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:

Veterans

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).

Health Care

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