End of 2021 Legislative Session Recap Pt 2: Bills

Posted by on Jul 1, 2021

The 2021 full Oregon Legislative Session came to an end right on schedule this past weekend, after a session full of twists, turns, and historic investments in the IDD system. As you may recall, this legislative session was the first in Oregon’s history to be conducted remotely, with no public access to the Capitol Building in Salem. Remote legislative work will continue beyond pandemic restrictions, due to Capitol Building construction currently underway. This is part of a long-term project to realize a collective vision of a revamped Capitol, known as the Oregon State Capitol Master Plan. This includes work to

Oregon legislators generally conduct their important work at the Oregon State Capitol building in Salem, Oregon.

“upgrade the seismic strength of the building, dramatically increasing the safety of the occupants, and allowing for immediate occupancy following a seismic event with only minor damage anticipated.” You can read a summary of the project and its work to date here.

In our post earlier this week, we talked all about our high-priority Human Services budget items. But the legislative session is about more than budgeting: there were thousands of bills introduced at the start of session that made their way through the process to either die somewhere along the way, or land on the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. Here is a look at a select few of them that we followed most closely this session:

Bills That Passed Into Law

SB 567 :  “Relating to discrimination in the provision of health care. Includes as unlawful practice medical provider’s denial of treatment that is likely to benefit patient based on patient’s race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability.”

Status: Passed, will be signed into law.

Discussion: This bill was very important to the IDD community in the wake of our experiences with healthcare during the COVID pandemic. This bill will assure that information related to a host of factors, including disability status, cannot influence the following decisions: Denial of medical treatment to the patient that is likely to benefit the patient based on an individualized assessment of the patient using objective medical evidence; and limitation or restriction in the allocation of medical resources to the patient. It also requires that medical providers work with the patient, the patient’s family, and others authorized to act on behalf of the patient in determining whether medical treatment is likely to benefit a patient. In times of fear and uncertainty, we all want our trusted advisors with us to sort through options and make the best decisions possible.

SB 199:  “Modifies laws relating to form of advance directive.”

Status: Passed, will be signed into law.

Discussion: This bill seeks to update the current Advanced Directive form and process to: provide clear language allowing individuals to identify the care they do and do not want; give individuals the chance to write specific wishes, and require the appointed health care representative (and an alternative) to accept appointment. While these are good goals, our friends at Disability Rights Oregon provided testimony that breaks down very well why language matters very, very much when framing such end-of-life decisions. With hard work from DRO and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, amendments were made to proposed Advanced Directive language that will provide support without undue judgement or influence.

SB 190:  “Relating to protected persons. Modifies permissible methods of providing notice of appointment of guardian to protected persons.”

HB 2105:  “Relating to alternatives to protective proceedings. Directs school district to provide child with disability and child’s parents with information regarding supported decision-making and strategies to remain engaged in child’s secondary education and post-school outcomes.”

Status: Both passed; HB 2105 is already law, and SB 190 will be signed into law.

Discussion: There is a long-term movement in Oregon and nationwide to provide comprehensive options and information about legal guardianship alternatives earlier in the lives and people with IDD. In many sectors, the default understanding of how to keep an adult with IDD protected and safe is to seek legal guardianship. However, full guardianship is just one of many tools that can be used to support a person to adapt and thrive in adulthood. The current news of Britney Spears, her guardianship status, and how it affects her mental health and her life, are very relevant and relatable to many adults with IDD. (Please read more about this issue from Supported-Decision advocates here.) SB 190 will require that people with IDD for whom legal guardianship is sought must be notified in a way that they can understand, and informed of their rights. HB 2105 expands the education of guardianship options and alternatives, and takes steps to expand community understanding. If this sounds basic, it is–these are basic human rights that are being clarified and made stronger in Oregon law.

SB 282:  “Extends grace period for repayment of residential rent accrued during emergency period of April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, until February 28, 2022. Prohibits residential landlord from reporting nonpayment of rent accrued during emergency period to credit bureaus. Prohibits residential landlord from screening prospective tenant based on nonpayment of rent accrued during grace period. Allows certain defendants to set aside and seal judgments of evictions based on claims arising during grace period. Limits certain restrictions on residential tenant’s guests. Sunsets March 1, 2022.”

Status: Passed, signed into law.

Discussion: This was very important to Oregonians, as evidenced by the incredible number of people testifying on this bill. We rely upon our friends at the Oregon Housing Alliance to help us understand housing legislation and policy, and you can read their testimony here for a deeper understanding of why this bill is important. Also see this testimony from the Human Services Coalition of Oregon for a broad understanding of the bill’s human service impact, and testimony from Our Children Oregon to understand how it impacts Oregon’s children.

SB 710:  “Modifies allowed and prohibited uses of restraint of children in care by certain programs. Directs certain facilities to establish procedures to be followed when child in care is placed in restraint or involuntary seclusion. Prescribes reporting requirements following administration of restraint or involuntary seclusion. Requires certain programs to submit quarterly reports to Department of Human Services regarding use of restraints and involuntary seclusion on children in care. Directs department to adopt rules for individuals to be certified in administration of restraints and involuntary seclusion. Requires provision of information to children in care regarding how to report suspected inappropriate use of restraint or involuntary seclusion. Modifies definition of “developmental disabilities residential facility.” Defines “secure transportation services provider.” Requires person or organization making referral related to use of secure transportation services provider to provide referral disclosure. Requires secure transportation services provider that transports children on highways of this state along route beginning or ending in this state to or from certain schools, agencies, organizations or programs located in this state or any other state to be licensed by department as child-caring agency. Increases specified appropriations from General Fund to Department of Human Services for biennium beginning July 1, 2021, for purposes of carrying out Act. Increases specified limitations on expenditures by department for biennium beginning July 1, 2021, for purposes of carrying out Act.”

Status: Passed, will be signed into law.

Discussion: This bill seeks to update laws around restraints and seclusion of children in care. This includes children with IDD, and also has impacts on services to other groups, such as adults, to some extent. It was the subject of intense negotiation, as the details of what is proposed matter very much to the impact on providers and people with IDD. You can read the testimony from the Oregon DD Coalition, which includes advocates and groups from all over the IDD service system. Also see this letter from a professional in the field for a deeper understanding of the concerns raised.

Bills that Did Not Pass Into Law This Session

HB 2151:  Establishes Task Force on the State as Model Employer Program for Employment of People with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.

HB 2964:  Requires Department of Human Services to reimburse cost of care provided in residential training facilities and residential training homes by specified agencies in amounts sufficient to allow facilities and home agencies to pay direct support professional 150 percent of state minimum wage. 

HB 3395:  Appropriates $3 million from General Fund to Department of Human Services for Oregon Consortium of Family Networks.

SB 725:  Restricts licensing or certification of providers of developmental disability services. Prohibits providers of developmental disability services from voluntarily relinquishing license in lieu of revocation based on death or serious injury in program or facility operated by provider.

HB 2552:  Removes limit on number of residents in adult foster homes. Requires Department of Human Services to adopt rules applicable to adult foster homes providing care to more than five residents. Specifies additional requirements. Requires department to annually assess capacity of residential facilities and adult foster homes.