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Rep. Hudson, Sen. Gorsek share priorities for short session during online forum

COURTESY PHOTO  - Rep. Hudson During a virtual town hall, Rep. Zach Hudson and Sen. Chris Gorsek discussed future bills and laid out priorities they would be focusing on during the upcoming 2022 short legislative session.

At the online forum on Saturday, Jan. 22, Hudson, D-Troutdale, and Gorsek, D-Troutdale, discussed issues like utilizing state funding for colleges, cosmetic testing on animals and environmental issues.

After introductions, the two legislators layed-out bills they plan to push during the new session.

Gorsek plans to introduce two bills during the short session. The first would remove a notice that is sent to ones of floating homes that requires the resident to respond with their taxable status.

Gorsek's issue with the notice is that failure to respond leads to a fine. The other problem he brings up is that the notice doesn't get forwarded to the resident's other address, even if they request the post office to do so.

With many of those residents living in other states, they often don't know that the form was sent to them and are fined at no fault of their own.

"We are working on getting (the notice removed) and have been in contact with our friends at the county assessor's office in Multnomah County, and they're not excited about keeping it either," Gorsek said.

Gorsek also plans to bring a bill that will address the problem of accessing state funded bonds for colleges and community colleges. Gorsek said the problem lies within Oregon's constitutions, which he said requires schools to match the funds in state bonds in order to receive them.

Gorsek said, as a professor at Mt. Hood Community College, colleges don't have the financial backing to match some of these funds and the money never makes it to the colleges.

Gorsek plans to use his second bill as a referral to the voters in hopes they decide to allow colleges and universities to forgo the requirement to match those funds.

Hudson also had two personal bills he hopes to bring into the next session. The first he discussed would end both the testing of cosmetics on animals and the selling of animal-tested cosmetics in Oregon.

"It's an archaic system, but it is still being used in many places," Hudson said. "Many other states have already outlawed this practice or banned the sale of cosmetics which have been tested on animals or both. And we are hoping to do both."

The second would be a labor harmony agreement between the state and contractors that are providing behavioral health and addiction treatment services.

Hudson said the need for this bill was made evident last year when a state funded behavioral health provider produced an anti-union campaign as their workers attempted to unionize.

"We are suggesting that any future contracts between an agency (behavioral/addiction service) and the state include a labor harmony clause, which would make sure that taxpayer money doesn't get spent on union busting," Hudson said.

The 2022 short session begins Feb. 1 and will end by March 8.

Both Gorsek and Hudson are freshman members of their respective chambers, though Gorsek long served in the House before moving offices after the 2020 election.

Gorsek is a criminal justice educator at Mt. Hood Community College. He co-chairs the Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee and serves on Full Ways and Means, Joint Transportation and Education.

Hudson is a special education teacher who sits on the Education Committee, Economic Recovery and Prosperity Committee and General Government Subcommittee of Ways and Means. He is also vice-chair on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

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