2021 Oregon Legislative Summary

Fall 2021 Ballot Measures

We invite members to learn more about our endorsement process and the health policy and advocacy committeeMembers are also encouraged to discuss public policy with their fellow section members.


Click on each bill to find more information below.

HB 2337 Racism is a Public Health Crisis
HB 5024 Public Health Modernization
HB 2388 Relating to reimbursement of Midwifery Care
HB 2510 Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act (Relating to gun violence prevention)
SB 299 Relating to Children's Service Districts
HB 2488 Equity and Climate in Land Use Act
HB 2758 
Requires at least two Oregon Liquor Control Commissioners have a public health background
HB 2495 Modernizes the 2015 Toxic Free Kids Act
HB 2406 Relating to integrated pest management plan for schools
HB 2969 Relating to oral health in schools
H.R. 804 Federal Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act

HB 2337: Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Racism causes harm, trauma, illness, and death to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) Oregonians. HB 2337 acknowledges that Oregon’s very founding as a state was rooted in racist ideals, and while the Black exclusionary laws are no longer on the books, the perpetuating and damaging impact of these and other racist policies continue to exist within our present-day policies and systems. Further, this bill signals the need for accelerated, intentional actions to heal these injustices and articulates strategies and investments to address health inequities.

Initial strategies to address this crisis:

Expand and support the collection of REAL-D data. The collection of race, ethnicity, language, and disability (REAL-D) data reveals the unique inequities faced by specific communities across the state, and informs where targeted interventions are necessary.

Disrupt policy and laws from maintaining racist outcomes. A new Health Equity Policy Analyst for the Legislature will inform and shift perspectives in policy design and implementation to reduce racial inequities across social, economic, and political systems statewide.

Meaningfully invest in community engagement to identify future strategies. Oregon Advocacy Commission will host racial affinity groups to ensure community voice informs and directs how institutional racism and health equity strategies. Community members will be compensated.

Increase health equity through language access. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will create an oversight body to ensure language access compliance to increase high-quality culturally and linguistically appropriate care statewide.

Remove barriers to increase access and quality of care in BIPOC communities. A pilot mobile health program will create a sustainable, culturally responsive model to increase access to care, informing a collaboratively, developed statewide plan.

Increase community voice in the legislative process. A new Equity Coordinator for the Legislature will elevate community voice, bridging the gap between those most affected and the legislative process. Community members will be compensated.

View HB 2337 Info/Endorsement Sheet


HB 5024: Public Health Modernization

Public Health Modernization remains an OPHA priority. OPHA supports investing $68,875,348 during the 2021-2023 biennium to fund Local Public Health Authorities, the OHA Public Health Division, Tribal Health Authorities, and Community-Based Organizations as they implement Public Health Modernization.

Public Health Modernization will ensure the availability of basic public health protections in all parts of the state that are critical to the health of all in Oregon and future generations. Even now, public health programs are heavily reliant on short term grants and federal funding streams that are not reliable. This results in uneven availability of essential services, important reports created, but not necessarily implemented, great programs beginning but not continuing, and restricts public health workers ability to respond to changing community needs and emerging problems.

Legislative investment in modernization in 2017 and 2019 focused on communicable disease prevention, strengthening epidemiological capacity, and advancing health equity. This session, the investment expands to include environmental health threats, including climate driven threats to health, and building our ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very clear that the previous investments into implementing the Public Health Modernization Framework were well worth it. Complex public health problems require a nimble, community-based and equity-centered public health system. Without this system, Oregon risks its public health resilience, response and recovery, and ongoing and emerging health threats will continue to exacerbate health inequities. This additional investment is needed to respond to climate driven threats to health that are already affecting our communities, future health threats, build relationships and collaborations within communities, eliminate health disparities, and improve health outcomes.

Learn more about this investment in environmental justice and equity here.

Invest to protect all people in Oregon

Summary of Public Health Modernization

Learn more about Public Health Modernization

Read OPHA Testimony for HB 5024

Feb 2, 2021 Presentation by OHA Director Patrick Allen and OHA Public Health Division Director Rachael
Banks to the Ways and Means Joint Subcommittee on Human Services

HB 2388 - Relating to reimbursement of Midwifery Care 

OPHA supports this bill to improve access to birth options and midwifery care.

