(Copied from Rep. Reardon’s email)
Friends & Neighbors:
After months of preparation, long hours on the House floor, and consideration of thousands of bills, last week the Oregon Legislature finished the 2015 session a few days ahead of schedule.
I’m extremely proud of the work we accomplished and even happier to know that my top priorities—to strengthen career and technical education, to protect pollinator health, and to make East Portland safer—will all be signed into law soon.
As a legislature, we worked together to pass bills that directly benefit thousands of Oregonians. We began to repair the K-12 funding gap that was created during the recession by budgeting an historic $7.4B for public schools. We invested $35M in career technical education and science, technology, engineering and math so that our students are prepared for the high-tech jobs of their generation. We asked universities to find a way provide students with a meaningful degree for an affordable price.
We made sure that when a worker or her child gets sick, she can take a day off without losing her job. We put the wheels in motion to solve Oregon’s retirement security crisis. We gave workers with a criminal record a fighting chance to find employment and reduce recidivism rates.
We made strategic investments that will create jobs and strengthen our infrastructure, including $300M for upgrades to unsafe and dilapidated school buildings. We dedicated over $60M to the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low-income residents and people suffering from mental illness. We allocated $90M to transportation projects statewide, including a $17.5M improvement to Outer Southeast Powell Boulevard, one of the most dangerous streets in the state and one that many of you walk, drive, or ride down every day.
We also created an automatic voter registration system that is the envy of other states. We created a system to tax and regulate recreational marijuana. We provided resources to domestic violence survivors and found new ways to prevent abusers from obtaining firearms. We made sure that when wrongdoers in Oregon are found liable for punitive damages that they pay up and use unclaimed proceeds for legal aid. We stuck to our plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.
These were the things Oregonians asked for, and we delivered.
It’s been a remarkable six months, and I’m already thinking of what I can start working on this fall to build upon these successes in 2016. If your favorite policy didn’t make the cut this session, share it with me by replying to this email or posting to my Facebook page.