Read all newsletters from Rep. Drazan regarding the Wuhan virus
[Ed. note: Do not stop at her signature! There is more to read]
Hello friends and neighbors,
We made it through another challenging few weeks. Some in our community were without power for a few days, while for others, the outage dragged on for nearly two weeks. Transportation and communications were also impacted with blocked driveways and streets, downed land lines and impacted cell towers, which added complexity for families and created additional challenges for emergency response.
In these events there are always lessons to learn. What did you learn? What do you want us to know about how we can better connect and support our communities during natural disasters?
I was in communication with PGE, the county and the governor’s office regularly to share the challenges and needs of our neighbors as I became aware of them. What kept me up at night were the families who had needs but did not know who to reach out to or how to get help.
As PGE's system failed to be an accurate source of information for outage or restoration timelines many were frustrated because they could not know what they should plan for — a few more hours or another week without power.
While I am grateful for the incredible team PGE pulled together across the region to get the system back up, the lack of information as well as posting of inaccurate information, made the process more difficult. This is an area we have to see improvement. I also had conversations with PGE about how they prioritize their teams for which areas to restore and which houses to hold to the back of the line, as well as protocols and communications to resolve challenges when they arise.
Once again the community was incredible, with people checking on their neighbors, helping provide necessities, sharing information and pitching in.
This week's newsletter includes updates to youth sports, school reopening, vaccine scheduling and other tools for the days and weeks to come.
Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have questions, concerns or need assistance.
Outdoor Sports are Back in Play
There has been movement on outdoor contact sports. High school and college athletes will be permitted to play, with precautions. It is important to the mental health of our students for them to be back on the field. Precautions will be assigned by the state according to each county's COVID-19 risk level guidance.
More detailed sports guidance here.
Currently in the Legislature
Behavioral Health Committee
The Behavioral Health Committee had a public hearing on House Bill 2417, which provides funding for the operation of mobile crisis intervention teams in counties statewide.
Health Care Committee.
Two big bills are making their way through Health Care this session. On February 9th there was a public hearing held for House Bill 2362. The bill puts the state in the middle of mergers and acquisitions in the health care sector. I see this as government overreach at its worst in the midst of a global pandemic when our health care systems have struggled to survive with shutdowns and restrictions that risked statewide healthcare system stability. Nurses were among our highest number of unemployed Oregonians at the height of the shutdowns. As access to basic medical care has been restored, our providers and systems are focused on patient health. The state should not use this crisis to intervene unnecessarily in mergers when safeguards are already in place through the Department of Justice. The Oregon Health Authority is the largest most complex agency in the state — they don't need more authority and they should not be charged with controlling the business decisions of private health care systems in Oregon.
The next bill regulates reimbursement rates in the emerging world of telehealth. If access to your medical provider through telemedicine has been a feature of COVID-19 changes that you have come to appreciate — you can expect those visits to continue. House Bill 2508 treats telemedicine on par with an office visit and sets insurance reimbursement rates as such.
When new mandates are proposed in the health care committee, I prioritize holding down the cost of health care, protecting patient voice, increasing access to care and ensuring quality of care is not compromised. It's important that telehealth appointments do not negatively impact patient care and that all patients continue to have robust access to in-person care at their discretion. If the appointment meets the patients needs and is an acceptable or preferred mode of care telehealth, has a role to play in strengthening access to health care for busy families and patients whose mobility makes in-office appointments challenging.
House Bill 2631
Legislation that requires schools notify parents when their student is harassed or bullied was up for discussion this week. You can read the full bill text and find more information here.
A constituent brought an issue forward that fixes an oversight in a property tax program for disabled Oregonians. I had the privilege of presenting House Bill 2634 with my constituent in a public hearing before the House Revenue Committee last week. You can watch the hearing here.
E-Subscribe in OLIS
I hope you are taking advantage of the opportunity to be automatically notified of public hearings, work sessions and final passage for legislation you are following. Simply click the "e-Subscribe Email" button on the bill's page to sign up and the OLIS system will notify you as the bill moves through the process.
As of March 1st, the system for getting vaccinated has been updated and people 65 and older are also now eligible for the vaccine.
Rather than having Oregonians scramble to find appointments, the state has updated their system wherein they will notify you once a vaccine dose is available to you. To be notified, you can submit your information to Get Vaccinated Oregon. This invitation system is the most effective way to receive the vaccine, and know when you are eligible.
Another option to help you find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment is to go through Salem Health. Regardless of the county you reside in, you can obtain your vaccine anywhere. The only requirement is that you get your second shot from the same location as your first. Salem Health has a very user friendly website and you can check it out below.
Legislation for School Choice
Testify this Session
Want to testify? You can do so remotely on any piece of legislation going through the process this session. Your input and insight as to how bills impact you and our community is highly valued. You can find information on how to testify remotely on this page.
Reminder for parents of high school seniors in House District 39
If you would like to have your senior student recognized from the floor of the House during this legislative session, please share some information with my office -- the student's name, school, favorite activities, and plans after graduation. We will let you know what day and time they will be honored so you can tune in. We can also provide you with a video clip if you'd like.
You can send the info to:
[email protected] or call (503) 986-1439
Landlord Compensation Fund
With the passage of HB 4401, an eviction moratorium was established alongside a program to financially assist tenants and landlords. The Legislature allocated $200 million in rent assistance to support tenants and landlords, which includes $150 million for the Landlord Compensation Fund.
The program is not a "first come, first serve" basis, please see criteria below. Applications will be reviewed after the first round closes and there will be additional rounds until the full $150M is fully expended. The application deadline has been extended to 4pm on March 5th, 2021.
Pandemic Tax Relief
Taxes this year may feel more complicated than ever before. The Oregon Department of Revenue has a page to help walk you through the process. For information on pandemic-related tax relief, check out the Department's website, here.
Oregon Real ID Available Soon
The Real ID is a new federal identification requirement for anyone traveling domestically in the United States or accessing a secure federal facility. Beginning July 6, 2021, Oregonians will have the option of obtaining drivers licenses or identification cards that are compliant with the federal Real ID Act. The requirement for use of these IDs begins on October 1, 2021, but a passport or passport ID card will also meet federal standards.
How Can I Help You?
If I can ever be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can reach me at:
971-360-8265 – District phone
503-986-1439 – Capitol phone
900 Court St NE, H-395 Salem, OR, 97301