2022 was a short-session year for the Oregon State Legislature. But state lawmakers and advocates, including the Basic Rights Oregon team, accomplished a lot in just one month. That includes major bills we got passed with our coalition of progressive Oregon organizations, called Fair Shot Oregon. BRO advanced these bills through lobbying efforts, educating through our communications channels, and legislative testimony.

Here’s an overview of some of our biggest legislative wins this year.

Farmworker Overtime

Oregon’s farm workers play a necessary and skilled role in our state’s economy and culture. Yet for too long, Oregonians have paid our farmworkers unlivable wages, and denied them overtime pay when working more than 40 hours a week. House Bill 4002 will finally guarantee our farmworkers overtime pay, and help farm owners afford the transition to better wages through a tax credit program. BRO is proud to have supported this bill, which aligns with our focus on racial justice.

Universal Representation

The newly passed Senate Bill 1543 will guarantee immigrants the right to legal representation during deportation proceedings. Each year, hundreds of Oregonians are deported despite having legal claims to remain, simply because they lack the legal expertise to present their case. We know that LGBTQ2SIA+ folks are especially vulnerable when it comes to immigration law, and we expect this new law to further our mission for lived equality for all Oregonians.

Holding School Boards Accountable

If you’ve been following local Oregon news in the last year, then you know that too many of our public school boards have been hijacked by extremists who care more about ideology than the health and safety of Oregon youth. BRO supported several bills aiming to increase transparency and accountability for school board members. While not all of them passed, we did scores a few wins:

  • Senate Bill 1521 authorizes district school boards to terminate a superintendent without cause only if certain conditions are met. This bill is aimed at stopping situations where rural school districts fired superintendents for enforcing state laws, especially related to COVID-19 protocols. 
  • House Bill 4114 requires school board members to file verified statements of economic interest with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. This will help ensure that school board members can’t put their own interests over those of our students. 

Transforming Justice

In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the ensuing racial justice movement, several Oregon lawmakers have been working on policies that will make our criminal court system fairer. The result is Senate Bill 1510, titled Transforming Justice 2022. This bill will reduce the number of unnecessary traffic stops, which often lead to excessive force against Black and brown Oregonians. It will also provide more resources to help people avoid prison time, and make it easier for those on parole to succeed.

BRO’s work centers queer and trans Black and brown people, who are disproportionately impacted by the state’s criminal justice system. We supported Transforming Justice because for too long, too many Black and brown Oregonians have been targeted by law enforcement, trapped in a criminal justice system that values punishment over rehabilitation, and denied resources that offer alternatives to imprisonment. Transforming Justice’s policies will help change this reality.

Thanks For Your Support!

This year’s legislative session, BRO helped pass a spate of bills that will create tangible change for Oregonians for years to come. We can’t do this work without our supporters. 

To all who contribute to our cause: Thank you.