Week 10 – 2013 Legislative Session: Budgets and Cultural Competency for Healthcare Providers

Monday was the last day a bill could be scheduled for its 1st work session. This meant that if a bill wasn’t scheduled by Monday it is considered “dead;” unless the bill was referred to Ways and Means or a Rules committee. OSA was ahead of this deadline and all the bills we care about have been scheduled for a work session. There were some bills that made the deadline that we wished died but we will just have to keep up our lobbying against those policies.

The next deadline is that any bill that has a chance of living needs to be voted out of their 1st committee by April 18th. The 10 days between these 2 deadlines make Salem pretty hectic. Students have to stay focused on the issues we prioritize and keep our bills alive.

Budget work is really starting to heat up. The Ways and Means Co-chairs’ budget includes a couple hundred million in revenue creation. That means in order to retain the bad budget numbers we currently have we have to see some revenue changes in Oregon. Speaker Kotek’s office and Representative Barnhart put out a revenue package that would create $275 million. Students are support of revenue creation so here is what this package does.

HB 2456

  1. Phase-out Oregon deductions for high income filers; single filers of $125,00 and joint filers of $250,000.
  2. Eliminate personal exemption credit for high income filers; single filers of $125,00 and joint filers of $250,000.
  3. Apply corporate minimum tax of 0.1% to Oregon sales above $100 million. 
  4. Include corporate income reported in tax haven jurisdictions to the water’s edge definition of U.S income for purposes of apportioning income to Oregon.
  • Further description:  Require those corporations that are part of a consolidated filing group that have headquarters located in a tax haven to report income from those locations on their Oregon tax return. Then apply Oregon’s sales factor to apportion income back to Oregon. Proposed statute patterned after Montana’s tax haven provision established in 2003.

Outside of the budget students had another victory this week. HB 2611 passed off the House Floor 46-12-2. This bill calls for all healthcare professionals to have access to optional cultural competency trainings through their licensing boards. The licensing board will then track who takes the trainings and works to hold workers accountable. College campuses will also provide these trainings to their healthcare workers. Healthy students are more likely to complete their degree and get through on time. Now HB 2611 is on to the Senate!

The House higher education committee chose not to change the rights of security officers on community college or OHSU’s campus (HB 3114) after a heated public hearing on Monday. The other higher education gun bill that died was a bill that would have allowed for a concealed weapon’s carry on college campuses (HB 3009). The legislature chose not to move that bill forward.

Finally, a big highlight of the week was a bill that brought over 500 supporters to the state capital. So far that’s the most of any issue this session. The “Safe Roads Act” would allow all people regardless of documentation status to apply for a driver’s license in the State of Oregon. OSA does not have a position on this bill, but we will be watching the organizing work to see if we can garner any tips.


Week 9 – 2013 Legislative Session: Tuition Equity Signed by Governor

That’s right Oregon undocumented students are now welcome at Oregon’s universities!!!

Although tuition equity was without a doubt the highlight of the week OSA will continue to stay focused on the budgets and keep tuition affordable. Oregon University System, community college, and Oregon Opportunity Grant budgets are bread and butter issues for OSA. It is critical that we constantly find new ways to fight for increases in our budgets. We know that the largest contributing factor to skyrocketing tuition is the disinvestment from the state. We are happy to see that the Co-chair’s budget includes an increase for OUS and community colleges for the 1st time since 2007, but it is not enough. $728 million for universities means some of our campuses are telling students they might request tuition increases as high as 8%.  Since the start of the recession tuition prices have gone up on average 58% across all OUS institutions.

Unaffordable tuition is a contributing factor to people taking longer to graduate, flat-lining enrollment, and dwindling graduation rates. We are asking you to help us fight for more OUS funding. 

Here are a few ways students have tried to change the narrative in Salem.

  • We have had very successful call in days where students have made hundreds of calls across the state in support of our school and financial aid budgets.
  • Wide geographical representation from our testifiers
  • Constant, quality, and well researched lobbying.
  • A joint spring break lobby day with students, faculty, and staff

This week Cultural Competency for Healthcare Providers (HB 2611) passed out of committee and we will see a floor vote next week. We also finished the public hearings for Public Safety Reform.  So things are moving in Salem, but there are some big deals in the works and we will have to wait to see how those pan out before we get a final budget.

