“It’s time for Oregon to take one step closer to a stronger and more equitable economy, where every child has the health care he or she needs to reach their full potential. By covering all kids, we will ensure that all children are on the path to a stronger, healthier future," said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer.

More than 200 supporters attended the rally organized by the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, which represents nearly a hundred organizations that have backed Cover All Kids, including community based organizations, CCOs, insurers, hospitals, educators, labor unions and community members. 

Growing up healthy is a challenge for Oregon children who lack health insurance, and health insurance is a key factor in determining whether children receive the medical care they need. Studies show that uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and much more likely to have unmet medical needs. 

In March, the Senate Committee on Health Care passed Senate Bill 558 and the bill now awaits its next hearing in the Ways and Means Committee. 
 

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Mike Westling, (503) 498-8161
mike@brinkcomm.com

Salem, Ore.— After Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announced the details of the Oregon Education Investment Initiative last Thursday, APANO Executive Director Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons and Oregon Education Association President Hanna Vaandering released the following statement on behalf of Fair Shot for All: 

“It’s no secret that Oregon’s corporate taxes are some of the lowest in the country and the status quo is projected to produce long-term budget deficits. Without action to generate new revenue, we face severe cuts to education, health care, and other programs that would harm Oregonians in every part of the state, especially women and people of color. Real reform to our corporate tax system will allow us to move forward in the fight to ensure that every Oregonian feels safe in their community and has access to a quality public education, health care, a stable home, and a fair shot at economic success.

“The Oregon Education Investment Initiative is a bold plan that generates much-needed revenue in fair and stable way that will help prevent severe cuts for schools and communities around the state. With this proposal, Speaker Kotek and Representatives Nathanson and Barnhart are demonstrating serious leadership, refusing to kick the can down the road and restoring a sustainable balance to the state’s tax code. 

“We are hopeful that their colleagues in both houses are ready to roll up their sleeves and move forward with a tax reform plan that strengthens the state’s budget, stabilizes school funding, and expands economic opportunity for all Oregonians.”

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Mike Westling, (503) 498-8161
mike@brinkcomm.com
 
As amended in the Oregon House, HB 2004 strikes a balance between the rights of tenants and landlords
 
Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Senate held its first hearing Wednesday on legislation to help keep Oregon families in their homes by requiring statements of just-cause for evictions and repealing the statewide prohibition on modern rent stabilization policies.
 
The version of the bill considered by the Senate Human Services committee was amended and approved by the Oregon House last month. As amended, HB 2004A balances protections for tenants and landlords by exempting small landlords and reduce the relocation expenses that landlords are required to pay when they evict tenants without cause.
 
“When I walk through my district, I hear stories of unconscionable rent increases and no-cause evictions, plaguing families in every neighborhood,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, representing SD 25 and serving Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview, and Wood Village. “That is why passing House Bill 2004 is so critical. Banning no-cause evictions will help keep families in their homes and give children a better chance at success.”
 
As housing demand rapidly outpaces supply, no-cause evictions and triple-digit rent increases have become increasingly common for the 40 percent of Oregonians who rent, upending their lives and breaking their budgets. Extremely low vacancy rates mean that families who have been evicted without cause or forced out by rent increases cannot find new units that they can afford, and many renters who have had stable housing are suddenly facing homelessness.

“In the 2015-16 school year, nearly one in ten students in the Reynolds School District in my district experienced homelessness,” said Representative Diego Hernandez, representing House District 47 and outer Northeast Portland. “Kids need safe and stable housing in order to focus on their school work. When families are impacted by no-cause evictions or rent increases, everyone suffers – our kids, our parents, our schools, and our communities. The Oregon Legislature should act to pass HB 2004A to protect Oregon families from displacement and evictions without a cause.”

“This bill is going to help keep families in their homes while preserving the rights of property owners,” said Beth Kellan, a Portland-area Realtor® and landlord. “If you’re a landlord, you can still make a healthy return on your investment, but not in a way that kicks people to the curb. To be honest, most responsible landlords aren’t jacking up rents by 100% anyway so this won’t affect them. If you want to evict a tenant – you can still do that. This bill just requires that you have a valid reason for it and that you share that reason with the tenant who is being evicted.”

Patti Jay, a veteran and cancer survivor, was shocked to be evicted from her Milwaukie, Oregon home without cause. She had met all the terms of her lease and was a good tenant. She and her children were left scrambling to find a new place to live.
 
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” said Jay. “The law needs to be changed to protect families like mine."

Source: http://www.stablehomesor.org/single-post/2...
Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, (503) 863-1363
rose@brinkcomm.com

House Bill 3087 creates Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, ensuring Oregon workers can afford to take the time they need to deal with a serious personal or family illness, bond with a new child

(Salem, Ore.)—Today the House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports voted to move HB 3087 to the House Revenue committee. The Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Act, HB 3087, will ensure all working Oregonians have paid time away from work to welcome a new child, to recover from a serious illness or to care for a sick loved one. House Bill 3087 — co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and Representatives Alonso Leon, Hernandez and Keny-Guyer and others — will create a paid family and medical leave insurance program available to every employed Oregonian.

