Dear Veteran Advocates and Partners,
Last week, while Oregonians across the state celebrated Independence Day on July 4th, our state representatives and senators were still hard at work. The 2017 Regular Session has since come to a close and we are pleased to share this legislative update.
Through the bipartisan leadership of the Governor and Legislature this year, Oregon has approved a historic investment in veteran services – essential funds that will help ensure the health, education and economic opportunity of our veterans and their families.
The veteran community and our partners have tirelessly advocated for years for additional resources to support veterans and their families. Citizens across the state added their voice to the effort this past November when they approved by a resounding 84% to amend the state’s Constitution to dedicate 1.5% of net lottery revenues to better serve Oregon’s veterans.
The resulting 2017-19 biennial budget for Oregon veterans is a historic $26.1 million of combined General Fund and Lottery Fund. This is more than double the previous biennial budget for veteran services of $10.4 million General Fund.
This budget invests significantly in veteran services at the local and state level as well as in efforts to support non-profit and community partners. There is a particular emphasis on mobilizing partnerships to better support student veterans on campus, ensure all veterans have access to mental health resources, and prevent veterans from becoming homeless.
Please review the accompanying 2017 Legislative Session Highlights for the details on the new investments and key policy bills positively impacting veterans and their families.
Thank you to our veterans’ community and partners, elected leaders and all Oregonians for their incredible advocacy and support – together, we will ensure veterans and their families thrive in Oregon.