2021 Legislative Victories for Oregon Kids
The Oregon Pediatric Society had a very successful 2021 state legislative session! Our intrepid team of OPS member advocates met with legislators and staff to lobby for healthy kids, families, providers, and planet; wrote testimony and OpEds; attended virtual legislative hearings; and deepened relationships with like-minded community partners. OPS enhanced our reputation as a powerful advocacy force through extending endorsements and a few oppositions to bills. We are thankful to the many OPS members who are part of our advocacy group, led by co-chairs Drs. Jimmy Unger and Shaili Rajput, and supported by staff Julie Scholz, Joanna Peterson, and our lobbyist, Katy King.
ALL of OPS’s Priority-1 issues succeeded except the elimination of non-medical childhood vaccine exemptions, which did not get a hearing this year. (Our “Immunity Community” team will continue to educate and advocate for joining the many other states who have similar laws). Some bills didn’t get funded until the end of session with HB 5006, the “Christmas Tree bill.”
These P-1 bills passed both chambers:
- HR 6 – Declares racism a public health crisis. This was universally supported by all OPS Advocacy Committee members.
- SB 554 – Safe storage of guns. Special congratulations to Rep. (Dr.) Lisa Reynolds and outgoing chair of the AAP Injury Violence Prevention council, Dr. Ben Hoffman for your years of tireless work on this issue.
- SB 587 – Tobacco retail licensing. Appreciations to Drs. James Bishara and Bill Byrne for their session work.
- HB 2261 – Prohibits online vaping sales. Next time, a flavors ban?
- HB 2508 – Telehealth pay parity. Providers and patients adapted during the pandemic, and telehealth was a win-win.
- HB 2315 – Requires suicide prevention continuing education for certain behavioral health professionals.
- HB 3379 – Bans crib bumper pads.
- SB 236 – Early Learning Division studies student suspension & expulsion.
- SB 358 – Extends health insurance reimbursement for Applied Behavior Analysis for autism spectrum disorder. Thanks for testifying, Dr. Katie Zuckerman.
- HB 5006 – $6 million in biennium funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers. Kudos to OPS partner Oregon Child Abuse Solutions and the State child abuse intervention network. And the Reach Out and Read program gets an extra $195k in State funding for this biennium. Thank you, Senator Steiner Hayward!
OPS members also testified for the Sanctuary Promise Act, the impact of pesticides on children’s health, home visiting, and following the Newborn Bloodspot Screening Advisory Board’s recommendations.