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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is your update on what has been going on at the Capitol. You’ll also find an update on the COVID-19 subcommittee, the latest COVID-19 information, a poll about in district events, an update on unemployment and more!

 
 
Happy Pride Month!

As June marks the beginning of pride month, I want to reiterate my commitment to standing strong with the LGBTQ+ community. Each and every one of us should be confident in our right to thrive as our authentic self without fear of discrimination.

To our LGBTQ+ youth in particular, you are loved and welcome in our community. If you are struggling with mental health or thoughts of suicide, please know that you are not alone and you can reach out to The Trevor Project by calling 1-866-488-7386 or texting START to 678-678.

Bill Updates

HB 3037 is a bill my office has been working on alongside Multnomah County to help inform and support a community after a youth dies by suicide to take direct action to decrease the risk of what is known as the “contagion” effect. It passed out of the legislature on 5/27 and is now headed to the Governor’s desk to become law! I’m very grateful to co-chief sponsor Senator Kate Lieber for her partnership in championing this bill in the Senate and to my amazing staff member, Peter Wedlake who cared for this bill every step of the way, chaperoning it to success..

HB 2814 (Clean construction to protect air quality), HB 3035 (Prison healthcare improvement pilot project at Coffee Creek women’s correctional facility), and HB 3039 (Electronic medical record modernization study) are in the Joint Ways and Means Committee waiting to go through the budget process. We hope to have more updates in the coming weeks.

Bills of interest that have passed in the House since last update

  • SB 716 - Senator Taylor and Representative Power

    • Includes the need for child care as a reason employees may identify as a limitation or change in the employees’ work schedule availability.

  • HB 3291 - Representative Rayfield

    • Requires ballots returned by mail to have a postal indicator showing the ballot was mailed not later than date of election and be received by county clerk not later than seven days after date of election. Moves quarterly election date from third Tuesday in September to fourth Tuesday in August. Allows county clerks to open and begin counting ballots upon receipt. Applies to elections held on or after January 1, 2022. 

  • SB 712 - Senators Dembrow, Gelser, and Representative Evans

    • Alters commissioner composition of Higher Education Coordinating Commission by redesignating five current nonvoting positions as voting positions and by adding one additional position for graduate students attending public university.

  • SB 79 - At the request of the Housing and Community Services Department

    • Authorizes Housing and Community Services Department to provide grants and technical assistance to organizations increasing homeownership program access to persons of color.

Historic School Funding

The House and the Senate have now passed a historic $9.3 billion K-12 budget, the largest K-12 budget in Oregon history. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk.  This record level of investment will give students across the state the tools and resources they need to succeed. This represents a 3.3% increase over the 2019-21 State School Fund and a similar increase over the 2021-23 current service level. This $9.3 billion will be combined with almost $4.6 billion in property taxes and other local revenues for distribution through the school revenue formula.

Additionally, the Legislature passed $250 million for summer learning, enrichment and child care programs to support our children and families following more than a year living through the pandemic. That funding will allow many students to catch up and prepare for the next school year and support families who helped children through a year of remote learning.

COVID-19 Subcommittee

On 5/26 the subcommittee received our weekly briefing on the vaccine rollout, variant testing and tracing efforts from Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and an update from the Department of Education on plans for fall reopening of K-12 schools. You can watch the full update here.

Starting 6/7, the COVID-19 subcommittee will meet on Monday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30pm, it will continue to be live streamed from the COVID-19 subcommittee page which can be accessed here.

Poll

Would you be interested in attending in person HD 33 events hosted by Representative Dexter’s office? Let us know by responding to the poll below!

Take the Poll Here
Open Office Hours

I am holding weekly constituent office hours every Tuesday from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm. This is nothing fancy or formal, just an open invitation to share your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to come for a minute or the hour, or pop in just to say “hello.” This is the closest way we can emulate having you all come down to my office in the Capitol.

To help prevent Zoombombers, I do ask that you register with the button below. After your first registration, though, you can just save the Zoom login because it will work every week. Please feel free to share that registration link with your neighbors who may not be on this email list.

Register for Office Hours
COVID Update
COVID cases now appear to be declining. There continues to be a concern that we may see further case increase with variants present as we open up our communities. Please note the new masking guidelines, below. These guidelines may continue to change as we get more data, and we will continue to bring you the latest information in our newsletter.

Vaccines Eligibility Expansion  

 

All Oregonians 12 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This comes following the FDA’s authorization for emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children between 12 and 15. The previous EUA for the Pfizer vaccine included teenagers 16 and older.

