2022 Short Session Newsletter

Over the last two years the pandemic and extreme wildfires have caused major disruptions to our businesses, schools, and daily lives. With substantial state revenue remaining from our recent economic growth and an infusion of federal America Rescue Plan funds, our main goal this session was to make strategic investments to rebuild the economy, support critical services, and address challenges to the workforce caused by the pandemic. 

 

With that goal in mind of allocating these investments to help our state in significant ways, and passing meaningful policy changes, I believe this may have been the most successful short session to date. Described in this newsletter are some of those achievements and investments, included bonding and capital projects, and statutory bills like farmworker overtime pay.

This session I continued in my role as Speaker Pro Tempore and had the great privilege to prepare for and begin the short session as Speaker of the House of Representatives. After Speaker Tina Kotek resigned, I presided for the remainder of January and oversaw the election of current Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield on February 1st. As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve House District 8 in the Oregon Legislature.


Respectfully,

 

 


Paul Holvey
Oregon State Representative
House District 8

 

In addition to serving as Speaker Pro Tempore this session, I served on the following committees:

 

As the Capital Construction Committee Co-Chair, I continued my work spearheading infrastructure and project investments around the state, with special attention to areas impacted by wildfires, including the McKenzie River community. Some notable capital projects in our community were:

  • $3 million for the McKenzie River Discovery Center

  • $3.6 million for the McKenzie Goodpasture Bridge rehabilitation project

  • $375,000 for EWEB Water treatment improvement project

  • $15 million to St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County non-profit for manufactured housing production facility

  • $3.3 million for Peace Village to support SquareOne Villages

  • $10 million to University of Oregon Acceleration Scientific Impact

  • $4.5 Million to University of Oregon to support the Oregon Hazards Lab (OHAZ) Wildfire Camera Network

  • $7.5 million for Lane County Fairgrounds Multi-Use Facility

  • $6 million to Eugene Civic Alliance Civic Park

  • $5 million for Lane County Emergency Response Functionality

  • $1.5 million for City of Oakridge Willamette Activity Center

 

Notable Statewide Investments:

  • $300 million education package to address the staffing crisis in Oregon’s schools, create summer learning opportunities, support wild-fire impacted school districts, and address education disparities.

  • $100 million to address the need for affordable childcare including recruitment and retention payments to childcare workers, training of new childcare providers, and direct grants to expand existing childcare facilities.

  • $400 million for affordable housing and help for homeless Oregonians including $165 million for homelessness services, $215 million to build and preserve affordable housing, and $20 million to improve access to homeownership.

  • $100 million to help our communities pursue Oregon’s 100% renewable energy goals and combat drought including residential solar and storage rebates, and investments in charging infrastructure for zero emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

  • $57 million to fund violence prevention programs and support community safety including $15 million to support Community-Based Organizations working to prevent violence, $5 million to expand hospital-based community violence prevention programs, $13 million to help local communities around the state clean up trash and provide sanitation services, $14 million to support services for crime victims, and $10 million for the Oregon Domestic & Sexual Violence Services Fund.

  • $250 million for Broadband Access Budget to help develop broadband across Oregon.

Following these appropriations, Oregon will still maintain more than $2.7 billion in reserve. That includes projected balances of $760 million in General Funds, $1.3 billion in the Rainy-Day Fund, and nearly $700 million in the Education Stability Fund.

 

 

HB 4002 - Agricultural Worker Overtime

I took on continuing the conversation from 2021 to find a solution ensuring farmworkers are treated fairly under Oregon’s Constitution in receiving overtime pay. Since the 1930's agricultural workers have been one of the only groups exempted from overtime pay. After an interim workgroup we were able to design a concept that phased in the overtime hour threshold over 5 years and provided financial support to help farmers adapt to these costs. Oregon will soon become the eighth state to extend overtime pay to agricultural workers, and will join California and Washington to phase in an overtime requirement for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

 

After a Supreme Court decision in Washington and pending legal action in Oregon, a legislative solution seemed a better way to move forward to help the industry adjust to the new requirement. A statutory provision also provided the certainty of a slower phase in and financial assistance that could not be accomplished in a judicial or administrative proceeding. HB 4002 phases in overtime requirements over 5 years, starting at above 55 hours in 2023, and ending with 40 hours in 2027; while concurrently providing the financial assistance over 6 years, with greater aid for smaller agriculture operations.

 

Though not everyone is happy with the outcome, I worked hard to craft the best policy we could to achieve a solution where complete stakeholder agreement was not achievable. I’m proud of that work and being a Chief Sponsor of HB 4002 providing overtime pay for agricultural workers, just like most other workers are guaranteed. Farmworkers deserve equal treatment under Oregon law, and this is a major step in that direction.

 

HB 4157 - Cost of Living Payments of Low Wage Workers 

Low-wage workers play an essential role in Oregon but as the wealth gap has widened during the pandemic these essential workers are some of the most vulnerable to the increasing cost of everyday necessities. Rents continue to rise, childcare remains unaffordable and inaccessible, and healthcare costs remain high throughout this pandemic.

HB 4157 will support over 260,000 low income workers and families by giving one-time $600 payments for those who worked during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those payments will be coupled with the earned income tax credit payments allowing them to be distributed more quickly and effectively to those who are eligible.

 

Other important policy bills the Legislature passed this session:

HB 4123 - Homelessness Pilot Program: Creates eight locally led pilot programs with counties, cities, tribes, and community organizations to facilitate a coordinated response to homelessness that will help connect those in crisis with shelters and pathways to more permanent housing.

HB 4035 - Protecting Health Coverage for Low-Income Oregonians: The number of Oregonians receiving health care coverage from the Oregon Health Plan increased by 28 percent since the start of the pandemic. Once the public health emergency ends an estimated 300,000 Oregonians will lose their coverage. Along with allocated funds HB4035 will ensure Oregonians have access to health insurance while they are moved out of the state Medicaid system.

HB 4015 - Small Business Access to Capital: To help jumpstart Oregon’s small business and start-ups HB 4015 permanently increases access to capital through the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund at the Oregon Business Development Department.

SB 1501 - Private Forest Accord: Updates provisions of the Oregon Forest Practices Act, which governs logging activity on private forestlands to provide important protections for our forests and natural habitats.

SB 1536 - Extreme heatwaves: Eases barriers to renters accessing portable cooling devices and heat relief during severe weather events.

 

 

Rental Assistance Update

 

We just got word this week that the U.S. Treasury has recently allocated an additional $16M in Emergency Rental Assistance resources to Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). This will allow OHCS to keep the rental assistance application portal open until 11:59 p.m. PDT, March 21, 2022. 

Anyone who has not applied for OERAP in the past and has fallen behind on rent is encouraged to apply for emergency rental assistance before 11:59 p.m. on March 21, 2022, at: oregonrentalassistance.org

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