This bill provides insurance coverage for birth center facility fees at births attended by Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, and Naturopathic Doctors.  Birth Center facility fees are rarely and inadequately covered by insurance, leaving fewer birth options for families.  They are covered by the Oregon Health Plan at a rate that is significantly under cost.  This bill addresses facility fees and requires that insurers offer birth center options and negotiate fairly for reimbursement amounts based on actual costs.

Without this bill, many community-based midwives and birth centers are only able to accept out-of-pocket cash paying clients.  This greatly impacts who is able to access this type of care.  

OPHA agrees that this bill will address health equity by increasing birth options for families.  Multiple organizations and consensus statements call for increasing access to midwifery care as a strategy to reduce health disparities.  According to Birth Settings in America: Outcomes, Quality, Access, and Choice (2020) published by  the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “there is evidence to suggest that socially and financially disadvantaged women may thrive in midwifery models of care across all birth settings. (Raisler and Kennedy, 2005Huynh, 2014Hill et al., 2018Hardeman et al., 2019). The woman-centered philosophy of care that characterizes these models affirms agency among women of color, and group prenatal care models offer needed social support. Thus these models likely mitigate the harmful impact of medical models that have historically failed to trust the competence and capabilities of women, particularly Black women, including the experiences of disregard and disrespect described by many Black women in traditional care (Huynh, 2014Vedam et al., 2019Yoder and Hardy, 2018Davis, 2018).”

Learn more about HB 2388

HB 2510 Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act (Relating to gun violence prevention)

OPHA supports HB 2510.  Named in the remembrance of the two fatal victims of the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting, the Cindy Yuille and Steve Forsyth Act will require safe storage of guns and prompt reporting of lost or stolen guns to law enforcement. Similar laws in other states have reduced gun violence and made communities safer. The elements of the legislation are:

  • Firearms must be locked up when they are not in the owner’s control and when they are being transferred to another person.

  • Gun owners must report to law enforcement that a gun has been lost or stolen

  • Minors must be supervised when handling a firearm, with reasonable exceptions

  • Individuals have strict liability for any harm to others or property for failing to comply with the law or failing to supervise a minor after allowing him or her to access a firearm.

States with a law in place that required handguns to be locked, at least in certain circumstances, have 40% fewer suicides per capita and 68% fewer firearm suicides per capita than states without these laws. This correlation is unchanged even after controlling for the effects of poverty, population density, age, education, and race/ethnicity. A report published by the U.S. Secret Service and the Dept. of Education found that in 65% of school shootings covered by the study, the attacker used a gun obtained from his or her own home or from the home of a relative.

We do believe this legislation will help to alleviate several disparities in the rates of gun violence. Harm means reduction is a proven strategy to reducing gun suicide, which disproportionately impacts young Oregonians (particularly in sub-populations like LGBTQ youth) and in older white, rural Oregonians. A survey of Oregon youth found that 42.7% of gay and lesbian youth, 53.3% of bisexual youth, and 44.1% of youth identifying another sexual identify reported suicidal ideation compared to 13.3% of their straight counterparts (2013 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey).

Learn more about HB 2510

Read OPHA Testimony for HB 2510

SB 299 - Relating to Children's Service Districts

OPHA supports SB 299 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 299 does not ask for State funds but allows citizens to file a petition to form the district in the county in which it would be located.  County voters would then determine whether a district is formed.

Out-of-school-time programs promote academic success, higher graduation rates, positive behavior and safety, and good citizenship. Quality childcare 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, families benefit by reduced costs that free up a significant part of their hard-earned income to pay for housing, food, and medical care. 

