“I don't think there's any way to take politics out of politics."
Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, speaking about the hearings on the Republican-sponsored ethics bills.

News of the week: Supreme Court Ruling on PERS Reforms

The State Supreme Court ruled to strike down most of the PERS reforms that comprised the Grand Bargain of the 2013 session. The Grand Bargain, negotiated by Governor Kitzhaber and endorsed by both parties cut retiree benefits by reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and eliminating the extra payments for out-of-state retirees meant to compensate them for state tax liabilities on their benefits. The court ruled the state couldn’t reduce the COLA for past service. but The ruling won’t have an immediate impact this session but could have a big impact on the 2017-19 budget. http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/oregon_supreme_court_overturns.html

 

The big bill this week: Limits on medical marijuana grow sites

SB 844 was scheduled for a work session in the Measure 91 committee, charged with implementing the legalization of marijuana. Amendments would limit the number of plants at medical marijuana grow sites and require growers, processors and stores to track the product. http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/258360-129745-legislative-panel-will-vote-on-new-limits-for-medical-pot-growers-

 

The big bill next week: Single-payer healthcare

SB 631, the bill dubbed by sponsors as the ‘Healthcare for All Oregon Act’ is up for a hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee on Monday, May 4. Sen. Dembrow has described it as a ‘sort-of “Medicare for All” that would guarantee coverage to all Oregonians. The plan would be financed by a dedicated tax based on the payer’s ability to pay. This is the third time he has introduced this bill. Here’s a link: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB631/Introduced

 

Votes

This week was dominated by floor sessions in the House and Senate chambers as legislators voted on bills that passed out of committee before the April 21 deadline to work session bills in the chamber of origin. SB 874, the adrenal insufficiency bill, was one to pass this week. This bill requires the OHA to compile information on this disorder and make it available to associations for emergency providers. OCEP opposed the bill in its original form and at the request of the chair, worked with stakeholders on amendments. SB 495, which requires a safety belt for every person in the car, was one of those bills that didn’t pass because the votes weren’t there. It was sent back to committee for ‘more work’. OCEP supported this bill sponsored by Sen. Bates, a physician. 

 

The next deadline: May 22 – Deadline for Chairs to SCHEDULE Work Sessions for Second Chamber Measures 

Policy committee Chairs must post agendas with the second chamber measures that they intend to hold a work session on before the May 22 deadline. This does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees. 

 

Up next week: The President comes to Portland

President Barack Obama will be in Portland on May 7 for a fundraiser in downtown Portland. Expect delays due to the presidential motorcade next Thursday afternoon.

 

OCEP P2 Hearings Next Week

SB 71, requires pharmacies to report to the PDMP within 72 hours is up for a public hearing in the House Health Care committee. This may be the vehicle for SB 626 A-eng., a PDMP bill OCEP supported, that would provide for push notifications.

SB 153, a clean-up bill from the HB 2902 primary health care and mental health task force, is up for a hearing in House Health Care on Wednesday, May 6.

SB 901, which requires insurers to reimburse healthcare providers directly — instead of sending payment to their clients, is up for a public hearing on May 4.

 

Thing to Know: Minority Report

A Minority Report is not just the Steven Spielberg movie starring Tom Cruise. In legislative parlance, it refers to a committee report signed by at least two committee members who are in the minority on the issue in question on a particular bill. The purpose of this is to state their position and offer an alternative proposal for the chamber. Here’s a link to the minority report for SB 478A-Engrossed, the chemicals of concern in children’s products bill: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB478/Minority%20Report%20A-Engrossed

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

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