I am writing today with an urgent reminder that the Oregon Health Authority will be holding its public hearing on permanent masking this coming Thursday, January 20th. You can submit your written comments to [email protected] [E-mail client required]. If you feel strongly, like I do, that these mandates are unnecessary, a continued massive government over-reach and a terrible public policy precedent, then please take a minute and send an email or ask to testify. The outcome is not yet certain so please be a part of the movement to weigh in on this important hearing. Let the decision makers of this unelected state agency know how this affects you, your family, your business and the future of this state. We never know what might tip the scale.
The Oregon Health Authority's supposed reasoning behind this proposed permanent mandate has become flimsier over the last month as we've watched the Omicron variant march across our state. Oregon is one of only six states left in the country with a mask mandate and in spite of these mandates the Omicron variant is spreading. Omicron is very likely going to touch us all with or without masks, vaccines or social distancing. Further undermining the OHA's mandate is the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently releasing new information that cloth masks offer little to no protection from COVID and are particularly ineffective in the face of Omicron.
There needs to be more recognition of the counter-prevailing impacts of masks, especially on the mental health of our children. After nearly 24 months, the impacts on the rest of our society in mental health, depression, and drug abuse must be recognized and calculated into the impacts of these mandates. We are social creatures, and we need interaction — verbal and non-verbal — interaction with our fellow citizens. The Oregon Health Authority has a choice to truly "follow the science" and recognize its fruitless efforts to stop or slow the spread of COVID. Stop these mask mandates in their current form and take a permanent mandate off the table. The mask mandates appear to be ineffective in slowing the spread and they are harmful particularly to our children's mental health.
I have urged the OHA to actually read and consider the public testimony they receive so please give them something to read. Take a few minutes out of your day today and add your voice to the multitude of others opposing this mandate.
In the meantime take care of yourselves, your family and your neighbors. Yes, this variant seems to be much less severe, but do what you can to help yourself. Try to get enough sleep, exercise, find a little fresh air and of course talk to your doctor or naturopath if and when you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for taking the time today to not only read this newsletter, but to send an email or request time to testify at the January 20th OHA hearing. I've included the detailed instructions below of how to submit testimony. Every single one of your comments helps — make your voice count today!
All my best,
State Representative – HD 25
OHA TESTIMONY INFORMATION
How to Provide Oral Testimony:
Adoption of a rule requiring masks to be worn in indoor spaces in Oregon (OAR 333-019-1025): January 20, 2022 at 10:00 AM (Phone Conference ID: 389 374 45#)
To provide oral testimony during any of these hearings, please contact [email protected] [E-mail client required] to sign-up and receive the link for the Microsoft Teams video conference. Alternatively, for audio only, you may dial 971-277-2343 using the phone conference ID# as the password listed for each hearing above.
You may also file written comments on these proposed rules before 5:00 p.m. on January 24, 2022 to the Public Health Division Rules Coordinator at the following address:
OHA, Public Health Division Administrative Rules Coordinator 800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 930 Portland, Oregon 97232
Email comments to: [email protected] [E-mail client required]. You may also send comments by fax to: (971) 673-1299.
Please indicate in your written comments which rule number(s) you are commenting on so they can be entered into the appropriate rulemaking record.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] [E-mail client required].
***The issue concerning vaccine mandates is being considered through OHA committee, the Immunization School/Children's Facility/College Law Advisory Committee (ISLAC). This committee has yet to meet since November of 2021, and I will be sure to keep up updated when I learn more.
email: [email protected] I phone: 503-986-1425
address: 900 Court St NE, H-479, Salem, OR 97301