Details coming soon... horse therapy... racial equity on future earnings... strangulation as a felony
Details coming soon... More sober centers... housing supply bill... human manure bill... Josephine County Judgeship... Co-Chair Public Safety Sub-committee
House Bill 4080 created a new Governor’s Child Foster Care Advisory Commission. Over 7,500 Oregon children are in foster care every day and unfortunately we continue to see negative news reports about abused children. This new Commission will be made up of foster parents, advocates, legal experts, hopefully former foster children, and others who can advise the Governor and legislators on improving the system.
House Bill 4079 addresses the affordable housing challenges facing our state. In the 2016 session Rep Stark worked with a coalition of advocates for low income families as well as home builders to pass HB 4079. This new law takes a small but valuable step forward to deal with a much greater problem with state land use policies.
It directs the state land use agency to write rules for pilot projects in two areas of the state, one in a city over 25,000 population, and one under 25,000. Each city could voluntarily expand their Urban Growth Boundary up to 50 acres if a developer willingly agreed to build affordable housing as part of the pilot project. The site could not be on valuable farmland and would have to be near public services.
House Bill 4042 re-establishes a program called General Assistance (GA) to help up to 200 homeless individuals who can’t work but qualify for federal disability assistance. GA funds would be available to help tide these people over until their Social Security Income or Disability benefits come in, which can often take many months. GA money is primarily used for emergency housing assistance and a majority is paid back to the state once the individual is receiving federal benefits.
HB 4082 is another in a series of important new laws Rep Stark was a Chief Sponsor of to crack down on sex-trafficking in Oregon. The measure is designed to strengthen anti-prostitution laws and hold sex traffickers more accountable for engaging in criminal transactions. The bill expands the crime of promoting prostitution to include receiving goods or services in connection with a prostitution activity in certain circumstances.
House Bill 2936 spearheaded by Rep Stark, passed the legislature unanimously. HB 2936 establishes sobering facilities in state law so that acutely intoxicated individuals will have a safe clean environment to stay until it is safe for them to leave. Grants limited legal protections for these facilities, restricts the number of new sober centers and requires accountability measures.
Senate Bill 5526 contains a special $6 million appropriation, secured by Rep Stark’s assistance. The funds are carved out in the state budget for the Addictions and Mental Health Program at the Oregon Health Authority for sobering facilities, detoxification and similar services. $500,000 specifically earmarked for the Grants Pass sobering facility. Current sobering providers like the Moore Center in Medford can apply for these grant funds, as well as new start-up sober centers being discussed in Baker, Deschutes, Douglas, and Klamath counties.
Senate Bill 741 adopted by both House and Senate unanimously, requires the Department of Human Services to give relatives and current caretakers (usually foster parents who have cared for a child for a year or more) equal status when considering them as prospective adoptive parents.
Senate Bill 5507 contains elements of Senate Bill 632 sponsored by Rep Stark and appropriates around $1 million for two pilot programs to train and assist foster parents of high risk foster children who have experienced trauma and had multiple foster home placements. The programs include one in rural Oregon, the other in an urban area. The legislature will evaluate results in 2017.
House Bill 2889 allows children over 12-years old in foster care to open a savings account and the Department of Human Services to monitor use of a child’s money. House Bill 2890 provides youth in foster care the ability to participate in at least one extracurricular activity. Both measures promoted by Rep Stark as Vice-Chair of House Human Services Committee.
House Bill 3535 reinvests $30 million in savings from fewer low-income families needing state assistance and caseload cost reductions in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. The measure intends to add more flexibility to some of the programs available to help Oregonians who are really struggling to get back on their feet. Rep Stark Co-Chaired HB 3535 through the process.
Senate Bill 616 protects the Fairview Trust, established in 2000 when the institution for people with developmental disabilities (DD) closed. SB 616 requires an audit of expenditures set aside to pay for housing programs to help DD clients and improves the way the funds are invested. In 2011, half of the money in the trust (around $7 million) was swept out to pay for other state programs and never returned. Rep Stark shepherded SB 616 to successful passage in the House.
Senate Bill 515 is the 2015 legislative update to the Oregon Transparency Website. Rep Stark joins an elite group of legislators who’ve worked for several sessions so Oregonians have better information on how our tax dollars are spent. SB 515 includes a virtual suggestions box for input from the public and more accountability for economic development tax breaks.
House Bill 2184, which was Co-Chief sponsored by Rep Stark, calls on DMV to place a link on the agency’s website to information about Oregon State Parks day-use park passes. Parks and Recreation Department brochures will also be available at Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division field offices.