[KTA] Get Ready for the Legislative Session!

Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The idea is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results when groups of people gather to complete the same action across the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.

WHY THIS ACTIVITY?

For our democracy to thrive, rural Oregonians must have a seat at the table in state government! Oregon’s legislative session starts in just a few weeks, and our elected officials will be making critical decisions and passing laws that deeply impact rural communities. Every odd calendar year, including 2023, Oregon has a “long session” that can last as long as 160 days. This year’s session will start on January 17th. Legislative sessions are opportunities for human dignity groups to connect with state senators and representatives and make your voices heard in Salem on the issues you care about most! 

WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?

Meet with your legislators! Meeting with them before the session starts is a great way to start (or continue) building a relationship with them and let them know what issues are important to your community. Make a plan with your group to call your legislators and set up a conversation. Meanwhile, start talking with your group about the bills that you’re most excited to show support for! Here are a few that are on our radar. What else has your group been tracking?

Stable Homes for Oregon Families

A coalition of organizations and unions across the state are working on this campaign to address the eviction crisis, with the goal of stopping unnecessary evictions and displacement. They are particularly focused on saying no to the 14.6% rent increase that many are facing this month.

Reproductive and Gender Justice

House Speaker Dan Rayfield convened the Reproductive Health and Access to Care workgroup this past summer, and they recently made recommendations to the state legislature on how to prioritize reproductive health and access to care. You can read more in this article, or check out the full report from the workgroup here

Indigenous Language Justice

Our partners at Pueblo Unido are leading a campaign to prioritize Indigenous language justice by paying interpreters living wages, allowing Indigenous language speakers to directly influence policy solutions, and developing language proficiency evaluations so that interpreters can gain recognition. 

In Defense of Humanity

This bill aims to make sure that people have their constitutional right to legal representation fulfilled. The champions of this bill are calling for alternative forms of sentencing for low-level crimes, student loan forgiveness for public defenders, and more to fix the system of public defenders that is currently failing Oregonians. 

Guaranteeing the Right to Vote

All Oregonians should have a say in what happens in their community, and a voice in their government. The right to vote is crucial to a working democracy but many Oregonians held in prison are currently denied the right to vote. This contributes to low-income, Black, Indigenous, and people of color being disproportionately cut out of the democratic process. To advance democracy and address racial inequities, Oregon must guarantee the right to vote for all people, including those impacted by the criminal legal system.

What bills are you hearing about that are missing from the above list? What issues are you excited about focusing on this legislative session? Send us your ideas and questions to sidra@rop.org

HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:

1. Get together with your team and make a plan for reaching out to your representatives!

2. Start brainstorming what you’d like to talk to them about and what bills you want to prioritize in this session. 

  • Check out the list of bills above, or choose something else you’ve been hearing about! We’d love to hear what your group is focusing on! Let us know at sidra@rop.org

3. Keep an eye out for more information about making your legislative action plan and the specific bills human dignity groups are excited about as we hear from groups across the state! 

EXTRA CREDIT

Meet with other recently elected folks in your town or county! Ask them to have coffee or meet virtually with your group so that you can start to build a relationship and share what’s important to your community. Let us know how it goes!

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