“We applaud the House Committee’s decision to move HB 3087 to the next step in the legislative process,” said Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon and Chair of the Time For Oregon Coalition. “Oregon families need the security of knowing that their elected leaders are hearing from them and recognizing their need for this important program.”

Currently, only 14 percent of workers across the nation have access to paid family and medical leave at work, and only 40 percent have access to a short-term disability policy on the job. Federal and Oregon laws currently provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for some workers — however, these laws do not apply to all workers and they do not help with lost income. In addition, many family members are excluded by workplace and economic policies that fail to recognize the majority of families who don’t fit the nuclear model of a married mother and father and their biologically related children.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the bottom quarter of wage earners only 5 percent have access to paid family leave compared to 21 percent of those in the highest quarter. These workers are disproportionately women and people of color, who are also the most likely to take on the care of an ill relative to avoid the cost of other forms of care.

"I gave birth to my beautiful daughter but soon after found out she needed extra stay in the NICU,” said Amy Powers, a parent from Beaverton. “My husband and I were extremely stressed and heartbroken to be discharged from the hospital without Aubrey. I had no family leave, no benefits, and no financial support from my employer.  We couldn’t afford to be at home to take care of my daughter. I returned to work part-time after a very short 4 weeks of unpaid time off. My family just could not afford for me to take any more unpaid time off.  To this day, my biggest regret is that I did not spend enough time with my newborn daughter.”

The proposed legislation creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program that will be:

  • A self-sustaining insurance program administered by the state;
  • Structured as a social insurance program, like Social Security or Unemployment Insurance;
  • Funded by a shared contribution by employers and employees, each providing a small percent of payroll to a state-managed insurance fund that will administer the program;
  • A way for employees to receive partial income replacement when they need family or medical leave; and
  • Inclusive of more families, defined as individuals related “by blood or affinity” — to better reflect Oregon’s diverse family structures and caring relationships.

The bill will move onto the House Revenue committee, the next needed step in the legislative process for this type of program.

Source: http://www.timefororegon.org/time-for-oreg...
Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon House Healthcare Committee today passed landmark legislation to ensure reproductive health equity across the state. 

The Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3391) removes financial barriers and ensures that every Oregonian is empowered to make their own decisions about whether and when to become a parent. Limitations on reproductive health services can have profoundly harmful effects on public health and on an individual person's life opportunities. Particularly at risk are those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality care, such as low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, young women, survivors of domestic violence, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people. 

House Bill 3391 is sponsored by 21 State Representatives and 10 State Senators. The bill has been developed over the past two years by the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon with input from community leaders around Oregon and legislators. 

"Working families are under so much strain today and often have a hard time making ends meet," Andrea Paluso, Executive Director for Family Forward Oregon. "Families in Oregon need support like paid time off from work to care for loved ones and access to affordable child care. It is also critical that they have access to affordable, essential reproductive health care, which this bill guarantees. We are thrilled that the House Healthcare Committee has advanced this urgent remedy." 

This landmark legislation closes multiple gaps in reproductive health coverage: 

  • Requires all commercial plans to cover the entire cost of the full range of reproductive health services - including family planning, vasectomy and abortion - without deductible or co-pay by the patient. 
  • Establishes coverage for reproductive health care, especially postpartum care for new mothers for Oregonians who are categorically excluded from health programs due to citizenship status. 
  • Assures access without government interference to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. 
  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in reproductive health coverage. 
Source: https://reprohealthequity.org/2017/04/14/h...
Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

For more information, contact:
Alison McIntosh, Neighborhood Partnerships              
(503) 816-2882, amcintosh@neighborhoodpartnerships.org

Salem, Ore. – On Tuesday, the Oregon House approved HB 2004A, which protects Oregon renters from no-cause evictions while preserving property rights for landlords. The bill will also give local communities the legal right to create common sense rent stabilization policies that work best for local renters and landlords.

HB 2004A was amended prior to passage to exempt small landlords and reduce the relocation expenses for renters who are evicted without cause. This compromise bill now heads to the Oregon Senate with the full support of a broad coalition of Oregonians working for stable housing legislation.

Upon passage, Oregon tenants, landlords and advocates released the following statements:  

“Passage of HB 2004 is important to renters who have faced no-cause evictions. My decades of excellent rental history were meaningless when it happened to me. Without HB 2004, there is absolutely no recourse for the renter as long as the landlord hides behind no-cause, no-reason evictions,” Leela Coleman.

“With over 1,800 units statewide, we have very few evictions and only use for-cause notices. House Bill 2004 treats our residents fairly and keeps our properties strong,” Martha McClennan, Executive Director, Northwest Housing Alternatives 

“Today’s vote in favor of HB 2004 is good news for Oregon communities. This legislation creates certainty for renters and landlords by creating a legal standard for evictions with cause and lease termination. It also gives local jurisdictions the right to set their own rent stabilization policies, working with tenants and landlords in their communities,” Pam Phan, Policy and Organizing Director for the Community Alliance of Tenants, on behalf of Stable Homes for Oregon Families.

