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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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    Starting Strong in the New School Year

    As a family with kids in school, our New Year begins in September. Every fall, each member of our family identifies key priorities for the coming year. As your state representative, I am doing the same thing.

    This year, I will continue to work hard, as I always have, to defend reproductive freedom, prevent gun violence and protect our clean air and water. I will also emphasize three key goals: increasing economic opportunity, strengthening our public schools and forging bipartisan solutions.

    Today I published a guest opinion about these goals in the Lake Oswego Review. Please read it and then get in touch with your ideas about how we can work together to make our state as strong as it can be. You can email me anytime at ann@annlininger.org.

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    Strengthening Oregon Agriculture

    Yesterday I joined Rep. Dan Rayfield and Rep. Nancy Nathanson for a tour of Oregon State University’s Fermentation Science facilities. Students in the Fermentation Science program learn in a hands-on environment how to make, process, and test cheese, beer, and wine. They also work with scientists to perform critical research that helps Oregon farms, dairies, breweries, and wineries create the best possible products. When these students graduate, they take their knowledge into communities across the state and go to work to keep Oregon’s agricultural economy thriving.

     

    Learning about beer production in the OSU brew house.

    OSU is playing an important role in boosting Oregon agriculture, and that’s good news for our state. Agriculture brings jobs, wealth, and quality products to communities across the state. I look forward to working with my colleagues to find new ways to support Oregon State and our agricultural sector in the next legislative session!

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    Say cheese! These are some of the great cheeses produced in the Oregon State creamery. We got to sample some of them, and they were delicious!

     

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    Growing Oregon’s Food Economy

    Today I had the opportunity to tour Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center in Portland. The center works with businesses from around the world, including many Oregon small businesses, to help them develop products, run food safety tests, and grow their brands. We had a great conversation about the role of programs like this one in shaping Oregon’s food economy. I am excited to learn more about how we can grow our food and agriculture sectors in a way that helps both urban and rural Oregonians earn a good living!

    Looking at some of the many Oregon products developed at the Food Innovation Center.

    Learning about the FIC test kitchen.

    Touring the Food Innovation Lab.

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    We Can Create More Opportunities

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    Growing Oregon’s Small Businesses

    Yesterday was the second meeting of the new House Special Committee on Small Business Growth. We heard from farmers, food processors, tourism businesspeople, and other small business owners from around the state. They told us about their experiences growing and maintaining their businesses, and about what steps the Legislature can take to help them succeed.

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    Leigh Geschwill of F&B Farms, Chad Allen of Victor Dairy, and Evann Remington of Fresh ‘n Local Foods were three of the small businesspeople who presented to us about running small businesses in the agriculture sector. The stories they shared were compelling, and I thank them and all the other business owners we heard from for taking the time to testify.

    As part of my work on this committee, I have been speaking with producers about an initiative to promote Oregon’s craft food and beverage sectors, as well as our food and lifestyle tourism industry. Oregon businesses are growing agricultural crops and processing them into high-quality food and beverage products that are sold all around the country. Businesses in these sectors support thousands of good jobs across the state, and bring tourists from around the world, which helps grow the economy for everyone. If the Legislature can take steps to help these businesses thrive, we can create opportunity in communities all over the state.

    Another step we should consider is passing a good transportation package to help people and freight move through the state more efficiently. All businesses do better when they can easily connect with consumers, suppliers, and services, and a new transportation package will make these connections possible. What’s more, developing our transportation infrastructure will support small business growth among the many subcontractors that will work on those new projects.

    Oregon’s small businesses are vital to our communities, and we should do what we can to make sure they have the support they need. I am excited to be a part of this committee, and to work with my colleagues to develop policies that will strengthen local economies across the state.

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    Creating Jobs and Opportunity

    Unemployment is down and wages are up, but too many Oregonians still struggle to pay rent, save for retirement, and fund their kids’ education. We need more good jobs and opportunity across our state.

    I am working to create jobs through steps like these:

    Investing in transportation: Our streets and bridges need work, and we need to help people and freight get where they need to go. By supporting a strong transportation package, we can create good construction jobs and a better future.

