· House Bill 4080 creates a new Governor’s Child Foster Care Advisory Commission. Over 7,500 Oregon children are in foster care every day and unfortunately we continue to see negative news reports about abused children. This new Commission will be made up of foster parents, advocates, legal experts, hopefully former foster children, and others who can advise the Governor and legislators on improving the system.
· House Bill 4079 addresses the affordable housing challenges facing our state. In the 2016 session Rep Stark worked with a coalition of advocates for low income families as well as home builders to pass HB 4079. This new law takes a small but valuable step forward to deal with a much greater problem with state land use policies.
It directs the state land use agency to write rules for pilot projects in two areas of the state, one in a city over 25,000 population, and one under 25,000. Each city could voluntarily expand their Urban Growth Boundary up to 50 acres if a developer willingly agreed to build affordable housing as part of the pilot project. The site could not be on valuable farmland and would have to be near public services.
· House Bill 4042 re-establishes a program called General Assistance (GA) to help up to 200 homeless individuals who can’t work but qualify for federal disability assistance. GA funds would be available to help tide these people over until their Social Security Income or Disability benefits come in, which can often take many months. GA money is primarily used for emergency housing assistance and a majority is paid back to the state once the individual is receiving federal benefits.
· HB 4082 is another in a series of important new laws Rep Stark was a Chief Sponsor of to crack down on sex-trafficking in Oregon. The measure is designed to strengthen anti-prostitution laws and hold sex traffickers more accountable for engaging in criminal transactions. The bill expands the crime of promoting prostitution to include receiving goods or services in connection with a prostitution activity in certain circumstances.