2017 ONA Legislative Report

Oregon nurses won a number of important victories during Oregon’s 2017 legislative session. We protected and expanded access to health care for some of our most vulnerable patients, many advanced practice priorities were signed into law, and a number of our coalition agenda items also fared well.

Following the 2016 elections, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, holding 35 of the 60 seats in the House, and 17 of the 30 seats in the Senate. Although the Democrats gained one seat in the House and lost one seat in the Senate, neither chamber had a three fifths majority of one party to pass any new tax policy, which ultimately compromised ONA’s top priority of meaningful corporate tax reform.

Despite this, ONA helped achieve unprecedented victories in defending and expanding access to health care for Oregonians. The legislature was able to create a program to maintain coverage for 350,000 Oregonians on Medicaid and expanded health care coverage for all low-income children with bipartisan support. Oregon also improved access to reproductive health care services, both by allowing Nurse Practitioners to perform vasectomies in statute and by requiring insurers to cover a host of reproductive health services at no cost to the patient. We also expanded access to mental health care and funded the first stages of public health modernization to make sure all Oregonians have access to robust prevention services.

ONA and our labor partners were also victorious in warding off any cuts to the Public Employee Retirement System and helping pass many of our coalition priorities, including a public health priority of transitioning many outdated engines to have cleaner emissions, and limiting anti-labor Right to Work style policies at the local level.

Special thanks are due to ONA’s Cabinet on Health Policy members, who developed and helped execute our 2017 legislative agenda. Before and throughout session, Cabinet members worked diligently to craft ONA’s policy agenda and consider our responses to bills that will impact Oregon nurses and patients.

In this report you can read more about how ONA’s priorities fared. For more information about any of the issues or bills discussed in this report, please contact ONA’s Government Relations Office at (503) 293-0011.