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, (503) 863-1363, rose@brinkcomm.com

Salem, Ore. – Today, the House Committee on Judiciary voted to pass legislation that will help stop profiling by law enforcement. House Bill 2355 requires law enforcement to begin collecting and retaining demographic data on all officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops. The bill will also require mandatory training in cultural competency and implicit bias for all state and local law enforcement officers in Oregon and establish a statewide system to hold law enforcement departments accountable for profiling practices. 

Finally, the bill will also change state law to make small-scale possession of drugs a misdemeanor with access to treatment, instead of a felony, which carries steeper penalties that often result in the loss of housing, employment and social services that make it that much harder to beat addiction. 

As strong advocates leading the fight to end police profiling in Oregon, Unite Oregon and the Fair Shot for All Coalition issued the following statement from Kayse Jama, Executive Director of Unite Oregon: 

“Recognizing that police profiling is an epidemic that hurts people across the state, Oregon took an important step forward in 2015, joining more than 40 states to ban profiling. Unfortunately, making something illegal doesn’t mean it no longer happens. The harmful practice of profiling continues in our communities with Oregonians of color, low-income neighborhoods and LGBT people targeted most. 

We cannot accept a system where every day, people are singled out based on their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, language, housing status, sexual orientation or gender identity—in the streets, in our schools, at public transit stops, and in our own neighborhoods.

Our coalition will not rest until our state has the right tools to adequately track profiling, the oversight to stop it when it occurs, and the training to prevent it from happening in the first place. We firmly believe that once this bill becomes law, we can put an end to police profiling once and for all. We thank the committee for voting in favor of the End Profiling Legislation. 

We also know that we have much more work ahead of us in our fight to create a safer and more equitable state where people don't have to live in fear and entire communities aren't cast as suspect simply because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or any other protected identities.

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

For more information, contact: Alison McIntosh, Neighborhood Partnerships
(503) 816-2882, amcintosh@neighborhoodpartnerships.org

Salem, Ore. – On Thursday, the House Committee on Human Services and Housing voted to pass HB 2004, which protects Oregon renters from no-cause evictions while preserving property rights for landlords. The bill also gives local jurisdictions the ability to create common-sense rent stabilization policies that work best for renters and landlords in their communities. 

Upon passage, Pam Phan, policy and organizing director for the Community Alliance of Tenants, issued the following statement on behalf of Stable Homes for Oregon Families: 
                                                                                                           
“We applaud the committee for voting in favor of HB 2004 and thank the Oregon lawmakers who responded to the testimony of tenants, landlords, business owners, faith leaders, and community members about how Oregon’s housing crisis is affecting their communities. 

“The passage of this bill shows that lawmakers are taking important steps to address the effects of our state’s housing crisis on Oregon renters, who are under constant threat of sudden and excessive rent increases and evictions without cause. Oregonians particularly vulnerable to displacement are people of color, those who work for low wages, seniors, and those with disabilities on fixed incomes. We urge quick passage of the bill by the full House of Representatives so that hearings can begin immediately in the Senate. Too many Oregonians are at risk of displacement and homelessness today without the protections of this critical legislation. We look forward to the day when this legislation reaches Governor Brown’s desk for her signature. Once this bill becomes law, the 40 percent of Oregonians who rent their homes will finally be secure in the knowledge that their homes can’t be taken away suddenly and without a valid reason.”

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, (503) 863-1363, rose@brinkcomm.com

House Bill 3087 ensures Oregon workers can afford to take the time they need to deal with a serious personal or family illness, bond with a new child

(Salem, Ore.)—The House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports held a public hearing today on proposed legislation that will ensure all working Oregonians have paid time away to welcome a new child, to recover from a serious illness or to care for a sick loved one. House Bill 3087—co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Williamson and Representatives Alonso Leon, Hernandez and Keny-Guyer—will create a paid family and medical leave insurance program available to every employed Oregonian. 

“Paid family and medical leave is a basic protection guaranteed to working families in countries around the world,” said House Majority Leader Williamson. “As a country and a state, we are lagging severely behind. It’s time for Oregon to prioritize this issue and ensure that a new baby or a health crisis no longer means potential financial disaster for working families.”

Williamson also stated that a paid family and medical leave program will help reduce turnover costs and level the playing field for employers.

A broad coalition submitted testimony in support of the bill, including co-sponsors of the legislation, workers, businesses and community organizations. Participants included: Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon; Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN); Amy Donohue, Principal at Bora Architects; and Rachel Jesequel, a Beaverton mom who struggled after the birth of her child as a result of no  paid family leave. 

Currently, only 14 percent of workers across the nation have access to paid family and medical leave at work. Federal and Oregon law provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for some workers—however, these laws don’t apply to everyone and they don’t help with lost income. In addition, many family members are excluded by workplace and economic policies that fail to recognize the nearly 80 percent of American families that don’t fit the nuclear family model of a married mother and father and their biologically related children.

“As Oregonians, we stand for family values, and those values don’t end at the workplace door,” said Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon and Chair of the Time For Oregon Coalition. “Workers need the security of knowing they can pay the bills when they need time off to welcome a new child or care for someone they love.” 

