July 5, 2023

Liberation is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: The Wins and Hurdles of the 2023 Legislative Session

Last week, on June 25, elected officials and many local organizations celebrated sine die, the official end of the 2023 legislative session. As we look back, a variety of emotions come up. We were able to pass some pretty amazing policies! And we have a list of unfinished business; we lost six crucial weeks of session due to 11 Senate Republicans and Independents not showing up to do their job. We’ve seen time and time again where these extremists disregard the will of Oregonians, but we remain hopeful for the future.

Our hope comes from you, our APANO Politicos, community members, and partner organizations. You showed up, whether in Salem or at one of our legislative events. Our community fought back when the Republican and Independent legislators walked out and refused to show up for work. We wrote emails en masse. We showed up to rally in Salem. We provided testimonies on healthcare, food security and rent control bills that help all Oregonians — especially BIPOC and low-income communities.

We may look back on this year as the longest walk-out in history, but we hope you’ll join us in celebrating our efforts and those of fellow activists and racial justice organizations. We made policy moves to help our communities thrive. Together, we accomplished a lot!

In February, APANO hosted our Advocacy Summit and over 40 participants filled Mekong Bistro to learn about APANO’s legislative priorities, provide critical feedback, and ask questions. It was a momentous time together!

Through the work with our Child Care for Oregon coalition, we hosted a legislator debrief to begin to shape childcare and early learning champions. Our Childcare Lobby Day was hosted virtually this year and brought many parents and childcare providers to meet with legislators.

In March, APANO hosted a legislative and lobby training to prepare for visits with legislators. We learned about the legislative process and practiced having conversations and making asks of legislators. That hard work paid off when we met with nearly 20 legislators in April during our first in-person lobby day since 2019. With more than 40 community members, we met in Salem to advocate for APANO’s legislative priorities. We got to connect our APANO Politicos and our lived experiences directly with the policies we supported through session, giving a real face to the people affected by legislation.

APANO staff and Politicos at the Oregon State Capitol for lobby day


Overall, we made great progress, and there is much work to be done. Thank you for following along and for seeing APANO as a trusted source for legislative efforts. A number of our initiatives were successful (✅) and many still have yet to pass (❌). Find more information about our coalition work and the initiatives we supported below.

CHILD CARE AND EARLY LEARNING (CHILD CARE FOR OREGON COALITION)

APANO co-leads the Child Care for Oregon coalition alongside Family Forward. There were many important focus areas this year for the coalition, and we’ve broken them down into Three main areas: Access & Affordability, Workforce Development & Support, and Infrastructure. To get involved with the Child Care for Oregon Coalition at ChildCareForOregon.org

CHILD CARE ACCESS & AFFORDABILITY

❌ Funding ask for Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) policy option package (POP) 101 — would have increased access to existing early learning programs.

❌ Funding ask for DELC POP 102 — would have implemented the 2021 Legislatively-approved changes to Oregon’s child care assistance program; implementing these changes will decreasing barriers that exist in accessing child care assistance

❌ Funding ask for POP 104 — would have increased slots for Baby Promise.

HB 2683 — Expands eligibility to ERDC, regardless of income, for any child with an open child welfare care, facing or at risk of facing homelessness, and/or facing or at risk of facing violence in their homes.

HB 3027 — Would have directed DELC and DHS to convene work groups to study the optimal use of child care navigators to support access to and enrollment in child care and early learning programs.

CHILD CARE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & SUPPORT

HB 2991 — Directs DELC to complete an independent study regarding barriers to attaining high quality early childhood workforce.

HB 2504 — Requires DELC to adopt standards and processes to reduce barriers for international early childhood professionals to enter early learning workforce in Oregon.

HB 3029 — Would have created an incentive and assistance program for child care workforce modeled after medical providers program.

HB 2993 — Would have required Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to adopt by rule qualification criteria for community educations workers as an additional category of traditional health workers.

CHILD CARE INFRASTRUCTURE

HB 3005 — Directs OR Business Development Department to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants to pay for allowable costs related to early child care infrastructure activities.

SB 599 — Effective January 1, 2024, landlords are required to allow dwelling to be used as family child care home, subject to conditions.

HB 2727 — Directs the Department of Land and Conservation and Development to convene work group to examine strategies for expanding early learning and care facilities in the state.

LEGISLATOR PAY (THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE COALITION)

APANO co-leads the Opportunity to Serve Coalition with the Urban League of Portland and ACLU of Oregon. Learn more about the coalition OpportunityToServeOregon.org

SB 786 — Would have increased legislator pay and improved the quality and diversity of representation in the Capitol. Without much information being shared from leadership or included in the process, Senate Rules unanimously passed SJR 34. That means that this bill will be referred to the 2024 ballot as a measure to create an independent salary commission with authority to set salary amounts independent of the legislature. View our coalition press release here.

