This week, Oregon House Democrats highlighted their support for several pieces of legislation designed to help families navigate COVID-19.
These include a nursing workforce bill, HB 4003, which will increase the scope of emergency licenses, give nurses access to mental health supports, and create more pathways to graduation for student nurses, a press release states.
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Democrats also support HB 4005, which deals with the childcare workforce. It would make childcare more affordable for parents, and help provide good wages for providers by increasing the rates of ERDC subsidies and capacity building grants. Further, the Child Care emergency Response Package is a $100 million investment for capacity building grants to be provided to childcare providers designed to drive costs down for working families, the press release states.
HB 4030 was also a priority. This bill would provide state funding to districts to help pay for recruitment and retention bonuses for teachers and staff in critical high-need areas. It would also remove bureaucratic hurdles, and allow teachers with out-of-state licenses to get licensed in Oregon, and helps fund substitute teachers and teaching assistants certifications. It also would create a statewide jobs and educator portal so teachers and classified staff can see where job openings are.
Finally, Democrats voiced their support for HB 4004, which would ensure behavioral health workers and providers are paid more and improve access to care. It would include some $200 million investments for staffing, pay raises, retention bonuses and other compensation to support behavioral health care workers. State of Reform has covered this bill, as it recently cleared committee and was moved to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.