Social Policy 
7/6/2021
By Marge Easley, Bill Walsh, Nancy Donovan, Karen Nibler and Debbie Aiona, Social Policy Portfolio

Healthcare (Bill Walsh)

Most of the ambitious bills to regulate portions of the health care market were mainly unsuccessful. However, many programs and needs that have gone unmet were able to be funded this year.

Senate Bill 428 appropriates $516,768 General Fund to carry out the work of the bill. SB 428 extends the sunset on the 20 member Task Force on Universal Health Care from January 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023 and extends the due date of a statutorily required report from the 2021 legislative session to September 30, 2022. The Task Force is charged with designing the Health Care for All Oregon Plan, which is a universal health care system to be administered by the Health Care for All Oregon Board, which will be equitable, affordable and comprehensive, and will provide high quality health care, be publicly funded, and be available to every individual residing in Oregon.

The Oregon Health Authority plans to hire two limited duration Operations and Policy Analyst 4 positions to continue coordinating project management, policy research and analysis, including conducting and producing complex research data. In addition to the staff to support the task force, the Subcommittee recommended $150,000 for a consultant to assist with preparing the report.

In the final days of the Session, the central intent of HB 2337 A—that racism be declared a public health crisis in Oregon—was brought forth in HR 6. A public hearing and work session held on June 24 sent the bill out on a 4-3 vote with a recommendation that it be adopted. The LWVOR submitted testimony in support. It passed the House 35-20 on June 25 and was on the Speaker’s desk when the session ended.

Housing (Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan)

The Joint W&Ms Capital Construction Committee released its end of session funding bills. There were significant resources allocated for housing to Housing and Community Services Department (HCSD).

  • $410 million in general obligation bonds for Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) and Permanent Supportive Housing in SB 5505. The bond proceeds will be used to acquire, construct, remodel, repair, equip or furnish real property. The agency will take an operational or ownership interest to provide affordable housing for Oregonians with low incomes and citizens in historically underserved communities and communities of color.

  • $30 million in lottery bonds for Wildfire Recovery Housing Supply and $20 million in lottery bonds for Wildfire Recovery Housing Land Acquisition (SB 5534).

  • $100 million in general fund dollars for preservation of existing affordable housing (HB 5006). HCSD will work with the Department of Land Conservation and Development to provide initial and final legislative reports on efforts to develop a legislative proposal for incorporation of a regional housing needs analysis into future state and local planning processes.

HB 5006, also known as the end of session budget rebalance bill or the Christmas tree bill, included additional resources for housing and services. 

  • $30 million for land acquisition or naturally occurring affordable housing acquisition.

  • $5 million for Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault survivors’ housing needs.

  • $1.6 million for services and rent assistance for permanent supportive housing units funded this biennium.

  • An additional $100 million for wildfire recovery including housing development, construction, infrastructure, rebuilding, down payment assistance, loans and services.

  • $1.5 million for a navigation center for people experiencing homelessness in The Dalles.

  • $1 million for housing related legal assistance.

  • $1.6 million for a Habitat for Humanity project in Bend.

  • $2 million for Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) for planning and capacity building related to housing needs.

  • $1.3 million for DLCD to incorporate regional housing needs analysis findings into state and local planning processes.

  • $30 million for additional Landlord Compensation Fund and $5 million to Home Forward to administer the 60-day payments to landlords if tenants don’t qualify for rent assistance under SB 278.

  • $2.3 million to BOLI for fair housing enforcement and $2.5 million for fair housing partnerships.

  • $2 million to Square One villages for a homeownership proposal. 

Individual legislators allocated additional resources for housing and other basic needs through $2 million to each House member and $4 million to each Senator to distribute the funds received in their districts.

Federal Response to Evictions

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it has approved a 30-day extension to the eviction moratorium, prohibiting the eviction of renters who are unable to make rent payments. The CDC Director signed the moratorium, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021, through July 31, 2021. The extension aims to keep people in their homes and out of crowded settings — like announcing it would extend the foreclosure moratorium for federally backed mortgages by a final month, until July 31.

Oregon Response to Evictions

The Oregon Legislature passed SB 278, which will offer breathing room for tenants facing imminent eviction on June 30. The bill will protect renters for an additional 60 days if they can show their landlords they have applied for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Fund. The state’s Landlord Compensation Fund offers compensation to landlords if their tenants do not qualify for the rental assistance program and are unable to pay rent.

The state is awaiting guidance from the federal government on how the funds can be spent. This slowed the process for providing relief and made the need for an extension on evictions necessary.

Immigration, Refugee, other Rights/Basic Needs (Claudia Keith)

Success! Two of the three LWVOR priority Immigration/Refugee related bills have passed or are now funded; both on their way to the Governor for her signature.

