The 2019 legislative session is over and, thanks to the support of our members at NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, we can truly say that history was made!
This year, thousands of Oregonians made their voices heard on policies central to our vision of economic, racial, and reproductive justice. With the passage of the most progressive paid family and medical leave program in the nation, driver’s licences for all, and laws making our workplaces safer from sexual harassment, we showed what Oregon is capable of when we show up and vote with our values. It was also a year of playing defense: But we fought so not one of the 12 anti-abortion bills introduced this session ever received a vote in committee.
This session our team made 19,692 phone calls, had 608 conversations, and sent 19,435 texts to our members throughout the state. And you all responded in full force, through letters to the editor, joining us to lobby on International Women’s Day, providing testimony, and 332 direct calls and 888 emails to your legislators.
Below is our Sine Die Report, summarizing our policy priorities and results of our membership’s hard work during the 2019 session:
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: On the final day of session, we helped make history. Oregon became the eighth state to pass paid family and medical leave, and set a new high bar with the most inclusive policy in the nation! As part of the Time to Care coalition, our work means that no one in Oregon will have to choose between the family they love or the job they need. When fully implemented in 2023, more than 1.5 million working Oregonians will have access to paid leave.
DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR ALL: H.B. 2015 is an incredible victory for immigrant families across Oregon. Thanks to the work led by our partners at Causa and PCUN, over 100,000 Oregonians will now be able to apply for a driver’s license (the first time in more than a decade) and travel safely to work, school, and healthcare appointments to care for loved ones without fear of deportation.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE FUNDING: We worked to make sure the Oregon Health Plan will continue to provide healthcare access for over 1 million Oregonians and also supported the referendum to increase the tobacco tax to fund public health programs (including the services and programs available thanks to 2017’s landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act).
SAFE WORKPLACES FOR ALL: In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Oregon took major steps to protect workers from harassment and discrimination with the passage of S.B. 726. We were proud to support AFL-CIO to protect workers by increasing the length of our statute of limitations and prohibiting the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence survivors.
OREGON VOTING RIGHTS ACT: We were also proud to support PCUN and ACLU in passing H.B. 3310 to expand voting rights and increase diversity on school boards and other local bodies. This bill creates a local and community driven process for communities of color and other protected classes to have an equal opportunity to elect candidates that represent their needs.
INVESTING IN OUR STUDENTS: We proudly supported the Student Success Act to stabilize funding for our schools. Thanks to this investment in our future, more school districts will have the resources they need to provide comprehensive sexual health education for all students.
STABLE HOMES FOR FAMILIES: As part of the Fair Shot coalition, we worked to pass S.B. 608 to put an end to no-cause evictions and stabilize rent costs. Oregon is the first state to pass such legislation to provide more economically stability for families across our state.