Data also shows that workers in low-paying jobs are the least likely to have access to the paid family and medical leave they need to help avoid financial catastrophe when illness strikes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the bottom quarter of wage earners only 5 percent have access to paid family leave compared to 21 percent of the highest quarter. These workers are disproportionately women and people of color, who are also the most likely to take on the care of an ill relative to avoid the cost of other forms of care.

“My husband didn’t have paid family leave after our daughter was born and was only able to take two days off to be with us in the hospital, ” said Rachel Jesequel. “Our family was stressed.  I had a really difficult recovery from the birth and it was hard to take care of the baby without his help.  It was so painful to also watch Kevin struggle because he didn’t get the time he needed to bond with our daughter.”

The proposed legislation creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program that will be: 
• A self-sustaining insurance program administered by the state;
• Structured as a social insurance program, like Social Security or Unemployment Insurance;
• Funded by a shared contribution by employers and employees, each providing a small percent of payroll to a state-managed insurance fund that will administer the program; 
• A way for employees to receive partial income replacement when they need family or medical leave; and
• Inclusive of more families, defined as individuals related “by blood or affinity” — to better reflect Oregon family structures and relationships. 

The bill now awaits a work session in the House committee.  

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

SALEM, Ore. -- Advocates for reproductive health care and reproductive justice applauded the Oregon House Healthcare Committee for advancing the Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3391) with a public hearing. The hearing will be held at 3pm today in Hearing Room E at the State Capitol.

House Bill 3391 is sponsored by 19 State Representatives and 10 State Senators. The bill has been developed over the past two years by the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon with input from legislators and community leaders around Oregon.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act removes financial barriers and ensures that every Oregonian is empowered to make their own decisions about whether and when to become a parent. Limitations on reproductive health services can have profoundly harmful effects on public health and on a person's life opportunities. Particularly at risk are those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality care, such as low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, young women, survivors of domestic violence, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

This landmark legislation closes multiple gaps in reproductive health coverage:

Requires all commercial plans to cover the entire cost of the full range of reproductive health services - including family planning, vasectomy and abortion - without deductible or co-pay by the patient.

Establishes coverage for reproductive health care, especially postpartum care for Oregonians who are categorically excluded from health programs due to citizenship status.

Assures access without government interference to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in reproductive health coverage.

"This legislation clearly proclaims Oregon's commitment to equity," says Kimberly McCullough, Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. "Oregonians have consistently elected leaders who understand that you can't have equity or choice without access. Even as politicians across the country take aim at reproductive freedom, House Bill 3391 will affirm the right to safe, legal abortion in Oregon, and will give everyone who calls Oregon home the health care they need to create and take care of their families when and as they choose."

Source: http://www.ppaoregon.org/2017/03/15/reprod...
Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, 503.863.1363, rose@brinkcomm.com 

SB 558 ensures every child who calls Oregon home has equal access to health care

(Salem, Ore.)—The Senate Committee on Health Care today passed Senate Bill 558. The bill, known as “Cover All Kids” will extend health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all Oregon kids, ensuring every child has the same opportunity to grow up healthy. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Boquist, Kruse and Roblan and by Representatives Alonso Leon, Huffman and Olson.  

Studies show that for children, having access to health care results in improved education outcomes and higher incomes later in life. The proposed Cover All Kids legislation will strengthen future economic opportunities for Oregon children by ensuring every kid has access to critical health coverage. Oregon will benefit from having a more skilled workforce and a stronger economy. The bill now moves to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. 

“I’m proud of this legislation and grateful to my colleagues for their support. Promoting children’s health is not only the right thing to do, it’s a valuable economic investment for our state,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care. “Investing in the health of our kids now will deliver the skilled workforce we need to boost Oregon’s economy down the road.” 

Over the past decade, Oregon has made significant strides toward ensuring every child has access to quality, affordable health care. However, more than 17,000 kids are currently excluded from Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status. 
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is a strong proponent of the Cover All Kids legislation. Earlier this month, Governor Brown testified before the House Committee on Health Care in support of House Bill 2726  a companion bill introduced in the Oregon House.  

Both Senate Bill 558 and House Bill 2726 have bi-partisan support and are backed by the Oregon Latino Health Coalition which represents nearly a hundred organizations including community based organizations, CCOs, insurers, hospitals, educators, labor unions and community members. 

“Today, we are one step closer to a stronger and more equitable economy, where every child has the health care they need to reach their full potential. It’s time for Oregon to stand up for our core value of healthy children and ensure that all children are on the path to a stronger, healthier future,” said Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy & Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition.

Health insurance is a key factor in determining whether children receive the medical care they need. Studies show that uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and much more likely to have unmet medical needs.

“Because my siblings and I lacked proper health insurance, we were denied the right to live a normal childhood. Fear and worry instead consumed my every day childhood,” said Fatima Preciado, an 18 year old Portland State University student who grew up without adequate health coverage. “My mother struggled severely when it came to purchasing my sister’s medication. There were times when my sister went weeks without medication, causing her to suffer severe uncontrollable epileptic seizures.” 

The bill now awaits its next hearing in the Ways and Means Committee. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Health Care is expected to hold a work session on House Bill 2726, the companion bill introduced in the Oregon House. 

