Bills introduced in session tackle health care, pay equity
My first month as your state representative has already concluded, and I wanted to share with you, my constituents, some of what has happened in your State Capitol over the last few weeks.
The end of February coincided with an important deadline in the legislative process, so in a flurry of paperwork on Tuesday, the majority of bills that will be considered this session were filed. Here are a few pieces of legislation that will improve the lives of people here in Woodburn.
Making sure that the seniors in our communities are able to retire with independence and dignity is something that is incredibly important to me. That is why I campaigned on a promise to address the abuse of our elders, something that is entirely too common here in Oregon. I recently lent my support to House Bill 3359 that aims to protect our senior citizens by increasing training and competency standards for caregivers, and allows for increased oversight of long-term care facilities that fall below certain quality metrics.
I also heard throughout my campaign from seniors and working families alike that the cost of health care and prescription drugs meant that they could not access the treatment they need. Through my work on the House Health Care Committee, I am dedicated to finding solutions that help us curb rising costs of care, so that everyone can have true access to the medical attention they need to lead healthy lives.
Another challenge that the legislature is tackling this session is ensuring pay equity for everyone regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Last week, hearings were held in both the House and the Senate on bills that aim to strengthen existing legal protections for individuals, including women and minorities, who are experiencing pay discrimination, as well as prohibit salary history from being used as a determinant in initial job offers. I know that far too many in this community are raising families on wages substantially lower than others who do the same work, and that needs to end.
The last piece of legislation that I want to highlight this month is a bill that I am leading the charge on to help our schools better engage the families of our students in the education process. Speaking with mothers, fathers and guardians all across this district, I heard time and again that the best way to improve graduation rates and performance in school is to get parents and families involved. That is why I filed House Bill 3185 to create a task force comprised of education experts and parents to recommend to the legislature ways that we can help our parents participate in their kids' education.