January 10, 2023

OSCC Legislature prepares for 2023

Legislature prepares for 2023 Session

The Legislature convened yesterday to swear in new legislators, and the governor. This was a day full of ceremony and photo-ops, but it provided us with a lot of useful information and set the tone for the months ahead.

1,800 bills have been introduced. These are only bills that were pre-session filed, so we expect to see many more introduced after session begins on January 17th. We will begin our customary review of all bills and start the process of informing chambers of relevant bills. We will be seeking input for impacts and prioritization.

The first tranche of bills can be viewed here.

Governor Tina Kotek gave her inaugural address after her swearing in. You can watch it here.

Kotek’s team sent out a memo outlining some key staff and advisors. As she builds her team it will be important for us to know who is in key positions, as we will be working closely with her staff.

Education and Behavioral Health Staffing Updates:

  • Pooja Bhatt will serve as the Education Initiative Director. Bhatt will be joining the Governor’s Policy Initiatives Team alongside Annaliese Dolph, Behavioral Health Initiative Director, and Taylor Smiley Wolfe, Housing Initiative Director. The Policy Initiatives Team is a new structure within the Governor’s Office to focus staff capacity on Kotek’s three priority issues of statewide concern.
  • Melissa Goff will join the administration as the Governor’s Education Advisor. Goff joins the Governor’s Office from the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA).
  • Ebony Clarke will serve as the new Behavioral Health Director. She most recently served as the Director of Multnomah County’s Health Department.
  • Additionally, following the upcoming legislative session, Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), will retire after serving more than 30 years as an Oregon educator.

Senior Staff Additions:

  • An Do will serve as the new Director of Public Affairs and Communications. Do most recently served as Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon & Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon (PPAO/PP-PAC).
  • Richard Lane comes to the administration as the new General Counsel. Lane earned his law degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1986, and is the former chairperson of the Oregon State Bar Procedure and Practice Committee, and former chairperson of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association Legislative Committee.
  • Becca Uherbelau will serve as the Governor’s Equity and Racial Justice Director. Uherbelau has a long history of working for Oregon’s public sector unions.
  • Bob Livingston will serve as Legislator Director and Labor Liaison and joins the Governor’s Office after serving more than 30 years in the Oregon Fire Service.

Look for more updates in the coming days as we make our way through the 1,800 bills! Please be attentive this week to communication alerting you to bills we have flagged for your review.