Salinas outlines 2019 priorities
Oregon's 80th Legislative Assembly is off to the races! Over the next several months, the Legislature is poised to address several systemic issues to benefit Oregonians. While I will work hard to support these major efforts, I also have my own legislative priorities.
For too long, Oregon has struggled to fund quality, public education for every child in this state. This year, we have an opportunity to finally make essential, game-changing investments in our schools to address long-term obstacles in our education system. Additional revenue and structural changes in our K-12 schools are long overdue; equally important is the need to keep our children safe. I have requested additional support for the Department of Education to provide technical assistance to our school districts when presented with investigative cases of bullying and harassment.
Currently, Oregon's Department of Education only has one quarter-time employee who helps all K-12 and higher education employees with Title IX compliance regarding harassment and bullying. Our administrators need more resources to deal with the high volume of these complicated cases. I'm also working to create a funding stream for consent education in schools, which is proven to reduce sexual violence.
Additionally, I've been supportive of the work Students for Change is doing around gun safety as they advocate for safer schools.
One of the greatest threats facing the next generation comes from climate change. In Oregon, our fisheries are under assault from ocean acidification, our burning forests are devastating the environment and local economies, and drought plagues our fertile farmland. As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Environment, I will continue to fight for policies to ensure Oregon is doing its part to slow the effects of climate change while ensuring we have money to invest in a 21st century economy in every corner of Oregon.
More specifically, I will work to ensure that we are making the right investments to curb dirty diesel emissions, which disproportionately hurt our more vulnerable children and seniors.
The national fight for quality, affordable health care is paramount. Here in Oregon, though 94 percent of adults and 100 percent of children have access to quality affordable health care, there is more work to be done. As a member of the Joint Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee and House Health Care Committee, I will ensure Medicaid is fully funded, fight for more affordable prescription drugs and provide a pathway to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Oregonians.
I spent last year chairing the Universal Access to Healthcare Workgroup, which brought together health care industry experts, advocates and providers. We were tasked with developing ideas to stabilize Oregon's current health care system — despite any changes from the current federal administration — while creating a path to true universal care. The result of that workgroup is policy proposals I believe will provide health care access for those who don't currently have any access, stabilize the cost of premiums for those with health insurance, and pool additional patients into a system that pays for health care outcomes, not just the quantity of services provided.
These are a few of my priorities, but my door is always open to listen and engage in meaningful conversation to make our Oregon community a healthier place for all.
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