    Growing Oregon’s craft food and beverage sector: Our producers of Oregon wine, beer, cider, distilled spirits, meats, seafood, cheeses, chocolates, and other specialty products are nationally acclaimed. By helping these farms and businesses grow, we can generate opportunities around our state. My colleague Rep. Mike McLane gave a great talk on this at Lewis and Clark Law School on Friday.

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    Expanding our tourism economy: Visitors enjoy Oregon’s outdoor adventures, natural beauty, craft food and beverage scene, and cultural activities. We can highlight these attractions, welcome more visitors, and expand this economic activity.

    Investing in education: By continuing to strengthen Oregon’s schools and colleges, we can help workers prepare for good jobs.

    Supporting innovation: Businesses in the dynamic clean energy, medical, communications, and technology sectors need a regulatory approach that adapts to changing circumstances and supports innovation. As a member of House committees on Revenue, Tax Credits, and Small Business Growth, I am working to bring that approach.

    If you have thoughts about how we can work together to improve opportunity for all Oregonians, please share them! I’ll be co-hosting a town hall event with Representative Tobias Read and Clackamas County Commissioners Martha Schrader and Jim Bernard on Saturday, April 30th. I would love to hear from you there.

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    Clean Air, Clean Jobs

    Today the House passed SB 1547, the revised Coal to Clean bill. It’s a major milestone for our state. This bill is living proof that we can move toward a clean, sustainable future while also promoting the growth of good, living-wage jobs all around Oregon.

    SB 1547 will phase out coal power from Oregon’s energy grid by 2030 and will require that by 2040 half of our electricity is derived from renewable sources. As utilities start replacing power from out of state coal plants with renewable power, they’ll have the opportunity to invest in local clean energy production, spurring the growth of good, green engineering, manufacturing, and construction jobs. More living-wage jobs in both urban and rural communities means a stronger economy for all of us.

    This session we are passing a number of bills that are good for our environment, and good for job creation too. In addition to SB 1547, last week we passed a bill (HB 4037) to incentivize creation of utility-scale solar projects. This bill will bring solar energy production into Oregon so that Oregonians can reap the job creation and environmental benefits of clean energy. The legislature is poised to fund this provision at $952,000.

    We also passed a bill (HB 4084) to help communities redevelop brownfields so those lands can be reused to support jobs. Finally, we are set to make a $200,000 investment in the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, which will help support wave energy creation our state.

    I’m pleased that Oregon has taken decisive steps toward combatting climate change while supporting the kinds of good jobs that families and communities rely upon.

    Coal to Clean Supporters Logos

    Some of the many organizations to support the Coal to Clean bill this session.
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    Session Highlights

    The 2015 legislative session just ended, and we made good progress on our priorities. Here are some of the highlights, plus links to key bills we passed:

    Strengthening Education

    We took important steps to improve Oregon’s education system by

    • Making historically large investments in early learning, our K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities (HB 5016, HB 5017, HB 5024, SB 5507)
    • Supporting career and technical training and science and math education (CTE-STEM) so students can prepare for good jobs (HB 3072, HB 5016, SB 81)
    • Helping students who learn at an accelerated pace access appropriate challenges and earn college credit (SB 418)
    • Ensuring that students can afford lunch so they can focus on learning at school (HB 2545)
    • Protecting the confidentiality of student data so companies do not buy and sell it (HB 2715, SB 187)
    • Helping school districts identify students with dyslexia so schools can ensure these students’ success (SB 612)

    Helping Workers and Businesses Thrive

    We all want Oregonians to be able to provide for their families and enjoy the dignity of having a job. This session the Legislature advanced these goals by

