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Column: State Rep. Margaret Doherty reflects on the 2018 legislative session.

Just this month the Oregon Legislature adjourned the 2018 Legislative Session. While our time in Salem was short, with the session lasting only 27 days, our to-do list was long with several priorities to help keep Oregon on the right track for hardworking families. I'm happy to share that we achieved many victories on behalf of Oregonians and made significant progress on several issues that will be addressed in future legislative sessions. Rep. Margaret Doherty

As the state representative for Tigard, I have always been a strong advocate for ensuring every Oregonian has access to quality heath care, and this session I was proud to vote for several pieces of legislation to help lower costs and expand health care access. Two of those pieces of legislation included House Bill 4005, aimed at lowering prescription drug prices through the disclosure of consumer information, and House Bill 4018, which aims to ensure the organizations providing health care to Oregon's Medicaid recipients are accountable and transparent.

In addition, I was proud to support budget allocations to add more than $9 million to fund mental health services, and $2 million to tackle the opioid epidemic.

With gun violence plaguing communities across the nation, I was honored to help pass House Bill 4145, bi-partisan legislation, which will help protect survivors of domestic violence by banning people convicted of stalking and domestic violence from buying or owning firearms. This was critical to help ensure many in our community remain safe, and I am committed to working in the future to pass additional common-sense gun violence prevention measures.

Having run and operated a small business, I was happy the Legislature took action to support small businesses in every corner of Oregon. With the passage of House Bill 4052, which creates small business advisory committees and gives a larger voice to small businesses in the development of state regulations, I'm confident we are on the right track to grow the backbone of our economy — our small and local businesses.

This session we also made strides to help defend our environment and to combat climate change with the creation of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, which will work to advance Clean Energy Jobs legislation in 2019. I have been a strong advocate for ensuring Oregon does all it can to protect our planet and invest in a clean energy economy, and I will continue this advocacy.

As a former teacher, I went into the 2018 session with two personal priorities to help support education across Oregon, and I am proud that both received overwhelming bi-partisan support. The first, HB 4012, ensures that students continue to have access to high quality Career and Technical Education programs by allowing retired CTE teachers to continue teaching without losing retirement benefits. This is critical, given Oregon's shortage of CTE teachers. Secondly, I was proud to champion HB 4014, which removes barriers to college for Oregon's foster youth by removing a 30-hour community service requirement for tuition waiver eligibility.

With the session adjourned, I am proud of the work we achieved in Salem for Oregonians. I am also proud that a vast majority of this work was achieved with bi-partisan collaboration. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure we keep Oregon families top of mind as we look to the 2019 Legislative Session.

Rep. Margaret Doherty serves House District 35, which includes Tigard, in the Oregon Legislature.

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