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Mike Westling, Brink Communications
(503) 498-8161, mike@brinkcomm.com

Proponents from across the state highlighted the need for Oregon to join 22 other states in requiring law enforcement departments to collect profiling data and provide training

Salem, Ore.— Members of Oregon’s law enforcement community joined community groups and legislative leaders Monday before the House Committee on Judiciary to support a bill to curb the practice of police profiling in Oregon.

House Bill 2355 will require law enforcement departments to begin collecting and retaining standardized demographic data on all officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops. The bill also requires mandatory training in cultural competency and implicit bias for all state and local law enforcement officers in Oregon and establishes a statewide system to hold law enforcement departments accountable for profiling practices.

The bill will also change state law to make small-scale possession of drugs a misdemeanor with access to treatment, instead of a felony, which carries steeper penalties that often result in the loss of housing, employment and social services, making it that much harder to beat addiction.

“While legislators banned police profiling in 2015, the truth is that it’s still happening in Oregon every day,” said Kayse Jama, executive director of Unite Oregon. “This is simply unacceptable. We need to the tools to adequately track the problem, the oversight to stop it when it occurs, and the training to prevent it from happening in the first place.”

In 2015, Oregon took an important step forward by joining more than 40 states to ban profiling. Despite this measure, profiling continues to occur and low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and LGBT people are targeted the most. 

Collecting better data in Oregon will institute a best practice already in place in law enforcement agencies around the country. According to the ACLU, 22 states, 4,000 cities—including over half of the 50 largest—and 6,000 police departments are now collecting stop and search data. In Oregon, the Oregon State Police and the Corvallis Police Department have begun to collect data on profiling, but there is currently no statewide requirement or system to do so.

“Put simply, The War on Drugs has failed,” said Amira Streeter, policy and advocacy director for the Urban League of Portland. “Our state’s current approach to drug enforcement has been ineffective and wasteful – the status quo has devastated our communities and had disproportionate impacts on of color and low-income Oregonians. It’s time to reform our drug policies to focus on what we know is effective: treatment, education and rehabilitation.”

More information about the legislative proposal to end profiling is available here: http://bit.ly/end_profiling

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Mike Westling, Brink Communications
(503) 498-8161, mike@brinkcomm.com

HB 2004 will address Oregon’s housing crisis by providing stability and basic protection for tenants and lifting the statewide prohibition on rent stabilization
 
Salem, Ore. – Renters, housing advocates, and community leaders from across the state testified before the House Committee on Human Services and Housing Thursday morning in support of legislation that will address Oregon’s housing crisis. The hearing will continue with additional testimony Thursday evening at 5:00pm.
 
HB 2004 will help keep families in their homes by requiring statements of just-cause to ensure that evictions or lease terminations are only permitted when a landlord provides a valid reason. The bill will also repeal the statewide prohibition on modern rent stabilization policies, restoring local control to allow individual communities to design policies that meet their unique needs.

“Our stores’ neighbors are both our employees and our customers,” said Sarah Joannides, Director of Social Responsibility for New Seasons Market in support of ending no-cause evictions. “When our neighbors are removed from their homes and can’t afford to stay in their community, we feel the impact as a company, and as Oregonians.”

Rapidly rising housing costs across Oregon
 
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon increased steadily in recent years from $807 in 2012 to $864 in 2015. Between 2015 to 2016, that figure jumped, from $864 to $1,008, marking a single-year rent increase of $144 or 16.7 percent.

In Portland, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,208. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $48,320 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $23.23.

“Evictions with no reason and extreme rent increases cause immense financial hardship on working families that can force them to deplete their savings, force them into homelessness and send them into a spiral of poverty,” said Pam Phan, Policy and Organizing Director for the Community Alliance of Tenants. “Moreover, these practices disproportionately impact families of color, worsening inequities and pulling communities apart.”

As housing demand rapidly outpaces supply, no-cause evictions and triple-digit rent increases have become increasingly common for the 40 percent of Oregonians who rent, upending their lives and breaking their budgets.

Extremely low vacancy rates mean that families who have been evicted without cause or forced out by rent increases cannot find new units that they can afford, and many renters who have had stable housing are suddenly facing homelessness.
 
"No-cause eviction circumvents due process,” said Cody Standiford, co-chair of the Homeless Leadership Coalition in Central Oregon. “Homelessness has been deemed to be a life-threatening condition. Placing people at risk of homelessness for no reason is akin to placing a person on death row without a trial. HB 2004 addresses the current lack of due process and will help to protect people from entering the potentially lethal condition of homelessness without reason and access to due process under the laws of our great state."  
 
More information about just-cause evictions and rent stabilization is available here: http://bit.ly/stablehomes

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Luann Algoso, luann@familyforward.org, 714-613-2647

SALEM, OR – Today, the legislature introduced the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (HB 3087), a bill that is supported by the Time for Oregon coalition, a group of organizations ranging from community advocacy groups, labor organizations, public health organizations, senior groups, children’s groups and more that are working together to bring paid family and medical leave to ALL Oregonians. Whether it’s the birth of a child, the serious illness of a spouse, or the end-of-life for a parent – we all need time to care for our families. Caring for a family is important work, and shouldn’t mean losing wages or compromising our economic security.

