03/24/2017 Legislative Update March 27
“I’m a retired clinical psychologist. I try to do my best with this committee… but don’t blame me.”Rep. Bill Kennemer introduces himself to his fellow House Health Care Committee members.
The Big Deal this Week
Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health and Oregon Health & Science University have announced plans to open the Unity Center for Behavioral Health in late 2016. The facility will provide psychiatric emergency services for people in mental health crisis, as well as an inpatient facility for both adults and adolescents. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/02/four_healthcare_providers_sign.html
News of the Week
Governor Kitzhaber faces challenges to his credibility and diminishing influence as the Ethics Commission investigates the role of the First Lady. http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-23926-climate_changed.html
A vote to disband Cover Oregon could come as early as February 9. Senate Bill 1, abolishes the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corp. and transfers its duties to the Department of Consumer and Business Services. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/health/2015/02/04/cover-oregon-nears-dissolution/22901961/
Also, Secretary of State Kate Brown’s bill on automatic voter registration was approved 5-4 on a party-line vote. The bill now goes to Ways and Means for further deliberation. http://www.oregonlive.com/mapes/index.ssf/2015/02/new_automatic_voter_registrati.html
February 25 is the deadline for legislators to submit bills to the Chief Clerk or the Secretary of the Senate. Over 1,400 bills were pre-session filed. Since the Legislature convened on February 3, more than 250 other bills have been introduced.
Bill hearings and other activities
Sobering Center Fund: House Committee on Business and Labor (Public Hearing)
Katy King testified in support on behalf of OCEP at the public hearing on Wednesday, February 4. This bill was introduced by Rep. Peter Buckley, the Co-Chair of Ways and Means and supported by testimony from Representatives Sal Esquival, Carl Wilson and Duane Stark, all from Southern Oregon. The next step in the process is a work session. (See the “Thing to Know” explanation.)
SB 227 Traumatic Brain Injury Registry: Senate Health Care Committee (Public Hearing)
Katy King submitted a statement of support for SB 227, which establishes a traumatic brain injury registry using data from the existing State Trauma Registry. The bill is scheduled for a work session on February 11.
HB 2512, which allows motorcycles and mopeds to travel on shoulder of highway during traffic jams, is up for a hearing in the House Transportation Committee on February 11, 2015.
SB 132, the Violence Against Health Care Workers bill is up for a hearing and possible work session in the Senate Health Committee on Monday, February 16 at 3 pm. This bill would expand the crime of assault in the third degree to include physical injury to health care providers in hospitals. Please let me know if you are interested in testifying on behalf of OCEP and sharing stories about experiences in your emergency department.
Thing to Know: What is a work session?
A work session is a committee hearing for the purpose of determining if a bill will be voted out of committee. Think of it as a conversation (or debate) amongst the committee members. This is different from a public hearing where testimony is taken. Usually, testimony is not taken during a work session unless by invitation from the Committee Chair. In other words, if the bill doesn’t have a work session scheduled, it’s not up for a vote.
For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.