Please make sure you and your loved ones get your vaccines as soon as you are eligible, especially those who are 65 years and over.

New Masking Guidelines

On 5/18 the Oregon Health Authority issued interim guidelines for mask mandates following the recent CDC guidance update stating that fully vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination status are not required to wear masks or maintain social distancing except in:

  • Health care settings

  • Adult and youth correctional and detention facilities

  • Shelters and transitioning housing

  • K-12 schools

  • Public transportation

  • U.S. transit hubs such as bus stations and airports as per federal guidance

  • Settings where owners or operators continue to apply and enforce mask guidance

Businesses are able to lift mask and social distancing requirements as long as they have a policy in place to verify vaccination status for each individual entering the premises. The decision to implement a verification system is up to the business, and I urge us all to respect their decisions as we navigate the new guidance.

This topic was also discussed at length in the COVID Subcommittee where Director Allen announced that masks for organized youth sports outdoors will no longer be quired by the OHA. If you have questions, I would encourage you to watch the discussion here or explore the OHA website with their guidance.

Walk-In and Drive-Up Vaccinations

As of today, Friday, the Oregon Convention Center offers walk-in vaccinations, no appointment needed. The Convention Center still recommends making an appointment online to speed up the process. You can sign up for an appointment at the Oregon Convention Center directly through the All4Oregon website here. June 19 is the last day to get vaccinated at the Oregon Convention Center.

OHSU mass vaccination sites at the Portland airport and Hillsboro Stadium are also offering drive-up vaccinations. You can simply show up at the PDX Airport Red Economy Parking Lot between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday or 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday to receive your shot. You can schedule an appointment at the Hillsboro Stadium clinic and find more information here.  

To get more information you can also call 211, email ORCOVID@211info.org, or text ORCOVID to 898211. Costco Pharmacies,Safeway/Albertsons Pharmacies, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Bi-Mart, and OHSU also have direct vaccine appointment tools.

You Don’t Need Insurance

The Oregon Health Authority does not require an ID to receive a vaccine and the vaccine will be free. However, if you do have insurance, it is recommended that you bring your insurance information, as providers may charge your insurance an administration fee. You should not pay out of pocket for your vaccine.

Vaccine Side Effects

If you experience side effects after you receive the vaccine, the CDC recommends using their V-safe website to report that information. The most common side effects are tenderness around the injection site, headaches, tiredness, and chills. The website will also remind you when it is time to receive the second dose of the vaccine.

We are now seeing the supply of vaccines outpacing demand so it is much easier to get a jab!

Six Tips on how to Spot a Vaccine Scam

  1. You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine. If someone calls to “sell you” an earlier appointment than you could get otherwise, it is a scam.

  2. When you are eligible, do not pay to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who wants money to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.

  3. Worried about cost? If you are uninsured, on Medicare or an employer plan, private insurance, or the Oregon Health Plan, you do not have to pay to get the vaccine. That is a scam.

  4. Ignore sales ads for the vaccine. The vaccine is only available through federal or state partners. You cannot buy it anywhere.

  5. Nobody legitimate will call, text, or email about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card number.

  6. You are also not required to provide a Social Security number when registering for a vaccine appointment.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit COVIDVaccine.oregon.gov. To download the “How to Spot a COVID-19 Vaccine Scam,” visit www.oregonconsumer.gov and click on COVID-19 Scams.

COVID Risk Levels Update

In December, Governor Brown, alongside the Oregon Health Authority, introduced a new county-level approach to easing COVID restrictions based on a county’s risk level. In April, Governor Brown modified this approach: to be categorized as extreme risk, the state must have COVID-19 hospitalization rates of 15% or greater and 300 or more ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. As of 6/4, Washington County and Multnomah County are at lower risk. Here, you can see your county’s risk level and what the guidance is for activities under that risk level.

