2022 state legislative session begins; UO priorities include support for transition to college, renovation projects

The Oregon Legislature kicked off the 2022 legislative session on Tuesday, February 1, beginning a 35-day short session to move legislation and distribute funds.

The short session has quick deadlines for bills to stay alive, with committee approval needed by February 7, and passage out of the chamber of origin by February 14. The Legislature is constitutionally required to wrap up by March 7, 2022.

A major House leadership change took place in the opening of session, following the resignation of Tina Kotek as she pursues her gubernatorial campaign. Rep. Dan Rayfield, who represents Corvallis, was elected as new speaker of the House. Rep. Julie Fahey, who represents parts of Eugene and Junction City, is now the House Majority Leader. New House Minority Leader is Rep. Vikki Breese Iverson from Prineville.

The newest UO alumna to be appointed to the Legislature is Sen. Rachel Armitage from Scappoose, who graduated with a BS in Geography in 2015. For a list of all 14 UO alumni in the Oregon Legislature, click here.

Major funding priorities for UO this session include:

  • A joint ask with other public universities for second year of Strong Start/Summer Bridge funding. In 2021, the legislature provided one year of funding for these programs which successfully assisted students in the transition from high school to college, with a focus on those who were most impacted by remote instruction and the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for additional academic support continues into 2022 for high school graduates who did not enroll in college due to the pandemic or enrolled in college and were adversely impacted by the pandemic with reduced academic load, financial distress and poor grades. Additionally, these programs can help ease the transition to a university setting for some community college transfer students. Program elements include intensive academic supports in math and writing, academic advising, note taking skills, time management, early move-in to campus, peer mentoring, tutoring, and financial literacy.
  • A joint ask with other public universities to cover the unprecedented increases in construction costs for capital projects previously approved by the Legislature. For UO, this includes the Heritage Project and Huestis Hall renovations. State investment in these renovation projects have an extraordinary impact on the academic success of Oregon university students.
  • Funding for projects driven by individual legislators who have taken interest in work UO faculty and student are doing, such as Alert Wildfire cameras to monitor and respond to wildfire activity, increasing capacity for Cybersecurity education, funding ongoing research like the Child Abuse Prevalence Study, and continued support of UO’s law school clinics.