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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week my team and I have worked hard to continue moving our bills forward and connect constituents with resources and services. All of my office’s bills are available to view online at OLIS.

As we get further into the legislative session, the pace begins to speed up. Here is your update on what has been going on at the Capitol. Below that you’ll also find the latest COVID-19 information, including an update on how to sign up for vaccine appointments.

Public Hearings & Work Sessions

This week saw a lot of movement on a few of my bills. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the legislative process, once a bill is created and assigned to a committee, a public hearing must be held to ensure that the public has input on legislation likely to impact their lives. After the public hearing, a work session is held where the committee votes to decide on whether the bill will be moved further on in the legislative process - to the House floor or the Ways and Means Committee.

HB 3037 is a bill that my office has been working on alongside Multnomah County to help inform and support a community after a youth dies by suicide. The bill would require youth suicides be reported to local mental health authorities in a timely manner. The bill allows counties to share information regarding deceased youth who may live in one county but were found deceased in another. The bill also requires the state to create a statewide post-intervention plan. In addition, local mental health authorities and schools in the areas impacted by youth suicide must report the steps taken to provide support to the community. The bill had a work session on 3/10 in the House Committee on Behavioral Health and the bill passed out of committee with a unanimous vote! Next the bill moves to the Speaker’s desk and then the House. If it passes, then the process repeats on the Senate side.

HB 2814 directs the Environmental Quality Commission to start a public rulemaking process for indirect sources of air pollution, including diesel particulate matter. We know that high concentrations of diesel emissions put individuals at significant risk of developing lifelong chronic conditions such as asthma. The bill had a hearing on 3/3 and 3/8 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

HB 3035 creates a pilot program at Coffee Creek Correctional Institution to ensure adults in custody have access to high quality, comprehensive, and coordinated healthcare including mental and reproductive health services and addiction support. The bill also establishes healthcare navigators to help adults in custody navigate their healthcare while incarcerated and requires Coffee Creek Penitentiary to create accessible electronic medical records for adults in custody to allow for more coordinated ongoing care. The bill had a hearing on 3/9 in the House Committee on Judiciary.

HB 3039 requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to convene a group of healthcare and technology stakeholders to come together to create a vision and a strategic plan for moving Oregon into a future where healthcare and social services support are collaboratively delivered and seamlessly coordinated. The group would explore how the state can integrate through electronic information sharing platforms, the delivery of social services and health care. The goal is to develop a statewide strategic plan to achieve two objectives:

  1. Ensure our electronic health records systems can “talk” to one another, allowing care providers to have a complete understanding of a patient’s medical, social and pharmaceutical history, no matter where they receive their care. 
  2. Link health record systems with community-based organizations and the services they provide in the region, allowing for care to the whole patient. 

The bill had a hearing on 2/24 in the House Committee on Human Services and we received great feedback from the committee and amazing support from the community. It is scheduled for a work session on 3/24.

If you would like to testify about these bills - or any bill for that matter - I encourage you to watch the video below from my colleague and friend, Representative Dacia Grayber.

COVID-19 Subcommittee

This week the COVID-19 Subcommittee met on two separate occasions. 

On 3/8, the subcommittee met to discuss vaccine distribution while looking at the impact of 2019’s HB 2200 which allowed dentists to administer vaccines following training (of note, the subcommittee’s own, Vice-Chair Hayden is certified to administer vaccines as a dentist). The committee also held a public hearing on HB 3030, a bill that would allow optometrists to administer vaccines.

On 3/10 the subcommittee received a briefing on vaccine rollout from Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and held informational meetings to hear about vaccine completion for residents in long-term care facilities and communicating to help vaccinate Oregon seniors and prevent COVID-related scams.

On 3/15, the subcommittee will meet to receive an update on the status of outbreaks and vaccinations within Oregon’s prisons and correctional facilities. 

If you wish to submit written testimony or testify live, you can sign up at the subcommittee page by selecting 3/15 on the right-hand sidebar of the page. We must ask that you submit your testimony in written form if you are not able to articulate all of your points within our three-minute, live-testimony limit. We welcome and value the input of our constituents and thank you in advance for helping us make these important decisions.

Virtual Coffee Conversations

On March 5, Governor Brown announced that she will be ordering public schools to reopen with in-person instruction starting for grades K-5 by March 29 and grades 6-12 by April 19. I am supportive of the Governor's decision to open up using a phased approach. We have seen schools open up across the country to great success when safety precautions are taken.

In lieu of my usual Virtual Coffee Conversation next Saturday, March 20 at 10am, I will be hosting a School Reopening Town Hall with Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerreo and Dr. Shawn Bird, the Chief of Schools. The event will be posted on Facebook and YouTube afterwards for the benefit of those who can’t join us live. You can RSVP with the link below or watch live on my Facebook page the day of. I ask that you submit your questions ahead of time using the link below. There will be a lot to go through and I want to ensure we can address as many of your questions as possible.

