Stronger Together: Equity in the Oregon Legislature

A few years ago, several groups got together to examine how state legislative proposals address issues of racial equity. They shone a light on laws that could have significant negative impacts on communities of color and recommended laws that could address racial disparities. To begin holding lawmakers accountable, they published the first Racial Equity Report Card in 2011. The report card, which is published every long session, evaluates each state legislator’s commitment to advancing opportunity and addressing disparities affecting Oregonians of color. Read about the most recent report card here.

OEC is participating in meetings about this session’s Racial Equity Report Card. We are increasing our understanding of the needs of low-income and minority communities in order to ensure that our policy proposals are better informed. Read more about the Racial Equity Report Card Working Group’s five priorities for 2015.

Among the many pieces of legislation being advanced this session to address social justice in our state, OEC has endorsed HB 2564, a bill to lift the ban on inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is an essential tool that can increase housing options in high-opportunity neighborhoods for families at low-to-moderate income levels. Read why OEC supports inclusionary zoning.

Several of OEC’s legislative priorities also help address racial disparities:

Clean Air for Everyone.
OEC is working on legislation to reduce diesel exhaust pollution, which contains a mix of toxic gases and harmful particles. Since diesel exhaust comes mainly from trucks, construction equipment, trains and ships, people who live near highways, busy roads and rail lines experience greater exposure. These are often lower-income residents and communities of color. Multnomah County Health Department’s Report on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities finds that census tracts with a higher percentage of people of color (at least 15% of total tract population identifying as Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, or Latino) are exposed to diesel particulate matter at levels two to three times higher than census tracts with 90% or more non-Latino White populations. Because many communities of color have disproportionately higher rates of some health conditions associated with exposure to diesel exhaust, this higher rate of exposure is particularly concerning. Read more about legislation to address diesel pollution.

Toxic Free Kids Act.
According to the U.S. EPA, exposure to toxics in everyday products is an environmental hazard that disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities. That’s one of the reasons why OEC is forwarding the Toxic Free Kids Act to reduce exposure to chemicals that may raise the risk of chronic health conditions. Hispanic and African American communities experience higher rates of early puberty and diabetes, and Native American, Asian and Pacific Islanders have among the highest rates of low birth weights. Chemicals in consumer products may contribute to greater risk of these health challenges. By requiring phase-out of these chemicals in children’s products sold in Oregon, the bill ensures that every family has access to safe products no matter their income, literacy or location.

Keeping our drinking water safe.
Drinking water that is contaminated with nitrates, bacteria, arsenic and other pollution tends to be from private wells or small community systems such as mobile home parks and rural schools. These communities often have a higher percentage of low-income people and people of color than the state average, and often have less access to decision-making processes. Read more about our safe drinking water bill.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Transportation Solutions Policy Featured Air Quality Climate Protection OEC News/Updates/Events Media/PR/Statements Water News Water Action Toxics-Free Environments
Sort by

Oregon World Water Day 2019!

Millions of Oregonians depend on clean and abundant water for their livelihood, hobbies and health. Countless species
February 26, 2019, 11:17 pm
stacey

0

Oregon Environmental Council: Andrea Durbin to transition to City of Portland leadership

After 12 years with OEC, Durbin will head the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability FOR
February 22, 2019, 5:32 pm
admin

0

New report: Oregon fails on diesel

This month, Oregon’s cross-agency team of experts made it very clear: None of our current efforts to reduce diesel pollution have worked, or will work, to meet our state’s goals for protecting human and environmental health. “Diesel emissions impacts to human health and the environment are not being adequately addressed by the DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] or through Toxics Reduction Strategy planning.” This matter-of-fact statement, and details about Orego
January 30, 2019, 6:21 pm
jenc

0

22 milestones for Oregon in 2018

Oregon Environmental Council has a bold agenda for 2019, but before we jump ahead we pause to reflect and to express our gratitude to the extraordinary community partners, civic leaders, board members and donors who stood up for a better Oregon for all. We celebrate and share these important milestones in creating a healthier environment for all Oregonians.January: Home Energy Score ordinance takes effect.
December 20, 2018, 9:37 pm
admin

0

Oregon Values Held Strong on the 2018 Ballot

Oregon Environmental Council staff and board are feeling both grateful and energized to see how Oregonians voted on critical ballot measures in the 2018 midterm election. With 69.06% of eligible voters turning out across the state, Oregonians stood by healthy and
November 13, 2018, 7:52 pm
morgang

0

Oregonians attend DEQ hearing to speak against EPA rollbacks

Dozens of concerned Oregonians left messages of opposition to proposals that would reverse environmental standards that protect our climate from greenhouse gases and communities from harmful air pollution during a public gathering in Portland. Organized by the
October 24, 2018, 4:33 pm
tonyh

0

Oregon’s proposed law shields the state from federal rollbacks

Gov. Brown proposes to enshrine Clean Air and Clean Water Act protections into law
October 3, 2018, 9:22 pm
admin

0

Oregon deserves #CleanerCars because #PollutionStinks

  It’s time for you to speak up for #CleanerCars to #StopEPARollbacks. Federal rollbacks are reversing decades of good work to hold automakers accountable. The Trump Administration and the acting leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway T
August 21, 2018, 9:52 pm
chrish

0

Oregon Environmental Council’s voting guide for 2018 ballot measures

At Oregon Environmental Council, we believe civic engagement is important. Just as important as supporting healthy communities for Oregon’s future. That’s why we’re taking a stand on these important ballot measures for the 2018 election. Don’t forget to vote on NOVEMBER 6,
August 16, 2018, 9:37 pm
admin

0


1 Reply to "Stronger Together: Equity in the Oregon Legislature"


    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK