2019 Oregon Legislative Summary

HB 3063 - Eliminates Non-medical Exemptions from School Immunization Law:

OPHA supports this bill to ensure the protection from vaccine-preventable diseases for all populations. House bill 3063:  

  • Removes ability of parent to decline required immunizations on behalf of child for reason other than child’s indicated medical diagnosis if they want to send their child to public school.
  • Directs Oregon Health Authority to establish outreach and education plan regarding disease control in schools.

Children who have not been vaccinated pose a risk to both the individual child and to others in their school and community. In Oregon, 7.5% of children in kindergarten are unvaccinated. Individuals who exempt their children from vaccinations for non-medical reasons place other children at risk of catching and spreading preventable diseases and put our community immunity at risk. When the threshold of immunity gets too low, all of us become more vulnerable to diseases. Serious diseases that were previously thought to be eradicated in the US, such as measles and polio, are returning.  In terms of health outcomes, even single percentage point changes are huge.  Every person that is immune becomes one fewer person to spread infection. Measles, for example, is expected to infect up to 18 new persons for each ill person in the susceptible population. Vaccination reduces that reproduction rate, the pathogen hits diminishing returns, and eventually there are too few susceptible people left for the germ to keep spreading.

Learn more about HB 3063

Click here for OPHA Testimony and an Op-Ed in support of HB 3063

HB 2270 - Increases tax on distribution of cigarettes and allocates funding to Medicaid/prevention programs

OPHA supports this bill because it will decrease tobacco use--improving the health of many Oregonians.  HB 2270 increases the tax on cigarettes, and includes inhalant delivery systems in the definition of other tobacco products for taxation purposes. The revenue generated from this tax will be invested in prevention programs and allocated to fund Medicaid, which provides healthcare to low-income populations.  Prevention programs will further decrease tobacco use and tobacco-related disparities. Overall, HB 2270 will improve the health of Oregonians by: 

  • Increasing the tobacco tax will lead to fewer children and adults using tobacco, and others to use tobacco in smaller amounts. It is estimated that this bill will prevent 19,000 kids from smoking and help 4,000 youth and 31,300 adult Oregonians quit smoking.
  • Funding Medicaid will allow the state to continue to provide healthcare coverage to one million Oregonians.
  • Funding prevention programs will also lead to few people using tobacco, and other improvement in health outcomes.

Learn more about HB 2270

HB 2233 and SB 639 related to the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act:

OPHopposes HB 2233 and SB 639 because they weaken the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act by carving out exemptions for marijuana smoke.  Exposure to secondhand smoke is a known public health problem.

The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act (ICAA) protects the public and employees from exposure to any secondhand smoke or electronic device vapor (including both tobacco and marijuana). The Oregon Public Health Association supports legislation that strengthens the ICAA, such as closing loopholes, including establishments such as certified smoke shops and cigar bars, and opposes legislation that weakens this act. House Bill 2233 introduced for the 2019 session allows Oregon Liquor Control Commission to regulate temporary events and cannabis lounges for public consumption of marijuana. Senate Bill 639 would require the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to regulate social consumption businesses and event spaces, allow for the sale of cannabis in these clubs, tasting tours on farms (similar to wine) and expanded legal cannabis delivery into private and temporary residences (like hotels). The fundamental difference between the two pieces of legislation is that while S.B. 639 creates a legalized framework for indoor smoking and vaping, H.B. 2233 does not. These bills weaken the ICAA as they provide exemptions for public consumption in both outdoor and indoor areas, which would put the public at risk for second hand exposure to smoke. OPHA supports a strong Indoor Clean Air Act in Oregon and opposes both of these bills.

Learn more about HB 2233

Learn more about SB 639

Public Health Modernization:

Working toward public health modernization remains an OPHA priority and we are committed to advocating for its full funding. This year Oregon Health Authority requested $47.7 million and we will press for the full amount.  Public Health Modernization will ensure basic public protections critical to the health of all in Oregon and future generations.

  • Public health modernization will ensure that every community in Oregon has essential public health protections, including clean air, safe food and water, health promotion and prevention of diseases, and responding to new health threats. 
  • It also holds the public health system accountable for its contribution to improved overall health.
  • Public health modernization requires a shift in how programs are delivered so they are more effective and efficient.
  • Oregon’s public health system is aligning around modern approaches to public health.
    • We’re realigning our existing resources to best support modern public health.
    • A good start is by directing funding to locally-driven, place-based strategies and interventions that eliminate health disparities.
    • At the same time, a truly modern public health system – one that meets our needs today and is prepared to conquer new health threats twenty years from now – requires investments in new resources.   