OPB: ‘Oregon lawmakers conclude 2021 session in a crush of bills’. ‘Energized by 2021 accomplishments’, and ‘Oregon’s BIPOC lawmakers continue social justice and equity work’.

SB 778 Enrolled Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement: ‘Oregon lawmakers approve creation of new office to support immigrants and refugees.’ will advocate for Oregon’s newest residents, seek to connect people to resources and programs helping to reduce social, economic and health disparities. (Fiscal $1.4M w/ 3.8 FTE)   League Testimony. LWVOR Immigration Resolution

HB 3230 A Universal (Legal) Representation for persons in immigration matters. This funding request was reduced to $2M and is listed in the end of session program bill HB 5006. (DAS will administer the funds to Innovation Law Lab for Immigration Defense). March League Testimony and June 18 League letter. 

SB 718 Refugee Resettlement Funding ended the session in W&M. Would have appropriated money from the General Fund to the Department of Human Services to award grants to refugee resettlement agencies to provide specified services to refugees. Fiscal $4.3M.  League Testimony. Related, Find Link to Oregon Refugee Program HERE. The Legislative Emergency-Board has funded $40M to the Workers Relief Fund. Find program funding reporting HERE.

 

Other Rights / Equity Bills passed by the Legislature

League Followed or Supported - may appear in other LR’s:

HB 2167 Enrolled, codifying the Racial Justice Council into state law and ensuring its existence into the future. Excerpted from Governor Kate Brown Statement on Legislative Session Adjourning - RACIAL JUSTICE / equity related bills she has signed or will be signing. One of six bills listed in the Governor's end of session press release.

HB 3353 A: Requires Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to request approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow coordinated care organizations (CCOs) to spend 3% of their global budgets to address the needs of local communities to improve equity. Lund Report

 

SB 70, Enrolled: Oregon Health Authority: Defines "regional health equity coalition" and "regional health equity coalition model." Requires Oregon Health Authority to work with regional health equity coalitions and groups using regional health equity coalition models throughout the state. Portland Business Jr Article

 

OPB: ‘Oregon’s sanctuary law will be stronger than ever under newly passed bill.’

HB 3265 A The Sanctuary Promise Act... LWVOR Immigration Resolution

HB 2993 A Provides that advisory committees appointed by agency as part of rulemaking must represent interests of persons and communities likely to be affected by rule. Requires agency to include in notice of rulemaking statement identifying how adoption of rule will affect racial equity. ‘Oregon House Democrats: Historic 2021 Session delivered on Promises to Oregonians’

 

​​SJM 4 Urging Congress to enact legislation to begin process of implementing reparations for African Americans based on slavery and discrimination.

 

HB 3041 B at the request of Basic Rights Oregon, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle. Removes "gender identity" from the definition of "sexual orientation".

 

SB 289 A Prohibits person convicted of bias crime committed while on state waters or publicly owned outdoor recreation land from entering an area under jurisdiction of the State Parks and Recreation Department.

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HB 2168 Enrolled Establishes Juneteenth as a legal state holiday.

 

SB 398 Enrolled Hate/Bias Crime – ‘Ban the Noose’,

SB 569 A Makes unlawful employment practice for the employer to require an employee or prospective employee to possess or present a valid driver's license as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.

 

HB 3010 Enrolled Requires production companies seeking reimbursement under Oregon Production Investment Fund programs to perform certain actions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion with respect to production for which reimbursement is sought.

SB 704 explicitly bars defendants from arguing they were under an “extreme emotional disturbance” after learning their victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation. ‘Oregon lawmakers vote to ban ‘LGBTQ panic defense’ by accused murderers’.

SB 282 Extends grace period for repayment of residential rent accrued during emergency period of April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, until February 28, 2022. Prohibits residential landlords from reporting nonpayment of rent accrued during emergency period to credit bureaus. Prohibits residential landlords from screening prospective tenants based on nonpayment of rent accrued during grace period. ‘Oregon’s Latest Residential Eviction…’ Legal article HERE

HB 2526 Designates the second Monday of October of each year as Indigenous Peoples' Day

HB 2508 Enrolled  Adds Telemedicine to Oregon Health Authority. “…Improves access in rural Oregon to Health professionals…,

HB 2583 A For cities only, eliminates any max number of non-related people per home. ‘Oregon Joins Washington to Allow Use of More Empty Bedrooms’.

Bills that ended the session in W&M or Rules:

HB 2337 A Engrossed declares that racism is a public health crisis in Oregon, appropriates to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to provide grants to operate two pilot mobile health units, improve data collection, etc. Find More Info from BIPOC caucus Here.

