OPS Child Health Advocacy Goes Virtual at 2021 Lobby Day
OPS hosted its third annual State Advocacy Day on February 24. This year was a first – a video conference gathering for the morning group event and small virtual meetings with legislators – which made it easier for pediatricians across the state to attend, including OPS member Zach Spoehr-Labutta in La Grande.
OPS member Lisa Reynolds also attended this event three years in a row, and we fondly remembered her leading OPS advocates down the empty halls of the Capitol building for impromptu legislator meetings during our 2019 Lobby Day, held during an epic Ice Storm. This year in another first, Rep. Reynolds joined as a new state legislator, and spoke to us from that side of the legislative process. She celebrated that OPS priority bill HB 2510 Safe Gun Storage was referred to the Health Care committee first, and not judiciary, in recognition of gun safety being a public health issue.
We appreciated other group presentations:
- Rep. Rachel Prusak, chair of the House Health Care Committee, who as a family nurse practitioner is the sponsor of a bill to establish pay parity for telemedicine. OPS strongly supports this bill.
- Senator Deb Patterson from Salem is newly elected to public office, and chairs the Senate Health Care Committee. OPS Member James Bishara, pediatric cardiologist and AAP e-cigarette chapter champion, was able to talk to Senator Patterson in a constituent meeting about OPS priority bill SB 587, which would establish tobacco retail licenses in Oregon, which are proven to reduce youth tobacco and vaping access.
- Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, also from Salem, is Vice Chair of the House Behavioral Health Committee, and a champion for youth suicide prevention measures. She is also concerned about health care scope of practice issues.
- As the son of a physician, Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner spoke passionately about the need for pro-childhood vaccination legislation, and the damage done by misinformation campaigns and the media giving false equivalency coverage to anti-science rhetoric.