HB 3087 would create a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program that ensures every working Oregonian will have paid time away from work to welcome a new child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a loved one who is recovering from a serious illness. This program would be managed by the Department of Consumer & Business Services. Employees and employers would each contribute up to 0.5% (half of one percent) of an employee’s wages through a regular payroll deduction. When an employee has a qualifying reason for leave they would receive partial wage replacement for their time away from work directly from the state insurance fund.

“Women still provide the majority of unpaid caregiving within the home, whether it is for a child or for an elderly parent,” says Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon. “Women are also the primary or co-breadwinner in more than two-thirds of families. Without universal policies like paid family leave, women continue to face real barriers to staying in the workforce and maintaining their earnings when family caregiving needs arise.

“I support a paid family and medical leave insurance program because I know it’s critical for the people who work for me and because it’s good for business,” says Kerry McClenahan, CEO of McClenahan Bruer. “Trying to provide family leave benefits without an insurance program to fund them is simply not an option for most small businesses. That’s why we need the state to lead the way – creating a program that ensures all families can manage the ups and downs that are inevitable during some points of their working lives. In addition, making paid family and medical leave more universally available is critical to ensuring that women are treated equitably at work. Until we ensure that everyone can take paid leave to welcome a new child or care for a family member, women will continue to experience wage and leadership gaps.”

“Creating a paid family and medical leave program will have have economy-wide benefits such as reduced government spending on public assistance and increased labor force participation, which will bring associated economic gains, generating a larger tax base and increased consumer spending. It’s the right thing to do for Oregon’s families, and now is the right time to do it.” says Rep. Jennifer Williamson who is sponsoring the bill.

Among others the bill is endorsed by: Oregon AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Children First for Oregon, Fair Shot for All Coalition, Family Forward Oregon, Forward Together, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Health Equity Alliance, Oregon Nurses Association, Partnership for a Hunger-Free Oregon, PCUN, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Unite Oregon and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Source: http://www.timefororegon.org/2017/02/27/fa...
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AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, (503) 863-1363, rose@brinkcomm.com 

House Bill 2726 promotes children’s health, ensures all kids have equal access to health care as a basic human right

(Salem, Ore.)— Oregon Governor Kate Brown testified today before the House Committee on Health Care in support of the bill known as “Cover All Kids”, emphasizing her commitment to ensure all Oregon children have the same opportunity to grow up healthy. House Bill 2726 will extend healthcare coverage through the Oregon Health Plan to all Oregon kids. 

The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Alonso Leon, Gilliam, Hernandez, Huffman and Olson and by Senators Boquist, Monnes Anderson, and Roblan. 

"It is our duty to ensure that our youngest Oregonians have the tools to grow into healthy adults with access to education, health care, and a bright future," Governor Kate Brown said. "Oregon children should have the opportunity to be healthy and ready to learn, and Oregon families should feel confident that a medical event will not dramatically change the trajectory of their lives."

When children have access to health care through Medicaid, studies show they have improved education outcomes and higher incomes later in life. The proposed Cover All Kids legislation will promote the health of all Oregon children and put every child on the pathway to success.   

A broad coalition joined Governor Brown in support of the bill, including: Representative John Huffman; Former Representative Vic Gilliam; Dr. Resa Bradeen, Medical Director for Children’s Services at Oregon Region Providence Health System; Laura Etherton, State and Federal Policy Director for Oregon Primary Care Association; and Fatima Preciado, an 18 year old Portland State University student who is a DACA recipient and grew up without adequate health coverage. 

Over the past decade, Oregon has made significant strides toward ensuring every child has access to quality, affordable health care. However, more than 17,000 kids are currently excluded from Oregon Health Plan because of their residency status. 

“These kids represent the future of Oregon,” said Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy & Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition. “This policy will make sure that every child in every classroom across the state is covered. Now is the time for Oregon to stand up for our core value of healthy children and invest in all our kids.”

The Oregon Latino Health Coalition represents nearly a hundred organizations that have backed the effort to expand access to health care for all Oregon kids, including community based organizations, CCOs, insurers, hospitals, educators, labor unions and community members. 

“Because my siblings and I lacked proper health insurance, we were denied the right to live a normal childhood. Fear and worry instead consumed my every day childhood,” said Preciado. “My mother struggled severely when it came to purchasing my sister’s medication. There were times when my sister went weeks without medication, causing her to suffer severe uncontrollable epileptic seizures.” 

Growing up healthy is a challenge for Oregon children who lack health insurance, and health insurance is a key factor in determining whether children receive the medical care they need. Studies show that uninsured children are much more likely than insured children to forgo necessary medical care due to costs, and much more likely to have unmet medical needs. 

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health Care will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 558, a companion bill introduced in the Oregon Senate, 

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Jimmy Radosta, 503.232.9632, jimmy.radosta@PPAOregon.org

Under landmark legislation, Oregon would become the first state in the nation to ensure reproductive health equity.

A broad coalition of racial and gender justice, reproductive rights and community groups from across the state have joined forces to introduce the Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 2232). The coalition consists of American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Family Forward Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Western States Center.

