Paid Family Leave – Looking to February

Kristin Teigen

As the recent session of the Oregon Legislature nears to a close, there have been some important victories. From a significant revenue package to more health care for children, I’ve found myself generally breathing a sigh of relief that Democrats are in charge.

Despite this, it's looking like some important bills are not going to make it to the finish line. One is Senate Bill 966, which would have created a paid family leave insurance program in Oregon and which I wrote about here. The bill promised to provide $300 per week for up to 6 weeks for workers to take time off to care for a new child or ill or injured family member. The program would have been paid for by a 2 cent per hour payroll deduction, up to $42 a year for the average worker.

As can happen with legislation, last minute negotiations, hoewever promising, will most likely not be wrapped up before the end of a session. Even more frustrating, there have been a handful of Democrats that have not shown their commitment to family-friendly policies.

This is, however, no time for finger-pointing. The bill made if farther than it ever has and those working for family-friendly policies have many people to thank. A tremendous coalition, which included a long list of businesses, organizations and courageous legislators, stepped up and showed their commitment to Oregon’s families at a time when it was most needed. The bill garnered favorable editorials in both the Eugene Register Guard and the Oregonian, and coverage in nearly every major media outlet in Oregon.

Now, rather than taking a rest, the paid family leave coalition is gearing up for the short session in February and is doing the necessary work to shape the bill into one that is assured of passage. The coalition also promises to grow, with the anticipated addition of even more heavy hitters in Oregon politics.

So, what can you do? Between now and February, our legislators need to be reminded that paid family leave is an important issue. Please, call your legislators and ask them to support efforts to pass the legislation in February. Your work will ensure that Oregon remains a national leader of family-friendly policies, and that all of our families can be as healthy as possible.


Comments

  • (Show?)

    Kristin,

    I suppose a fair number of readers here are in a position like I am where both my rep & senator are among supporters. Guess I will thank them.

    What committee has or committees have jurisdiction?

    Was the bill hung up by opposition from either leaders or committee chairs? (This happened to I notice that House Majority Leader Mary Nolan is listed as a supporter at your coalition link, but not Peter Courtney, Dave Hunt or Richard Devlin.

    Do you know if there has been any effort to reach out either to religious conservatives, including congregations or their leaders, or to Republicans? I guess the elected Rs probably would extend their anti-tax mania to this, but I'd think that at least some religious conservatives might support the principle here.

    Is there definitely a February 2010 session? I suppose it technically will be an "emergency" session, and while I expect there will be a real emergency still in terms of the economy, will that definition of the session be a tool to obstruct this bill, potentially?

    This case illustrates how manipulations of the committee process to suppress bills via the time limits of the legislative session combined with the biennial rather than annual meetings can get really regressive. Oregon is now approaching the population of the entire 13 original states in 1790 -- we need annual legislature if not a full-time one.

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, incomplete sentence "This happened to the bill that would have said the governor had the power under the constitution to refuse to deploy national guard troops when federalized for overseas war deployment without a constitutionally valid Congressional authorization."

  • Insider (unverified)
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    House Speaker Dave Hunt and every single House Democrat voted for this identical Paid Family Leave bill in 2007, but the bill died in the Senate.

    If the Senate passes it this year, it would again breeze through the House.

    The problem/blockade lies with just a few Senators.

  • Others are to blame (unverified)
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    It was not the chairs. The bill started in Senate Commerce and Workforce, which is Chaired by Sen. Rosenbaum who is the chief sponsor, and the co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Sub it was sent to are co-sponsors

    http://tiny.cc/gjA6x

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    This is an important bill. It also is self funding. Like Chris Lowe,my senator and representative are in favor. Who are the stumbling blocks in the Senate or on the committee?

  • (Show?)

    Thanks Insider & Others. That's a very useful URL, Others.

    So, if I'm reading correctly, S Commerce & Workforce held a hearing & also a work session, recommended passage with amendments, sent it to Ways & Means where it had a subcommittee hearing (under that auspices of favorable co-chairs) & then got stuck.

    Now, who or what could cause it to get stuck like that? Lack of enough firm ultimate votes to give it next steps in Ways & Means? Some other kind of opposition at higher leadership levels?

  • (Show?)

    Chris,

    I completely agree that we need an annual legislature...it wasn't that this bill didn't have support, didn't have people working to gather the outliers, or that it had only token support, it was that there simply wasn't time to make it all happen. This means that Oregon's families will go without for longer than they needed to....

    And there was a long list of faith leaders who supported this...I still don't know how to do the link thangy, but here it is if you want to cut and paste..http://www.emoregon.org/pdfs/2009_PP_Paid_Family_Leave_Insurance_sign-on.pdf

    Thanks!!!