RSVP Here
Ask Questions Here
COVID Update

COVID cases have recently been trending downward. This is a great sign that all the work Oregonians have done - to continue to wear masks (or even double masking), stay socially distant, and remain at home as much as possible - is working! We can’t help but feel hopeful now that there are vaccinations, but the experts advise that we continue those important, effective safety practices until we have vaccinated the majority of Oregonians. 

Vaccines for 70 and Older

On 3/1, the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine widened to include individuals age 65 and older.

The Oregon Health Authority has changed the process for signing up to receive vaccines. The Get Vaccinated Oregon website has been updated.If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you will receive an email invite from All4Oregon inviting you to make an appointment at the Oregon Convention Center. All4Oregon will then send you a unique, individualized link that connects to the All4Oregon scheduling site with open dates and times for vaccine appointments. The link will expire if it is not used within five days.

Additionally, the state’s COVID Vaccine website provides info about the vaccine distribution process and allows individuals living in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia or Marion counties to schedule a vaccination appointment at PDX airport by clicking the “Let’s get started” button when you scroll down. You can also call 211 to get more information or receive assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment, email ORCOVID@211info.org, or text ORCOVID to 898211. Costco Pharmacies, Safeway/Albertsons Pharmacies, Walgreens, and OHSU also have direct vaccine appointment tools.

I know these websites have been crashing and inaccessible for too many, especially in the Metro area. I hear you and am working alongside my colleagues in the COVID-19 Subcommittee to address these issues.

The Oregon Health Authority does not require an ID to receive a vaccine and the vaccine will be free. However, if you do have insurance it is recommended that you bring your insurance information, as providers may charge your insurance an administration fee. 

If you experience side effects after you receive the vaccine, the CDC recommends using their V-safe website to report that information. The most common side effects are tenderness around the injection site, headaches, tiredness, and chills. The website will also remind you when it is time to receive the second dose of the vaccine.

While the roll-out of vaccines is exciting, it’s important to remember that vaccines are still a scarce resource and it may take weeks to get an appointment to be vaccinated. Please be patient – and stay safe! - as we all work through this process and more vaccines become available.

COVID Risk Levels Update

In December, Governor Brown, alongside the Oregon Health Authority, introduced a new county-level approach to easing COVID restrictions based on a county’s risk level. As of 3/10, both Multnomah and Washington Counties are both at moderate risk. This lowering of risk allows certain activities, such as indoor exercise, to slowly open up. Here is where you can see your county’s risk level and what the guidance is for activities under that risk level.

6 Tips on How to Spot a Vaccine Scam

  1. You cannot pay to get early access to the vaccine. If someone calls to offer an appointment for a payment, it is a scam.

  2. Do not pay to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who wants money to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.

  3. Worried about cost? If you are uninsured, on Medicare, an employer plan, private insurance, or the Oregon Health Plan, you do not have to pay to get the vaccine. That is a scam.

  4. Ignore sales ads for the vaccine. The vaccine is only available through federal or state partners. You cannot buy it anywhere.

  5. Nobody legitimate will call, text, or email about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card number.

  6. You are not required to provide a Social Security number when registering for a vaccine appointment.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit COVIDVaccine.oregon.gov. To download the “How to Spot a COVID-19 Vaccine Scam” visit www.oregonconsumer.gov  and click on COVID-19 Scams.

Summer Learning Proposal

On March 6, Governor Brown and legislative leadership unveiled their plan to appropriate $250 million dollars to help make up for the gaps our students have seen during the pandemic. Here’s a breakdown of the plan:

  • $90 million for Summer Enrichment/Academic Program Grants (K-8)

    • Grants available to school districts who participate in providing enrichment programs available for all students in grades K-8.

    • This could mean activities like robotics, dance, foreign language, etc.

  • $72 million for Summer Academic Program Grants (High School)

    • Grants available to school districts who participate in providing enrichment programs available for up to half of district students for the purposes of students gaining credit recovery from courses they have failed or fallen behind during the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • $40 million for Summer Activity Grants

    • Statewide grants for community-based activities and services for school-aged children, including day camps and park programs.

  • $30 million for School Child Care Grants

    • Grants available to school districts who want to participate to cover the costs of wraparound child care services for K-9 students participating in summer enrichment/academic programming.

  • $13 million for Early Learning Programs

    • Funding for Early Learning Division grantees to continue services through the summer months.