Oregon Government Waste Hotline
Did you know that there’s a way to quickly and easily report potential misuses of government resources? The Secretary of State’s office hosts the Government Waste Hotline. You can file a report here or call 800-336-8218.
Unemployment Update
The requirement for individuals receiving unemployment benefits (traditional UI or PUEC) to be actively searching for employment was waived at the beginning of the pandemic but will be phasing back in soon. That means if you are receiving benefits, you will be required to register in the state’s iMatchSkills database and begin actively looking for work. The state will send a letter with your personal deadline for creating your iMatchSkills profile. For more information, click here.
OR Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Are you behind on rent or utility bills because of the pandemic? Oregon recently opened a new assistance program for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://www.oregonrentalassistance.org/ to learn more, review the tenant check list, and apply for assistance online! For frequently asked questions, click here.
Landlord Compensation Fund

Are you a landlord with residents who filed a Declaration of Financial Hardship? Apply by June 18th to receive 80% of rental debt owed through the Landlord Compensation Fund Program. Learn more about qualifying and how to apply here: bit.ly/OHCS-LCF

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Eligible Oregonians who receive their internet from Comcast or Ziply Fiber can apply to receive discounts of up to $50 a month and a $100 one-time discount for the purchase of a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

 

The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

Find Out More & Apply Here
Stay in Touch!

The best way to stay informed and connect with my legislative work is through my Facebook page (State Representative Maxine Dexter), my Twitter account (@RepDexterOR), and my Instagram (@RepDexterOR). In addition, please feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov.

I am honored to represent you in Salem and look forward to continuing to serve you and this amazing community we share.

Gratefully,

 

Maxine Dexter, MD
Oregon State Representative
House District 33

Resources
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office has compiled an exhaustive list of COVID resources here.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline | 1-800-273-TALK (8255)- Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741

  • Oregon Youthline | Call 877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 between 4pm - 10pm to text with another teen.

  • National Youth Crisis Hotline | 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

  • Oregon Partnership 24 Hour Youth Helpline | 1-877-553-TEEN (8336)

  • NAMI Oregon | 503-230-8009 or 800-343-6264, email namioregon@namior.org - Live support from 9am - 5pm, M-F.

  • The Trevor Project | 1-866-488-7386 - 24/7 suicide prevention for LGBTQ.

  • Senior Loneliness Line | 503-200-1633 or 800-282-7035 - For Oregonians 55+ years old. Get ongoing support, resources, and listening sessions.

  • Veteran Crisis Line | 1-800-273-8255 - Call, chat, or text options, with deaf and hard of hearing support available.
     
  • Virtual Learning Assistance for Washington County Library members. (English resources) (Spanish Resources
  • Housing assistance: Family Promise of Beaverton is committed to helping children and their families affected by homelessness in the Beaverton area. (https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/#homepage

  • Housing assistance: Community Housing Fund focuses on providing affordable housing and works on community projects. (http://www.thecommunityhousingfund.org/?page_id=38#.Xz9P3S2ZNQI)

  • Housing assistance: Community Action helps pay rent and help to get people in need of housing. (https://caowash.org

  • Housing assistance: Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter serves women in the community who are experiencing homelessness. (https://safes.salvationarmy.org

  • Housing assistance, utility assistance, food assistance: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette provides access to critical services like housing assistance and utility assistance and access to food. (https://www.unitedway-pdx.org)

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Energy Fund is a 30-year-old nonprofit that provides energy bill assistance to low-income Oregonians in support of household stability. (https://www.oregonenergyfund.org/about-us/

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board provides equitable, affordable, and reliable utility services. (https://oregoncub.org

  • Utility assistance: EnergyTrust helps people save money and energy. (https://www.energytrust.org)

  • Disability assistance: Plan For Work services help individuals with disabilities and provide different services to those in need. (https://www.droregon.org/plan-for-work)  

  • Youth assistance: New Avenues for Youth provides meals, showers, laundry, respite from the streets, engagement activities, and legal counsel. (https://newavenues.org/our-services)

  • Community assistance: Oregon Solutions solves community problems using a problem-solving system. (https://orsolutions.org/about/what-we-do)

  • Transportation assistance: Trimet has a reduced fare for low-income rider and seniors age 65+. (https://trimet.org/fares/honoredcitizen.htm)  

  • Food assistance, water bill assistance, and grants, utility assistance: Care To Share coordinates assistance to families and individuals who seek emergency food and other basic necessities. (http://www.caretosharehelp.org)  

  • Food assistance: Mercy Corps Northwest provides assistance for community members returning from prison. (https://www.mercycorpsnw.org/work/

  • Food assistance, housing assistance, utility assistance, disability assistance: Department of County Human Services ensures that everyone can reach their potential and contribute to communities. (https://multco.us/dchs)

Follow Representative Dexter on social media to stay connected!
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Our Legislative Mailing Address:
900 Court St. NE, H-493
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: 503-986-1433
Copyright © 2021 Maxine for Oregon, All rights reserved.


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