Here at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, we advocate for the laws and policies that will help to end hunger in our state, guided by the community most affected. Every year, we author and endorse the bills we hope will have the highest impact on creating access to affordable, nourishing, and culturally appropriate food. These are the bills we’re putting forward in the 2023 legislative session. 

Oregon’s Legislative Process

Oregon’s legislative process begins when an individual or group – like Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon – presents an idea to a member of the House or Senate. For the purposes of this post, we’ll use the House as our example. If the House member decides to sponsor the bill, it will pass through various internal processes, such as legal review, to make sure the bill is not unconstitutional, and fiscal review, to find out how much implementing the law would cost. The bill is assigned to a committee for review, at which point it may be amended. The committee may also hold work sessions and public hearings, which offer an opportunity for members of the public (like you!) to give their perspective on the bill.

Once the bill is finalized, the committee decides whether to send it to the House chamber, where it will be read, debated, and put to a vote. If the bill is passed by the majority of House members, it’s sent to the Senate, where it once again undergoes the committee-to-chamber process. If there are any amendments to the bill during the Senate phase, it will be sent back to the House to be voted on again. 

If the House and Senate both approve of the same version of the bill, it will be sent to the Governor. If the Governor chooses to sign the bill, it will become law on January 1 of the year after the passage of the act, or on a date specified in the bill.

The Oregon Legislature convenes every year in January. Sessions in odd-numbered years – like 2023 – are often called the “long session” and can last up to 160 days.  In even-numbered years the legislative session lasts just up to 35 days, and is traditionally used for adjustments and amendments.  

Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon Legislative Goals

For the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session, Hunger-Free Oregon has authored or co-authored three bills.

Food for All Oregonians, SB610

Food for all Oregonians is a state-wide legislative campaign to expand food assistance benefits to those excluded on the basis of immigration status. Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, along with a coalition of 65+ organizations, are introducing legislation in the 2023 legislative session to create a state-funded program that ensures everyone in Oregon has access to the food we need. This game-changing policy will:

  • Make food assistance available to all Oregonians who are currently excluded due to immigration status.
  • Provide families with money for groceries that matches federal SNAP food assistance benefits.
  • Ensure everyone is aware of this vital support through community navigation and outreach, improved language access and more.

Universal School Meals, HB3030

As part of our Hunger-Free Schools campaign, Hunger-Free Oregon authored an audacious bill that would provide free school meals to all K-12 students in Oregon. This bill underwent major revision before being added to the 2019 Student Success Act, resulting in the passage of a comprehensive set of school meal policies that made free school meals available to more students. For the 2023 session, multiple Senators and Representatives have taken up the torch and are sponsoring a bill that would make the school meal program truly universal.

Oregon Hunger Task Force, SB419

The Oregon Hunger Task Force was created by the State Legislature in 1989 (ORS 458.532) to act as a resource within government and as a statewide advocate for Oregonians who are hungry or at risk of hunger. Our most noncontroversial bill of the session, this is simply asking for the task force to be allowed to continue their vital advocacy efforts.

Other Bills We’re Endorsing 

These are bills we didn’t author, but we do support them and are endorsing them:

  • Double Up Food Bucks – Support purchase of locally grown produce with SNAP benefits
  • Oregon Kids’ Credit – Support struggling families
  • In Defense of Humanity – Reinvest in our public defense system
  • Reproductive and Gender Justice for All – Protect our constitutional right to choose
  • Indigenous Language Justice – Ensure Oregonians who speak indigenous languages from present-day Mexico and Guatemala experience the fundamental rights to understand and be understood 
  • Stable Homes for Oregon Families – Address the housing crisis and keep people housed
  • Stable Housing for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness – Prevent houselessness in youth K-12, ensuring families stay together and students stay enrolled
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA) – Increase support for low income families and address racial disparities
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Redesign – Increase support for families to improve long-term effects for children
  • Bridge Funding for Employment-Related Day Care Families – Provide childcare for families as they secure employment
  • Child Care Support Fund – Establish a support fund to give child care providers the resources they need to address a staffing shortage
  • Expanding Afterschool and Summer Program Access 
  • Improving Health Outcomes Stabilizing Immigrant & Refugee Families
  • Racism is a Public Health Crisis 
  • Right to Rest

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