    • This could include Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, Preschool Promise, and the Early Childhood Equity Fund

The remaining $5 million is planned to be used by the Oregon Department of Education to administer these programs. Any money not used by districts and early learning providers would be returned to the state General Fund during the 2021-2023 biennium.

This is an exciting proposal to empower our students during the summer months to engage in thoughtful programming to promote lifelong learning while ensuring families have access to meaningful childcare.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

If you’d like to support the vaccination effort, please consider volunteering to help with vaccinations! We are looking for medical and non-medical volunteers throughout Oregon. 

If you are a licensed and certified health care professional in the state of Oregon, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and behavioral health providers, you can register with SERV-OR.

If you are a non-medical individual interested in volunteering, you can sign up with my office. Please note that we are collecting volunteer names but further instruction will come from one of the metro area health systems who are collaborating on vaccine distribution (Kaiser Permanente, Legacy, Providence, and OHSU). We appreciate your patience as the health systems continue to get through the list of volunteers.

Medical Professional Sign Up
Non-Medical Volunteer Sign Up
Stay in Touch!

The best way to stay informed and connect with my legislative work is through my Facebook page (State Representative Maxine Dexter), my Twitter account (@RepDexterOR), and my Instagram (@RepDexterOR).In addition, please feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov.

I am honored to represent you in Salem, and look forward to continuing to serve you and this amazing community we share.

Gratefully,

 

Maxine Dexter, MD
Oregon State Representative
House District 33

Resources
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office has compiled an exhaustive list of COVID resources here.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline | 1-800-273-TALK (8255)- Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741

  • Oregon Youthline | Call 877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 between 4pm - 10pm to text with another teen.

  • National Youth Crisis Hotline | 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

  • Oregon Partnership 24 Hour Youth Helpline | 1-877-553-TEEN (8336)

  • NAMI Oregon | 503-230-8009 or 800-343-6264, email namioregon@namior.org - Live support from 9am - 5pm, M-F.

  • The Trevor Project | 1-866-488-7386 - 24/7 suicide prevention for LGBTQ.

  • Senior Loneliness Line | 503-200-1633 or 800-282-7035 - For Oregonians 55+ years old. Get ongoing support, resources, and listening sessions.

  • Veteran Crisis Line | 1-800-273-8255 - Call, chat, or text options, with deaf and hard of hearing support available.
     
  • Virtual Learning Assistance for Washington County Library members. (English resources) (Spanish Resources
  • Housing assistance: Family Promise of Beaverton is committed to helping children and their families affected by homelessness in the Beaverton area. (https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/#homepage

  • Housing assistance: Community Housing Fund focuses on providing affordable housing and works on community projects. (http://www.thecommunityhousingfund.org/?page_id=38#.Xz9P3S2ZNQI)

  • Housing assistance: Community Action helps pay rent and help to get people in need of housing. (https://caowash.org

  • Housing assistance: Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter serves women in the community who are experiencing homelessness. (https://safes.salvationarmy.org

  • Housing assistance, utility assistance, food assistance: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette provides access to critical services like housing assistance and utility assistance and access to food. (https://www.unitedway-pdx.org)

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Energy Fund is a 30-year-old nonprofit that provides energy bill assistance to low-income Oregonians in support of household stability. (https://www.oregonenergyfund.org/about-us/

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board provides equitable, affordable, and reliable utility services. (https://oregoncub.org

  • Utility assistance: EnergyTrust helps people save money and energy. (https://www.energytrust.org)

  • Disability assistance: Plan For Work services help individuals with disabilities and provide different services to those in need. (https://www.droregon.org/plan-for-work)  

  • Youth assistance: New Avenues for Youth provides meals, showers, laundry, respite from the streets, engagement activities, and legal counsel. (https://newavenues.org/our-services)

  • Community assistance: Oregon Solutions solves community problems using a problem-solving system. (https://orsolutions.org/about/what-we-do)

  • Transportation assistance: Trimet has a reduced fare for low-income rider and seniors age 65+. (https://trimet.org/fares/honoredcitizen.htm)  

  • Food assistance, water bill assistance, and grants, utility assistance: Care To Share coordinates assistance to families and individuals who seek emergency food and other basic necessities. (http://www.caretosharehelp.org)  

  • Food assistance: Mercy Corps Northwest provides assistance for community members returning from prison. (https://www.mercycorpsnw.org/work/

  • Food assistance, housing assistance, utility assistance, disability assistance: Department of County Human Services ensures that everyone can reach their potential and contribute to communities. (https://multco.us/dchs)

Follow Representative Dexter on social media to stay connected!
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Our Legislative Mailing Address:
900 Court St. NE, H-493
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: 503-986-1433
Copyright © 2021 Maxine for Oregon, All rights reserved.


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