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    Making Progress on Gun Safety

    After killings at Umpqua Community College, Clackamas Town Center, and Reynolds High School, it’s clear that Oregon needs to take stronger steps to protect our families, schools, and communities from gun violence. I am proud to have supported legislation to close background check loopholes and prevent domestic abusers from having guns, and I am ready to take the next step of passing additional safety measures.

    Governor Brown, in partnership with advocates from around our state, has proposed several steps we can take in the coming year to reduce gun violence. I am ready to work with the Governor on those ideas, and I am honored that Oregonians for Gun Safety has endorsed my re-election effort.

    We need to pull together as a state and pass sensible gun safety laws. It’s the right next step for Oregon families and communities.

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    Ensuring Fair Treatment for Women

    So many of us have experienced sexual assault and sexual harassment, and it’s painful to hear Donald Trump’s recent comments about women. His comments also strengthened my resolve to fight for fair treatment of women and of all Oregonians. As the mother of a young daughter, an attorney, and a legislator, I believe we must create a world in which women are treated fairly. I will continue fighting to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault and to improve our tools for addressing it.

    In the last two years I helped pass laws that improve how agencies process rape kit evidence, extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes, and ensure confidentiality for survivors on college campuses so they can have privacy as they seek medical help and decide how to proceed. I co-sponsored laws to help victims of stalking obtain restraining orders at no charge, and to prevent domestic abusers from having guns.

    Oregonians of good will need to join together and make clear that all of us—women and men, girls and boys, black and white, gay and straight—deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity. I will work to make that happen.

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    Sitting with my daughter at my desk on the House floor.

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    Public Safety Endorsements

    Keeping our community safe is a high priority for me as a policymaker. That’s why I am so so grateful to have been endorsed by first responders and public safety officials working in our district and around the state.

    Thank you to the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs, the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council, Professional Firefighters Local 1159, and the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.

    You can see a full list of the organizations endorsing my campaign on my Endorsements page.

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    Barbur Boulevard Road Safety Improvements

    The Oregon Department of Transportation has identified steps to improve road safety for drivers and cyclists on parts of SW Barbur Boulevard. One component of this proposal, outlined in the image below, would add new buffered bike lanes and improve traffic patterns on Barbur near SW Capitol Highway, a notoriously dangerous stretch of road. This proposal is the result of community outreach and strategic thinking, and it represents an affordable, pragmatic approach that will keep people safe and help them get where they need to go.

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    Progress on Gun Safety

    Today, alongside 30 colleagues in the Oregon House of Representatives, I voted to protect our kids and families from gun violence by voting yes on House Bill 4147. This bill will extend the time for completing a background check before a buyer may purchase a firearm from three to ten days. This extension will help us weed out more dangerous people and prevent them from buying guns.

    According to FBI data, from 2010 to 2014, gun dealers throughout the United States allowed 15,729 guns to be sold to prohibited people after a background check was not completed within three business days.

    An analysis of Oregon State Police data found that these “default proceed” sales are more than five times more likely to be associated with a prohibited purchaser than sales where the purchaser’s background check is resolved within three days.

    In 2014, there were 497 deaths due to firearms in Oregon.

    These are sobering reminders that we need to take reasonable steps to keep guns away from dangerous people. House Bill 4147 is one such step.

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    Melissa’s Law

    Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 1571 out of committee. Known as “Melissa’s Law,” this bill will help protect rape victims and their families in the aftermath of an assault. The bill is named in memory of Melissa Bittler, a Portland teen who was tragically murdered by a serial rapist in 2001. Responding to pressure from the Legislature last year, Oregon state police conducted an inventory of untested sexual assault kits across the state. The inventory revealed that more than 5,000 kits were sitting untested on evidence shelves. Melissa’s Law would create state-wide procedures around the handling and testing of sexual assault kits to ensure the timely testing of every victim’s kit, so that perpetrators may be identified and prosecuted.

    I am a co-chief sponsor of Melissa’s Law and had the opportunity to sit down with Katu News to talk about the bill. You can watch the entire segment, featuring the incredibly brave sexual assault survivor and chief advocate of the bill, Brenda Tracy, below.

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    Protecting Kids and Families

    October is domestic violence awareness month and I was pleased to join in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Clackamas Women’s Services, a nonprofit that helps families and seniors escape abuse and violence. At a time when Clackamas County struggled from strong political divisions, I worked with CWS, our sheriff’s office, and county commissioners to create A Safe Place Family Justice Center.

    A Safe Place helps survivors get the counseling, legal help, housing, job referrals, and other services they need to move forward with their lives. This one-stop service center model was inspired by work in Multnomah County at the Gateway Center, as well as similar work around the country. It has helped hundreds of survivors.

    Now two more counties are looking at creating family justice centers. As a one-time board member for CWS and long-time advocate for survivors of abuse, I want to support their efforts. Oregon will be a safer place when more families can benefit from services like those at A Safe Place in Clackamas County.

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    Melissa Erlbaum, Executive Director of CWS, Me, and Sheriff Craig Roberts at the CWS 30th Anniversary Gala last weekend.

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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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    A picture is worth a thousand words

    At this moment in our country and in our state, we need to make sure that Oregonians feel safe interacting with law enforcement. That is why I am supporting legislation that will help law enforcement agencies effectively implement on-body cameras for police officers, and another bill that will make it legal for citizens to record video of public safety officers’ interactions with their community. In the last year we have seen how these videos, when available, can help us get to the bottom of what really happened in controversial confrontations with law enforcement. In fact, just yesterday the video of a shooting in South Carolina submitted by a bystander is helping ensure the case closes with the most just resolution.
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    Click below to read the proposed bills:
    House Bill 2571: Body Cameras
    House Bill 2704: Citizen Recording

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    Supporting Survivors

    Yesterday was an important day for survivors of sexual assault and for Oregon’s college students. The Oregon Alliance to End Violence Against Women hosted a Survivor Safety Rally on the Capitol’s front steps. We rallied in support of House Bill 3476, heard later in the day before the House Judiciary Committee.
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    House Bill 3476 would protect the privacy and confidentiality of sexual assault and domestic violence victims who seek counseling and support services, including on college campuses. Oregonians understand we need to do something to reduce sexual violence in our state, including on our college campuses.

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    A key reason survivors do not come forward or get help is fear that their painful, personal stories will become public without their consent. House Bill 3476 would protect survivor-advocate confidentially. During the hearing on HB 3476 we heard powerful testimony from victims, advocates, and law enforcement in support of the bill.
    Click here to watch the hearing.

    Many thanks to everyone who contributed to yesterday’s important activities.