Learn more about Public Health Modernization here.

HB 2020 - Oregon Climate Action Plan (Clean Energy Jobs Bill):

OPHA supports HB 2020.  Today, creating climate pollution is free to emitters but impacts all people. OPHA endorses the Clean Energy Jobs bill (HB 2020) because it will limit and start to draw down climate pollution in Oregon, increase resiliency to the health challenges we face, and create new job opportunities.  The Clean Energy Jobs bill will hold transportation, utilities and industrial facilities accountable for their climate pollution by setting a cap and price on greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation will limit climate pollution for the largest emitters and energy importers in the state. Emitters will have to hold allowances for each ton of pollution they produce. Allowances will be sold at auction, generating proceeds that can then be reinvested to further reduce climate (and air) pollution, assist low-income households, create benefits for disproportionately impacted communities, retrain workers, advance clean economic development, and help the state adapt to climate change. The policy will require reductions through 2050, in line with what science says is necessary for avoiding the worst climate impacts.

The 2014 Oregon Climate and Health Profile Report issued by Oregon Health Authority outlines the health risks that will increase as our climate changes and describes the populations most vulnerable to these risks. Threats to health include increased heat, flood, drought, wildfire, infectious disease, allergens and more.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels can build public health resilience. Investing in a green energy economy can reduce public health vulnerabilities and strengthen health delivery infrastructure by preparing for the increases in energy demand and the interruptions in energy supply predicted as a result of climate change. Transportation is a major source of climate pollution in Oregon. Investing in transportation options can not only decrease air pollution, but also reduce noise, accidents, social exclusion of vulnerable groups, and encourage active lifestyles.  The revenue generated from putting a price on climate pollution has the potential to invest millions of dollars in public health initiatives to reduce pollution, increase climate resilience, and provide job opportunity where the greatest inequities exist today. Major investment will go to reduce pollution and grow opportunities for low-income and rural communities, communities of color, and training workers in Oregon. 

Learn more about HB 2020


SB 698 / HB 2801 - Translation of prescription bottle labels for patients with limited or no English proficiency:

OPHA supports SB 698 and HB 2801.  Patients with limited or no English proficiency (LEP) experience over twice the rate of medical errors as patients who can read English in part because their medication is not labeled in a language they can read. This bill requires that prescription medication containers be dual labeled in English and a language that a patient can read and understand.  OPHA endorses this bill to reduce language barriers and increase health equity throughout Oregon.

Key elements:

  • This requirement is not satisfied by putting directions in Prescription Patient information provided to LEP patients; the key is having the container itself labeled in a language they can read.
  • The law should apply to languages spoken by 0.2% and higher of Oregon’s populations.

Expanding translation of prescription bottle labels should result in reduced medication errors by LEP patients, fewer clinic and emergency department visits for adverse drug reactions, and increase access to drug information, health equity, and health literacy in the State of Oregon. 

Learn more about SB 698

Learn more about HG 2801


HB 2007 - Reducing diesel pollution: 

OPHA supports this bill to reduce diesel pollution throughout Oregon because it aligns with our priorities of improving children’s health, reducing health inequities, and addressing climate change. This bill will:

  • Prohibit the purchase of 2006 and older on-road diesel engines
  • Set a deadline for all on-road vehicles to be powered by cleaner engines (2010 or newer diesel engines or other cleaner alternatives)
  • Prioritize remaining Volkswagen Settlement funds for the cleanup of diesel engines that are used in highly polluted neighborhoods (e.g., drayage, delivery, waste hauling, transit, local government vehicles, and airport ground equipment)
  • Require that large public contracts utilizing diesel engines use cleaner equipment
  • Address non-road diesel engines by adopting California’s standards (identicality is required under the Clean Air Act)
  • Repeal the preemption on adopting local anti-idling ordinances
  • Appoint a task force to find public funding to support businesses in cleaning up diesel

About 90% of Oregonians live where diesel exhaust exceeds health benchmarks. Diesel pollution is associated with heart, lungs, and brain adverse impacts, as well as contributing to climate change. Oregon could avoid up to 119 asthma emergency room visits for children each year by reducing harmful diesel exhaust; 25,910 lost work days, and 176 premature deaths. Diesel pollution is also highly concentrated in neighborhoods of low-income and communities of color—exacerbating health inequities. This bill would benefit these communities the most.

Learn more about HB 2007


HB 2505 / SB 275 Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act (Relating to gun violence prevention):

OPHA supports HB 2505 and SB 275.  Expands the prohibition on possession of firearms or ammunition to include certain persons in domestic violence situations. Changes "intimate partner" to "family or household member" within the prohibition. Specifies that family or household member includes persons who have co-habitated with each other or who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship. Includes persons convicted of stalking and persons convicted of qualifying misdemeanors who are parents or guardians of victims of offense in the prohibition. Requires Department of State Police to enter qualifying convictions and judicial findings or terms of judgment, when available, into Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) and the National Crime Information Center of the U.S. Department of Justice (NCIC). Requires Department to report attempted transfer to or purchase of firearm by individual prohibited from possessing a firearm within 24 hours to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys having jurisdiction in the location of the sale or transfer. Includes notification, as appropriate, to supervising officer, court, or Psychiatric Security Review Board. Requires yearly report on number of attempted purchases, the number of investigations resulting from those reports, and the charges and dispositions of charges arising from the reports, and updates language. OPHA continues to support this ballot measure. 

Learn more about SB 275

SB 543 - Relating to Children's Service Districts:

OPHA supports this bill to add children's service districts because out-of-school time programs advance educational success and involvement, family well-being, and health equity--especially for economically disadvantaged children and their families. SB 543 does not ask for State funds, but allows citizens to sign petitions to organize children’s service districts in a democratic manner to serve the children of their community.

Unfortunately, Oregon has is challenged by a lack of student success for all students. Only 78.7% graduated from high school in 2018 and only 72.4% of those who are economically disadvantaged graduated. Further, Oregon’s 3rd grade English language performance scores show only 46.4% were proficient and only 34.5% for the economically disadvantaged group.

Out-of-school-time programs promote academic success, higher graduation rates, positive behavior and safety, and good citizenship. Quality child care and after school programs have long term effects on graduation and eventual career success. By the time students reach 5th grade, those who are economically disadvantaged who do not participate in summer programs average 3 years behind their middle-income peers who do participate. In addition, most programs include some federally-subsidized nutrition which increases overall health and the ability to function in school.  In addition, the families benefit by reduced costs that free up a significant part of the family’s hard-earned income to pay for housing, food, and medical care. 

Learn more about SB 543

HB 3031 - The FAMLI Equity Act

OPHA supports HB 3031 because paid family and medical leave is imperative to the livelihood and health of Oregonian families. Likewise, insurance benefits while on family or medical leave are essential to access healthcare--which OPHA believes is a human right. This bill will: 

  • Create family and medical leave insurance program to provide employee who is eligible for coverage with portion of wages while employee is on family and medical leave or military family leave.
  • Require employer and employee contributions to fund program, and allow self-employed individuals and tribal government employers to opt into program.
  • Establish Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund and continuously appropriates moneys in fund to Department of Consumer and Business Services for purposes of Act. 
  • Amend Oregon family leave law to allow for leave after employee has been employed for 90 days with employer and to extend length of leave taken for bereavement. 

Overall, HB 3031 will create more access to family medical leave benefits, and establish funds/protections for family medical leave.




OPHA & Coalition Letters

Oregon State Advocacy Efforts: 

Clean Energy Jobs Coalition Policy Outcomes Sign On Letter (Signed by OPHA September 2018)

HB 2020 - Oregon Climate Action Plan Written Testimony (Signed by OPHA February 2019)

HB 3031 - FAMLI Equity Act Written Testimony (Signed by OPHA March 2019)

HB 3063 - Eliminates Non-Medical Exemptions from School Immunizations Law Written Testimony (Signed by OPHA April 2019)

National Advocacy Efforts: 

H.R. 6022- Amending Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (Signed by OPHA August 2018)

Opposing EPA's Censoring Science Proposal (May 2018)

Removing Citizenship Question from 2020 Census (July 2018)

OPHA Action Alerts

Public comment opposing citizenship question on the 2020 Census

Clean Energy Jobs Bill - Attend a public hearing or submit testimony! 

Show your support for the FAMLI Equity Act, School Vaccinations, and more Oregon legislation!

Public Health Modernization Funding

Vaccine Bill Public Hearing and Vaccine Report from Clackamas County PH

Increased Tobacco Tax at Risk this Session!