The 2022 Legislative Session: OCN Priorities for a Healthy Oregon

In Legislative Session by OLCVstaff

The legislative session is right around the corner, and we have the chance to make a big difference for Oregon’s people and places–this year, we can help protect communities from extreme heat, uphold public ownership of the Elliott State Forest, create more energy efficient buildings, and more!

Take action: tell your state senator and state representative to stand up for the environment during the short session! Here’s a closer look at our priorities and our special focus bill:

Emergency Heat Relief: Last summer’s extreme heatwave led to almost 100 deaths in Oregon alone. In times like this, air conditioning and heat pumps can save lives, especially as extreme weather grows more common. The ‘Emergency Heat Relief for Communities’ bill (LC 144) provides funding for low-income communities, rural communities, and communities of color to install energy efficient heat pumps. The ‘Emergency Heat Relief for Renters’ bill (LC 26) requires new construction to install cooling solutions in rental properties. It also helps provide funding for community cooling/warming centers, and allows more renters to install portable air conditioners in their homes.

REACH Codes: Buildings are Oregon’s second largest–and longest lasting–source of climate pollution, with buildings commonly being used for 50 years or more. The way we build matters, not only today, but long into the future. Passing the REACH Codes bill (SB 1518) will give cities the opportunity to adopt stronger codes to make new construction energy efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels. This will not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions–it’ll also lead to cleaner air and lower energy bills.

Elliott State Forest: In 2017, we led a coalition that saved the Elliott State Forest–one of Oregon’s largest remaining stands of old-growth in the Coast Range–from being logged. The Elliott State Forest bill (LC 54) would make the Elliott a research forest, and create a new, publicly-owned entity to oversee it, helping keep the forest open for recreation while protecting the unique wildlife it supports, like the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, and coho salmon.

Budget: As usual, we support a strong budget for environmental and conservation agencies to keep our air and water clean, invest in the health of our communities, and work toward climate and environmental justice.

OCN Special Focus – Farmworker Overtime: Despite being essential workers, farmworkers have been excluded from overtime pay since 1938. Now, Oregon has the opportunity to right this historic wrong by passing the Farmworker Overtime bill, which is being led by our friends at Oregon’s farmworker union, PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste).

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We’ll be in touch with more ways you can take action on these and other pro-environment bills throughout the short session, which starts on February 1st. This is our time to make a difference! Please make sure to email your lawmakers and ask them to support our OCN Priorities in 2022, so we can get the session off to a strong start. 

Talk to you soon,

Julia DeGraw
Coalition Director, OLCV