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    2017 Cannabis Law Update

    Over the last three years many of us have worked together to develop the legal framework for Oregon’s cannabis and industrial hemp sector.  We have focused on four goals: implement voters’ decision to legalize marijuana, eliminate the illegal market and promote public safety, protect patients and other consumers, and enable legal businesses to operate.  As the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation completes what is likely our final session as a committee, I created this summary of the legislation we have crafted together. 

    The teamwork among the many people who have worked on this legislation shows the cooperative spirit of Oregonians across the state and across the political spectrum.  We will need to adjust Oregon’s cannabis laws moving forward, to be sure, but the committee’s work provides a strong starting place for an important emerging sector.   


    The Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation and friends

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    That’s a Wrap

    Yesterday we completed the 2017 legislative session. Together we made progress on important priorities for Oregon: increasing workplace fairness and opportunity, protecting vulnerable people, and creating a strong future for young Oregonians. I am proud to have helped pass bills that will advance these goals:

    I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with good colleagues from around the state and across the political spectrum. Please look here for more session highlights.

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    Protecting Workers

    On Saturday, the House passed one of my priority bills, HB 3279, on a strong bipartisan vote. The bill protects janitorial and cleaning workers from sexual abuse. Janitorial workers face an increased risk of sexual violence at the workplace due to their work conditions, which often involve working alone, late at night, and in large facilities. (Frontline did an important investigation of the scope of this problem.) HB 3279 increases workplace safety by requiring better employer training on prevention of harassment, assault, and discrimination. This bill also requires contracting services to be licensed with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which improves employer accountability and enforcement of employment laws. This bill will provide important protections for vulnerable janitorial workers by increasing training and accountability for employers, and I am very hopeful that it will pass during this session. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.



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    Helping Working Families

    This week, I carried SB 828, the fair scheduling bill, to the House floor, where it passed with bipartisan support. Unpredictable work schedules impose significant burdens on many individuals and families, including last-minute child care needs, transportation costs, and unpredictability in rest days and income. SB 828 increases work schedule certainty and income stability for employees in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries by establishing standards for large employers, and protecting rights for employees. It is the product of lots of hard work and compromise between labor and business groups, and it will be the first law of its kind in the country! I was proud to be a chief sponsor of this bill, and am excited to see it head to Governor Brown for her signature.

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    Standing strong with the legislators and advocates who helped craft and pass SB 828 this week.

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    Protecting Immigrants and Privacy

    Today the Oregon House passed HB 3464, which protects the privacy of Oregonians’ personal information. This will particularly help immigrant Oregonians who lack documentation. HB 3464 directs public bodies not to disclose a person’s contact information, address, workplace, work hours, and appointments at public agencies unless disclosure of that information required by law. The bill prevents public officials from inquiring into a resident’s citizenship or immigration status unless that information is necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit that the person has sought. It also requires our Attorney General to create a model policy implementing the new law and encourages local jurisdictions and government contractors to adopt and follow that policy.

    President Trump’s executive order expanding those individuals prioritized for deportation has created fear for Oregon’s immigrant community. It has also created a group of people at acute risk of abuse and exploitation.  Undocumented people who experience domestic violence, sexual assault, wage theft, or even medical needs may be unwilling to seek help because they fear it could trigger deportation. This is not how we want our friends and neighbors to live.

    I was honored to speak on the House floor in support of HB 3464 today. This is an important bill that will help us create an Oregon where all our residents are safe and can access help when they need it.


    3464 chiefs on floor

    Standing with Rep. Jennifer Williamson, Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, and Rep. Diego Hernandez, my fellow chief sponsors of HB 3464, after today’s successful floor vote.

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    Good Jobs for More People

    Growing up in southern Oregon during the collapse of the timber economy, I know the hardship families can experience when jobs disappear. Even today, working people in too many Oregon communities struggle to make ends meet.

    By many measures—poverty, divorce, teen births, college attainment, reliance on disability payments, and male labor-force participation—rural communities are our country’s most economically distressed places. (“Rural America is the New ‘Inner City,'” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2017.) We need to create more good jobs for Oregonians all around our state.

    OSU Winery

    The research winery at Oregon State University. OSU’s Fermentation Science program is helping to create more opportunity and prosperity in Oregon’s food and beverage industries.

    In my role as chair of the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade and as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation, I’ve worked to help Oregon manufacturers and agricultural producers expand their businesses so they can employ more people. Here are some of the bills I have supported this session:

    Streamlining requirements applicable to our craft beer, wine, spirits, and hard cider sectors

    • HB 2089: Provides greater flexibility in the products distilleries may sell in their tasting rooms.
    • HB 2150: Creates a system so alcohol producers can file and pay their taxes electronically to streamline the process.
    • HB 2159: Right-sizes some requirements applicable to Oregon cider makers.
    • HB 2160: Eases the ability of brew pubs to sell products from satellite locations.
    • HB 2746: Helps businesses manage the transition in bottle redemption rates.
    • SB 677: Allows cideries to be sited on farm land in same manner as wineries.
    • SB 1044: Streamlines regulations relating to alcohol licensing, sales, and financing.

    Creating a strong legal framework for Oregon’s legal hemp and cannabis sectors.

    • SB 1015: Facilitates growth of Oregon’s hemp sector by improving the legal framework that regulates it.
    • SB 1057: Ensures that all legal cannabis businesses use product tracking procedures to eliminate unfair competition from the illegal market.
    • HB 2198: Enables medical businesses to sell product to OLCC-licensed stores and clarifies rules for managing product.

