January 17, 2022 - Pre-Session Report
Healthcare (Shirley Weathers)
The House Interim Committee on Health Care looked at a number of legislative concepts during their January 13, 2022 meeting. Rep. Andrea Salinas and supporters presented information on LC 238 to declare racism a public health crisis and provide initial steps toward solutions. They pointed out that the declaration was accomplished during the 2021 session through passage of HR 6, but (HR 2337), that session that would have provided the framework and resources to begin to address the crisis, failed. LC 238 is described as including a pilot mobile health program as a culturally responsive model to inform a feasibility study, a vehicle to ensure involvement of and input by the BIPOC community, and establishment of a funding strategy to facilitate prevention of conditions resulting in inequitable outcomes for those communities.
Housing (Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona)
The Legislature responded to the widespread evictions crisis by sending hope and relief to Oregonians. Renters will receive extended protections from evictions and agencies will receive significant housing resources. Two critical emergency housing bills passed during the special session.
Prohibits residential landlords from delivering a termination notice for nonpayment or taking action for nonpayment while a tenant’s application for emergency rent assistance is pending.
Requires a tenant to apply for emergency rent assistance and provide documentation of the application to the landlord on or before June 30, 2022. An application must be processed prior to September 30, 2022.
Extends the requirement for a landlord to deliver a ten-day notice for nonpayment to allow a tenant to access rent assistance before receiving an eviction notice. The protection expires on September 30, 2022.
Directs Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to prioritize tenant applications for assistance submitted on or before December 1, 2021.
To access free legal assistance for low-income Oregonians, go to www.oregonlawhelp.org
$100 million to fund the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program. OHCS will fund applications that came in prior to the portal’s closure on December 1. The portal will reopen this month to accept new applications.
$5 million to OHCS for program delivery expenses related to expanding and enhancing the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program, as well as application evaluation and payment.
$10 million to HOME Forward for distribution to compensate landlords.
$100 million to OHCS for local emergency rental assistance programs and eviction prevention and diversion services.
Possible Housing Proposals for the 2022 Legislative Session
Youth Homelessness: This proposal would, among other things, allocate money to schools so they could assist families on a one-time basis with unpaid rent and utilities or move-in costs.
Earned Income Tax Credit: This proposal would provide funding for culturally specific organizations, tribal governments, and under-resourced rural community service organizations for the purpose of educating low-income households about the federal earned income tax credit and other tax benefits.
Concurrent Permitting: The Oregon Homebuilders Association is backing a proposal authorizing pilot programs in three jurisdictions that would test the feasibility of concurrent permitting in order to speed up the process.
Homeless Services Coordination: Representative Kropf, the League of Oregon Cities, and Association of Oregon Counties are recommending a proposal that would provide $1 million each to eight communities for the purpose of establishing locally led regional housing coordination that would strengthen their homeless response.
Preservation Tax Credit: This proposal backed by the Oregon Housing Alliance would create a tax credit to incentivize the sale of publicly supported affordable housing to a preservation minded buyer in order to maintain the housing as affordable.
Right to Cooling: This proposal would lift restrictions on the use of portable cooling devices by tenants and require provision of cooling facilities under certain circumstances.
Oregon Housing and Community Services provided an overview of progress made in meeting the housing needs of Oregonians affected by wildfires. This Jan. 13, 2022 Wildfire Recovery Presentation summarizes funding sources, next steps, and housing provided to date.
Human Services Committees introduced the following concepts for bills in the February session.
Child welfare residential treatment programs are closing due to costs and staff turnover. A study of child welfare programs was suggested. Homeless Youth housing was funded last session and contractors were supported. Services in outlying areas are being considered, as suggested last session.
Long term care workers need higher rates and salaries to attract and retain workers. Disability aides are in need too. Expect to see a bill for staffing salaries.
Behavioral Health programs for children and families were discussed in the continuum of services from prevention, stabilization, and intensive treatment in the home. Residential programs were scrutinized last session. State licensing and oversight of residential programs has become tighter.
Behavioral Health Services for adults with substance abuse disorders have ramped up due to BM 110. County Mental Health Clinics received funds to serve referrals for alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment. Residential and peer support programs for those in recovery were also funded.
The Medical Examiner Office under the Oregon State Police reported increased deaths due to opioids and alcohol but only 20% who died got autopsies. The office will request additional staff to determine the causes of death. Call centers and mobile crisis units have been funded to respond to emergencies.
Judiciary Committees reviewed public safety issues from last session, such as traffic stops, searches, and conditions of parole and probation supervision. Post- conviction relief and licensing board petitions will also be considered.
A national project on wrongful conviction and a state project on universal representation for immigrants facing deportation will be introduced this session.
Public Safety Ways and Means allocated funds for a new Clackamas County Courthouse, Public Defense Services contracts, Criminal Justice Commission drug trafficking staff, Oregon State Police equipment, and Department of Justice staff.
Immigration/ Refugee and other Basic Rights (Claudia Keith)
2022 Proposed Legislation
The League is following a number of LC’s that may become committee Bills. It’s unclear at this time which committee bills will be prioritized and have League testimony. Expect some of the following policy topics to be introduced or expanded on from previous sessions.
Universal (Legal) Representation for persons in immigration matters. see (2021) HB 3230 A
In-state tuition eligibility for Afghan refugees and Pacific Islanders
Updating Immigration terminology in Oregon Law
New Racial Equity and Justice Youth collaborative
Addition of Race and Ethnicity to Oregon Income Tax Forms
Renters rights and access to cooling (more on this topic in CE LR)
Transforming Justice Act – (find coalition and proposed policy details HERE)
Injured worker parity
Oregon genuine progress indicator/ equity metric.