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  • NW Policy Advocates

Oregon Legislative Update – 2024 Session – Week 5

The Clock Is Ticking

Constitutionally, this year's session must end by Sunday, March 10. However, most insiders are betting that Legislators will wrap up their short session theatrics by Friday the 8th.

This is putting some legislators in a celebratory mood, as you can see from Rep. David Gomberg's hat (at right).

What's left on the docket:

  • HB4130 - - Corporate Practice of Medicine. This bill seems to be picking up more opposition and generating more confusion as the days go by. The bill as written differs dramatically from the description used by its sponsors, and appears to be contradictory in several sections. The bill was taken off the floor calendar and re-referred to the Committee on Rules for further consider on Monday.

  • End of Session (Christmas Tree) Bill - - The eagerly awaited bill may be unveiled Tuesday or Wednesday. Initial budget allocations left dozens of high priority items unfunded. Will the Christmas Tree bill correct those oversights?

  • Bills on the Floor - - Dozens of bills have yet to move through the House or the Senate floors. Floor sessions could go into the night this week.

House Passes Deal to Recriminalize Possession

After a nearly 5-hour-long public hearing and work session, the Joint Addictions Committee adopted the negotiated amendment to amend Ballot Measure 110.

Some key aspects of the bill include:

McMinnville Chief of Police Matt Scales and Bridgeway Recovery Services' CEO Tim Murphy testified on the Legislation to reform Ballot Measure 110 at a packed Addictions Committee hearing last week.
  • Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to refer people to deflection programs; DAs are encouraged to divert

  • Beginning Sept. 1, 2024, possession of a controlled substance will become an unclassified drug enforcement misdemeanor

  • Sentencing of: 18 months probation with no upfront jail or 180 days if the defendant requests and court agrees; 30 days jail for probation violation sanctions; 18 days upon revocation. If revoked, early release to treatment

  • Sealing of citation, court records and other records

  • Conditional discharge

  • Creation of an Oregon Jail-Based Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Grant Program

The House passed HB 4002 51-to-7. The Senate passed it 21-7. It now heads to the Governor for her consideration (it is expected to be signed into law).

Behavioral Health

Some bills have already passed, including HB 4150, which will notify providers of overdoses.

Other bills are moving through the process:

  • SB 1553A, which prohibits drug use on public transit, passed the Senate and House Judiciary with overwhelming support. It is now pending in House Rules.

  • Task Force on Specialty Courts (HB 4001) passed the House and now goes to the Senate Floor.

  • Firearm Suicide Prevention Task Force (SB 1503) passed out of Ways and Means and will be heard on the Senate Floor.

  • HB 4151 Youth Behavioral Health Task Force to improve licensure for youth behavioral health service professions passed out of Ways and Means unanimously.

  • HB 4092 requires a study on what it would take for counties and their partners to respond to state behavioral health mandates is in Capital Construction.

Other key bills are stuck in Ways & Means. They may not make it this session, or may be incorporated into the end-of-Session "Christmas Tree" bill:

  • SB 1592 appropriates $6 million for 5 higher education schools to expand their existing programs to train the behavioral health workforce

  • Behavioral Health Workforce Safety Task Force (SB 1594, with $4.7 million to OHA and $1 million to United We Heal to help employers to implement safety measures)

  • HB 4097, which would modify the process for setting aside convictions, dismissals, citations and guilty except for insanity

  • HB4070, which would provide mental/behavioral health funding to Schools with and without School Based Health Centers. The bill also includes a workforce adjustment (for the first time since 2013), allows up to ten more school districts to plan for SBHCs, and incorporates an innovative "modular" SBHC construction program. Rep. Maxine Dexter and her co-sponsors have been dismayed that the bill has not yet moved, and are urging inclusion in the final bills of the session.


Funding for Behavioral Health Priorities

Ways and Means is in the process of approving funding for critical behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment. Some highlights (HB 4002/HB 5204) for NWPA clients include:

  • $11.5 million to Bridgeway Recovery Services to develop the Bridgeway Medical Center and SUD treatment residential facilities

  • $7.5 million for Aid & Assist, $14.6 million for Counties' Community Corrections, and funding for Deschutes County's Impacts program

  • $525,000 to expand detox capacity and $1.5 million to develop culturally specific SUD residential capacity in Central Oregon

  • $1.5 million for the Deschutes County Stabilization Center

  • Funding for Medically Assisted Treatment in Jails, a critical program for Counties which will now be responsible for many of the requirements of HB4002.


No Mandatory Inpatient Treatment for Minors

Sen. Cedric Hayden (R-Fall Creek) introduced a controversial bill heard by Senate Human Services. As initially written, SB 1547 would have allowed parents or guardians to have minors evaluated for substance use disorder. If an OHA-licensed treatment facility said they needed treatment, minors could receive up to 14 days of inpatient SUD treatment without their consent.

The Committee kept the following three sections of the bill and sent it to Rules. No work session has been scheduled. It would:

  1. Allow reciprocity for military medics to be part of the medical services, particularly in rural Oregon. Sen. Hayden said his intention is for this to apply to retired/discharged medics.

  2. Create a pilot program to connect the 9-8-8 line with 24/7 pharmacies so that people may have immediate access to opioid treatment

  3. Require insurers to cover medically necessary treatment for minors who are addicted to cannabis.


Housing and Homelessness Funding

SB 1530 appropriates $279.6 million General Fund for housing-related projects, including:

  • $65 million for shelter support

  • $34 million for homelessness prevention services + $7 million to the Urban League

  • $5 million for Individual Development Accounts

  • $15 million to OHA's Healthy Homes Repair Fund

  • $18 million for housing projects for people recovering from SUD

HB 4134 and HB 4128 will help cities fund infrastructure projects to develop housing, including $2 million for the City of McMinnville.

HB4130 includes funding for 4 cities, as well as key criteria requiring projects be: inside the UGB, with completed land use evaluations, ready for construction, and generating housing that critical workers can afford (teachers, fire, police, etc.). The funding will be fast tracked (within 60 days) through "Business Oregon."

SB1530 funds critical water, sewer and stormwater projects in Central Oregon, including:

  • $1.425 million to Madras

  • $2 million to Prineville

  • $2.5 million to Redmond

  • $1.3 million to Culver

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