Representative Nancy Nathanson
July 2011
 Part Two  
NN voting

In the final days of session, Rep Nathanson voting while working at a colleague's desk. 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This newsletter is the second of two parts written following the legislative session that ended June 30. The last newsletter  covered education, jobs and the economy, government efficiency and accountability, adjusting legislative district boundaries due to population changes, and a few bills that didn't make it through the process. With both newsletters I have selected legislation that is significant for Oregon, and that constituents have expressed interest in by email, phone, and letters. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need information on a bill that I have not mentioned.  Out of more than 3,000 bills submitted, and 823 passing both the House and Senate, it's hard to pick only a few to write about! I will mention other bills occasionally in future newsletters with updates on issues I am working on in the interim, before the next session.


In This Issue - 2011 Legislative Accomplishments
Health Care
Public Safety
Seniors, Children, & Families
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Capitol News - 2011 Legislative Accomplishments: Part Two

Health Care (also see Seniors, Children, & Families) 

I have successfully passed legislation each session since I came to office in 2007 to increase access and decrease costs for affordable health care and health insurance.  In my first term I passed a bill to shed light on, and make public, insurance provider requests for rate increases. We've seen the benefit of this legislation with the recent public hearing on Regence's request for a rate increase. The public involvement in the process has been essential to help the Department of Consumer & Business Services understand the impact of rate increases. The Department ultimately decided to cut the increase from 22.1% to 12.8%, keeping $12.5 million in the pockets of Oregon consumers.

I continued my work on health care issues this legislative session, successfully passing a bill that works to address our shortage of primary care providers by directing the Oregon Health Authority to develop a strategic plan for recruiting primary care providers to the state.  Also, I passed the vaccine stewardship bill to reduce errors that lead to wasted vaccine, avoid the costs to providers and the state for replacing spoiled vaccine and re-administering vaccine to individuals ($9.4 million in one year alone), and eliminate the burden on individuals (60,000 in 2009) who must return for revaccination.

My bills complemented a number of other successful pieces of health care legislation this legislative session. I supported the following important bills:
Dorothy checking off bills

Legislative "chief of staff" Dorothy Waller checks off bills that have passed the House and Senate.

Health Insurance exchange, SB 99: Establishes a health insurance exchange for individuals, families and small businesses to find the best insurance option for their situation. A health insurance exchange is a central marketplace for health insurance to compare rates, benefits, and features among plans. State health care exchanges will also administer the new federal health insurance tax credits for those who qualify. This legislation helps employers, especially small business, to find affordable health care insurance for their employees. The new federal law requires all states to implement an exchange of their own or use the federally-administered exchange. States must receive approval from the federal government by January 1, 2013, and state exchanges must be operational by January 1, 2014. Oregon's solution is not a government run health care system but a place where Oregonians find the best private insurance to meet their needs.

Health Care Transformation, HB 3650: Allows for Coordinated Care Organizations, which are accountable for achieving better health outcomes and cost savings in the Oregon Health Plan.  This is achieved mostly through vastly improved coordination of health care services to keep a patient healthy, with particular emphasis on primary care and prevention.  I worked to include a requirement to study defensive medicine and over-use of expensive, unnecessary tests that may also be dangerous... This health care transformation bill is a blueprint for beginning to transform Oregon's health care system.

Supporting Primary Care Providers in Rural Oregon, HB 2397: Directs the Office of Rural Health to create a loan forgiveness program for primary care practitioners to help bring more primary care doctors to rural Oregon.

Health Authority Budget, SB 5529: In a year of significant cuts, the budget adopted still protects funding for School Based Health Centers that provide primary and mental health services to children in schools, ensures that kids have access to health care by eliminating rate reductions for primary care providers, and maintains funding for addiction services at the 2009-2011 levels.


Shortly after the legislative session adjourned I had the opportunity to speak with a group in Eugene about the accomplishments and disappointments for the environmental community. Although some proposals didn't succeed, like banning the chemical BPA from products for children, there were several bills that I supported and will have a positive impact on our environment, including:


Bottle Bill Update, HB 3145: Expands Oregon's bottle bill to include containers for most juice, tea, and sports/energy drinks no later than 2018, and sets up additional recycling centers.


Farm to School, HB 2800: Allows school districts to receive grants for reimbursements for National School Lunch Program money spent to buy foods produced or processed in Oregon. The money received in reimbursement must be spent on Oregon food. This bill supports food-based educational activities, including school garden programs ... and Oregon jobs. 


Farmers' Market Bill, HB 2326: Modernizes state laws regulating farmers markets and direct sales by farmers to the public, for example selling fruit-based syrups, preserves, jams, fruits and vegetables.


Car sharing bill, HB 3149: Enables private car owners to make their vehicle available on a temporary basis to a car sharing company for rental. In return, the vehicle owner gets a substantial portion of the rental revenue from the car sharing company. When not rented, vehicle owners can continue to use their cars as before.


Boat inspections & Invasive Species, HB 3399: Requires recreational or commercial watercraft check station inspection for aquatic invasive species.

Public Safety (also see Seniors, Children & Families) 

Rep Nathanson learns about projects that bring money into Oregon at the UO's Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR). 

After hearing from a constituent who was the victim of a home burglary, I followed up with law enforcement to learn about what we need to do to plug the holes in current law. During the 2011 session I introduced a bill aimed at putting a damper on the easy market for stolen gold jewelry ("cash-for-gold"), and I am continuing to work during the interim on fine-tuning the proposal I was pleased to provide support for the following bills:


Money for local law enforcement, SB 443: Extends the sunset date until 2016 on the provision allowing federal forest moneys in Douglas and Lane County road funds to be used for law enforcement patrolling of the roads in these counties.


Driving while intoxicated, HB 3085: Requires a health care provider to notify law enforcement if the provider becomes aware as a result of a blood test that a patient who was operating a motor vehicle in an accident has a controlled substance in his or her blood.


DUII Interlock Devices, HB 3075: Requires the installation of an ignition interlock device as a condition of entry into a diversion program which gives an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program. 


Strangulation as felony offense, HB 2940: Increases the penalty for crime of strangulation so the punishment aligns with the severity of the crime.


Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault, SB 557: Requires each county to develop a sexual assault response team (SART) to effectively respond to sexual assault, adopting protocols and developing new requirements for health care facilities.

Seniors, Children, & Families 

This session the legislature faced difficult budget decisions that would impact seniors, children, and families. We were able to mitigate some of the worst cuts and I voted for several bills that protect and support these populations, including:


Unemployment Benefit Extension for Families in Need, SB 637 & SB 638: Extended federal unemployment benefits by reconnecting to the federal process for determining eligibility, and allowing for an additional six weeks of benefits for some 15,000 Oregon workers, paid from the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.  The Fund is solvent, and no general fund dollars are used in paying unemployment benefits.

Kids First

Rep Nathanson learns how Lane County's unique  Kid's' FIRST program helps child abuse victims.  

Eliminating Elder Abuse, HB 2325: Establishes the Oregon Elder Abuse workgroup to study and make recommendations on elder abuse prevention and investigation services.  


Oregon Project Independence (OPI), HB 3037: Protects services including in-home and community-based care, health promotion services, and counseling and transportation service options.


Supporting New Mothers, HB 2235: Supports new mothers who may suffer from symptoms of depression after pregnancy.   


Cracking Down on Child Pornography, SB 803 & HB 2463: Both bills close loopholes and update current law to reflect modern times and the effects of technology in sending and viewing child pornography


Eliminate Child Sex Trafficking in Oregon, SB 425 & HB 2714: Creates the crime of patronizing a prostitute, applying to those who purchase sex.