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Gov. Brown Focuses on Health Care, Environment and Housing in Inaugural Address

Governor Kate Brown prepared on Sunday for her inaugural address that would be delivered to a packed chamber on Monday.

Oregon needs to shore up health care, the environment, the education system and housing, Gov. Kate Brown said during her State of the State address Monday.

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 3:34 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 3:40 PM

By ANDREW SELSKY , Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon needs to shore up health care, the environment, the education system and housing, Gov. Kate Brown said during her State of the State address Monday.

Speaking in the House of Representatives after she was sworn in, Brown said Oregon's unemployment rate is the lowest on record and has one of the fastest job growth rates in the country.

"With growth comes a lot of really good things. More jobs. More ideas. And hopefully, more opportunities," the Democrat said. "At the same time, not everyone is experiencing this prosperity."

Homelessness and spiraling rents must be tackled, Brown said, noting her proposed budget makes a historic $400 million investment in housing. She also said a bill sponsored by House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, both Portland Democrats, is "innovative" and will give renters some peace of mind.

The bill prohibits landlord from terminating month-to-month tenancy without cause after 12 months of occupancy, allows a landlord to terminate tenancy with 90 days' written notice and payment of one month's rent under certain conditions, and limits annual rent increase to 7 percent above annual changes in the consumer price index.

House Republicans said they are "poised to resist harmful legislation, vigorously safeguard Oregonians' tax dollars, and protect their rights" during the 80th Oregon Legislative Assembly, which starts next week.

Democrats control the Legislature, with a three-fifths super majority in the House and Senate, giving them greater power to impose taxes.

In her address Brown also repeated her intent to end what she called the "wild, wild west" of campaign finance.

She was re-elected in November after the most expensive gubernatorial race in Oregon history. In the run-up to the finish, her campaign committee had received almost $10.3 million in cash contributions while Republican candidate Knute Buehler's received $13.2 million.

"No one should be able to buy a megaphone so loud that it drowns out all the other voices," Brown said

Her $23.6 billion budget proposal for the next biennium aims to stabilize funding for the Oregon Health Plan, a free health coverage offered by the state for people who meet income and other requirements.

"Health care is a fundamental right," she declared.

Last year, a bill that would have asked Oregon voters asking if they want to enshrine health care as a right in the state Constitution died in a Senate committee.

"Let's work together to make sure every Oregonian has the health care they need," Brown said.

Noting that Oregon is experiencing drought and that last year was the warmest year in Oregon since 1895, with wildfires increasing, she said Oregon must reduce harmful emissions that contribute to global warming while building a clean energy economy.

After years of underinvestment in education, Oregon will need additional funding to bring its schools back to a strong level, she said.

Brown has added a $2 billion education investment package that's in addition to her base budget. Property tax limitations adopted in the early 1990s have resulted in decreased funding per student. The governor said in November when she presented her budget proposal that she expects the Legislature to reform Oregon's revenue system to adequately fund education.

"Our education system is in desperate need of repair, reform, and reinvestment," she said Monday. She pledged to work with lawmakers, the business community and others to properly fund public schools.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 353368

Reported Deaths: 4226
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55417699
Washington38425317
Marion36469448
Clackamas29440306
Lane27431300
Jackson22837305
Deschutes19958125
Umatilla14358145
Linn12672126
Douglas11962243
Josephine9307195
Yamhill8621111
Klamath7846116
Polk724881
Malheur555376
Benton541931
Coos495494
Columbia377043
Jefferson367752
Union316548
Lincoln315438
Wasco284840
Crook281846
Clatsop242029
Baker199928
Tillamook195529
Hood River190537
Morrow183423
Curry179425
Harney111926
Grant99512
Lake91012
Wallowa67612
Gilliam1524
Sherman1483
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4830872

Reported Deaths: 70874
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147942126446
Riverside3706085008
San Diego3652534170
San Bernardino3576395606
Orange3235695531
Sacramento1587852294
Fresno1453782063
Kern1452271616
Santa Clara1451271895
Alameda1203661384
San Joaquin1023411721
Ventura1008491165
Contra Costa99712995
Stanislaus857501325
Tulare79627958
San Francisco54266644
San Mateo54023622
Monterey50792583
Solano45934339
Santa Barbara45047522
Merced42089579
Sonoma40865402
Placer39157420
Imperial35832764
Kings32649320
San Luis Obispo29837331
Madera23720285
Butte23673265
Shasta23574349
Santa Cruz20943218
Yolo20266248
Marin17665244
El Dorado17097149
Sutter13861172
Napa12864100
Yuba1001982
Tehama9433107
Humboldt9180107
Nevada911690
Mendocino758487
Lassen753046
San Benito741672
Tuolumne682889
Lake6583104
Amador540764
Siskiyou446442
Glenn434232
Calaveras386580
Del Norte357441
Colusa303018
Inyo205540
Mono16643
Plumas16126
Mariposa132315
Trinity86911
Modoc6755
Unassigned2120
Sierra1820
Alpine1030
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