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2024 Legislative Summary

Learn more about OEA's agenda for the 2024 legislative session.
Students and educators hold up rally signs advocating for increased funding for public education

What We Believe

The Oregon Education Association believes that a free, high-quality public education is a right of every student in Oregon, and that public education serves as the backbone of our state in ensuring the health of our democracy, development of our economy, and strength of our communities.

To bring that belief to life, OEA champions a wide range of legislative policies to improve public education for every student in our state.

Oregon's Legislature

What is a "Short" Session?

For most of Oregon's history the state's legislature convened every two years, holding legislative sessions of 160 days or more during odd-numbered years. Beginning in 2012, the legislature began to meet annually with the new legislative session created for even-numbered years being scheduled for 35 days or less.

Regular sessions are used to pass major pieces of legislation and to craft and pass the state's two-year budget. Short sessions, like this year's, are meant as a time for lawmakers to come back together and make technical changes to the legislation that was passed the previous year, and to make necessary budget adjustments to specific state agencies, departments, and programs.

During a short sessions, lawmakers have significantly less money to spend than during a long session with the same number of competing priorities. Because of this reality, our short session priorities are often adjustments to existing laws and advocacy aimed at laying the ground work for our work during next year's regular session.

Learn more about OEA's legislative priorities for this year's legislative session, and our long-term priorities, below.

2024 Legislative Summary

Lawmakers met for 33 of the 35 days constitutionally allowed for a short session. During that time, 291 bills were introduced, with just 135 bills being passed by the legislature and awaiting signatures from Governor Kotek to become law.

OEA members and our Government Relations team worked tirelessly during this year’s session to pass critical legislation for Oregon’s students and educators, and to lay the groundwork for larger bills that we plan to bring back during the 2025 long session. During the session, members sent hundreds of letters to lawmakers, submitted written testimony to committees, and appeared in-person and online to give direct testimony on legislation being considered.

Thank you again for all of your hard work and advocacy for Oregon’s students and public schools this year. OEA has a long history of engagement in legislative and political work, and as we close out this year’s legislative session we will be moving quickly into this year’s elections. You can stay up-to-date on OEA’s legislative and political efforts by visiting the Action Center on the OEA website.

Here are some of the highlights of the bills that passed, and about the work we plan to continue in the coming year.

"2024 Legislative Victories"

Summer Learning (HB 4082)

  • Allocated $30 million in grants to districts for summer learning programs, the original ask was for $50 million. 
  • Worked with Rep Susan McLain, education advocates and the governor’s office on this bill.
  • Creating an ODE workgroup to address summer learning funds in the future. They will submit recommendations to the legislature by the end of the year for the 2025 long session.

School Board Transparency (SB 1502)

  • Requires most public schools and college boards to video record their meetings and post the meeting recordings on their websites and social media sites.
  • If a district is not equipped to video record or stream, then they may post audio recording.
  • Exemption for private meetings (such as confidential personnel meetings).
  • With the normalcy of platforms like zoom, this is a common next step for a transparent system.

Education Omnibus Bill (SB1552)

  • Started process for direct admission program, so that all eligible Oregon high school students who qualify are automatically admitted to their local Community College and the Oregon universities.
  • Changes process for HECC to make changes to Oregon Opportunity Grants disbursements to ensure a public process.
  • Improved grant formula for JDEP/YCEP to ensure more stable funding streams in the future.
  • Corequisite committee created, ensuring that faculty voices are at the forefront of any conversations about bringing corequisite programing coming to Oregon.
  • Technical part time faculty fix allows someone to select any institution that they worked at in the previous year to base their health care through, rather than just whichever they happen to be teaching at fall term.

Additional funding for public education :

  • $22 million additional for EI/ECSE Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education programs at our Education Service Districts.
  • $10 million additional for early literacy tribal grants.
  • $5 million additional for Oregon Teachers Scholars.
  • $9 million additional for SPED educator stipends.
  • $2 million for additional staffing to reduce investigation backlogs at ODE
  • $2.2 million for ODE to begin developing a financial transparency dashboard
"Defensive Wins"

OEA members and our Government Relations team don’t just focus on passing bills to improve public education, we also play defense against bills that would harm our students or undermine our state’s public education system. Some of those defensive wins include:

Virtual Charter Schools (HB 4161): Would have raised the cap on virtual charter schools to 6%, created an open enrollment system statewide, and created vouchers for private and religious schools. This bill did not pass.

Corporate Activities Tax (SB 1542): Would have raised the threshold for the Corporate Activates Tax from $1 million to $5 million and carved some health care providers from the CAT entirely, reducing funding for public schools. This bill did not pass.

"Priorities for next Session"

Short sessions make it difficult to pass large pieces of legislation, particularly those that have funding requirements, which means some of the legislation we fought for this year didn’t make it across the finish line. The 2025 legislative session will be a long session, which means that it may last up to 160 days and includes the creation of Oregon’s 2-year state budget.

OEA will be partnering with lawmakers to put forth policies that uphold a high standard for a quality education for students, protects workers, and makes sure that our shared values are at the forefront. Some of those priorities, like the bills discussed below, had robust discussion this session and will continue to be OEA priorities in 2025.

Freedom to Read (SB 1583)

  • Would have put into statue protections against discrimination for public school materials, including library books and lesson plans for educators.
  • This bill was passed by the senate, but died on the house after the House Republican Caucus used a delay tactic to prevent the bill from getting a vote.
  • Injury database (HB 4077)
  • Would have created a streamlined, online form to report staff injuries in public schools.
  • Would have gathered data to show a complete picture on injuries that occur, and how often they occur throughout the state.
  • Currently, the state of Oregon only tracks injuries that are identified as catastrophic (injuries causing loss of limb, eye, bone, hospitalization, or death) and accepted disabling claims (injuries causing a worker to be released by a doctor for three or more days).

This bill moved out of the education policy committee but did not get a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee.

SPED Caps (HB 4079)

  • Lift the arbitrary funding cap Oregon places on students receiving special education services, and invest the $350 million in new funding required to ensure every student in Oregon receives appropriate resources to support their education.

While there were three incredibly productive hearings on this bill, and it progressed further than the concept ever had before, the state didn’t have the money to make the financial investment during a short session. However, our work this year on this issue means it has a strong starting point for the 2025 legislative session.

School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and Behavioral Health Grants (HB 4070)

  • Would have created planning grant opportunities for local communities to implement a school-based health center or school nurse model according to their priority needs.
  • Included an inflationary increase of 10% to the school-based health center base rate and tied to inflation moving forward.
  • Would have increased the school-based mental health fund to provide additional mental health and substance use services in schools either directly or through SBHCs.
  • Included bonding for school-based health center capital construction including pre-built modular clinics to go on school campuses.

This bill moved out of the Behavioral Health and Health Policy Committee but did not get a hearing scheduled in the Ways and Means Committee.

Part-Time Faculty Pay Equity (No Bill)

  • Part-time faculty pay equity is our higher education priority for the 2025 session.

While PTF pay equity did not have a bill this year, we began working on this issue during the short session and were even able to get a productive hearing on the concept with the Senate Education Committee. Ten OEA members had the opportunity to share their stories, and the Senators on the committee pledged to a have proactive conversation on pay equity in 2025.


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union committed to the cause of providing the basic right of great public education to every student. OEA represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges. OEA’s membership includes licensed teachers and specialists, classified/education support professionals (ESPs), community college faculty, retired educators, and student members. OEA members also belong to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA).