March 27, 2017

From Danielle Droppers, MSW, Regional Health Equity Coalition Coordinator, Office of Equity and Inclusion a Division of the Oregon Health Authority

Tracking Legislation

One of the many functions of the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is to review and analyze legislative bills (i.e. proposed laws) during session. Since Oregon’s 2017 legislative session began on February 1, OEI has been busy reviewing, analyzing, and tracking over 70 bills. In our analyses, OEI uses an equity lens to critically evaluate and consider various unintended consequences of bills which may disproportionately impact racially, ethnically, linguistically, culturally, gender-, and ability-diverse communities across the social determinants of health.

Several months prior to the start of the legislative session, OEI often hears from our community partners who lead community based organizations regarding legislative concepts (i.e. the idea for a new bill) they are developing or supporting. Ultimately, OEI acts as a conduit between community partners and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to engage and align diverse community voices to assure the elimination of avoidable health gaps and promote optimal health in Oregon.

Key Bills from the 2017 Session

Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) Contract Reform (HB 2122): Modifies requirements for coordinated care organizations in 2018 and 2023.

Cover all Kids (HB 2305, HB 2389, HB 2726, SB 558): Authorizes OHA to provide medical assistance, within available funds, to low income children residing in Oregon if necessary to move toward goals of Legislative Assembly expressed in law and to improve health of Oregon communities.

End Profiling (HB 2355): Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops.

New School Based Health Centers & Trauma Informed Approaches (HB 2408): Appropriates moneys to plan, establish, and operate new school-based health centers; increase student access to school-based mental health providers; and to fund pilot programs that uses trauma-informed approaches.

Reproductive Health Equity (HB 2232): Requires health benefit plan coverage of specified health care services, drugs, devices, products, and procedures related to reproductive health.

Tobacco Bills (HB 2024): Imposes tax on inhalant-form nicotine; requires legal smoking age to be 21 years old; and provides that businesses may not make retail sale of inhalant-form nicotine in this state unless business has obtained a license.