    Expanding opportunity around our state through other strategic initiatives.

    • HB 2091: Supports expansion of broadband access in rural areas.
    • HB 2752: Expands opportunity for manufacturers of cross-laminated timber products.
    • HB 3350: Supports growth of Oregon’s active tourism and outdoor recreation economy.
    • HB 2012: Creates an Eastern Oregon Border Development Region to address economic needs in the Eastern portion of our state.

    We will keep working on these bills to move each of them through the process.  We are also supporting investment in Oregon’s transportation system and schools – these are also key drivers of community strength.

    Ann Family Hike

    Hiking with David and Julia near Cascade Locks.

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    The Oregon Equal Pay Act

    This morning, Governor Brown signed HB 2005, the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017. The bill protects workers from pay discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or other protected class status. It’s an exciting step forward in our effort to improve equality in the workplace. It was an honor to work with so many great colleagues in this effort to improve economic fairness in Oregon, and I was proud to stand beside them and Governor Brown as she signed the bill into law. The Oregon Equal Pay Act is going to make a real difference for people and families across our state!

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    The team that helped pass HB 2005, the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017. Here’s to more great teamwork in the future!

    Four Legislators

    Governor Brown and the great legislative colleagues I worked with to pass HB 2005, celebrating the bill’s signing in the Governor’s office this morning!


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    No Hate, No Fear

    Last Friday, two men were killed and a third was injured while defending two young women on a MAX train from a man yelling racial slurs. On Saturday, David and I joined hundreds of our fellow Oregonians at a vigil honoring the bravery of the victims and survivors of this act of violence. This tragedy stands as a reminder that in Oregon and throughout the nation, we must continue to stand united against hatred and bigotry. We all need to do what we can to make sure that everyone feels welcome in our state.

    Ann and David at Vigil

    David and I attending a vigil in Portland honoring the Oregonians who were targeted, injured, and killed in an act of hateful violence last week.

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    Preventing Abuse, Protecting Oregonians

    Before this legislative session began, we heard about some serious and disturbing cases of sexual harassment and assault here in Oregon and elsewhere in the country. I made a commitment to use my seat in the Legislature this session to prevent assault and harassment, and to help Oregonians seek justice. So far, with the help of a team of dedicated allies, we’ve made great progress. We’ve passed a couple of important bills, and we have several more in process. Here’s an update on what we’ve been working on:

    • Preventing Workplace Harassment: Requiring business that seek to contract with the State of Oregon to adopt strong anti-discrimination policies, clear response channels, and protections for whistle blowers. In addition, this bill will require government contractors to provide their employees equal access to healthcare benefits regardless of gender identity. HB 3060 – ready for Governor Brown’s signature.
    • Protecting Survivor Autonomy: Ensuring that survivors of campus sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking are not forced by their school to participate in an investigation. HB 2972 – signed by Governor Brown!
    • Lowering Barriers to Reporting Abuse: Ensuring that if a minor reports a sexual assault, they won’t get in trouble for having had alcohol. Minors shouldn’t be discouraged from reporting sexual violence because they’re afraid of being prosecuted for drinking. SB 762 – passed the Senate and awaiting vote in the House.
    • Fighting Victim-Blaming: Prohibiting the use of evidence about a victim’s sexual history in a civil case concerning sexual assault. Such evidence is often used to discredit survivors and blame them for their own assault. SB 261 – passed the Senate and awaiting vote in the House.
    • Defending Vulnerable Workers: Protecting janitorial and cleaning workers from sexual assault by requiring better training and accountability for their employers. These workers often work alone in big facilities, and are at high risk of abuse. HB 3279 – awaiting committee vote.
    • Restoring Justice for Survivors: Enabling survivors of sexual assault or abuse to receive damages at the level a jury finds appropriate under the circumstances. HB 2807 – awaiting vote in the Senate.

    Stories of harassment and assault, both in the workplace and elsewhere, remind us that we must do more to protect Oregonians and help survivors recover. I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to support these important bills.

    3060 cosponsors

    Some of my fellow co-sponsors of HB 3060, a bill that requires government contractors to do more to prevent sexual harassment, assault, and other discrimination in the workplace.

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    Safe Courts, Safe Communities

    This session I am working on some key public safety efforts:

    • Protecting vulnerable people from sexual assault and abuse (HB 2005, HB 2673, HB 3060);
    •  Helping offenders obtain addiction treatment and mental health supports when needed so we can prevent crime and avoid prison costs (HB 3078, HB 3380); and
    • Making sure our courts are safe and meet community needs (SB 5505).

    Last week Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard, Presiding Circuit Court Judge Robert Herndon, and I testified before the Ways and Means Committee in support of SB 5505 to help redevelop the Clackamas County Courthouse.

    As part of this effort, we’ve created a coalition of legislators, public safety officials, lawyers, and other community leaders who understand Clackamas needs a safe courthouse for our justice system to function well.

    I’m delighted to work with long-time colleagues and friends to support this effort.  We are reuniting the Family Justice Center launch team in support of another great project.

    Courthouse Testimony

    Advocating for a new Clackamas County Courthouse with  Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard, Presiding Circuit Court Judge Robert Herndon, and Clackamas County Government Affairs Director Chris Lyons