APANO’s Victories in the 2022 Legislative Session
Legislative session ended on Monday, March 7. Short session, which occurs in the even numbered years, was originally intended for resolving budgetary issues and fixing already-passed legislation. In recent years however, the legislature started to look at how major policies impact communities during short sessions as well.
Both of our major priorities passed in 2022. We could not have done this without our APANO members and volunteers, coalition partners and leaders who advocated with and for us. This session was pivotal in advocating for the funding and implementation of the bills we fought for last year. In just 35 days, we let our elected officials know how policies affect us and how they can better serve us with their funding and legislation. We had only a few short weeks to weigh in on how our tax dollars were spent, especially in regards to state services like childcare, public education, and other entities that greatly impact our lives.
What issues affect us now? What does support for BIPOC communities look like in 2022?
One thing we know affects API communities right now is childcare. As folks go back to work, we know that our kids still need our support–whether they’re going back to school in person, continuing distanced learning, or in need of round-the-clock care.
How can we reduce the barriers to accessing statewide childcare? How can we make working conditions better for both our existing and future childcare workers? These were some of our most urgent questions throughout the short session. Our partners at Family Forward Oregon paved the way this year for community-based organizations to advocate for statewide childcare reform on a grassroots level.
Here are the childcare highlights from short session:
- HB 4005 Childcare Reform
- Make child care more affordable and easier to find for many families
- Offer grants for new providers and providers expanding services
- Provide direct relief payments to child care workers
- Continue making Oregon’s public child care system, ERDC, more beneficial for parents and providers
- Child Care Emergency Response Package: The Child Care for Oregon coalition secured a historic $100M investment in child care that will help stabilize the sector, support providers, and ensure more families have access to care.
Another major priority we advocated for this year was the Oregon Worker Relief Fund. This fund provides financial support directly to Oregonians who have lost their jobs yet are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance and federal stimulus relief due to their immigration status, and now face hunger, homelessness, and economic hardship.
This session, the legislature approved $65M for the Oregon Worker Relief Fund. By investing in Oregon workers left out of the federal stimulus and safety-net programs, we can prevent tens of thousands of Oregon families from going into economic ruin and reduce the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Oregon immigrants, refugees, and communities of color.
As our surroundings continue to change in the pandemic, so do our immediate needs: mental health access, safer working conditions and protecting workers’ rights, childcare, and an education system that serves us all with compassion and understanding.
Other notable victories that APANO supported:
- 2022 Fair Shot Coalition Agenda
- HB 4011 Mental Health Workforce Emergency Support: Initiates an incentive program for mental health associates within the Oregon Health Authority.
- HB 4133 Online Voter Registration: Allows anyone with a Social Security Number to register to vote online using an electronic voting system.
- SB 1536 Emergency Heat Relief: Removes barriers to renters to install air conditioners. This bill limits restrictions on portable cooling devices in residences by landlords, homeowners associations, condominium associations and local governments and directs the Oregon Health Authority to create a program to acquire air conditions and filters for distribution on an emergency basis to eligible individuals.
The journey continues
One major obstacle that remains is legislator pay. SB 1566 did not pass, which means that legislators will continue to receive only $32,839 a year instead of the Oregon average salary of $63,484. This bill would have also included a stipend for legislators with children to pay for childcare during the legislative session.
This bill not moving forward also means that many parents who are currently in the legislature will not run for re-election, since not everyone can afford childcare (either with their time or financial capacity). Not only that, but this prevents future BIPOC, low income, and underrepresented communities from having the resources they need to become leaders.
This will greatly affect representation of marginalized communities in legislature. During next year’s long session, our elected officials will once again be put to task to level the playing field for who gets to run for office in the future–and how they will continue to make the legislature accessible for all.
Here are some other bills that are now unfinished business:
- HB 4091 Pacific Islander Student Success Act: Statewide plan to meet educational needs and address systemic disparities that impact Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian students in Oregon. While this bill did not pass, the Oregon Department of Education did attain some additional funding for this conversation to continue in the next legislative session.
- HB 4147 Restoration of Voting: Ensures that Oregonians who are convicted of a felony to register to vote, update voter registration and vote in elections while incarcerated.
- HB 4112 Professional Development for Ethnic Studies in Oregon Supports K-12 educators to implement the state’s new Ethnic Studies standards, ensuring that students have the opportunity to learn about the unique histories of Oregon’s diverse communities.
What can we do next? Where do we go from here? There is so much to do, and there are other ways to get our voices heard.
- Volunteer with us in the primary election. Join our Field Kick Off on Tuesday April 5th. We still have a say in who represents us in office, and this is our time to vote.
- Share your story with us. How do some of these bills impact you? What do you need legislators to address next session? Let us know–email email@example.com
Our communities’ issues are interconnected. Access to mental health care affects our education system; access to childcare affects our workforce and the career path of our future leaders, and climate change affects both our current housing crisis and working conditions. We connected these dots for our legislators this year, and we let them know how urgent our needs are. In January 2023 we will continue to share our stories, link them to bigger systemic issues, and create change through policy and infrastructure that can improve all of our lives.
When we tell legislators who we are, how we navigate the world and what we care about, we get results.
See you at the next legislative session.
Political Director | Marchel Marcos at firstname.lastname@example.org
This programming message brought to you by APANO, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
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