OMA Legislative Update - June 2023
The 2023 Legislative Session has produced several bills that the OMA has been advocating for and tracking on behalf of Oregon’s physicians and physician assistants. We’ve had many productive conversations with legislators on both sides of the aisle and garnered support for initiatives that impact healthcare providers, such as the Oregon Wellness Program funding request. That said, as many of you have probably heard, on the Senate side this session has come to a dramatic halt.
As has become a regularly utilized tactic of the minority party, the Senate Republicans have refused to come to the floor to allow for a quorum which is required to vote on any legislation. They are doing this as a means to stop the passage of two House Bills that have progressed to the Senate floor. The first is HB 2002, which codifies Oregon’s existing abortion policy as well as elevates access to gender affirming care, and the second is HB 2005, which raises the legal age of firearm purchases to 21 with several exemptions. Even though these methods have become commonplace in recent years, this session offers some new insights.
In November 2022, Oregon Measure 113 - Exclusion from Re-election for Legislative Absenteeism Initiative passed into law with 68% support of voters. This law prohibits any legislator who accumulates 10 or more unexcused absences from seeking that office again after their term has ended. Currently 10 Senate members have exceeded the 10 unexcused absences.
OMA continues to advocate for our agenda items, including funding for the Oregon Wellness Program and a Medicaid/Medicare receipts exemption to the corporate activities tax. We hope that negations between legislative presiding officers will result in the session ending with bills and budgets passing. If there is not a negotiated end, there will be a special session sometime prior to September 14, which is when the continue services level resolution expires and state agencies will not have approved budgets.
In recent days negotiations seem to be moving in a positive direction, indicating that the session might conclude with the budget bill moving through the process along with other policy bills that have been stalled during the walkout.
The OMA Government Relations team is still actively working to keep the interests of physicians and physician assistance moving forward in the Oregon legislature.
Please contact Courtni Dresser, Vice President of Government Relations for any question on the 2023 Legislative Session and OMA’s agenda items.