07-15-2024  3:40 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather

The Oregon Senate is seen in session at the state capitol in Salem, Ore., Thursday, June 15, 2023. Enough Republican members showed up in the Oregon Senate on Thursday to end a six-week walkout that halted the work of the Legislature and blocked hundreds of bills, including some on abortion, transgender health care and gun safety. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)
Saundra Sorenson
Published: 21 June 2023

The recently passed Measure 113 bans lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences from immediately running for re-election, but did little to dissuade Republicans from staging their fourth walkout in five years. At six weeks, the walkout broke state records and added to the anxiety that by effectively quashing new environmental legislation, Republicans could prevent the state from receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to battle climate change made available through the recently passed federal Inflation Reduction Act.

The six-week standoff came to an end last Thursday, with 10 Republican state senators likely to be the first to be censured under the new measure. With the legislative session scheduled to end on Sunday, two bills in particular have undergone significant compromise: a gun control measure that was passed last week, and a potential law to strengthen access to contraception, abortion and gender affirming care, which will likely be up for a vote later this week. 

Here is the status on key bills before the legislative session ends June 25. 

HEALTH CARE

HB 2002

As a neighbor to Idaho, Oregon borders a state with some of the most punitive anti-abortion measures in the country. With abortion access no longer a constitutionally protected right, Oregon Democrats introduced a bill to protect individual's access to reproductive health care., including contraception, services to terminate pregnancy, and gender-affirming medical treatment. 

As introduced, the bill would have allowed minors of any age to seek abortion without parental consent – an approach that advocates argue would protect victims of abuse. But Republicans branded “parental rights” as a motivation for stalling the legislative term, and as a term of ending their walkout, Republicans were successful in diluting the bill so that children under 15 still require parental permission for such procedures. The bill now includes an exception to parental notification if two health care providers at two different medical practices agree that parental notification would be harmful to the patient. 

The bill is scheduled for a third reading tomorrow.

HB 2697

Portland representatives Rob Nosse and Travis Nelson introduced this bill to lower the heavy patient-to-nurse ratios that lead to poor outcomes for both. Nelson, a registered nurse, has gone on record saying patients are dying due to insufficient staffing, pointing out such practices also lead to a high rate of burnout among nurses. The bill would create staffing oversight committees in each hospital, introduce significant fines to hospitals that don't comply with staffing plans, create an online portal for staff to report violations and outline acceptable staffing minimums in each hospital unit.

The bill was passed by the House and will likely head to the Senate this week. 

PUBLIC SAFETY 

HB 2005

Another major point of contention for Republicans, the "ghost gun" bill aims to ban the manufacture and sale of firearms that are unserialized, and which are often sold at gun shows and online as kits for home assembly. Such firearms provide a loophole for minors, felons and others who would not normally pass background checks to purchase a firearm. 

As introduced, HB 2005 also increased the minimum age to purchase certain firearms from 18 to 21, and would have allowed public entities to prohibit concealed weapons on premises, even if the carrier had a concealed permit. These two points were redlined as part of negotiations for the Republican senators’ return to session. 

The bill was passed June 15. 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Senate Bills 868, 869, 870 and 871 are a package of environmental bills focused on energy efficiency in state buildings: Healthy Heating and Cooling for all, which streamlines heat pump installation, as well as retrofitting buildings for weatherization and efficiency; Build Smart from the Start, which updates the state building code for added energy efficiency in new buildings; Building Performance standards, which requires commercial buildings to adhere to improved efficiency standards; and Smart State Buildings, which improves the energy efficiency of public, state-owned buildings.  

The package was referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 3409

A package of 15 measures relating to promoting heat pump technology in homes, commercial building energy performance standards, state building energy use and greenhouse emissions, sustainable building and property design, a community green infrastructure grant program, urban tree canopies, the study of low-carbon fuels from woody biomass residue, rebate programs for zero-emission vehicles, workforce training programs for jobs in natural climate solutions, solar installation rebates and water testing for harmful algal blooms. The bill would also rename the Oregon Global Warming Commission as the Oregon Climate Action Commission. 

A second reading of the bill continues today in the House. 

EDUCATION

SB 3

This bill requires high school students to take courses in both career planning and financial literacy as a requirement for graduation. High schools would be required to offer classes that provide one half-credit of each. The bill is scheduled for a third reading today, and is likely to head to a Senate vote after. 

HB 3198

Pre-pandemic in Oregon, only 18% of Black fourth-graders tested at or above reading proficiency level for their grade. The Early Literacy Success Initiative would create a Birth Through Five Literacy Plan and establish Early Literacy Success grants for schools and communities. 

The bill heads to a third reading in the Senate today. 

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random