Important Veterans and Health and Human Services Bills Pass Hours Before Sine Die
The final hours of the 2018 Short Session witnessed a flurry of key votes which adopted a variety of important bills relating to veterans, healthcare and housing. A summary of these bills is below:
HB 4035B Establishes a program to provide tuition assistance for eligible members of the Oregon National Guard who attend an Oregon community college or public university, and are working toward an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. The expectation is that the eligible Guard member will not have to pay for any tuition when factoring in other federal and state assistance and the tuition assistance payments under the program. $2.7 million General Funds are appropriated under the bill for tuition assistance payments and for program administration costs. Passed: House 58-0 (2 excused) and Senate 29-0 (1 excused).
HB 4038B Referred to as the “Veterans Omnibus Bill,” the measure requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to do three things: (1) study and report on the progress of building the Roseburg Veterans Home; (2) study potential sites for state and tribal veterans cemeteries; (3) establish a program to provide services to incarcerated veterans. The bill also prohibits the Department of State Lands from selling or destroying military medals that are held as unclaimed property. Passed: House 58-0 (2 excused) and Senate 29-0 (1 excused).
HB 4018B Modifies requirements for Oregon’s 15 coordinated care organizations (CCO). The bill models meeting requirements currently being used by an existing CCO (Pacific Source); bill did not go so far as to require CCO’s to comply with formal “public meetings” laws. The bill requires excess financial reserves to be invested in improving community health related to “social determinants of health” and also requires CCOs to give notice if they plan to end service. CCOs would have to give four months’ notice to the Oregon Health Authority if they did not wish to renew their annual contract, and would have to give three months’ notice to members, along with a plan to transfer their care. Passed: House 32-26 (2 excused) and Senate 28-1 (1 excused).
HB 4137B Authorizes the director of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission (ADPC) to appoint employees to carry out the Commission’s charge to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state and local alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment services. The bill authorizes ADPC to conduct studies in collaboration with other state agencies, and apply for grants from public and private sources. The bill directs the ADPC director to enter into agreements with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to share information necessary to carry out the charge of ADPC. In addition, the bill requires ADPC to submit a comprehensive addiction, prevention, treatment, and recovery plan by September 15, 2018; and to issue a request-for-proposal by November 1, 2018 for implementation of the plan. The bill includes $46,000 of General Funds in current biennium and $892,00 of General Funds in 2019-21 biennium. Passed: House 59-0 (1 excused) and Senate 29-0 (1 excused)
HB 4007C HB 4007 creates a first-time homebuyer savings account, increases the document recording fee, and increases eligibility for the Housing and Community Services Department’s Home Ownership Assistance Program. The bill also exempts counties from having to pay the recording fee. A $40 increase to the document recording fee from $20 to $60 will provide an additional $30.5 million during the current biennium (of this amount, approximately $7.5 will be dedicated for veterans housing). In the 2019-21 biennium the projected additional funds are $61 million, of which $15 million will be dedicated for veterans. Passed: House 40-19 (1 excused) and Senate 20-9 (1 excused)
Contributed by: Andy Smith | AOC Policy Manager