Legislative Updates

Current OPHA Policy Priorities (updated 3/4/2021)


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 health care service
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 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


Over the past several months OPHA has convened a task force of mostly Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) led organizations and community leaders to develop HB 2337 to declare racism as a public health crisis.  

UpdateThe HB2337 hearing has been cancelled and a public hearing in the House Rules Committee will soon be scheduled.  The bill remains a top priority for the bill's chief sponsors Rep Salinas and Rep Alonso Leon and more legislators are signing on to sponsor.  OPHA will send an update when the hearing is scheduled.

Racism is pervasive and touches every sector. No institution or system that impacts the social determinants of health is exempt from this oppressive history and current-day reality. 

HB 2337 begins the work of acknowledging Oregon's racist history and contemporary inequities and makes resource investments in initial efforts to address health inequities among BIPOC folks in Oregon.

This template provides the appropriate format for testimony, suggestions on how to personalize your testimony, and multiple talking points to consider including.

You can provide testimony either in writing only or you can sign up to give testimony virtually to the House Committee on Health Care.

Virtual testimony requires advance registration.  Follow this link to sign up to give oral testimony or do so by phone at 833-588-4500.

Follow this link to submit written testimony to the House Committee on Health Care.  Select House Committee on Health Care and the meeting date 3/2/2021 3:15 pm if not already selected.  Written testimony can be typed into the text box or a pdf can be uploaded.  

Additional resources and actions:

  1. Download the one-pager

  2. Complete this endorsement survey as an individual, an organization (if applicable), or both. 

  3. Share this endorsement survey widely with your networks. 

  4. Use our constituent guide to reach out to your legislators and let them know you support this concept.

Sign a petition from our partner, Leslie Gregory from Right to Health, to declare racism a crisis nationally.  

Want to learn more about how to provide testimony during the 2021 legislative session?

Follow this link for complete instructions on how to submit written testimony to any committee. 

You can submit written testimony up to 24 hours after a committee hearing. 

You can also provide verbal testimony through a toll-free call, video call, or at the public access station outside the Capitol.  Find the instructions for registering for verbal testimony here.

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

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 health care services 

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

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