In many ways, the state of Oregon has been at a crossroads: amid the unprecedented and traumatic crises of COVID-19, wildfires, and white supremacy, our state has been faced with choices between the status quo or a bold path forward towards a healthy and livable future. We cannot afford to go “back to normal” when “normal” wasn’t working for far too many people. Instead, our lawmakers have the opportunity to lay a foundation for a world where everyone is treated fairly, lives in a healthy home, and has a bright future.
Under challenging circumstances, Oregon PSR united with our partners to push for a bold state legislative agenda in 2021. We celebrated the clean-sweep victory of the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign to advance environmental justice, chart a course towards 100% clean electricity, and provide energy relief for families who need it most. We also made some progress on addressing the public health crisis of mass incarceration, halted three ill-advised nuclear power exemption bills, and advanced progress on gun violence prevention, police accountability, and racial justice.
Here's where the legislation we supported ended up.
Oregon PSR’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda - Results
Bills we supported, which passed:
- The Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign - view press releases on the success of the campaign, and read news coverage of these bills
- House Bill 3265 - The Sanctuary Promise Act: Strengthens Oregon's sanctuary laws
- House Bill 2932 - Police Accountability: Creates a new, required use-of-force database to track incidents of police brutality
- Senate Bill 554 - Gun Violence Prevention: Schools, Portland airport, public buildings allowed to prohibit guns
- Senate Bill 553 - In-state tuition for COFA students
Bills we supported that did not pass:
Senate Bill 835: Improving usability and transparency of early compassionate medical release for incarcerated individuals in Oregon’s prisons
- This bill made it very close to passing given that it was a new concept still in development during the 2021 legislative session. We are hopeful that the legislature will convene an effective interim workgroup to get this bill ready for passage in the 2022 short legislative session as unfinished business from 2021. The COVID-19 crisis made it very clear that our prisons are not always the best place for Oregonians to receive needed medical care and health protections, so we will work hard with our partners, including the Oregon Justice Resource Center, to get this policy passed as soon as possible.
- View our mass incarceration and public health webinar (3/18/21) to learn more about this subject.
- Read testimony from our Energy Justice Organizer, Lluvia Merello
- Read testimony from our Healthy Climate Action Team members:
- Senate Bill 571 & House Bill 2366 - Voting rights for adults in prison custody
- House Bill 2912 - Renewing funding for re-entry-focused legal services to people incarcerated in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon's only women's prison
House Bill 2337 - Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis
- Read a factsheet on HB 2337 from Oregon Health Equity Task Force
- Read Oregon PSR Testimony in Support of HB 2337
- Read additional Oregon PSR Testimony Supporting HB 2337
- House Bill 2358 - Farmworker Overtime Bill
- House Bill 2482 - Equitable Transit Access Bill
- Senate Bill 706 - Enrolling citizens of the island nations in the Compact of Free Association (COFA) in the state medical assistance program (read our testimony in support)
- Senate Bill 557 & House Bill 2557 - COFA dental equity (read our testimony in support)
- Senate Bill 583 - Banning new or expanded mega-dairies
- House Bill 2814 - Directing the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to adopt an indirect source rule to regulate aggregate sources of diesel pollution
- House Bill 2479 - Defining black carbon from diesel exhaust as a climate forcer (i.e. major contributor to climate change)
- House Bill 2674 - Clean diesel business investment fund
House Bill 2495 - the 2021 Toxic-Free Kids Update Act
- Read our testimony in support
- Despite this bill's bipartisan vote in support in the House of Representatives, it did not gain traction in the Oregon Senate. We hope lawmakers will make these much-needed updates to the 2015 Toxic Free Kids Act law.
- House Bill 2348 - Requires hospitals and long term care facilities to make available plant-based meals and beverages
Police Accountability and Gun Violence Prevention:
- House Bill 2931 - Police Accountability: Requires person who arrests another person to ensure that the arrested person receives medical assessment
- House Bill 2543 - Gun Violence Prevention: Close the Charleston Loophole
- House Bill 2510 - Gun Violence Prevention: Safe Storage [NOTE: this bill was incorporated into SB 554, which passed the House & Senate)
- Senate Bill 604 - Gun Violence Prevention: Permit and Training Required to Purchase a Firearm
- Senate Bill 396 - Gun Violence Prevention: Ban Undetectable and/or Untraceable Firearms (such as guns made by 3D printing)
Bills we opposed, that did not pass:
Nuclear Power Exemptions:
- Senate Bill 360 - Exempting small modular nuclear reactors from Oregon's current ban on nuclear power generation
- House Bill 2332 - Repeals requirement for Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to find a viable permanent storage site for nuclear waste before being able to consider siting a nuclear power facility in Oregon
- House Bill 2692 - Exempts small modular nuclear reactors from Oregon's current requirement for them to be approved by voters before receiving a site certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
Our Healthy Climate Program Director Damon Motz-Storey was invited to present to the Oregon House Committee on Energy & Environment about the importance of keeping Oregon's protections against nuclear power in place.
- View the informational hearing featuring Damon Motz-Storey and Dr. M. V. Ramana, PhD of the University of British Columbia, who authored our report on the problems with NuScale Power's small modular nuclear reactor concept.
- View Damon's presentation materials