    Kristin

  • Insider (unverified)
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    Kristin:

    This bill had plenty of time, since it was first proposed in 2006, passed the House in 2007, and advocates have been pushing for Senate approval since then.

    The problem is a lack of will among Senators to pass the bill.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks Kristin, I think highly of EMO, which I think includes a few denominations or at least congregations that would be labeled or label themselves "evangelical" in the somewhat politicized way that is now conventional in the U.S.

    However, on the whole it is liberal or middle of the road churches mainly, and I was thinking that if more support needs to be mobilized it seems like an issue that many more conservative churches could embrace & that might generate a few R votes.

    You seem to be saying level of support isn't where the obstacles lie, so maybe it's not relevant -- though finding points of humanizing common ground in shared work might have independent value.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Family leave might well be the thread through which oppositional fervor is ameliorated, if not abated. It's a family values thing, and good social policy besides.

    This could be a powerful little sleeper issue that brings us beneficial shifts in relationship we aren't even really focusing on.

    IN short, yah, Chris, good call. Hmm.

  • Terry Parker (unverified)
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    Looks clear to me, what differentiates the winners and the losers this session.

    Quite a few of the winners were panned outright, but came back, after listening to the criticisms (see Rep. Cannon's latest post), with a different attitude.

    The losers used identity politics and ham handed rhetoric, refusing to consider any dissenting opinion. Unfortunate, as a number- like this one- would have had far more support if it wasn't always a "you need to" and "we have to have" attitude, while refusing to address valid criticisms.

    Address? On a progressive blog the question of why we subsidize population growth is a natural, yet your posts on family policy continue to be dismissive or outrightly contemptuous of the point. This approach is as dated as Baby Bush's WOMD in Iraq.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Parker: the issue is just getting started and already you are dismissive and lofty. WHy not invite those around you to explain a little more deeply their stances? You are assumptive to the extreme in my view as you are clearly addressing some few you've already had nasty fights with, not the newcomers to the converse such as myself. YOu don't know my internal take on this yet. If you invite a dialog, you will. I'm actually not 100% for or against. It's too complicated, and I'm one of those who went SO without raising this kid of mine, that I'm not purely for just handing it all over to the next guys. THat's my jaded injury from having very little backstop - a bitterness I am not proud of. OK? So ask questions, find out who's here on the thread. It will garner surprises, my bet.

    It seems to me a case of the haves, the "No we ain'ts" against the best-meaning (since have-nots don't frequent this blog) saying "you must".

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    Parker,

    You really think it is ZPG arguments that are holding this up?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    If we ever have paid family leave, then the terrorists will have won (as in practically every other industrialized country).

  • 哈尔滨seo (unverified)
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    Reads

  • 哈尔滨seo (unverified)
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    Reads

  • Lisa Frack (unverified)
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    Yet again we wait for another session, in another year. Yes, this was a unique session, with significant business to tend to. I get that. But still. I'm truly tired of waiting. Why is such a basic program so dang hard to support? And yes, I'm talking to you non supporting senators. The will of the people doesn't seem to be heard, I'm depressed to say. Business as usual. Again. Year after year. Session after session. Defeat by fatigue, a strategy indeed. I hope someone has the energy to fight this battle all over again in '10, '11, and beyond. Because I, a busy, tired, working parent, can only be engaged for so long. You know? Ahhhh, American politics.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Yet our legislators had time to seriously consider an 'honest pint'. ;->

    It seems such a no-brainer to me - great for Oregon workers, good for their employers and self funded.

  • NN (unverified)
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    Our politicians have failed us yet again. Pathetic.

  • Cafe Today (unverified)
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    Just remember that Kurt Schrader was a "no" vote on this in 2007. I think he has a family member who serves in the Senate these days.

  • David Lee (unverified)
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    Christian families are the backbone of this country! God almighty has commanded us to go forth and multiply, promising that our descendents shall be as numerous as the sands of the seashore. Limiting population, or failing to support the family with bills like this one, are evil, ungodly strategies that will only end in the end of all human life. That is exactly what our Holy Father has said.

    God said it, the Holy Father commands it, and I expect my tax dollars to give me every break to allow me to have as many as I can/want! Childess (heathan) Americans don't need discretionary income anyway. Studies show that 90% of it goes to drugs, partying and all kinds of immoral and illegal behavior.

    The progressives that bitch that the blog isn't really progressive should be glad. Progressive legislation would be losing your citizenship if you don't have a minimum number of kids. How about joining the "7 is God's Number" society? They have all kinds of how-tos that show anyone that cares to pull their weight how to raise five kids, on a budget.

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