This is part of our 2013 Legislative Wrap series, where we’re giving the rundown on what the Oregonian Legislature accomplished across a range of issues and “grading” them on their work. For more in this series, hit the jump.
In addition to the handful of hot-button issues like the environment and K-12 funding, there were a number of other critical bills that were debated during this legislative session. Here are some of the highlights:
- Driver’s cards (SB 833) Legislators passed a landmark bill to create the Oregon Driver’s Card, a new document designed to keep Oregon’s roads safe by allowing individuals, who don’t have access to the residency documentation required to get a driver’s license, to get a temporary driver’s card. This allows them to become insured. Anti-immigration activists—and the Oregon Republican Party—have launched a referendum campaign in an attempt to overturn the law.
- Overturn Citizens United (HJM 6) By passing HJM 6, Oregon has joined more than a dozen other states calling on Congress to propose and pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. Passing this bill says in big, bold letters: Oregon believes that corporations are not people.
- Retirement Security for all (HB 3436) Recent stats have shown just how few people are prepared for retirement, with shockingly few Americans having saved anything for their twilight years. This bill will set up a committee to study the issue in Oregon and propose possible solutions to provide retirement options and address this crisis.
- Public Safety Reform (HB 3194) This bill makes significant reforms to the public safety system, flattening the projected increases in inmate populations and saving the state $326 million over the next ten years. It’s a refreshing approach to public safety that’s more sustainable and effective than the “warehousing criminals” approach of the 1990s.
- Pay Equity (HB 2092A and SB 744) The Legislature passed two policies to address unfair income discrepancies in Oregon. House Bill 2902-A will now require that insurance companies pay Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Doctors the same rates for the same work. Prior to this bill, insurance companies were getting away with paying less to Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants — even when the procedures were exactly the same and in areas where all were fully qualified to practice. Oregon lawmakers also passed SB 744, a bill that establishes a council to study wage inequality in Oregon and to report on its findings. The bill was introduced because of concerns about the gender wage gap in Oregon, and will develop a scientific process for determining the scope of the problem, likely causes, and potential solutions.
GRADE: A determined and focused jump
Oregon K-12: Children Are the Future?
The Dirt on Oregon’s Environment
Higher Education: A Step in the Right Direction
Cutting Tax Loopholes
Economic Fairness & Consumer Protection
Seniors and People with Disabilities