HB 3110 A Requires the board of directors of publicly traded corporations to have specified proportion of female directors and directors who are members of underrepresented communities. Find AAUW article HERE

HB 2002 A Transforming Justice. Fiscal $26M, Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish a program to award grants for restorative justice programs. ‘OR Bill Would Overhaul Community Safety, Policing.’

HB 2358 Prohibits employers from permitting, or] requiring or suffering agricultural workers to work in excess of 40] certain maximum hours in one workweek unless workers are compensated for overtime hours worked. OPB: ‘Bill to grant overtime pay to Oregon farmworkers gets last-ditch shot of life’.

Public Safety (Karen Nibler)

The Public Safety Subcommittee approved an increase in staff and funds for the Oregon Judicial Department in HB 5012.  There were no new judges or changes in judicial compensation. However, the Capital Construction bill, SB 5506 added the new judges. The OJD budget included backfill funds for the technology services and improvements to Klamath and Lake County Courthouses.  SB 48 B funds a pretrial release program within the Judicial Dept. HB 2049 A provides $1 million for an Innovative Grant Fund with the Criminal Justice Commission, which was included in the HB 5005 CJC Budget.

Several Public Safety bills with funding were passed on June 16 and 17.  HB 2162 A gave the Department of Public Safety and Security Training instructions on additional police training; HB 2527 A on training for private security staff was passed with two dissensions.  HB 2575 A also covers techniques for management of persons with trauma experience.  HB 2928 A restricts police use of chemicals and strobe lights during mob protests.  HB 2932 B was amended again to add funds for health care in the Department of Corrections.  HB 3145 A passed requiring reports to the FBI for data collections on the use of force.

HB 2930 A the law enforcement officer conduct standard was passed June 21. Two amendments were approved; A18 on citizen advisory groups with 2 no votes and A20 on police training with approval from Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs. The Portland League study will provide positions for action in monitoring the local law enforcement in the city.

SB 575 A on expunction of juvenile records passed in Senate Judiciary and went directly to the Public Safety Subcommittee.  SB 817 B went to Senate Rules for further review of the elimination of fees including counsel representation in all cases in the juvenile system. The bills were passed and costs were included in the Omnibus bill.

SB 620 A on changes to community supervision by state or local courts was sent to House Rules where it was passed with a 21 page stipulation for supervision. The amendments included changes in fee charges and supervision rules.  The State Board of Probation and Post-Prison Supervision is required to deliver the conditions of probation upon release of the offender from jail or prison. The amendments were recommended by the Transforming Justice Coalition, a national civil rights organization of lawyers with the goal of modifications and transformational changes.

Human Services Ways and Means Actions

The Capital Construction Subcommittee met on June 18 and 21 to pass a few end-of-session bills, HB 2086 B on Behavioral Health rate increase for providers and HB 2362 B on hospital access to care. HB 2544 B on funding for homeless youth programs was amended with $1,800,000 approved, which was less than originally proposed. The bill passed the committee with unanimous approval and in both chambers with a few no votes. The League advocated for the support of these shelter programs. 

HB 3352 A proposed Medicaid coverage for all people including immigrants in the 2021-23 biennium. There were 4 no votes with questions about sustainability, but the amended HB 3352 B passed W&Ms with a 14-8-1x vote. The House passed it 37-21-1x and Senate passed 17-11-2x

SB 358 A provided medical coverage for autism spectrum disorder, which had been discussed in previous sessions. The bill passed easily in both chambers.  SB 800 B covered medical care for the workforce in long term care, pending federal approval. The Senate passed it easily but the House was divided in its approval.

SB 755 B, the Behavioral Health Resource bill was amended at the end of session to require resources in each county or proposals for services will be requested with a review on 1-24-24. A 755 C amendment added domestic violence and person misdemeanors for supervision by community corrections. Both chambers voted to approve.

The Budget in SB 5533 A from Lottery and Criminal Fines Accounts included funds for the Oregon Health Authority from the Marijuana Account for prevention, treatment and recovery services in addition to criminal justice funds for crime victims, community corrections and e-court.  HB 3011 B on Program Change allocated funds for the Public Defense Services Consortium in a separate Treasury Account including funds from the Oregon Judicial Department.

SB 5506 A included funding for many programs passed in separate bills in this session.  In Public Safety it covered Criminal Justice Commission programs, restorative justice grants, the family preservation project at Coffee Creek prison,  a technology upgrade for the Juvenile Justice Information System in Oregon Youth Authority, electronic medical records in the Department of Corrections, funds for courthouses in Benton, Crook and Linn Counties, and broadband access in rural areas. Umatilla County will receive funding for jail expansion and a mental health facility. Many other areas will receive funds for local facilities and shelters. This bill includes many local facilities and programs in all areas of the state. It must be the Christmas Tree bill.