Legislative Updates

Current OPHA Policy Priorities (updated 12/11/2018)

Public Health Modernization:

Working toward public health modernization remains an OPHA priority and we are committed to advocating for its full funding.  Public Health Modernization will ensure basic public protections critical to the health of all in Oregon and future generations.

  • Public health modernization will ensure that every community in Oregon has essential public health protections, including clean air, safe food and water, health promotion and prevention of diseases, and responding to new health threats. 
  • It also holds the public health system accountable for its contribution to improved overall health.
  • Public health modernization requires a shift in how programs are delivered so they are more effective and efficient.
  • Oregon’s public health system is aligning around modern approaches to public health.
    • We’re realigning our existing resources to best support modern public health.
    • A good start is by directing funding to locally-driven, place-based strategies and interventions that eliminate health disparities.
    • At the same time, a truly modern public health system – one that meets our needs today and is prepared to conquer new health threats twenty years from now – requires investments in new resources.   

Learn more about Public Health Modernization here.

 

Clean Energy Jobs Bill:

Today, creating climate pollution is free to emitters but impacts all people. OPHA endorses the Clean Energy Jobs bill because it will limit and start to draw down climate pollution in Oregon, increase resiliency to the health challenges we face, and create new job opportunities.  The Clean Energy Jobs bill will hold transportation, utilities and industrial facilities accountable for their climate pollution by setting a cap and price on greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation will limit climate pollution for the largest emitters and energy importers in the state. Emitters will have to hold allowances for each ton of pollution they produce. Allowances will be sold at auction, generating proceeds that can then be reinvested to further reduce climate (and air) pollution, assist low-income households, create benefits for disproportionately impacted communities, retrain workers, advance clean economic development, and help the state adapt to climate change. The policy will require reductions through 2050, in line with what science says is necessary for avoiding the worst climate impacts.

The 2014 Oregon Climate and Health Profile Report issued by Oregon Health Authority outlines the health risks that will increase as our climate changes and describes the populations most vulnerable to these risks. Threats to health include increased heat, flood, drought, wildfire, infectious disease, allergens and more.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels can build public health resilience. Investing in a green energy economy can reduce public health vulnerabilities and strengthen health delivery infrastructure by preparing for the increases in energy demand and the interruptions in energy supply predicted as a result of climate change. Transportation is a major source of climate pollution in Oregon. Investing in transportation options can not only decrease air pollution, but also reduce noise, accidents, social exclusion of vulnerable groups, and encourage active lifestyles.  The revenue generated from putting a price on climate pollution has the potential to invest millions of dollars in public health initiatives to reduce pollution, increase climate resilience, and provide job opportunity where the greatest inequities exist today. Major investment will go to reduce pollution and grow opportunities for low-income and rural communities, communities of color, and training workers in Oregon. 

 

Translation of prescription bottle labels for patients with limited or no English proficiency:

Patients with limited or no English proficiency (LEP) experience over twice the rate of medical errors as patients who can read English in part because their medication is not labeled in a language they can read. This bill requires that prescription medication containers be dual labeled in English and a language that a patient can read and understand.  OPHA endorses this bill to reduce language barriers and increase health equity throughout Oregon.

Key elements:

  • This requirement is not satisfied by putting directions in Prescription Patient information provided to LEP patients; the key is having the container itself labeled in a language they can read.
  • The law should apply to languages spoken by 0.2% and higher of Oregon’s populations.

Expanding translation of prescription bottle labels should result in reduced medication errors by LEP patients, fewer clinic and emergency department visits for adverse drug reactions, and increase access to drug information, health equity, and health literacy in the State of Oregon. 

 

Reducing diesel pollution: 

OPHA endorses this bill to reduce diesel pollution throughout Oregon because it aligns with our priorities of improving children’s health, reducing health inequities, and addressing climate change.  This bill will:

  • Prohibit the purchase of 2006 and older on-road diesel engines
  • Set a deadline for all on-road vehicles to be powered by cleaner engines (2007 or newer diesel engines or other cleaner alternatives)
  • Prioritize remaining Volkswagen Settlement funds for the cleanup of diesel engines that are used in highly polluted neighborhoods (e.g., drayage, delivery, waste hauling, transit, local government vehicles, and airport ground equipment)
  • Require that large public contracts utilizing diesel engines use cleaner equipment
  • Address non-road diesel engines by adopting California’s standards (identicality is required under the Clean Air Act)
  • Repeal the preemption on adopting local anti-idling ordinances

About 90% of Oregonians live where diesel exhaust exceeds health benchmarks. Diesel pollution is associated with heart, lungs, and brain adverse impacts, as well as contributing to climate change. Oregon could avoid up to 119 asthma emergency room visits for children each year by reducing harmful diesel exhaust; 25,910 lost work days, and 176 premature deaths. Diesel pollution is also highly concentrated in neighborhoods of low-income and communities of color—exacerbating health inequities. This bill would benefit these communities the most.

 

OPHA & Coalition Letters

Oregon State Advocacy Efforts: 

Clean Energy Jobs Coalition Policy Outcomes Sign On Letter (Signed by OPHA September 2018)

National Advocacy Efforts: 

H.R. 6022- Amending Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (Signed by OPHA August 2018)

Opposing EPA's Censoring Science Proposal (May 2018)

Removing Citizenship Question from 2020 Census (July 2018)

OPHA Action Alerts

Public comment opposing citizenship question on the 2020 Census