Legislative Update May 2019
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Posted by: Dr. Jeff Clark | OANP Legislative Chair
As of this writing, SB 734 still sits on the desk of the Ways and Means Committee, and we are waiting for it to move to the Sub-Committee on Human Services. This subcommittee is co-chaired by Senator Beyer and Representative Nosse, both are bill sponsors. This committee membership also has Representative Salinas and Schouten, who are also bill sponsors. We are currently continuing to meet with legislators in Salem as we wait.
There has been a Republican boycott in the Oregon Senate, which lasted an entire week. They are back to work, but the Democrats are rattled that they might all leave again. The boycott began as a way for the Republican Party to slow down the proposed schools tax bill, and there are other bills that the Republicans would like to see killed or modified, including gun controls, and they want reforms to the state pension fund.
As for SB 734, we still have solid reasons to be hopeful. Before the hearing we are continuing to have good meetings with legislators, and are working on preparing our testimony regarding the financials of SB 734. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress.
A decision to kill House Bill 3063, the “Vaccination Bill” has apparently being negotiated by Governor Brown and Senate minority leader Baertschiger as part of a deal to bring the Republican senators back to Salem. This came after a week where Senate Republicans fled the Capitol to deny the Senate a voting quorum in protest of a $2 billion tax package for public schools. HB 3063 would have removed non-medical vaccination exemptions for children who attend public and private schools and licensed daycare facilities. This dramatic turn of events became apparent on Monday May 13th providing a quick and stunning end to HB 3063, now confirmed in an Oregonian article quoting Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward on the facts. HB 3063 would have reversed the state's long-standing practice of exempting children whose parents have religious or philosophical objections to vaccines, requiring school-aged children to be vaccinated against measles and other preventable diseases like mumps, rubella, polio and tetanus. OANP’s official position on this bill voted on by our board has been neutrality, neither endorsing nor opposing the bill. We are continuing to watch this bill on the off chance it rises up again.
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