Access to reproductive health care is critical for the health and economic security of all Oregonians, regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity or type of insurance. Limitations on reproductive health services can have profoundly harmful effects on public health, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality care. By ensuring that Oregonians have coverage for the full range of preventive reproductive health services at zero out-of-pocket cost and by filling gaps in reproductive health coverage for those categorically excluded from health programs due to citizenship status, the Reproductive Health Equity Act will remove financial barriers and ensure that every Oregonian is empowered to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent.

Zeenia Junkeer, Director of Equity and Community Engagement for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said: “Preventive services reduce healthcare costs and strengthen our communities and our economy. In order to have stronger health outcomes, Oregonians need quality medical care to prevent problems before they start.”

Laurel Swerdlow, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, said: “We don’t always know a person’s circumstances; we’re not in their shoes. That’s why all Oregonians should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with preventive care and continuing through postpartum care. This basic right is the foundation of freedom and opportunity for Oregonians and their families.”

Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy and Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition, said: “All Oregonians – regardless of citizenship status – should have the freedom to decide if and when they have children based on what’s best for them and their family’s circumstances.”

Amy Casso, Gender Justice Program Director for Western States Center, said: “Immigrants are our neighbors. They work hard, pay taxes and put their children through school, yet many Oregonians are categorically denied health coverage due to their citizenship status. No one should have to go bankrupt or deep into debt because they don’t have affordable reproductive health care.”

Kara Carmosino, Director of Programs and Strategy for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, said: “Transgender and gender-nonconforming Oregonians need access to services often categorized as ‘women’s health care,’ including gender-specific cancer screenings. Unfortunately, when coverage is dependent on one’s gender marker, procedural barriers can hinder access to this necessary and lifesaving care.”

Kimberly McCullough, Legislative Director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said: “We believe every Oregonian should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with preventive care and continuing through postpartum care. This basic right is a foundation of freedom and opportunity for individuals and their families.”

Andrea Paluso, Executive Director for Family Forward Oregon, said: “Working families are under so much strain today and often have a hard time making ends meet. Families in Oregon need support like paid time off from work to care for loved ones and access to affordable child care. It is also critical that they have access to affordable, essential reproductive health care, which this bill guarantees.”

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Rose King, 503-863-1363, Rose@brinkcomm.com

Racial justice, labor and community organizations unite around a bold 2017 legislative agenda to promote secure employment, accessible health care, affordable housing and safe communities

(Portland, Ore.) – With racist incidents on the rise in Oregon and throughout the country since Election Day, a broad coalition of racial, gender justice, labor and community groups from across the state gathered to unveil a bold legislative agenda to protect human and civil rights in Oregon. More than fifty organizations endorsed the agenda and vowed to protect every single Oregonian, including immigrants and refugees, women, people of color, LGBT communities and working families.

“Let me be clear: we’ve made hard-earned gains here in Oregon and we aren’t about to back down. We will never stop fighting to protect our families, our communities, our children and our state,” said Kathy Wai, Civic Engagement Manager for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

The event was held at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church and comes just weeks after Governor Kate Brown’s pledge to protect the human and civil rights of all Oregonians.

The Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) and Fair Shot unveiled a shared 2017 legislative agenda, aimed at ensuring every Oregonian has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of racial background, gender, language or where they are from.

“Our agenda is bold, tackling an intersection of issues that move us closer to justice and economic opportunity for all,” said Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste. “Inequality is embedded in the public and private institutions that shape our lives. From employment to health, housing and safety, together we will tear down barriers that make it difficult for Oregonians to get ahead.”

The agenda creates a clear path to advance racial, gender and economic justice in Oregon and includes:

  • Cover All Kids: Puts every child on a pathway to success by extending the Oregon Health Plan to all children in Oregon. 
  • End Profiling: Builds on Oregon’s 2015 ban on police profiling by creating the structure to effectively identify, record and correct any profiling practices by Oregon law enforcement agencies.
  • Secure Homes For All: Helps working families maintain housing stability and curb homelessness by protecting tenants from losing their homes through no fault of their own.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave: Ensures Oregonians can take time away from work—to welcome a new child, take care of a seriously ill family member, care for someone they love at the end of their life, or recover from a serious illness or injury—without losing the income their family relies on.
  • Reproductive Health Equity: Prevents Oregonians from facing significant health and economic challenges by ensuring affordable access to the full range of reproductive health services for all.

“We’re standing strong to say that hate and discrimination have no place here, ” said Tom Chamberlain, President of Oregon AFL-CIO. “At the same time, we must build an Oregon where all families and working people have what we need to keep ourselves and our families safe and prosperous: access to critical health services, stable housing, and safe communities free from discrimination and violence. Our civil and economic rights need to be upheld every step of the way.”

Chamberlain noted that to truly create real opportunities for every Oregonian, the coalition must address long-standing inequalities that are deeply ingrained in our social and political institutions. Research shows that 1 in 7 Oregonians is living in poverty, with Oregonians of color twice as likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts. The average income of the typical white household was $51,972 in 2013, exceeding the incomes of the typical Latino, Pacific Islander, African-American and Native American households by about $13,000 or more. In addition, unemployment rate for black Oregonians in 2014 was 13.6 percent—twice the white rate of 6.8 percent—and the unemployment rates for Latinos was 9.6 percent.

