OR Senate Republican Walkout Endangers Anti-Hunger Policies
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Three weeks into state Senate Republicans' walkout from the Oregon Legislature, concern is growing the move could sink action on important issues such as addressing hunger in the state.
Susannah Morgan, CEO of Oregon Food Bank, said rates of hunger are still above pre-pandemic levels, and it is anticipated the food assistance system in the state will serve more than a million people this year.
"This is a crisis that so many of us need help feeding our families," Morgan pointed out. "In order to meet that crisis we need our government to work."
Republicans walked out on May 3 in part because of a bill which would expand abortion rights and further protect transgender health care. Senate Republicans have pledged to come back on the final day of the session, scheduled for June 25, to pass bipartisan bills. Morgan argued one day does not give the Legislature enough time to pass a number of important bills.
She said one important measure is Senate Bill 610, which would ensure people who are undocumented can receive food assistance. It is estimated more than 62,000 Oregonians are excluded from federal food aid.
"This would really, really, really help us address this deep hunger crisis," Morgan explained. "And that is stuck because nothing is moving in the Oregon Legislature right now."
Morgan added she is asking Republican senators to go back to Salem.
"This is not intended as a partisan statement," Morgan cautioned. "This is intended as a statement about what our communities need to ensure that their food needs are met right now."
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