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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.   

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    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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    We Need Smaller Class Sizes

    Contributed by Doris Yang, a member of the House District 38 Student Leadership Cabinet.

    Oregon’s K-12 education system faces many challenges, but large class sizes are one of the most pressing. Many Oregon high schoolers are enrolled in a core class larger than the recommended size. Especially in districts with a high percentage of minority and low income students, large class sizes have led to a host of problems, including less individual instruction and low graduation rates.

    As a rising sophomore at Lake Oswego High School, I have felt the effects of a large class size. Not only have I lost one-on-one interaction time with my teachers, it is harder to concentrate in a crowded classroom.

    On June 27, the Oregon legislature passed SB 5517, which outlines a $8.2 million K-12 spending budget for the next biennium. Even advocates for the bill acknowledged that it will leave many school districts scrambling for additional funds. While the lack of school funding is disheartening, SB 5517 is the best temporary solution in the wake of the state’s $1.4 billion budget deficit. Lawmakers now have an additional two years to draft new legislation to better address the issue. Though they were not able to fully address Oregon’s education shortfalls this session, politicians on both sides of the aisle have expressed hope for an improved solution in the coming years.

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    Student Leadership Cabinet members Doris Yang (left) and Amy Wang (right) joined Rep. Lininger in her Salem office this week and participated in meetings, including this one with Brenda Tracy and Jackie Swanson, two wonderful violence prevention advocates.
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    Young People Speak Up

    Contributed by Amy Wang, a member of the House District 38 Student Leadership Cabinet.

    As a young person living in a politically polarized society, I’ve come to understand that everyone’s voice matters in creating a strong community. On June 22, female signers in Lakeridge High School’s Company show choir embodied this message as they raised their voices in a performance of “Quiet” by singer MILCK at the opening ceremony of the Oregon House of Representatives. The popular song, performed at the Women’s March, serves as a means of catharsis for past trauma and as an anthem for overcoming adversity.

    The Company ladies’ rendition highlighted their common goal: to share the importance of standing up for what you believe in and speaking for yourself. Our opinions, voices, and votes matter, especially when policies involve issues that directly impact our lives. In a political system where officials are divided and entrenched, it is essential that people speak out and urge their representatives to focus on creating tangible, positive change. Youth civic engagement can sway political decisions and elections now more than ever. While following the recent election, I realized the importance of speaking up for one’s own viewpoints and engaging in meaningful and respectful discourse. Whether we engage politically in the form of campaign work, artistic outlooks, protests, or direct discourse with elected officials, the motivation will be the same: encouraging early youth participation with the systems and policies that govern their future.

    Rep. Ann Lininger standing with the ladies of the Lakeridge High School Company, the school’s show choir.

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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.

     

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    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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    Our Voice, Our Vote

    Contributed by Laura Jiang, a member of the House District 38 Student Leadership Cabinet.

    In the 2012 presidential election, 72% of voters aged 71+ voted in the 2012 election while only 46% percent of young adults participated. At that time, just 19% of the 2012 electorate was made up of Millennials. Today, Millennials and Baby Boomers each constitute about 31% of the electorate. We have a lot of potential political power, but that power depends on turning out to vote. Our vote matters, especially when it comes to issues that directly affect us, like education policy.

    Limited awareness and accessibility of pre-registration programs are significant barriers to youth civic engagement. Registration for youth typically occurs during registration drives at community centers which are less accessible to those living in rural areas.

    SB 802 allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. The strategy of pre-registration has already proven effective. A George Mason University study of Hawaii and Florida’s pre-registration programs found a direct link between pre-registration and voter turnout and that pre-registration promotes youth civic engagement. By allowing pre-registration for 16 year-olds, we can make it easier for the nearly 20,000 16-year-olds that visit the Oregon DMV each year to apply for their driver’s licenses to be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. This helps encourage young people to think about voting, streamlines the voting process and increasing youth participation.

    Laura Jiang is an incoming senior at Lake Oswego High School and a member of the House District 38 Student Leadership Cabinet.

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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.

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    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!

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    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!