Good luck with the 2nd week of classes next week!


Week 8 – 2013 Legislative Session: Higher Education Joint Lobby Day

The highlight of the week was our joint lobby day between students, faculty, and staff. We met with over 40 members of the state legislature. Our goal was to elevate the discussion around university and community college budgets as well as discuss our joint concerns regarding institutional boards. I would say the day was a great success. Thank you to everyone who came to Salem to lobby during your spring break. It was not lost on legislators that many of you gave up a sunny spring break day to talk about affordable tuition and governance reform. The morning of our joint lobby day was the university budget hearing and it was highly attended with too many compelling testimonies to fit into the 1½ hours, which is a great problem to have. Thank you to Jazmin, Dave, Alexandra, Stephanie, and Tessara for writing testimony in advance, testifying if there was time, and then helping to do a floor pull with Rep. Komp to tell your stories. It was a great day for budget advocacy in Salem on March 27th.

Next Week These Bills Are Up:

  • Campus Childcare Task Force with an OSA student seat (HB3149): Monday testimony 8am 
  • Pay it forward: Monday work session 8am 
  • Cultural Competency (HB 2611): Work session Monday at 1pm 
  • Youth Justice Lobby Day: Tuesday 
  • TE bill signing: Tuesday 
  • CC Budget public testimony: 8:30am Wednesday 
  • LGBT data collection: 8am Wednesday 
  • Mascot bills HB 3397, SB 215, and SB 501: Wednesday at 1pm 
  • Public Safety Reform testimony: Wednesday 5:30pm and Friday at 1pm


Week 7 – 2013 Legislative Session: Tuition Equity Passes in the OR Senate!

It has been a busy week in Salem to say the least. We had our first Ways and Means budget hearing and call-in day. The Senate Chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education said he heard from students on the importance of the Oregon Opportunity Grant budget through many many calls and he will be committed to increasing that budget. Next week students will have a chance to show their fighting spirit for our university budgets and affordable tuition for the next 2 years. This means we need a big showing at the one and only public hearing on March 27th. Yes this is during spring break in Salem at 8:30 in the morning, but if you come to Salem to fight for lower tuition you can also be a part of our lobby day with faculty and staff. Students, better than almost anyone, make the most of their time in Salem.

The obvious and greatest victory of the week was not only the final public hearing for Tuition Equity, but also the final floor vote. Yes, Tuition Equity has passed in Oregon. Governor Kitzhaber looks forward to signing the bill into law. After that the law will be sent to the Oregon Supreme Court for final approval. This has been a decade long fight for the Oregon Student Association and this is an amazing victory for undocumented students all over Oregon.


Picture courtesy of the Momentum Alliance

So what’s next?

  1. The best chance we have to make the case to fund our universities is the March 27th hearing in front of Ways and Means Education Subcommittee. We will also have a lobby day on March 27th with our faculty and staff members to lobby for our budgets
  2. The Youth Justice Lobby Day is April 2nd and this is our chance to talk about policy changes that could help more young people seek higher education instead of a life in the criminal justice system.  
  3. Governance amendments will be coming out again next week and you will continue to get updates.
  4. Cultural Competency for Healthcare Providers is up for a work session next week and the hope is to adopt the amendments and get a due pass vote the same day. The “just good healthcare” coalition will be lobbying consistently between now and then.   

Week 6 – 2013 Legislative Session: Budgets, Tuition Equity, and Governance

March and April of the approximate 5th month long legislative session always feel a little hectic. Most bills are in the middle of re-drafting and all stakeholders are trying to change legislation into something they could support. The speed to “fix” legislation on either side of an issue is important; especially before a bill moves to its second chamber where it can be more difficult to make amendments. The bills that students care are also subject to these political realities. Here are some updates about OSA’s priority issues.


The co-chairs budget draft came out a few weeks ago and includes an increase in the Oregon Opportunity Grant and minimal increases for community colleges and universities. These increases need to be protected as we lobby, but students are asking for more. Students across the state are working with their campuses to discuss tuition setting and what’ clear is the only way we can achieve a 0% tuition increase is if the state invests more in our public universities and community colleges. Students have taken the brunt of impacts from this recession. For example here are the increases in tuition for resident undergrads since the start of the recession in 2007:


With increases of this magnitude no wonder students are calling for state funding levels that would get us a 0% tuition increase.

