The Oregon Legislature is only five weeks into its session, but bills are moving and lawmakers are taking up an array of issues from affordable housing to climate change.
In the last couple weeks, we’ve had lots of University of Oregon students, faculty, and staff at the Capitol engaging on policy bills and advocating for increased operating funding to keep college affordable.
Below are some highlights from the session in week five:
1) The Joint Committee on Ways & Means, which consists of the Legislature’s key budget writers, announced their road show dates. The “road show” is when legislators tour the state with the goal of listening to Oregonians about what to include in the state’s budget for the 2019-21 biennium.
If one of these hearings is near where you live, we need YOU to attend. Even if you don’t sign up to testify, it’s important to have people hold signs and offer a strong show of support for higher education.
The four dates and locations are listed below:
- Coos Bay: Saturday, March 9 – Marshfield High School, Auditorium, 972 Ingersoll Ave. (1:00-3:00 pm)
- Pendleton: Friday, March 15 – Blue Mountain Community College, Pioneer Hall, Bob Clapp Theatre, 2411 NW Carden Ave. (5:30-7:30 pm)
- Redmond: Saturday, March 16 – Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, Three Sisters Conference and Convention Center (South Sister), 3800 SW Airport Way (2:00-4:00 pm)
- Portland: Thursday, March 21 – Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, MAHB 104 Auditorium, 5514 N. Albina Ave. (5:30-7:30 pm)
2) Jason Younker, Assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President on Sovereignty and Government to Government Relations, came to the Capitol to testify in support of Senate Bill 312, which would allow Native American students who graduated from an Oregon high school to qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of if they are from a tribe outside of the state.
3) HB 2641 had its first public hearing in the House Education Committee, which would provide funding for RAIN Eugene. RAIN is a business incubator started in 2015 and is housed in downtown Eugene at the 942 Olive building—the UO’s facility that provides space for entrepreneurship, start-ups, research and more.
4) On President’s Day, thousands of students, faculty, staff, and other advocates rallied in Salem to tell legislators they needed to fully fund Oregon’s public education system—from early childhood through college.