July 12, 2023
Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session was a roller coaster ride, culminating in multiple wins for Oregon kids and families, and some disappointments. The session was also marked by a record-breaking 42-day walkout in the Senate, spurred by Republican party disagreements over issues such as parental rights to determine child/adolescent healthcare and gun ownership, which shut down Senate floor sessions. However, a $2 billion surplus May revenue forecast provided a strong incentive for both parties to reach an agreement and the state constitutional quorum requirement that 2/3 of lawmakers be present. (A bill to change that to a simple majority was floated at the end of the session). Many bills didn’t make it out of the logjam for votes, but Oregon Pediatric Society’s team of member advocates helped secure passage of these parts of our advocacy agenda:
Reproductive and Gender Health Care (HB 2002)
This landmark legislation protects providers’ ability to provide care to all patients and protects individuals from criminal and civil liability for supporting, or providing reproductive and gender-affirming care that is legal in our state. The law clarifies the circumstances permitting a minor under the age of 15 to obtain an abortion to include professional judgement that parental notification or consent may result in harm to the minor or not be in their best interests. It specifies that a person, including a health care provider, who has reasonable cause to believe that a minor has suffered abuse must immediately comply with applicable mandatory child abuse reporting laws.
Gun Violence Prevention (HB 2005)
Our surveys show that gun violence prevention is a top priority of OPS members. “Ghost guns” are now banned in Oregon, punishing the manufacturing, importing, selling or transferring of undetectable firearms. OPS supported the eliminated bill provisions that would have raised the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, and expand the restrictions on carrying concealed guns in some public places.
Oregon Kids Tax Credit (HB 3235)
A $75 million investment in Oregon’s new child tax credit. Families with incomes less than $30,000 may receive a fully refundable $1,000 credit for each child younger than age six for up to six children. OPS member Rep. Lisa Reynolds, Chair of the House Early Childhood and Human Services committee, championed this policy.
Universal School Meals (HB 5014)
Alleviating child hunger is an OPS priority issue. This $17 million investment from the Oregon Department of Education budget will enable 76% of Oregon schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision for federal child nutrition funds. This provision reimburses eligible schools for 90 percent of the cost of providing free breakfasts and lunches to all enrolled students.
Other key bills OPS engaged in/tracked during the 2023 session:
- Prohibit the Sale of Flavored Tobacco (HB 3090) – FAILED. Thanks to Dr. James Bishara for his in-person testimony and persistent advocacy on this issue.
- Opioid Harm Reduction (HB 2395) – PASSED
- 988 Behavioral Health Crisis Line Funding (HB 2757) – PASSED
- Grants for Child Abuse Intervention Centers (HB 2732) – PASSED
- Establishes the Universal Health Plan Governance Board (SB 1089) – PASSED. The Board will present a comprehensive plan for Oregon’s Universal Health Plan implementation by 9/15/26.
- Pharmacists can administer inﬂuenza vaccines to people six months and older (HB 2279) – PASSED. The bill to allow pharmacy techs to administer vaccines is in a Legislative Interim workgroup.
- Regulating Toxics in Children’s Products (HB 3043) – PASSED
- Requires insurance coverage of PANDAs/PANS (SB 628) – PASSED
- In the OHA budget, $3.1 million was approved for advancing training opportunities for pediatricians and child psychiatry, to include fellowship positions at OHSU across the state.
- The Early Literacy Initiative (HB 3198) funded at $144.3 million
- Public Health Modernization was funded at around $50 million
- $650,000 went to the Family Preservation Project at Coﬀee Creek Correctional Facility, a family connectivity program that promotes bonding between incarcerated parents and their children.
- A voter ballot referral to constitutionally protect reproductive rights and gender-aﬃrming care (SJR 33) – FAILED
- All bills to hinder access to immunizations or impose new administrative requirements failed without a hearing.
- Green Infrastructure/Urban Canopy Protection (HB 3016) – FAILED
- Toxic-Free Schools (SB 426) – FAILED
- “Food for All”/SNAP for Immigrants (SB 610) – FAILED
- Adolescent Drowning Prevention (HB 3006) – FAILED
- Climate Change Education in Schools (SB 854) – FAILED
- OHA Required to Develop More Suicide Prevention CME (SB 818) – FAILED
- Creating a Medical Scope of Practice Commission (SB 408) – FAILED
- Naturopathic Doctor Pay Parity (HB 2555) – FAILED
- Commercial Insurance Coverage for Health Care Interpretation Services (HB 2538) – FAILED
- CAT Tax Exemptions for Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare receipts – INTERIM WORKGROUP
OPS Advocate Spotlights
“Expanding access to school meals for Oregon children is a crucial step for kids and families. Access to universal school meals eliminates stigma and shame, and we know that universal access to school meals reduces illnesses, as well as anxiety and depression. Oregon children deserve to be healthy.”
— OPS Past President Alanna Braun, MD, in a press release on Schools Meals Funding.
“Tobacco use robs children of the adulthoods they would have had.”
— James Bishara, MD, MBA, OPS Advocacy Committee Co-Chair. Oral testimony in support of ending the sale of flavored tobacco in Oregon.
“I speak to parents who worry about their children’s developmental progress or academic achievement, wondering if the environments that are meant to support their children’s learning and thriving are, in fact, doing the opposite.”
— Shaili Rajput, MD, MPH. Testimony in support of Toxic-Free Schools.
My job is to help kids get and stay healthy, and nutrition is a vital component of this effort. I cannot do this alone. We all need to support our communities where they live, grow, work, and play. It is imperative that we leave no one out in this effort, especially those who are at highest risk for food insecurity.
— OPS Board President Angela Zallen, MD. Testimony in support of Food for All Oregonians.
“When the necessities of life are covered, levels of stress are reduced, and people can go beyond survival and even thrive.”
— Jennifer McCall, DO. Testimony in support of the child tax credit.