Tuition Equity

Next week, March 19th, will be the final public hearing for Tuition Equity. The senate Education committee plans to hold the public hearing and take a vote next Tuesday. The best thing we can do is show up in Salem and bear witness to this important debate: Tuesday March 19th 1:00-3:00pm in the Senate Education Committee Hearing Room C.


Originally, the debate on institutional boards for PSU, UO, and OSU was going to be confined to the Senate and Ways and Means Committee. Members of the House Higher Education policy committee are concerned about this because they want a chance to amend the bill. Today the House Higher Education Committee started a discussion on HB 2149 which would also grant institutional boards but with different requirement for those institutions. The major points of discussion today were around tuition and who should sit on the board. Students from UO, OSU, PSU, and EOU came to testify in opposition to institutional boards but also provided suggestions to making a bill better as the debate continues. As one of the university staff members who testified stated, “we have to discuss how to make this bill least bad for now.”

Policies Coming Down the Pike…

In the coming weeks we will see additional amendments to governance, cultural competency for healthcare providers, public safety reform, voter access, and the childcare task force bill. Please be prepared to come to Salem to testify on these bills as well as budget hearings for our priority budgets.

Public Hearings for our Budgets:

Oregon Student Access Commission and the Oregon Opportunity Grant: 3/19/13 8:30-10am

Oregon University System: 3/27/13 8:30-10am

Community Colleges: TBD for the 1st week in April


Week 5 – 2013 Legislative Session: Budgets and Baseball Cards

The highlight of the week was lobbying all 90 legislative offices on student priorities for the 2013 Legislative Session. We did this through a fun and creative lobbying tactic. OSA made baseball cards of every legislator in Salem and on the back were 1 of 7 student priorities. Legislators and staffers spent some of their day trading cards and trying to collect all 7 of OSA’s issues.

OSA received a lot of positive feedback on the day and the tactic. That afternoon students were present for a financial aid rally where Timber Joey (Timber’s soccer mascot) cut apart a log representing student debt and Treasurer Wheeler gave a speech on his plan to increase financial aid in Oregon. Kurt from COCC and Merriam from LCC also spoke in support. This plan is called the Opportunity Initiative, a bill that would create a sustainable endowment for the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon’s only need based aid program. OSA student leadership unanimously voted to support this plan and the Senate Education Committee voted in support of SJR 1 and SB 11 to implement this policy on Thursday.

Our week was focused first and foremost on our schools’ budgets. Students are fighting for a 0% tuition increase this year. Yes, that is a lofty goal but one that is grounded in years of tuition increases during the recession and students have had enough. The highest rate of increase can be found at UO where tuition has gone up 72% in 6 years.

The “institutional board” bill was also a hot topic this week. The next version of the bill finally came out and after much lobbying there is now a prescribed student seat on those boards and tuition is capped at 5% annually if a school decides to have an institutional board. These are victories for students, but still don’t persuade students to support the concept of institutional boards in their current form. Over the next few weeks students will dive into these amendments and prepare our statement on this version of the bill. See the proposed amendments to SB 270 here.

Federal Sequestration

Federal budget sequestration was triggered by a lack of action before March 1st. Sequestration reduces federal spending by $85 billion in fiscal year 2013. The budget sequester came from the August 2011 Budget Control Act (PL 112-25), which was passed with the intent to rein in federal spending in exchange for an increase to the federal debt ceiling. Budget sequestration calls for $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next nine years by instituting equal, across-the-board spending cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending. “Non-defense discretionary spending” includes financial aid like the Pell grant, and federal funding to our CCs and universities. Cuts in fiscal year 2014 and beyond total $109 billion annually.

What’s Coming Up?

