top of page

Legislative Report - Week of 2/19

Jump to topic:

By Jean Pierce, Social Policy Coordinator, and Team

Behavioral Health and Related Public Safety Issues

By Karen Nibler and Jean Pierce

On February 26, The Joint Committee on Addictions and Community Safety Response is holding a public hearing to consider two amendments to HB 4002 which deals with Oregon’s addiction crisis. The -10 amendment is proposed by Rep. Kevin Mannix while the -24 amendment is being proposed by the Joint Committee.

The -10 amendment creates an Office for Drug Prevention and Treatment with rograms for crisis intervention, stabilization, detox, treatment medications, and use of the Oregon State Hospital Dome building for hospital level treatment. 

This amendment also includes a provision for the Oregon Youth Authority to develop a juvenile residential services substance use disorder treatment and recovery plan. 

Amendment -10 states that the crime of unlawful possession of a controlled substance constitutes an Unclassified Misdemeanor. The supervisory authority shall determine where to transfer physical custody of defendants as follows:

“(A) The defendant shall be transferred to a secure detoxification center whenever possible. This might be in another county.

“(B) If a secure detoxification center is not available, the defendant may be incarcerated in a local correctional facility with a detoxification program.

“(C) If neither a secure detoxification center or a local correctional facility with a detoxification program are available, the defendant may be incarcerated in a local correctional facility.

The Court may assign a drug court referee to a case. That person will conduct a status review every 30 days to determine whether a defendant is receiving treatment.

Both amendments have some provisions which are similar or identical. For instance, each calls on the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to study barriers to best practice, medical assisted treatment, and emergency room treatment. Each amendment creates a Joint Task Force on Regional Behavioral Health Accountability. Both eliminate Class E violations for drug possession. FInally, both propose an Opioid Use Disorder Medication Grant Program for treatment of people in jail custody. This resource will be appreciated by County Corrections officers managing jail programs.

The -24 amendment covers payment for Substance Abuse Treatment, stating that insurers may not require prior authorization and shall reimburse legally-dispensed refill costs.

Possession of a Controlled Substance is classified a “Drug Enforcement Misdemeanor” with 18 months of probation but no jail time. Probation violations get 30 days in jail or release to treatment programs. County Community Corrections agencies supervise these court orders. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to refer people to a deflection program, which is collaboration between law enforcement agencies and behavioral health providers. This amendment also describes timely sealing of records for people who complete a treatment program.

The Oregon Behavioral Health Deflection Program will manage proposed grants for Behavioral Health programs in county and tribal areas.

LWVOR is drafting testimony supporting HB 4002-24, but also encouraging the committee to add some provisions from the -10 amendment, including an Office for Drug Prevention and Treatment which coordinates programs and a provision for the Oregon Youth Authority to develop a juvenile residential services substance-use disorder treatment and recovery plan.



By Christa Danielson


HB-4149-A Strengthens reporting from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). These entities, such as Express Scripts and CVS, have taken over medication delivery to many health plans. These entities were there originally to save patients money. Unfortunately they are now traded on the stock market and are considered some of the largest Fortune 25 companies. This bill requires PBMs to report rebates they get from drug manufacturers, how much they spend on management, and how much they pass on to the insured population. This bill will also save rural pharmacies by not allowing “claw-backs” (charging the pharmacy for a drug after it has been given to a patient). It will allow pharmacies to participate in the delivery of medications instead of forcing patients to use a mail order or a specific pharmacy far from where they live, see League testimony submitted 2/7/2024. The bill passed through a work session on 2/19/2024 and was referred to W&Ms. There is a possibility this topic will be reviewed by a work force before the 2025 session since concern was expressed that amendments had diluted the original intent. 


HB-4130-A Bans against Corporate Management of Health Care. The bill will strengthen previous bills that kept corporations from making patient’s healthcare decisions, see League estimony submitted 2/7/2024. The bill was passed by the House and a Senate public hearing was scheduled for 2/26/2024.


HB 4136-This bill is in response to a downtown Eugene hospital closing abruptly. This looks to be a very good bill as it gives money to fund one more Emergency unit but also works broadly to assess the need for EMS transport and employs innovation on the ground to avoid unnecessary transport. It is broadly supported in the community. It passed a work session with referral to W&Ms.. League testimony was not written as this is a local measure, but we are following it.