    • Helping low-income people access child care so they can work, and by easing the financial cliff that hurts some people when they get a job (HB 2015, HB 2171)
    • Enabling workers to take time off to care for a sick child or recover from illness (SB 454)
    • Helping Oregonians save for retirement (HB 2960)
    • Adopting targeted incentives to spur job growth in the clean energy, food production equipment, and film sectors (HB 2941 and HB 3125)
    • Clarifying tax policy so Oregon can attract and retain technology jobs (SB 611)
    • Supporting transportation investments – this is a good step, but we need a robust transportation package (HB 5030, HB 5040)
    • Creating clear rules for the cannabis sector to help create good jobs, protect safety, and appropriately regulate this $1 billion/year market (HB 3400, HB 2041, SB 460, SB 844, and SJR 12)

    Protecting our Environment

    We took steps to protect Oregon’s environment this session by

    • Requiring a phase-out of toxic chemicals from children’s products (SB 478)
    • Improving Oregon’s pesticide spray laws to better protect people and drinking water – we have more work to do here, but this is progress (HB 3549)
    • Supporting expansion of our clean energy economy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (SB 324)
    • Encouraging cleanup and re-use of brownfield properties (HB 2734)

    Helping Vulnerable People

    We are helping keep vulnerable Oregonians safe and secure by

      • Supporting creation of affordable apartments and preserving the ones we have (HB 2629, SB 5506, HB 2198)
      • Enabling survivors of sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence to obtain confidential help and protective orders (HB 3476 and HB 2628)
      • Keeping guns away from domestic violence perpetrators and other dangerous people (SB 525, SB 941)
      • Enabling women to obtain a year’s supply of birth control so they can avoid unintended pregnancy (HB 3343)

    Strengthening our Justice System

    After tragic events around the country, we worked to ensure our justice system is fair for all Oregonians by

    • Preventing unfair profiling by police of people of color (HB 2002)
    • Creating a framework for communities to require on-duty law enforcement officials to wear body cameras (HB 2571)
    • Allowing community members to record the conduct of on-duty police officers (HB 2704)
    • Reclassifying marijuana offenses and helping people expunge offenses for conduct that is no longer illegal (HB 3400, SB 844)

    Improving Government Effectiveness

    We are helping our government operate more fairly and efficiently by

    • Improving information that lawmakers and the public receive about tax credits before creating or expanding tax credits so we can use credits wisely (HB 3542).
    • Streamlining the process to access social services to improve efficiency and reduce costs (HB 2219)
    • Requiring the Legislature to hold hearings around Oregon to ensure the redistricting process is conducted in a fair and reasonable manner (HB 2974)
    • Helping Oregonians register to vote so they can help shape a strong future for our state (HB 2177)

    We accomplished a lot this legislative session, but there is more left to do. Please reach out to our office over the interim about issues that are important to you so we can work together to address them. Thanks.

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    Members of the Committee to Implement Measure 91 (Rep. Peter Buckley, Rep. Carl Wilson, Rep. Andy Olsen, and Rep. Ken Helm) marking the close of our 2015 Legislative Session, with photo bomb by Rep. John Davis

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    In the Fields

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    Last November Oregonians voted to legalize, regulate, and tax the adult use of marijuana. I am now co-chairing the legislative committee to shepherd implementation. Our committee’s goal is to carry out the voters’ will in a way that keeps our kids and communities safe, prevents excessive incarcerations, and supports creation of new business opportunities for Oregon farmers, chefs, and other entrepreneurs.

    One of my concerns as a person raised in southern Oregon, where six generations of my family has lived, is to make sure that rural and outdoor growers have a chance to succeed in this new economy. That means protecting the patients and growers who have come to rely on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program during this transition period. It also means avoiding imposition of extremely complex and costly requirements that would drive less sophisticated growers away from the legal market.

    Measure 91 presents an opportunity for communities that have relied heavily on timber to diversify their economies to include industrial hemp and marijuana crops. This transition, coupled with transition to more sustainable forestry practices, could create jobs for local people while at the same time protecting forests, clean water, and wildlife.

    By successfully implementing Measure 91, we can create a positive new chapter for communities around Oregon.

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    Photos are from our site visit to Williams, Oregon. We visited with farmers, processors, and other leaders from the Oregon Sungrown Growers Guild.