Weekly Legislative Update February 10, 2020
Quote of the Week
“I always say it’s just like that TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” –
just without the vampires and that slaying bit. ”
Rep. Dan Rayfield describes what it’s like to co-chair Ways and Means
with his Senate colleagues, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and Sen. Betsy Johnson
The Oregon legislature convened on Monday, February 3, for the 35-day “short session” and after the opening ceremonies, committees hearings were underway to work some of the 199 bills introduced before session. (A long session has approximately 3,000 bills.) Some of the big health care issues: safe storage of guns, a ban on flavored vaping products, and behavioral health legislation to develop a 10-year plan in advance of the 2021 session. Legislators have tight timelines to move bills during the short session — they must move from the first chamber by the end of the second week or the bill is considered dead.
The Big Deal this Week: Climate Action Legislation and the Timber Unity Protest
Hundreds of trucks rolled into Salem, causing traffic gridlock for 30 miles around the city limits and causing delays of up to an hour. The truckers came to Salem to protest the hearing on SB 1530, the climate action bill that is the top priority for the governor and legislative leadership. This bill will create a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. Protesters spent the day at rallies and the day-long sound of honking was a constant distraction for committee hear- ings, often drowning out the voice of the speakers presenting testimony.
The bigger distraction is the threat of a Republican walk-out to deny a quorum for vote on the climate action bill. Advocates for SB 1530 say that modifications have been made to the bill to address concerns from people in rural areas and that climate action is urgently needed now to save the planet. Opponents to the bill say the bill would cripple the economy and should be re- ferred to the ballot. Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, reported that 15,000 pieces of testimo- ny have been submitted.
What’s next: A rare Saturday hearing was held February 8. The bill is scheduled for a work session on Tuesday, February 11.
Weekly Legislative Update February 10, 2020
Spotlight Issues/Bill Hearings
Safe Storage: The House Judiciary Committee held the first hearings on HB 4005, also known as the Cindy Yuille and Steve Foresyth Act, which would require the safe storage of guns and prompt reporting of lost or stolen guns to law enforcement. Violators would face a fine. This bill was sacrificed last session (along with the vaccine bill) during the first Republican walk out over the corporate income tax to fund the Student Success Act. Like all firearm bills, this one is con- tentious. Advocates, including Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Sen. Ginny Burdick, D- Portland, the Senate Majority leader, talked about the risks of unsafe storage and the harm to communities. Opponents said this bill would infringe on their right to have quick access to a gun in the event of an emergency.
What’s next: An informational hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 10 in House Judiciary to allow the bill’s sponsors — Rep. Janeen Sollman D-Hillsboro, Rep. Rachel Prusak, D-Tualatin/ West Linn and Rep. Alissa Keny Guyer, D-SE Portland, an opportunity to discuss the fine points of the bill. A work session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12.
Ban on flavored vaping products: Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, and Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, kicked off the hearing for SB 1577, which would prohibit the sale of flavored vaping products such as Cap’n Crunch, cotton candy, gummy bear and other fruit and dessert flavors. The Oregon Pediatric Society and coun- ty health officials testified in support of this bill noting that these products target youth specifi- cally — in Deschutes County, almost 40 percent of 11th graders reported having used a fla- vored tobacco or vaping product. In 2018, over 20 percent of high school students self-reported the use of vaping products and that number rose to 27 percent in 2019. Even 10 percent of middle school students reported the use of vaping products in 2019.
The owner of vaping shops testified in opposition, saying that this bill would force their busi- nesses to close and deny vaping products to adults who were trying to quit cigarettes.
Representatives for Oregon chapters of the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association testified in opposition as well, saying this bill is not comprehensive enough — it only addresses vaping products and not flavored combustible products such as cigarillos and smoke- less tobacco. They urged the chair to do more work on the bill to expand the ban and include a framework to license tobacco retail establishments. Amendments have been introduced to ad- dress their concerns. However, it’s not clear that the votes are there to pass an expanded bill in the short session.
What’s next: A work session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11.
Behavioral Health: The House Behavioral Health Committee, now a stand-alone committee chaired by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, held a hearing on HB 4082, which would create a Behahavioral Health Road Map Commission. The commission would be charged with defining elements of an ideal health care system, estimate expenditures and sources of funding, recom- mend revenue proposals and highlight workforce needs. The commission would be directed to link planning with the Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council, which has an over- lapping mission. According to the Oregon Health Authority, there were 28 workgroups and advi- sory boards related to behavioral health in 2019.
