Posts Tagged ‘Senator Alan Bates’
HB 2009 from 2009 session lays groundwork for expanding access, lowing costs
SALEM – Lawmakers heard testimony Monday morning regarding Oregon’s position to take advantage of the sweeping health care overhaul signed into law by President Obama in March. Reforms passed by the Oregon Legislature in the 2009 session put Oregon ahead of the curve on expanding coverage, lowing costs, and improving the quality of health care in the state.
“Oregon is a national leader for re-thinking how we provide access to quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham), chair of the Interim Senate Committee on Health Care. “We’re remarkably well-positioned to implement reforms and help more Oregonians because of the groundwork laid last session to improve health care in Oregon.”
House Bill 2009 from the 2009 session created a coordinated, streamlined approach to health care reform by establishing the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Health Policy Board. The Authority and Board oversee all health care functions, including the implementation of expanded coverage and reforms to contain skyrocketing costs.
“Oregon is a model to other states on how to structure reform and cover more people in need,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), a physician and co-author of the Healthy Oregon Act of 2007 and HB 2009. “While the journey toward universal coverage and lowering costs for everyone will take time, we’re leaps and bounds ahead of most of the nation.”
Affordable and accessible health care for all Oregonians has been a long-standing priority for the Oregon Senate Democrats. Giving uninsured Oregonians access to health care coverage is estimated to lower the burden of costs for all Oregonians over time, for those with and without health insurance. At the same time, this expansion of health care services will create thousands of family-wage jobs for Oregonians.
SB 1059 is the product of a diverse work group established in the 2009 session
Legislation that will help governments make decisions about how to develop smart, sustainable, and cost-effective transportation systems passed in the Senate this afternoon. Senate Bill 1059 lays the groundwork for communities to plan for future population and employment growth while reducing greenhouse gases.
“This bill deals with one important piece of the climate puzzle – transportation,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), who carried the bill on the floor. “We must design our cities more efficiently, everything from timing our traffic signals to increasing our ability to run errands with fewer or shorter trips in the car. This bill sets the stage for progress.”
A task force established by the 2009 Legislature proposed Senate Bill 1059, which would assist Oregon’s six major metropolitan areas to develop plans to broaden transportation choices while also helping Oregon meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. Continue reading “Bill sets the stage for tackling transportation & greenhouse gas reductions” »
Senate committee makes progress on key agenda item, full vote expected Thursday
On the second day of the February session, the Senate Health Care committee made progress on a key item on the Senate Democrats’ agenda, moving a bill that gives small businesses and their employees increased access to affordable health insurance.
“The recession has made providing health care much more difficult for small businesses,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham), chief sponsor of the bill and chair of the Senate Health Care Committee. “This bill will give more middle class Oregonians access to health care provided by their employers.”
Senate Bill 1003 modifies provisions in association health plans, which are used by many general contractors and other small businesses to offer health care to their workers. Under current law, 95 percent of all members of an association must participate in order for the association to qualify for the plan. For many associations that threshold has been impossible to meet. SB 1003 creates exemptions in these all-or-nothing plans, giving more Oregonians access to health care.
“This bill demonstrates our commitment to working with Oregon small businesses who are struggling the most during these tough times,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), a practicing physician and member of the Senate Health Care Committee. “Today’s vote is an important step as we continue to fight for access for health care for Oregonians.”
Senate Bill 1003 is expected to reach the floor later this week for a vote by the full Senate.
SB 528 will help address public health and safety issues
SALEM – The ongoing phase out of field burning in the Willamette Valley was pushed along this afternoon with the passage of SB 528. The bill creates a reduction of field burning of grass seed and cereal grain crops in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, and Lane Counties. Open field burning is eliminated in 2010 with exceptions for burning on steep terrain and for identified grass seed species.
“Field burning is antiquated and poses significant health risks,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), chief sponsor of the bill with Representative Paul Holvey in the House. “Too many people have suffered for too long by the smoke that gets trapped in the valley. This causes serious public safety risks and health problems for many Oregonians.”
Large plumes of smoke can create serious danger for drivers on surrounding roads. In 1988, eleven people were killed and 37 were injured in a crash caused by smoke from field burning that obstructed the vision of drivers on Interstate 5 outside of Albany.
The health risks associated with smoke from field burning are also well-documented. Oregonians who suffer from cardiovascular disease, the elderly, and children are particularly affected by the fine particulates released with field burning.
“I’ve seen first-hand how field burning can make life miserable for people suffering from asthma and I cannot justify how we could continue this practice,” said Senator Vicki Walker (D-Eugene). “There are agricultural alternatives readily available that are safer for the public and less disruptive to the surrounding environment.” Continue reading “Senate approves ramp-down of field burning” »
Two bills address standards of care in foster home or residential facilities
SALEM – Two bills that address foster care for Oregon children and vulnerable adults passed in the Senate this afternoon. House Bill 3114 addresses issues of overmedication of kids in the foster care system. House Bill 2442 standardizes investigations of misconduct and abuse and increase penalties for long-term care facilities where abuse occurs.
“All session long we’ve been dedicated to looking out for the most vulnerable Oregonians in our state,” said Deputy Senate Majority Leader Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham). “Our track record has been strong and, as we close out this session, these are good bills that will help people in significant ways.”
HB 3114 requires the Department of Human Services to develop procedures for children in foster care to receive an assessment from a mental health professional before being prescribed multiple psychotropic or antipsychotic medications. The legislation was prompted by reports in 2007 of overly medicated foster children whose health was being compromised by fragmentation in the medical and behavioral health systems.
“We have a special obligation to make sure that we are looking out for the well being of the children in our state’s foster care system,” said Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland), who carried the bill on the floor. “If these kids require multiple medications, there needs to be oversight of how the drugs interact and the effect they have on the quality of life of a child.” Continue reading “Legislation will help protect Oregon’s most vulnerable in foster care” »