03/24/2017 Legislative Update March 27
“If you saw an Oregonian getting mugged on the street and stopped the mugging, would you call that person an obstructionist?”Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, on the tactics of his caucus to run out the clock during the 35-day session.
News of the week:
Senate Republicans ghosted a Wednesday evening floor session called by the Senate President as a tactic to slow down progress on upcoming contentious votes for renewable energy, measures on affordable housing, renter relief and gun control. Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, issued a statement to say that if senators want to pass bills they need to do it during regular business hours.
The rumor in the Capitol Building was that business would be wrapped by the end of the month, a week shy of the March 6 constitutional deadline for adjournment and a coup for the Democratic majority prior the election season. This is not likely to happen without after-hour and weekend work and, as a result, many bills in the queue may die. Despite the resistance, weekend floor sessions have been scheduled. Democrats also are are using the gut-n-stuff maneuver to put language from controversial bills into consensus bills that are moving through the process. Final votes on amended bills from other chambers go to the beginning of the agenda.
Sine Die is (still) imminent
Last week Legislative leadership sent out a notice that sine die, or the end of session, is imminent. Policy committees are now closed and any bill that didn’t have a work session is now dead in its current form. Exceptions exist for bills in joint committees, revenue committees or Ways and Means, the budget-writing committee. These committees will stay open until adjournment.
Priority bills for Physicians
Good news! HB 4194 Improvements to compatibility with PDMP and EDIE; allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone…passes House.
This bill would streamline the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for front line health care providers through integrated access with the Emergency Department Information Exchange. It also would allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone over-the-counter. This bill passed the House on an unanimous vote and now heads to the Senate.
Good news! Medicaid Primary Care Loan Repayment: $2 million has been appropriated for the program in section 106 of SB 5701, the end-of-session budget bill.
HB 4136 Wrongful Death
This bill, which would triple the cap on non-economic damages to $1.5 million, is (still) dead for this session.
Senate Bill 1503 A, repeals sunset on requirement that insurers reimburse licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants (HB 2902, 2013)
SB 1503, which is backed by the Oregon Nurses Association, would repeal the 2018 sunset for pay parity for primary care providers.
Amendments supported by the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association and the Oregon Medical Association would require the Oregon Health Authority to look at the impact of the 2013 law on healthcare workforce development, recruitment and retention. They weren’t adopted given the fiscal impact, however, the OHA has committed to working with provider groups over the interim to see what can be accomplished with existing data. This bill passed the House floor with a divided vote of 44-15.
Coordinated Care Organization Reform Bills
The legislature passes amendments to CCO bill over the objections of the OHA Director.
HB 4107, sponsored by Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville, would prohibit OHA from requiring clawbacks from CCOs unless they are required to demand payment by federal law. A work session was held in the Senate Health Care Committee on February 23. Lynne Saxton, the OHA Director, testified about a potential fiscal impact ranging from $56 million to $532 million owed to the federal government if the department was not allowed to recover an “overpayment” to Portland CCO Family Care. She asked that the committee adopt amendments which allow them to clawback payments to CCOs through December 31, 2016. Instead, the committee adopted alternate amendments and sent the bill to Senate Rules. In Rules, the committee adopted the B-6 amendments proposed by Sen. Bates, which would require a letter from CMS prior to any clawbacks. The bill is heading to the senate floor.
A second CCO bill has cleared both chambers and is awaiting signatures. 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 the Senate 28-0-2 excused.
Mental Health Bills
SB 1558: Prohibits disclosure of records from college or university student health centers, mental health centers or counseling offices, except to specified entities within the college or university. The bill clarifies that medical records are not student records; thus, they belong to the students and not the institutions they attend. This privacy protection is intended to help students experiencing abuse, trauma or crisis who turn to their campus-based health centers for support. This bill passed the House on February 23 and has gone to leadership and the governor for their signatures.
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 concerning 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. This bill has passed the House and is now in Ways and Means.
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 passed the House but is unlikely to clear the Senate given the backlog of bills. http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/gun_background_check_bill_expe.html
The Oregon Senate passed SB 1511 A, which directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to register marijuana producers and retailers. Another set of amendments (-28) to increase minimum dosage size, failed to advance. A second bill (HB 4014A, makes changes to the law regulating the production, processing, sale and use of cannabis.
Retail Tobacco Licensure
SB 1559 A, which requires registration of retail tobacco shops, passed out of full Ways and Means on February, 26.
Rules of Session: Quorums
The numbers of members required to be present before business can be transacted in the Senate, House or a committee. In the Senate, 20 members must be present (with at least one member from the minority party). In the House, 40 members; and in committees a constitutional majority constitutes a quorum.
For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.