Testimony from the Oregon Association of Hospital and Health Systems pointed to data to high- light the need: substance use makes up 75 percent of the behavioral health emergency depart- ment visits and mental health clocked in at 25 percent of visits between 2015-17. HB 4082 was supported by Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs.
What’s next? Amendments have been submitted that would modified the membership of the committee by adding the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. A second amendment
specifies that representatives of Disabilities Rights Oregon and the Oregon Council on Devel- opmental Disabilities also be included on the Commission. A work session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11.
Dialysis Practices: Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, introduced HB 4114, which would require medical assistance and health plans to cover renal dialysis services and tie reimburse- ment for commercial plans to Medicare rates. Supporters argued the benchmark was needed to prevent price-gouging practices by the two major providers in Oregon who reaped over a billion dollars in profits. Dialysis clinics countered that 90 percent of their business were Medicare pa- tients and that cuts to reimbursement for commercial plans would force clinic closures, reduced clinic hours and burden emergency departments. The Oregon Chapter of the American College of Emergency Services and the Oregon Medical Association, shared concerns over the impact to the health care safety net and opposed benchmarking reimbursement to Medicare on princi- ple, because rates were never designed to represent fair market value of health care services or to cover provider costs. The chair said she was willing to look at other payment methodologies besides Medicare.
OR-ACEP also advocated for coverage for undocumented dialysis patients. Lack of coverage means that these patients are forced to go to the emergency department when their condition meets a critical and dangerous threshold.The standard of care should be scheduled dialysis rather than waiting until the life of the patient is threatened.
What’s next: A work session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11.The chair is working with the Oregon Health Authority to add CAWEM program coverage for undocumented patients through Oregon Administrative Rule. A budget note may be added to the Oregon Health Authori- ty budget.
Friday, February 7: 1st chamber deadline to post work sessions* for bills Thursday, February 13: 1st chamber deadline to hold work sessions for bills. Thursday, February 20: 2nd chamber deadline to post work sessions for bills. Tuesday, February 25 2nd chamber deadline to hold work session for bills. Sunday, March 8: Projected date of adjournment/filing day
Sunday, March 11: Constitutional date of adjournment.
Upcoming hearings and work sessions
*Public Hearing (PH) Public Hearing and Possible Work Session (PH/WS) Work Session (WS)
Monday, February 10
SB 1575 Fitness to Proceed (PH)
HB 4132 Requires OHA to administer and collect data from student health surveys (WS) House Judiciary
HB 4005 Safe Storage Informational Hearing
HB 4131 Family Preservation Project pilot program, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (PH)
HB 4148 Oregon policy regarding Indian children (PH)
Senate Mental Health Care
SB 1552 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (WS)
SB 1553 Report on Regulatory and Policy Barriers to Timely Behavioral Health Treatment (WS)
House Human Services and Housing
HB 4039 Funding for unaccompanied homeless youth (PWS) HB 4112 Grants for Children’s Advocacy Centers (PWS)
Tuesday, February 11
SB 1575 Fitness to Proceed (WS)
Senate Health Care
SB 1551 CCO financial and reporting requirements (WS)
SB 1577 Ban on Vaping Flavors (WS)
House Behavioral Health
HB 4082 Behavioral Health Road Map Commission (WS)
Senate Environment and Natural Resources
SB 1530 Climate Action (WS)
SB 1574 Greenhouse gas emissions (WS)
House Health Care
HB 4016 Relating to Health Care PH/WS Note: given the broad relating clause, this may be a gut and stuff bill.
HB 4109 Pesticide exposure (PH/WS)
HB 4081 Physician Assistants (PH/WS)
HB 4114 Dialysis reimbursement (WS)
HB 4102 OMA utilization bill (WS)
HB 4101 Telemedicine reimbursement (PH/WS)
HB 4161 Regional Health Equity Coalition (PH/WS)
HJR 202 Constitutional amendment declaring health care as a right (WS)
HB 4009 Administrative fix to corporate activities tax (WS)
Wednesday, February 12
House Judiciary Committee
HB 4005 Safe Storage (WS)
HB 4131 Family Preservation Project pilot program, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (WS) HB 4148 Oregon policy regarding Indian children (WS)
SB 1538 Firearms in public buildings PH
Thursday, February 13
House Energy and Environment
HB 4159 Greenhouse gas emissions (WS)
*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.
Questions about the Legislative Process? Contact Katy King: KatyKing01@gmail.com