“To put that in perspective, you can fly from Portland to Seattle faster than you can read HB 4014 out loud."
Chris Lehman, Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter describing the lengthy process to read out loud the 51 page marijuana bill per the House and Senate rules.

News of the week: House approves landmark minimum wage increase on 32-26 vote.

The house passed a bill to increase Oregon’s minimum wage to the highest in the nation. It also establishes a three-tier system that sets different rates by region. The deliberations, which stretched over five hours, were dramatically disrupted by protesters for a higher $15 minimum wage and stronger renter protections. The protesters, camped out by the House and Senate chambers, shouted and chanted, drowning out the proceedings on the chamber floors. The Senate went into recess and the House Speaker barred the doors to preserve her quorum for the vote. The protesters also staged a sit-in at the Governor’s Office. Order was eventually re- stored and the vote took place. The bill now goes to leadership and Governor Kate Brown for their signatures. Governor Brown has said she will sign it.

Wrongful death bill is dead

HB 4136, the bill that would triple the $500,000 limit on non-economic damages recoverable in wrongful death actions, was taken off the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate President Peter Courtney sent an e-mail to Senate Republicans, who opposed the bill, late on Thursday evening to let them know HB 4136 would not move forward this session. The OMA and physician associations were among the opponents to this legislation, which is expected to return in 2017.

Sine Die is imminent

Legislative leadership sent out a notice that sine die, or the end of session, is imminent, trigger- ing the one-hour notice for work sessions.

The deadline for work sessions in the second chamber to be posted is February 23. Any bill that has not had a work session in the second chamber is dead in its current form. Exceptions exist for bills in joint committees, revenue committees or Ways and Means, the budget-writing committee. The constitutional deadline for adjournment is March 6 but the rumor is that legislators are trying to adjourn by the end of February.

Priority bills for Physicians
HB 4194 Improvements to compatibility with PDMP and EDIE; allows pharmacists to dis- pense naloxone
A work session is scheduled for Monday, February 22 in
the Joint Ways and Means Com- mittee on Human Services for this bill that would streamline the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for front line health care providers through integrated access with the Emergency De- partment Information Exchange. It also would allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone over-the- counter.

Senate Bill 1503 A-Eng*, repeals sunset on requirement that insurers reimburse licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants (HB 2902, 2013)
The Oregon Nurses Association is seeking a repeal of the 2018 sunset for pay parity for primary care providers. Amendments negotiated by the OMA were added, which would require the Ore- gon Health Policy Board and the Department of Business and Consumer Services to collect ad- ditional data on the impact of the pay parity law. The intent is to keep the conversation going on payment reform. The bill, opposed by physicians and insurers, passed the senate on Friday on a 21-4 vote.

A hearing was held in the House Human Services Committee on Friday, February 18. Amend- ments supported by the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association and the Oregon Medical As- sociation will require the Oregon Health Authority to look at the impact of the 2013 law on healthcare workforce development, recruitment and retention. The OHA has indicated these amendments will trigger a fiscal impact, making it unlikely they will move forward. However, they have committed to working with provider groups over the interim to see what can be accom- plished with existing data. The work session for this bill is Monday, February 22.

Coordinated Care Organization Reform Bills
HB 4141
would prohibit the Oregon Health Authority from retroactively changing terms of the CCO contracts unless required to do so by the Centers for Medicaid Service. The intent is to give assurances to CCOs and to patients that disruptions will be limited unless it’s an absolute emergency. This bill passed the House floor 57-3 and received a public hearing and work session on February 18. It now moves to the Senate floor.

HB 4107, sponsored by Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville, which would prohibit OHA from requir- ing clawbacks from CCOs unless they are required to demand payment by federal law. This bill passed the House and is scheduled for a work session in the Senate Health Care Commit- tee on February 23. OHA has submitted amendments to allow them to clawback payments to CCOs through December 31, 2016. https://www.thelundreport.org/content/oregon-health-authority-fights-kee... money

Mental Health Bills
SB 1558:
Prohibits disclosure of records from college or university student health centers, men- tal health centers or counseling offices, except to specified entities within the college or universi- ty. The bill clarifies that medical records are not student records; thus, they belong to the stu- dents and not the institutions they attend. This privacy protection is intended to help student experiencing abuse, trauma or crisis who turn to their campus-based health centers for support. This bill passed the Senate floor 28-0 on Monday, February 28. A public hearing and work session is scheduled February 19.

HB 4075: Would replace the School Safety Hotline established by the Department of Justice with a new Department of State Police tip line for anonymous reporting of information concern- ing threats to schools safety. This bill is moving forward with amendments to address a more comprehensive approach. This bill includes threats such as cyberbullying or suicide.This bill passed out of committee and now heads to Ways and Means. A work session is scheduled Monday, February 22.

Other bills
Gun sales
HB 4147:
A bill to prohibit transfer of a firearm by dealers or private parties if the Department of State Police is unable to determine if the recipient is qualified to receive a firearm within 10 days is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on February 19.

Marijuana

The Oregon Senate passed HB 4014, a regulatory cannabis bill which would create a youth prevention program, alters regulations around residency, and requires the OHA to develop rec- ommendations on clinical guidelines for physicians who prescribe marijuana and report to spe- cific legislative committees on rules adopted or steps taken on recalling contaminated or unfit cannabis and other products derived from cannabis. It also allows medical growers, processors and retailers to transfer their inventory to their new line of business when they become Oregon Liquor Control Commission licensees. The proposal also would alter penalties for cannabis-re- lated crimes. The bill now heads to the governor for her signature.

Rules of Session: What’s a Gut n’ Stuff bill?

The glossary to the Oregon Legislative Guide describes a “gut and stuff” as the “slang term that refers to removing the text of a measure and inserting entirely new language, which while it make change the nature of the measure completely, still must fall under the measure’s title, also known as the ‘relating-to’ clause.” This practice is a good reason to pay attention to the relating clause listed by Legislative Counsel at the beginning of each bill. A relating clause of “health care” can accommodate almost any subject in the health care arena. Now that the deadline for bills in policy committees is almost here, insiders will be watching bills in the budget and rules committees for gut n’ stuff amendments. 

For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.

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