By Representative David Gomberg, House District 10
Dear neighbors and friends,
Last week I previewed the special session who summoned Monday Morning. I was worried that once the lawmakers got together, anything could happen.
The session turned out to be focused, effective, efficient, and relatively drama-free. At 7 p.m., we lowered the hammer, adjourned and made our way home through snow showers.
- Lodging (Senate Bill 891): The House and Senate have passed legislation to prevent thousands of winter evictions, speed up claims processing, and ensure homeowners are fully paid. Oregon families across the state, whether they live in a rural, suburban, or urban community, will all benefit from these important housing protections.
- Drought relief (Senate Bill 892 and Senate Bill 5561): We approved $ 100 million to help Oregon residents affected by extreme heat and drought conditions last summer. This will help ensure that rural communities have the resources they need to cope with the terrible effects of drought and forest fires. I strongly support the farming community, farm workers and tribes of Oregon and look forward to working on more solutions as we prepare for the 2022 legislative session.
- Suppression of illegal cannabis (Senate Bill 893 and Senate Bill 5561): We have provided $ 25 million for a comprehensive, state-wide plan to combat the proliferation of illegal cannabis and mitigate the humanitarian and environmental impacts of the cartel industry.
- Resettlement of Afghan refugees (Senate Bill 5561): We have allocated $ 18 million to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Oregon.
- Prevention of armed violence (Senate Bill 5561): We have provided $ 2 million for education, prevention and response programs in East Multnomah County.
A special committee has been established to prepare policy and budget bills to address these and a few other issues. When the measures hit the ground, I got up to speak twice.
Senate Bill 5561 was a funding envelope that contained a number of elements. In general, I felt that everyone deserved to be supported. But I was concerned about Section 32 which allocated $ 1 million each to Oregon’s fourteen largest cities for affordable housing. It’s good, I said. But small towns also need help with housing! A rental vacancy rate of less than 1% hurts a lot more in a community of 5,000 inhabitants than in a city of 50 or 100,000 inhabitants. And when people from Ashland or Medford, Eugene or Salem, Beaverton, Gresham and Portland come to the coast and wonder why the levels of service in our restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, or wherever , our schools and our hospitals are not what they should be, the answer is people who want to work here cannot find accommodation here!
You can watch or listen to my words here.
I also commented on our need to help families affected by COVID who had been promised support but now risked deportation because the state agency processing the claims was behind schedule. I spoke of these families but also of the good Oregonians who saw a need in their community and who invested in housing. I spoke of small landlords – teachers, nurses, small business owners – who also went unpaid and risked losing any outstanding rents. Finally, I said that as more and more people in Oregon get vaccinated and students go back to school, we need to gradually cut the grants, go back to work, and start paying the tax again. rent.
This time you can watch or listen to my remarks here.
Monday was a reminder, which we perhaps all need right now, of what can be achieved when both sides come together for the good of the state and adopt real and meaningful public policies.
During the extraordinary session, we voted on four bills. But at the regular session earlier this year, we cast over 800 votes.
The average Oregon House member missed 8% of the 825 total votes, with Republican members missing an average 10% and Democrats missing an average 7% of all votes. One member missed 240 of 825 – for a score of 29 percent of missed votes.
There are various reasons why a member can miss a vote. They may be sick, have inevitable business conflicts, or, more often than not, have necessary committee meetings that conflict with the room schedule. This was the case when I missed eight votes this year. I was in the vote of the ways and means on the budgets which had to be approached in the last days of the session. I appeared every day but missed 1% of the total vote which placed me in the top ten in the House.
If you want to revisit the presence of other lawmakers or find out more, check out the new Missed Votes Dashboards calculated by the Club for Growth Foundation.
Some organizations track attendance. Others follow the performance from their particular point of view. They too deliver dashboards. Here are some recently published reports and links to which you can view bills reviewed and individual legislators’ assessments:
- OSPIRG, the Oregon 2021 Student Public Interest Research Group state legislative dashboard examined 13 bills that were passed in at least one chamber. The bills were aimed at bringing the cost of health care under control, moving Oregon to zero waste, standing up for consumers, and more. I was delighted to receive a 100% rating.
- I have long been a strong advocate for animal welfare and have been twice named Oregon Legislator of the Year by the Humane Society. Individual votes are followed by Human voters | Oregon. I was one of six out of 90 members who received a 100% rating.
the Oregon Conservation League voters, OLCV, monitored 15 measures related to climate, conservation and the environment. At 90%, I had the highest rating of any legislator on the coast.
As more dashboards become available, I’ll try to share them with you.
All of us here on the coast are concerned about natural disasters. I often write about awareness, education and preparation.
the Oregon Emergency Management Office and Black horse comics have released a new comic entitled, Without warning! Fires. Addressing what to do before and during a wildfire, the comic is the third in a series of educational and entertaining comics promoting emergency preparedness.
The first two comics in the series, Without warning! Earthquake (published in 2014) and Without warning! Tsunami (released 2016), have been distributed throughout the Northwest and adapted for other regions, helping to support readiness in communities across the United States
Without warning! Fires features characters hiking and camping in an Oregon wilderness who are forced to flee for their lives to escape a rapidly moving wildfire. The comic helps teach readers how to protect themselves, loved ones and the wilderness in the event of a forest fire.
“The Without warning! The comic book series started because we found that many educational publications struggled to resonate with younger audiences, ”said Althea Rizzo, OEM Geologic Hazards program coordinator. “The series has been a huge success, helping us engage with young people while introducing and reinforcing the concept of preparation.”
Without warning! Fires is available for free reading on Digital dark horse Where OEM website. Printed copies are available in English and Spanish from county emergency management offices.
I continue to hear from concerned constituents who face longer lines and delays in filling orders. Employee shortages were a problem before the pandemic. In general, they are worse now, and the problem is exacerbated by the closure of a large drugstore chain.
The legislator does not have the capacity to make more workers available, or to make private companies hire more staff if they can find them. I encourage consumers to look for a postal delivery service for prescriptions if that works for you. This is a fairly common option these days and may be preferable if long wait times are an issue.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Pharmacy Board is work on ways to reduce long queues in pharmacies and helping people get vaccinated. The council also says the Oregon Health Authority is negotiating with a recruiting agency to help supply more pharmacists to independent pharmacies. None of these reactions will offer a quick fix.
Again, setting up mail-order pharmacy options – especially for people who regularly refill their prescriptions – will skip the lines and get most of your medications straight to your door.
Earlier in December, I expressed to all of you my wish for a Happy New Year. No matter what you celebrate, do it with warmth, love, and kindness. And let’s all look forward to a new year with optimism.
Thanks for reading!
E-mail: Representative [email protected]
address: 900 Court St NE, H-480, Salem, OR, 97301