Democrats and Republicans in the Oregon Senate outlined their priorities for the shortened 2024 legislative session.
“Decades of one-party Democrat control has created a severe housing shortage, increased costs for families, and made it extremely difficult for businesses to thrive in Oregon. Meanwhile, homelessness, drug addiction, and violent crime have eroded the fabric of our communities – especially since the passage of Measure 110,” Knopp, the Senate Minority Leader, said in a statement. “Senate Republicans’ agenda focuses on course correcting the Legislature’s response to Oregon’s growing problems by abandoning failed policies of decades past and embracing bold solutions that will put Oregon on a path to success.”
Democrats are calling their agenda “Uniting Oregon,” with a focus on housing, the drug crisis and the economy.
“In 2024, Senate Democrats will work to turn Oregon’s shared problems into shared solutions and take action on the most urgent issues impacting all Oregonians. We will be focused on reducing homelessness, increasing affordable housing, improving public health and safety, and strengthening our schools and the economy. We invite everyone to work with us to make our shared goals a reality,” said Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber in a statement
Here is a look at the priorities both parties presented.
HOMELESSNESS RELIEF AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
SAFE, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
STRONG SCHOOLS, STRONG ECONOMY
Boosting Housing Production
The severe housing shortage that exists in Oregon today was created overtime by status-quo liberal policies that have handcuffed cities, overregulated builders, and stifled development. Senate Republicans are proposing commonsense reforms which will free up land to invest in housing of all types in all communities, not just Portland.
Priority Legislation: SB 1564
Addressing Drug Addiction, Homelessness, and Crime
Drug addiction, homelessness, and crime have soared in recent years – especially since Measure 110. Communities have suffered and lives have been lost. Senate Republicans are introducing several key bills aimed at getting these issues under control and saving lives. Some policies focus on treatment for drug addiction, and others support victims of child abuse.
While special interest activists and far-left Democrats defend the Measure 110 disaster, most Oregonians say it’s time for drastic change. The Legislature must course correct and create a better policy that puts people on a path to recovery. Senate Republicans believe Measure 110 reform must recriminalize drug possession to a Class A Misdemeanor, giving law enforcement what they need to provide accountability that will require treatment for addiction as a diversion from jail. Reform must also ban public use of hard drugs, enhance penalties for drug dealers, fund specialty drug courts, and allow counties – not OHA – to address needs at a local level.
Priority Legislation: SB 1555, SB 1588, SB 1579
Defending the Kicker, Growing the Economy, Lowering Costs
Oregon is an amazing place to call home, but it comes with a high price tag. Inflation coupled with high taxes, fees, and burdensome regulations pushed by Democrat lawmakers has made Oregon so expensive to live, operate a business, and raise a family that people are fleeing in huge numbers. Senate Republicans will push for lower taxes for small businesses, financial relief for wildfire victims, income tax exemptions for veterans, and property tax exemptions for seniors, while fighting Democrat attempts to raise taxes and take the Kicker from working Oregonians.
Priority Legislation: SB 1542, SB 1549, SB 1520, SJR 202, SB 1543
Protecting Constitutional Rights Threatened by Democrats
Senate Republicans place great importance on protecting the constitutional rights of Oregonians whether it be the 2nd Amendment or the Kicker. This will remain a focus throughout the entire Session as tyranny of the majority is often an inevitable reality in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.