Legislative Updates

Current OPHA Policy Priorities (updated 9/26/2018)

Measure 102 – Related to affordable housing. OPHA board voted to support this measure.

Measure 102 was referred to the ballot by the Oregon Legislature (House Joint Resolution 201).  It will lift the current ban on the ability of local governments to work with nonprofits and local businesses to build affordable housing in their community with bond funds.  Measure 102 will allow local governments to work in partnership with those who have the most experience in building, owning, and operating affordable housing to create more housing more effectively.  Measure 102 most directly relates to affordable housing bonds passed by local governments. Right now, local governments can pass bonds for affordable housing (Portland already has, and others are considering it) however any housing created from bonds needs to be built, owned, and operated by the government. Because of this limitation, bond dollars for affordable housing can’t go as far, and small cities and rural areas don’t have the capacity to implement affordable housing bond programs.  Housing is one of the top social determinants of health and has a significant impact on the health of Oregonians.

Learn more:  https://www.yesforaffordablehousing.com/

Measure 103 - Prohibits state/local taxes on sale/distribution/purchase of “groceries” (defined) enacted after September 2017.  OPHA Board voted to oppose this measure.

Measure 103 would amend the Oregon Constitution to prohibit local and state governments from taxing the sales/distribution/purchase/receipt of groceries. It would make that ban retroactive to Oct. 1, 2017, meaning any tax passed since that date would be invalidated.

The OPHA board of directors voted to oppose Measure 103 for a variety of reasons. The definition of "groceries" in this measure is broad enough that questions begin to arise about what is covered, possibly including the liquid in e-cigarettes and any current or future products deemed "groceries" that may have or are known to have detrimental effects on health. The taxes included in the measure are also extremely broad, going far beyond banning a simple sales tax. Taxes at all levels from farm to table would be banned including options for corporate taxes, which would significantly hamper efforts at tax reform in the state. Finally, on principle, several directors felt that amending the constitution for this purpose was an inappropriate method for changing tax policy. We are working with partner groups to better understand the many effects this measure would have and will keep members up to date.

Learn more:  https://noon103.org

Measure 104 - Amends Constitution:  Expands (beyond taxes) the requirement that a three-fifths legislative majority approve bills raising revenue.  OPHA Board of Directors voted to oppose this measure.

Oregon law currently requires a 3/5 majority vote of the legislature to raise taxes.  Constitutional Amendment 104 would require this super majority for all revenue raising and reduction of tax breaks.  This would include any plans to raise new revenue for public health modernization or existing public health programs that improve population health and prevent illness and disease on a daily basis as well as perfunctory votes like fee raising for agencies like the State Boards of Nursing, Dentistry and Medicine.   Measure 104 will contribute to an increase in health disparities by perpetuating

and worsening current under-funding, making it more difficult to eliminate wasteful tax breaks and more difficult to bring in new revenue for programs that serve not just Oregon’s most underserved, but all Oregonians.  

Learn more:  https://noon104.org

Measure 105 - repeals Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820, Oregon’s “sanctuary law.”  OPHA Board of Directors voted to oppose Measure 105.

Measure 105 would repeal Oregon’s existing “sanctuary law” that limits the use of local personnel, funding, equipment and facilities to enforce federal immigration laws. Oregon’s “sanctuary law” has been in place for more than 30 years to end unfair racial profiling in our state.  Passage of Measure 105 would directly affect public safety by decreasing the likelihood that immigrant communities and communities of color would interact with law enforcement for the reporting and prevention of crime. Public safety goes hand in hand with public health.

Learn more:  https://orunited.org/

Measure 106 - Ballot Measure 106 amends the Oregon Constitution to prohibit publicly-funded healthcare programs, including the Oregon Health Plan and the Public Employees Benefit Board, from covering abortion. OPHA Board of Directors voted to oppose Measure 106.

Currently women in Oregon may obtain abortions when approved by a medical professional, under publicly funded health plans or health insurance provided through public employment or service.

Measure 106 chips away at healthcare benefits and decreases coverage for reproductive health care for hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. This right to healthcare is the foundation of freedom and opportunity for women and their families. No one should be denied care because of how much they make or how they are insured. All women and their families should have the opportunity to make choices about when and if to start a family and when to make changes.

Over 270,000 women of reproductive age receive health care through the Oregon Health Plan. Under Measure 106, these Oregonians will no longer have access to the full range of reproductive healthcare they need.

Measure 106 would have a disproportionate effect on teachers, nurses, firefighters and thousands of other public service members who would no longer be eligible for abortion coverage as part of their public employee benefits plan. According to the Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority, a total of 77,344 women of reproductive age are insured through the Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB) and Oregon Educators Benefits Board (OEBB) as of June 2018.

Learn more:  https://nocutstocare.com/

Measure 26-199 - $652.8 million regional (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties) bond to fund affordable housing for low-income families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.  OPHA Board of Directors voted to support this measure.

The regional affordable housing bond will build new affordable homes and renovate existing homes for over 7,500 people in the region in need of safe, affordable housing, or up to 12,000 people if statewide Measure 102 passes as well.  These numbers only include the people who will be served immediately by the housing created; the housing will be affordable for the long term, so the actual number of people served over the lifespan of the bond is significantly higher.  The bond is a property tax inside the Metro district, at .24 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Housing and homelessness are significant social determinants of health and this measure is aimed at underserved communities, addressing one of OPHA’s priorities, health inequity.

Learn more:  https://www.yesforaffordablehousing.com/

Measure 26-201 - Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative.  The measure would create a 1 percent tax on businesses that make more than $1 billion in gross revenues nationally and $500,000 in Portland. The 1 percent tax will apply to the gross revenue made in Portland.  The tax will not apply to groceries, medicine or health care services. OPHA Board of Directors voted not to support this measure.

This November 2018 Portland ballot Initiative is aimed at helping the city of Portland reach its climate change goals and help low income families weatherize their homes, thus using less energy and lowering monthly utility expenses.  It is estimated to generate $30 million annually to:

  1. Weatherize and solarize Portland homes and businesses.
  2. Provides job training, apprenticeships, and minority contractor support.
  3. Energy efficiency upgrades for low income housing.
  4. Build green infrastructure such as tree canopy, and local food production.

The OPHA board of directors remains committed to addressing health inequities in Oregon and recognizes that climate change is one of the most important issues impacting population health today and in the future. The board did not actively oppose the measure but did not support it. Concerns included the fact that this is a local measure, but should be done on a statewide level, directors living outside of Portland abstained, if this bill is intended to impact climate change, it isn't appropriate to tax only profitable companies. If a large company has a good environmental record and is not a big polluter, it doesn't make sense for that company to pay an extra tax if, for example a company that profits less than $1 billion, is a big polluter.

Learn more:  https://www.portlandcleanenergyinitiative.com/

OPHA & Coalition Letters

Oregon State Advocacy Efforts: 

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

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