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

Contact: Russell Sanders, (503) 232 – 1195 ext. 314, russell@oraflcio.org

Over 100,000 Oregonians will be impacted on Friday

(PORTLAND, OR) On Friday, July 1, over 100,000 Oregonians earning minimum wage will receive a raise.  Within Portland’s urban growth boundary and in urban counties, wages will increase from $9.25 per hour to $9.75.  In nonurban counties, the minimum wage will increase from $9.25 to $9.50.  From minimum wage earners to small business owners, Oregonians are applauding the first increase as a strong step forward for our state. 

Small business owner and Main Street Alliance member Shaun Sieren of the O'Neil Public House in Northeast Portland sees the increase as a way to give local economies a boost:

“The minimum wage increase on July 1t is a good thing, for my business, our customers, and the entire community,” said Sieren. “When folks who earn minimum wage get a raise, it helps everyone.  It puts more money in the pockets of working people, and that money gets spent at local businesses and on local goods and services. It’s simple: raising wages makes our local economy stronger.” 

For Kasil Kapriel, who earns minimum wage working at Portland International Airport, the increase on July 1t is a step forward, and a promise of hope for something more:

“The minimum wage increase will make a difference for me and my family,” said Kapriel.  “It is a great step, but only the first step.  There is more we can do to make sure working families have a shot at a better life.  I look forward to continuing to stand with my fellow airport workers, and people across our community in standing up for good jobs, with a living wage, and affordable care. We’ll continue to do whatever it takes for all working families to have a shot at a better life.” 

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explains how raising the minimum wage is just one part of a solution to a crisis facing working people in Oregon:

“In the past six years, the number of people moving to Oregon has increased by 10% while much of our state’s job growth is happening in the low wage sectors of the economy.  Combine that trend with housing costs skyrocketing and we have a problem,” said Chamberlain.  “Solving that problem requires a multifaceted approach, and raising wages is central to that approach.  We can’t expect Oregon to grow, to prosper, unless working people can afford the basics like housing, groceries, childcare, and transportation.  The raise on July 1 is the first step in the right direction for working people in Oregon.”

Business owners and workers who are interested in learning about their minimum wage region and the schedule of raises can visit Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries website to see information about the increase. Raising the minimum wage was part of the Fair Shot for All Coalition's 2015-16 Legislative Agenda. 

Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders

The Fair Shot For All Coalition is a broad coalition of community, health service, and labor organizations from across Oregon that are pushing for real policy solutions that address economic inequality. We are working together to advance an agenda that creates opportunities for working families to thrive, and that resolves historic and systemic economic inequities for people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants and women. We envision an Oregon that provides equal access to economic opportunity for all and not just a privileged few. 

In the 2015-16 legislative sessions, we helped win big victories for Oregonians including raising the minimum wage, passing paid sick leave, ensuring that everyone has a secure path to save for retirement, reducing barriers to employment by banning the criminal background box from job applications, and banning profiling by law enforcement. 

We are now accepting proposals for the 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda. In order to be considered for placement on the 2017-18 Legislative Agenda, campaigns must meet the following criteria: 

  • advance racial, gender, and economic justice and meet the values listed in our Guiding Principles document
  • be an existing campaign with a credible path to success
  • commitment to organizing around the Fair Shot message framework in the campaign and clear goals around building power for Fair Shot
  • be willing to share, welcome and incorporate feedback, and intensively collaborate on a written campaign plan with the Executive Committee and in some cases other Steering Committee members, and continue to collaborate frequently throughout the campaign
  • be the primary, short-term focus of the lead organization and/or have a significant portion of the organization’s resources dedicated to the campaign
  • be led by a Steering Committee Member or an organization that is willing to join the Steering Committee and adopt the entire agenda. Campaigns must be led by an organization, not an individual or coalition. In order to join the Steering Committee an organization must be a permanent organization that is grounded in organizing; share our values listed in the Guiding Principles; and be committed to building our movement.

Campaigns selected for the 2017-18 Legislative Agenda are eligible to receive resources from the coalition including professional communication and strategic consulting services and financial contributions. Just as important, campaigns will be made an organizing and lobbying priority for Fair Shot members.  

How to Submit Proposals:

Written proposals are due June 27th. Please send proposals to Coalition Director, Heather Stuart at Heather@FairShotOregon.org. Selected proposals will be presented to the Steering Committee on July 12th and 13th and voted on by the Steering Committee later in July.  

Written proposals should be no more than three pages and include the following information: 

  • sponsor/lead organizations;
  • other coalition members and/or endorsing organizations;
  • short description of the policy and how it fits into the economic justice and Fair Shot framework;
  • description of impacted populations and the extent of the impact;
  • estimated state budget impact; 
  • summarized history of the campaign, champions, opponents, obstacles, opportunities, and best guess of what it will take to win; 
  • anticipated and/or existing campaign roles and needs (i.e. campaign manager, communications, lobbyist, etc); and
  • the support you’d like from the Fair Shot coalition. 
Posted
AuthorChristine Saunders