Learn more about SB 299

One pager about SB 299

HB 2488 Equity and Climate in Land Use Act

OPHA supports HB 2488.  This bill directs the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to amend the Statewide Land Use Planning Goals by Dec. 31, 2026 to 1) address climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect public health and safety and 2) promote the participation of disadvantaged and historically underserved communities in land use decision-making.  The primary intention of this bill is to advance “resilient and equitable responses to future climate impacts to public health and safety” through “broad, diverse, fair and equitable participation by disadvantaged communities in land use planning” and development.  Until these new goals are developed and adopted, LCDC is directed to adopt interim climate justice standards for local government’s use by July 1, 2021 and establish deadlines for compliance with these interim standards. 

The amended goals must also ensure equal and fair notice to impacted communities and ensure consultation and mutual concurrence with Native American tribes and communities. The bill states new goals/guidelines require analysis of anticipated impacts to local communities from climate change and address local issues of diversity, equality and environmental justice. 

The bill includes new requirements or guidelines compelling local governments and applicable state agencies to identify and map disadvantaged communities using credible data and to identify, quantify, map, reduce and/or mitigate the unique and cumulative health risks to disadvantaged communities (including those caused by risk from pollution, climate-related and other natural hazards, lack of access to public facilities and community assets, lack of access to healthy food, services, housing, safe spaces for physical activity, etc.) 

The bill directs LCDC to establish a new environmental justice advisory committee, appointing 11 individuals with the majority having experience in working with environmental and social justice communities and issues. 

It also establishes a new Climate Justice Planning Goals Fund that continuously appropriates moneys to LCDC for administering and implementing the bill.

Learn more about HB 2488

Read OPHA Testimony for HB 2448

HB 2758 Requires at least two Oregon Liquor Control Commissioners have a public health background

OPHA supports HB 2758. HB 2758 requires at least two Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) commissioners have a public health background. Current law states that there are seven commissioners and that one commissioner must be from eastern Oregon, one from western Oregon, one from the food and alcohol industry, and no more than four can be from one political party. This would add an additional requirement that two commissioners need a public health background. Alcohol use is a public health issue and disproportionately affects some communities. This bill would provide the OLCC with a public health perspective when making decisions. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 88,000 people each year. It is a risk factor for at least seven cancers, liver disease, infectious diseases, unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, violent crime including homicide and assault, mental health conditions, and suicide. Alcohol consumption is the leading known preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Bringing a public health perspective to the OLCC decision making process could help address related health disparities and prevent alcohol related injury, illness, disability and death.

Learn more about HB 2758

HB 2495 Modernizes the 2015 Toxic Free Kids Act

OPHA supports HB 2495. HB 2495 expands on the existing 2015 Toxic Free Kids Act, which OPHA supported. The Toxic Free Kids Act of 2015 required toy/children’s product manufacturers to disclose high priority chemicals in their products (e.g. lead) and ultimately phase them out of kid’s products by 2022. HB 2495 modernizes and strengthens existing law to be more protective of health and aims to reduce toxic chemical exposure based on the best available science. HB 2495 gives Oregon Health Authority the authority to regulate classes of chemicals rather than doing so one by one. Currently, one chemical can be phased out only to be replaced by a chemically related and equally harmful substitute. HB 2495 gives OHA the authority to regulate an unlimited number of toxic chemicals (currently capped at five per year) and makes the reporting requirements more consumer friendly by requiring brand name and model to be reported (i.e."Mattel beanie babies") as opposed to more vague descriptors (i.e. "soft toys"). The bill also aligns definitions and data management systems with Washington and other states, which streamlines reporting requirements and reduces program costs. HB 2495 applies to all major manufacturers that do business in Oregon, such as Mattel and Hasbro. As a result, families of all income levels will benefit and not have to shop in expensive, specialty stores.

Learn more about HB 2495

Download a one pager from our partner, Oregon Environmental Council, about HB 2495

HB 2406 Relating to integrated pest management plan for schools

OPHA supports HB 2406. In 2009 the Oregon Legislature passed SB 637, introduced by Senator Bonamici. At the time this law was among the nation’s strongest rules on School Integrated Pest Management. Scientific understanding of the impact of pesticides on children demonstrates the need to modernize Oregon’s approach to pest management at schools where children go to learn and grow.  HB 2406 expands the types of pesticide that may not be included in school list of low-impact pesticides for use in integrated pest management plan. HB 2406 changes and adds definitions used in statutes regarding integrated pest management plans for schools. HB 2406 imposes new pesticide use information and reporting requirements on school governing body and restricts ability of school governing body to delegate plan coordinator duties. HB 2406 adds requirements regarding school pest prevention plan emphasis and alters school plan coordinator training and training reporting requirements.