FOOD FOR ALL (FOOD FOR ALL OREGONIANS COALITION)

APANO sits on the steering committee and communications table for the Food For All Oregonians coalition. The goal of the coalition was to establish the Food for All Oregonians Program in the Department of Human Services (DHS). Learn more about the coalition at FoodForAllOR.org

SB 610 — Would have expanded SNAP benefits to our immigrant communities and bridge the food insecurity gap for over 62,000 Oregonians who would qualify for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program but for immigration status or lack of Social Security number.

HOUSING STABILITY (FAIR SHOT FOR ALL COALITION)

APANO is part of the Fair Shot for All Coalition steering committee. As a coalition, we are focused on making Oregon a place where racial, gender, and economic justice are centered in all our institutions, governments, and laws. Learn more about the coalition at FairShotOregon.org

SB 611 — Keeps rent increases reasonable and narrow the loophole that has allowed landlords to increase rents without limits

HB 2001 — Creates new rights for renters that can help protect them from eviction for nonpayment of rent and other fees.

SB 799 — Would have required residential landlords to extend notice periods for terminations of tenancy based on nonpayment of rent and to include additional notices.

SB 603 — Would have established the People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program to provide payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60% of the area median income.

REPRODUCTIVE & GENDER JUSTICE (FAIR SHOT FOR ALL COALITION)

HB 2002 — Protects access to abortion, establishes abortion + transgender health care provider protections who have been increasingly coming under threat/ attack, and requires that health insurance cover medically necessary gender-affirming care.

INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE JUSTICE (FAIR SHOT FOR ALL COALITION)

SB 612 — Invests in Indigenous language interpretation to pay interpreters living wages and ensure that Indigenous language speakers don't have to pay for their own interpretation

IN DEFENSE OF HUMANITY (FAIR SHOT FOR ALL COALITION)

SB 337 — Supports the public defense workforce including increased pay and reasonable caseloads that allow attorneys and staff to adequately represent their clients

EDUCATION (OREGON PACIFIC ISLANDER COALITION)

The Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition aims to create thriving Pacific Islander (Melanesians, Micronesians, Polynesians) communities in Oregon and other neighboring areas rooted in our indigenous values, languages, cultures, and histories. APANO supported efforts to pass the Pacific Islander Student Success Act this past session. Learn more about the coalition at OregonPacificIslanders.org

HB 3144 — The Pacific Islander Student Success Act directs the Department of Education to develop and implement statewide education plan for students who are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

EXPANDING DEMOCRACY (PROGRESSIVE ELECTIONS TABLE)

APANO participates in the Progressive Elections Table. 

HB 2107 — Extends automatic voter registration to OHA in certain circumstances.

SB 579 — “Guaranteeing the Right to Vote” would have restored voting rights to incarcerated Oregonians.

HB 2004 — Establishes rank choice voting as voting method for election to office of the President of United States, United States Senator, Representative in Congress, Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Attorney General.

HB 2003 — Would have established limits on campaign contributions that may be accepted by candidates and political committees. We are continuing to have conversations with legislators about campaign finance reform.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE (OREGON JUST TRANSITION ALLIANCE)

❌ HB 3016 — Would have createda Community Green Infrastructure Grant Program at DLCD to fund communities to develop projects that increase tree canopy, improve livability, and support water quality and conservation.

❌ Resilient, Efficient Buildings Policy Package (SB 868, 869, 870, 871) Would have leveraged federal funding to improve efficiency of homes and buildings; supports healthy, affordable, resilient communities and family-wage job creation across Oregon.

❌ Community Resilience Hubs (HB 2990) — Would have funded community resilience hubs and networks across the state to coordinate and provide access to resources and services for vulnerable populations during disasters.

THE OREGON NONPROFIT MODERNIZATION ACT

SB 606 — Establishes Task Force on Modernizing Grant Funding & Contracting.

OREGON KIDS CREDIT

✅ Provides families with a $1,000 tax credit per eligible child for families making up to $25,000. Families with children 0-to-5-years-of-age are eligible for up to 5 children per family.

VICTIMS OF BIAS CRIME

HB 3443 — Prohibits landlords from terminating lease or taking other specified actions due to status of tenant as victim of bias crime.

HB 3612 — Would prohibit discrimination or harassment against persons based on caste.

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If you sent an email, delivered testimony, or attended our trainings and hearings, we thank you for participating in democracy in one of its highest forms. Showing up during the Legislative Session is how we fight back against the model minority myth and show up for all BIPOC communities. It’s how we demand disaggregation of data when it comes to AANHPI communities to address the gaps in our communities, and resource our unique cultural needs. Not everyone can vote and not all change happens through elections. There is more work to be done beyond the legislative session, especially as we prepare for the 2024 elections.

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