By Representative Rob Nosse
I am glad I waited until August to write about the conclusion of the 2023 Legislative Session. Back in May I was pretty much of the mindset that we cannot compromise on anything with the Republicans and let a minority of Senators act like they won a majority and run our legislature. However, cooler heads prevailed. In the end, things worked out and Republican and Democratic Senators all compromised to get everyone back in the building and end the walkout and frankly get a lot done.
Here is a summary of some of my personal accomplishments as well as those of the legislature in general.
Housing Supply and Stability Budget (SB 5511, SB 5505, HB 3395)
These bills provide $2 billion in investments, building on prior investments to help fund the construction of new affordable housing units across the whole state.
Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response (HB 2001, HB 5019)
They make $200 million in investments that will help shelter Oregonians living on the street and prevent more homelessness.
Behavioral Health Care Delivery Investment (HB 2757, SB 5525, HB 5026, SB 5506)
These bills build off the $1 billion invested in 2021-2022. This $153 million investment will help stabilize mobile crisis response funding and coordination between care centers and response systems so that Oregonians can receive the care they need.
988 Crisis Line (HB 2757)
This bill provides funding for the 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention & Behavioral Health Crisis Line to help Oregonians who are in the throes of a mental health crisis.
Opioid Harm Reduction Package (HB 2395)
This bill will help address the state’s fentanyl crisis and save lives by increasing access to naloxone.
The Gun Violence Prevention Bill (HB 2005)
The bill focuses on “ghost” guns and helps make communities safer while respecting responsible gun owners.
Early Literacy Success Initiative (HB 3198)
Too many kids reach the third grade and cannot read at a third-grade level. This bill invests $144.3 million to support evidence-based, culturally responsive literacy strategies.
K-12 Education Funding (HB 5015)
This bill invests a historic $10.2 billion in the State School Fund, supporting Oregon’s K-12 students and educators.
Record K-12 Investment (HB 5015)
Invests a historic $10.2 billion in the State School Fund (a 10 percent increase over the 2021-23 biennium funding of $9.3 billion), which will ensure Oregon’s K-12 students and educators have the support they need.
Higher Ed Opportunity Package (HB 5025)
This bill Invests $3.7 billion to ensure Oregonians seeking postsecondary education can obtain a high-quality education. It includes $1 billion for the Public University Support Fund, $800 million for the Community College Support Fund, $308.4 million to the Oregon Opportunity Grant and $24.2 million to the Tribal Student Grant program.
Reproductive Health & Access to Care Act (HB 2002)
This bill protects the abortion rights Oregonians had under Roe v. Wade, expands insurance coverage for gender-affirming care and protects Oregon abortion and medical providers from legal risk. This was one of the bills that I worked on a lot. It was in the news quite a lot, too.
Hospital Staffing (HB 2697)
This bill ensures safe staffing levels in hospitals to support the wellbeing of workers and patients. I was the Chief Sponsor and lead on this bill.
Hope and Recovery Bill (HB 2513)
This fixes Ballot Measure 110 implementation so that Oregonians struggling with addiction can receive the care they need and get on a path to recovery. I was the Chief Sponsor and lead on this bill.
Universal Health Plan Governance Board (SB 1089)
This bill creates the Universal Health Plan Board to help develop a comprehensive system for providing every Oregonian with affordable healthcare.
Oregon CHIPS Act (SB 4)
This bill invests $260 million to secure Oregon as a global leader in the semiconductor industry and help create good paying jobs.
Rank Choice Voting (HB 2004)
This bill establishes a plan for implementing ranked choice voting to ensure voters have more of a say in who they want to represent them.
Climate Resilience Package Investment (HB 3409, HB 3630)
These bills invest $90 million in community-focused and forward-looking solutions to increase our energy efficiency, keep Oregonians safe from extreme weather, maximize federal funding opportunities and build a more resilient, sustainable and equitable energy system.
If you want to know more about any of these bills you can look them up on the Oregon State Legislature website.
I am not going to downplay it. The session was difficult. There were many moments of tension because of the walkout and the uncertainty that it created. I also had one of the busiest committees, with some of the biggest policy lifts that were needed, and the responsibility often had me feeling anxious. But a lot got done.
We still need to figure out the whole quorum situation. There will be more to come about Ballot Measure 113. At some point we will get a ruling from the Secretary of State and then the whole thing will end up in court. As I like to say, “stay tuned.” Democracy is a journey with, at times, no obvious destination. Depending on how all this plays out, we may see a ballot measure in the not-so-distant future to change the quorum rule.