The school governing body may include any product on the list other than products that contain a pesticide product or
active ingredient that:

  1. Has the signal words “warning,” “danger” or “restricted-use pesticide” on the label;
  2. Is identified as “toxic,” “highly toxic” or “extremely toxic” in an environmental hazards statement on the container label;
  3. Has a ground water advisory or a surface water advisory on the container label;
  4. On or before the effective date of this 2021 Act has been:
    1. Determined in a pesticide reregistration eligibility decision or registration review decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to pose an unreasonable risk of adverse effects to humans, wildlife or the environment;
    2. Classified as a human carcinogen, a probable human carcinogen or likely to be carcinogenic to humans under United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for carcinogen risk assessment;
    3. Classified as a known, likely, probable or possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer;
    4. Classified as known or reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen by the federal National Toxicology Program;
    5. Classified in the United States Environmental Protection Agency Toxics Release Inventory as a cholinesterase inhibitor or neurotoxic by mode of action or a listed neurotoxic;
    6. Classified as being a known or reasonably anticipated reproductive or developmental toxicant by the federal National Toxicology Program;
    7. Classified as a disruptor of hormonal systems in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program;
    8. Listed by the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service as having an average soil half-life of 100 days or more;
    9. Identified in pesticide product information published by the Oregon State University Extension Service as having a soil half-life of 100 days or more; or
    10. Identified in pesticide product information published by the Oregon State University Extension Service as having a ground water ubiquity score of 3.0 or more as it pertains to the potential of a pesticide to move toward ground water;
  5. Is recognized by the State Department of Agriculture as posing an undue risk to, or having undue adverse effects on, humans, domestic animals, wildlife or the environment;
  6. Is identified on the list of high priority chemicals of concern established by the Oregon Health Authority under ORS 431A.255;
  7. Is identified on the Department of Environmental Quality’s toxics focus list; or
  8. Is known to have chemical properties that cause the pesticide to volatilize in the environment.

People in historically disadvantaged communities already bear the brunt of increased exposures to harmful chemicals. This bill will help ensure that all children have a safe school environment, regardless of their socio-economic status or location.

Learn more about HB 2406

HB 2969 Relating to oral health in schools

OPHA supports HB 2969. Oregon has one of the highest rates of childhood dental disease in the nation. Nearly half of the kids in our state will have a cavity by age nine, and about two of every five of those cavities will go untreated. This is not just an inconvenience —untreated cavities cause pain and can lead to infection that spreads to the rest of the body. Dental care plays a vital role in keeping kids healthy and putting them on a path to success and yet preventive services remain out of reach for too many Oregon families. Low-income children, kids of color, and children from rural communities are impacted the most by gaps in access to dental care.  Dental pain is a leading cause of absenteeism. Children struggle to eat, sleep, and learn when their mouths are hurting. Research shows that kids suffering from dental disease are more likely to miss school and have lower grades, putting their futures at risk. HB2969 moves us in the right direction by:

  • Directing the Department of Education, in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority, to develop oral health curriculum standards, to be incorporated within health curriculum standards when they are next updated.
  • Ensure that Oregon’s CCOs and Public Health agencies can continue to support coordination of school-based oral health programs so that children can participate and receive appropriate follow-up care.

Learn more about HB 2969

Download a one-pager on HB 2969 from our partner Healthy Teeth, Bright Futures

H.R. 804 Federal Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act

OPHA supports H.R 804, a federal bill to provide paid family and medical leave benefits to certain individuals, and for other purposes. The FAMILY Act (H.R. 804) would create a federal insurance fund paid for by both employers and employees to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. The FAMILY act would help bridge the financial bridge during an important time for baby bonding and healing as well as during a time of personal or family illness that requires time off work. 

Learn more about H.R 804

Family Act Medical and Public Health Sign On Letter