HB 4088-A This bill makes assault against hospital workers a crime and includes mandated posting of such. It passed through the work session and wasreferred to Ways and Means.



By Debbie Aiona, Nancy Donovan, Beth Jacobi

 The Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package aims to fund homeless shelters, support renters, boost housing production and infrastructure, and grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of Urban Growth Boundaries. The package consists of two bills, SB 1537 and SB 1530 A. They are scheduled for a Work Session in W&MsTransportation and Economic Development on 2/27, see League testimony.

Homeownership: SB 1530 A: The League sent testimony to W&Ms urging legislators to allocate $15 million to build new affordable homes for low- and moderate-income buyers. Although this funding was included initially in SB 1530; it was excluded in amendments. This omission will have a devastating impact on critically needed housing production in Oregon. Insufficient funding in the amended bill will place a large majority of affordable homeownership production at risk, including shovel-ready projects ready to move forward in the next two years. Our state needs to build hundreds of new homes for low- and moderate-income buyers, who otherwise will be priced out of the housing market.

Housing Preservation: One of the most effective and least costly methods of providing affordable homes to low-income Oregonians is through preservation of existing regulated units. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) estimates that it costs an average of $72,000 per unit to maintain affordability. This means it would take $200 million per biennium to maintain existing affordable units through preservation programs. The Legislature allocated $50 million in 2023 and housing advocates are urging an additional $30 million in lottery backed bond revenue this session. League testimony urges allocation of that amount through HB 5201. Preservation measures include extending federal long-term rent assistance contracts, acquisition, and rehabilitation of privately-owned housing when affordability contracts expire, or acquisition of manufactured home parks by resident-owned cooperatives or affordable housing nonprofits. More information on preservation opportunities and their location is in this Oregon Housing Alliance information handout. 

Individual Development Accounts HB 4131: League testimony to W&Ms urges support for $10 million in critically-needed funds for the state-wide Oregon Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program. The program has a 25-year history of successfully assisting lower-income participants in saving for investments that are most important to them, like home purchase and repair, small business start-up or expansion, post-secondary education, vehicle purchase, and emergency savings. Every IDA, regardless of the savings goal, is a tool for housing and economic stability. Without the $10 million funding for the 2023-2025 biennium, fewer families will have access to this vital resource. A $10 million general fund investment will ensure that 2,200 Oregonians can begin to save to meet their goals.


Immigration / Refugee

By Claudia Keith

League Testimony 

HB 4085 A – Directs DHS to give grants for legal assistance to help noncitizens get lawful immigration. Fiscal $6.3M , adds 2 positions / 1.2 FTE. League testimony, currently in J W&Ms. Feb 19 HB 4085 -1 Preliminary SMS

SB 1578 A - Directs the OHA to set up a health care interpreter management system. In J W&Ms, no fiscal analysis statement until J W&Ms requests. The League may write testimony.


Violence Prevention and Gun Policy

By Marge Easley

SB 1503 A, establishing a Task Force on Community Safety and Firearm Suicide Prevention, appears to be on a fast track for passage. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Rob Wagner, passed out of the Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee on February 22 and was returned to the full Ways and Means.



By Anne Nesse

HB 4161 This bill attempted to increase virtual charter school funding but failed in the House, 2/15. It attempted to increase school district student percentage enrollment limits in a virtual public charter school from 3% to 6%. Sponsors presented a complex argument to divert more funding to virtual schooling, including educational savings accounts (hearing video). 

Editor’s note: This issue may return in future sessions. LWVOR lacks a position on charter schools. The LWVOR K-12 task force will propose concurrence in 2025 with positions regarding virtual public charter schools and educational savings accounts, which are a form of vouchers. 

SB 1583A, attempted to strengthen the State’s ability to prohibit discrimination when selecting books and materials in school districts. It cleared the Senate Rules Committee on a close vote.


We are following HB 4087-3, directing creation of an Emergency High Acuity Youth Initiative program. The amended bill passed from House Early Childhood and Human Services and was referred to W&Ms.

Volunteers Needed 

What is your passion related to Social Policies? You can help! Volunteers are needed, particularly for adult corrections, judiciary, juvenile justice, and mental health. The long legislative session begins in January 2025. Training will be offered. Please contact

bottom of page