  • Hearing on Tuition Equity (HB 2787) @1pm on March 19th in the Senate Education Committee
  • OSAC, CC, and OUS budget hearings throughout March
  • Student, faculty, and staff lobby day on March 27th



Week 4 – 2013 Legislative Session

According to Speaker Kotek’s office, “as of March 1st, nearly 2500 bills have been introduced in the House and Senate combined, with almost 1600 bills in the House alone.” This week students have been in Salem to work specifically on our budgets and governance reform. The co-chair of Ways and Means, Representative Buckley and Senator Devlin, will put out their “Co-chairs Budget” on Monday. There will be 2 draft budgets, one that is built on current general fund dollars and one that could exist if the general fund grows.  The state’s budget could grow this session if some or all of the following proposed policy changes go through: public safety reform, PERS/PEB reform, tax revenue reform, close tax loop holes, or increase those paying higher levels of personal or corporate taxes. The co-chairs budget is likely to look similar to the Governor’s recommended budget from December. Those levels could result in high tuition increases on our campuses. Students use this budget as a starting block for our continued “tuition and funding campaign.”

Students also testified to the Senate Education committee this week about our concerns related to institutional boards. Those concerns can be boiled down to competition, cost, and representation. We will continue to lobby in opposition to SB 270 regarding institutional boards until those concerns are addressed.

There has also been a new proposal that fits into OSA’s priority to help student parents this session. Rep. Gorsek’s has filed a bill (HB 3149) which would create a task force to research and come up with solutions to better provide childcare for student parents at community colleges. This is a great policy option for students and fits perfectly with our goal of increasing the Student Parent Childcare Fund by $277,000 this session.

All of OSA’s priorities will be discussed at length by students at board meetings March 1st and 2nd and we will be back to the capitol 8am Monday.  Please remember that Thursday March 7th is OSA’s baseball card day in Salem as well as Treasurer Wheeler’s Opportunity Initiative rally and lobby day. It is going to be a great week and just the advocacy efforts we need the same week the 1st draft of the budget comes out.


Week 3 – 2013 Legislative Session: Tuition Equity Passes the OR House!

This week OSA was focused on lobbying for all our bills with a special focus on finalizing our last few bills because the deadline for bill submission was 2/12/13. We also had a major victory this week when Tuition Equity passed the OR House 38-18-4!

Budget: A Fight to Make College More Affordable

Oregon’s post-secondary education budgets are always our top priorities. A new revenue forecast came out this week:  http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/OEA/Pages/economic.aspx#Description_and_Release_Dates

The March 20131 revenue forecast shows that revenues from current biennium are higher than projected by about $160 million compared to the December forecast. Or about $100 million more than was projected in the May 2011 forecast which was used to create the 2011-13 biennium budget. Revenue for the 2013-15 biennium is down about $70 million from the last forecast. This means the $100 million up should cover the $70 we are projected to be down and the Governor’s budget request can remain intact without further proposed budget cuts.

Policy Bills: Opening Doors to a College Education

First, Tuition Equity did pass the Oregon House. This bill was 1st introduced in 2003. Yes, OR has been debating this issue for 10 years and this was the 1st time the House passed the bill. Now, we have to get it through the Senate, a chamber we’ve passed the bill through twice before. This doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing; we still have to insure that 16 of the 30 Senators vote yes on House Bill 2787 as soon as possible.

Cultural competency for healthcare providers was up for a work session this week, but no amendments were included at this time. Opponents and advocates are still working to find a compromise and consider further amendments.

The Joint Committee on Public Safety met again this week and introduced Packet Option 1 from the Commission on Public Safety Report. This does not mean those bills have support yet, these bills will act as a starting point as they start to draft amendments.

Next week the Senate Education Committee will take up Treasurer Wheeler’s Opportunity Initiative proposal as well as institutional boards for PSU and UO (SB 270). The House Higher Education committee will meet every Friday at 8am to discuss governance and their Monday meeting will be dedicated to the Pay It Forward concept.

The moral of the story is that students are staying busy and already proving that a dedicated constituency can yield some serious victories this session.

– Emma


This week OSA had over 100 students in the capitol for various bills that would greatly impact students in public post-secondary education. Our primary focus is always around budgets and financial aid. OSA is working with the Treasurer’s office to move the Oregon Opportunity Initiative that would create a sustainable fund for the Oregon Opportunity Grant; Oregon’s only need based aid. This week the hearings for those bills were up on Tuesday as SB 11 and SJR 1.

