Interim Medical Benefits Coverage- Getting injured workers back to work – HB 4104
One of my greatest achievements this session was the passage of HB 4104. There has long been a problem for workers receiving the medical treatment they deserve while waiting for a workers compensation claim determination. In some cases workers have lost their health insurance while waiting for workers comp to make a compensability decision, and when the workers comp claim is denied, they receive no treatment because of the loss of health plan coverage. Under HB 4104 when a worker has coverage under a health plan and is waiting for a workers comp determination, treatment under the health plan can be pre-authorized and expedited. The workers will promptly get the treatment they need, and hopefully get back to work quicker, while the insurance companies determine who has the liability to pay, recognizing the worker has coverage and should be able to get treatment.
Information Technology (IT) Projects – HB 4122 & 4135
In response to challenges with Information Technology projects, I worked with Rep. Nancy Nathanson to sponsor HB 4122. There is a need to ensure that large scale IT projects, including Cover Oregon, are managed better.
HB 4122 sets forth a process where specific IT projects will have additional scrutiny. It requires state contracting agencies and public corporations to obtain quality management services from a qualified contractor on Information Technology projects that exceed $5 Million or meet other specific criteria. This bill addresses design, implementation, and accountability of IT projects, adding a layer of mandatory oversight and the capacity to correct problems.
HB 4135 requires the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to advise state agencies, boards, or commissions in developing, acquiring, maintaining, or implementing information technology resources. It grants the CIO the power, duty, and responsibility to perform a number of activities related to individual agency and statewide information technology initiatives, plans, and budgets while reporting these findings to the legislature.
Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods – HB 4100
Consumers should have the right to know what is in their food. HB 4100 required food that contains genetically engineered materials to be labeled, and that the question be referred to Oregon voters to make that decision. I am proud to be the chief sponsor of this legislation, bringing this concept forward in this and previous sessions. Unfortunately House Republicans, joined by a few key Democrats, withheld their support for bringing the bill to a vote in the House and to Oregon Voters.
This legislation was simply about providing consumers with facts that they may deem important about the food they purchase and eat. I support consumers’ rights to make informed decisions. I will continue to support efforts that will give consumers the information and right to make their own decisions on whether to purchase and consume products containing GE material.
Wine Growler – HB 2443 Job creation has always been one of my main focuses in the legislature. I was excited to sponsor HB 2443, which expands the usage of growlers and kegs in the wine, cider and malt beverage industries. It will also help the restaurant industry as well.
Waldo Lake – SB 602
Credit Enhancement Fund – HB 4150
Expands definition of qualified business eligible for credit Enhancement fund to include non-traded sector business.
Environmental Protection and Food Safety
As Oregonians, we care about the health of our environment and our bodies, and we are national leaders in addressing issues surrounding these concerns. That is why I introduced legislation aimed at protecting the health and safety of our environment, the food we eat and grow, and the products we keep in our homes. If Oregon is to prosper, it is essential that we protect Oregon consumers against threats to these components of our lives.
HB 2530 – This bill, recently given a public hearing on March 21st in the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, would ban the raising, selling, importation, or owning of genetically modified fish in the state. There is significant concern around the impact the introduction of these fish could have on Oregon’s waterways and native aquaculture industries; and because of this, it is important that we not take chances these incredibly important natural resources.
HB 2427 – I have heard a great deal from my constituents about their concerns over the growing of canola in Willamette Valley. This bill, which I am co-sponsoring, is currently in the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on the 15th of April. I fully support this legislation and believe we must ban this practice that threatens our farming and organic seed industries.
HB 2532 – Oregonians are discerning consumers, particularly when it comes to food, and they deserve to know whether or not that food has been genetically modified. I have introduced this bill, which would require food manufacturers to label the products that are made from genetically modified crops. This bill will also face a work session on the 15th of April.
Citizens United – HJM 6
I have also heard concerns from many of my constituents about the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling, as well as concerns about corporate personhood and limiting campaign spending. I agree that statutory entities should not have the same constitutional rights as individuals, and that money raised and spent for political purposes should be subject to reasonable regulation.
While this is an issue that needs to be resolved by our federal government, there are steps that we can take here in the state of Oregon to make sure our federal representatives hear our voice loud and clear. HJM 6 is a bill that would formally urge Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to limit certain political contributions. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Rules, where it had a public hearing on April 10th. This is a message that we must send to Congress, which is why I am a chief sponsor of this bill.
Strengthening Protections for Homeowners and Consumers
Oregon is still recovering from the economic downturn of 2008, and many homeowners still need additional protection from foreclosure and predatory lending practices. As of last December, 2.7% of Oregonians are at some stage of the foreclosure process. Several of the pieces of legislation I am submitting this session aim to ensure that Oregon consumers are not taken advantage of, and to promote fairness in our banking, financial, and real estate industries.