Today, Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus, members of the legislature with a shared mission to advance racial justice initiatives and eliminate systemic oppression and racism in Oregon, announced their top priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session, including support of Oregon HB 4041.
This session, the Caucus will focus its efforts on advancing inclusive economic growth and addressing Oregon’s long-standing wealth gaps across race, gender, and immigration status. It will promote economic justice by uplifting small businesses, increasing homeownership among communities of color, and expanding access to affordable childcare in all corners of the state, including in rural communities. The Caucus will also advocate for the creation of Oregon’s first comprehensive Newcomers support system, ensuring that immigrants and refugees have the necessary resources to seek safety and prosperity in their new home.
“This agenda speaks to the deep need in our communities for economic justice, social justice, and cultural connection and our caucus’s commitment to addressing those issues and more. I look forward to our work as a caucus and our continued advocacy.” said Senator Wlnsvey Campos (D – Aloha/Beaverton/Hillsboro), Co-Chair of the BIPOC Caucus.
“The caucus commitment to uplift small businesses, enhance homeownership in diverse communities, and expand affordable childcare access reflects a dedication to economic justice. Additionally, the advocacy for Oregon’s first comprehensive Newcomers support system underscores a commitment to ensuring immigrants and refugees have the essential resources for a secure and prosperous start in their new home. This forward-looking agenda demonstrates a commendable focus on building a more equitable and thriving future for all Oregonians.” said Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham), Co-Chair of the BIPOC Caucus.
2024 Oregon BIPOC Caucus Priority Bill: HB 4041
The BIPOC Caucus will champion the Economic Equity Investment Act, or House Bill (HB) 4041 as its signature bill for the 2024 Session. This Act will directly address Oregon’s expanding wealth gap by providing grants and technical assistance to community-based programs working to build generational wealth for people experiencing multiple economic risks, such as residency in a rural location, racial discrimination, or English language proficiency.
“Economic justice is social justice. Providing funding for the Economic Equity Investment Program will create new opportunities for Oregonians in every corner of our state to build intergenerational wealth for their families and communities,” said Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley/N Clackamas), Chair of the House Committee on Economic Development and Small Business.
What is the Economic Equity Investment Act (HB 4041)?
The Economic Equity Investment Act, now House Bill 4041, is an act that supports the Economic Equity Investment Program (EEIP). This program is one that advocates have been lobbying in the halls of Oregon Congress for a few years now. Last year, advocates were able to make some progress but were not able to get the program fully funded. The bill will have it’s first hearing later this week and the coalition is seeking testimony.
You can submit testimony here.
Legislators Bynum, Ruiz, and Jama have been in support of these priorities since the beginning of the advocacy for this groundbreaking program.
Full 2024 Oregon BIPOC Caucus Priorities
In addition, the Caucus full list of priorities will continue to support working families, individuals, and small businesses by removing barriers that have long prevented these Oregonians from realizing their economic development opportunities and financial goals.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. For more than twenty years, the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) has helped low-income Oregonians achieve financial stability by providing matched savings opportunities. As we work to address the affordable housing crisis, IDAs will continue to be one of our best tools to make homeownership more attainable.” said Senator Kayse Jama, (D-East Portland, Damascus, Boring).
“Shining a light on an issue is the best way to learn where resources are most needed. By tasking the Secretary Of State’s office with creating a system to identify minority/woman/veteran owned businesses in the state, we can increase outreach to underserved businesses to elevate economic development opportunities and technical assistance.” said Representative Travis Nelson (D-North Portland).
The BIPOC Caucus believes child care is a fundamental right and access to affordable and culturally appropriate child care is critical in the creation of a strong and equitable economy.
“Flexible, quality and affordable childcare is critical to all working families. Culturally responsive care is a key piece of filling the child care gaps in Oregon and we must provide support for these small home-based centers as well as larger centers.” said Representative Daniel Nguyen (D-Lake Oswego).
The BIPOC Caucus knows that immigrant and refugee communities not only enrich our cultural landscape but also make our economy stronger by bringing with them innovative skills, talents, and perspectives.
“We all want to live in a welcoming state. Connecting newcomers to resources is about making sure all our neighbors are treated fairly, and everyone can find their place here. It is my hope that through this pilot program, HB 4159, Oregon will be poised and ready to receive federal funding if the federal government chooses to intervene and support newcomers. This is how we build up Oregon’s workforce and allow our newest Oregonians to integrate in our state and contribute to our collective success.” said Representative Hoa Nguyen (D-East Portland/Damascus).