Wednesday was a big day in the capitol for tuition equity!!!! OSA is one of the lead lobbying organizations working on this bill with advocates from all over the state. HB 2787 had its first public hearing on Wednesday morning at 8 AM and over 300 supporters came out. The hearing was moving and truly reflected the importance of this bill. We then delivered supportive Valentine’s Day cards to all 90 legislators and had 26 lobby meetings.

That same evening we made sure to monitor the conversation around SB 344 “the Facebook privacy” bill that would insure that students never be required to give up their social media passwords to coaches, administrators, or employers.

The OSA lobbyist made sure to stay late on Wednesday night to monitor the 1st meeting of the Joint Committee on Public Safety. This meeting was a review of the Commission on Public Safety’s work. There is no bill or bill number for public safety reform at this time.

Friday this week was about administrative costs and reporting of hiring practices at our institutions and OSA testified in support of the reporting bill HB 2152.  This bill would require CCs and OUS to report their staff and student to staff ratios so students can see where their tuition dollars are going.

This week ended on a positive note with OSERA students testifying in support of HB 2611 which would require cultural competency training for healthcare professors across Oregon and would include healthcare providers on campus.

Next week will bring further discussion about governance, TE, cultural competency, and social media. Budget negotiations and presentations to Ways and Means will start the week of February 25th.

– Emma

Earned Media Around Tuition Equity This Week:

Oregonian – 02/13/2013 – Emotional legislative hearing on tuition equity leaves supporters crying, opponents fuming

Register-Guard – 02/13/2013 –New tack on tuition equity

Statesman Journal– 02/13/2013 – Committee begins hearing on tuition bill

Statesman Journal– 02/13/2013 –  Immigrant tuition hearing draws crowd

Albany Tribune – 02/13/2013 – Courtney: Tuition Equity Is About A Path Of Opportunity For Kids

Bend Bulletin – 02/14/2013 – In Salem, testimony on tuition equity

OPB – 02/14/2013 – Supporters Of ‘Tuition Equity’ Pack Hearing Rooms In Salem

Oregonian – 02/15/2013 – Tuition equity bill may clear first legislative hurdle: Oregon Legislature today

Oregonian – 02/15/2013 – Tuition equity bill — with some tweaks — expected to reach full House soon

Statesman Journal – 02/15/2013 – Oregon tuition equity bill gets amended

MHCC Advocate – 02/15/2013 – MHCC students join fight for tuition equity



Week 1 – 2013 Legislative Session

This was the 1st official week of the 2013 Legislative Session. The House and Senate convened at 11:00 AM on Monday, February 4th, and committees held public and informational hearings the first day. The Oregon Student Association was in the building all day every day this week. We are lobbying legislators for more funding for our schools and on our three priority issues.

After speaking with members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee this week it looks like there will be 2 versions of the Co-chairs budgets. One budget based on the majority of Oregon’s policies staying the same. The other budget is based on funding that would be available if the Oregon Legislature made changes to public employee retirement benefits (PERS changes) and/or took on public safety reform which is projected to increase by $600 million in the next 10 years. Those budgets will be out in March most likely. OSA will be asking for more than the Governor’s Recommended Budget; $850 million for our universities and $510 million for our community colleges. Those are the general fund levels necessary to keep tuition increases below 5% for the next year.

As far as our policy priorities are concerned: Tuition Equity will be up for its first hearing on February 13th from 8am-10am and Cultural Competency for Healthcare Providers will be up on February 15th from 1pm-3pm.

Governance reform was the hot button topic of the week. Although, after surveying 10,000 students around the state, this is not a top priority for OSA we are participating in any conversation about these changes because they could have a significant impact on the cost and accessibility of our public post-secondary education institutions. Senator Hass, chair of the Senate Education Committee, held a public hearing on institutional boards for UO and PSU this week. Amendments will be worked on over the next month. It is clear that there is significant interest in moving this issue forward quickly.

We are almost done meeting with all the freshman legislators and we are working closely with all those elected officials that represent districts where students live and vote. Since we register students to vote in all 90 house districts that means we care about how every legislators feels about student issues this session.

This week was a great start to session everyone and thanks to all those organizing around the state to make college more affordable and accessible to everyone.