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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.

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 vaccine eligibility and a change to our bi-weekly Virtual Coffees.

 
Bill Updates

March 19th marked the “Post Work Session” deadline for the legislature; any bill that failed to have a public hearing and a committee work session scheduled by this date “died”. The next crucial date is the “First Chamber Work Session Deadline;” a bill must have a committee work session take place on or before April 13th in order to stay “alive.” With the sheer number of bills introduced this session, most of them did not make it past the “Post Work Session” date. I am very grateful to my team and my colleagues as we continue to have four strong bills moving forward.

HB 3037 is a bill my office has been working on alongside Multnomah County to help inform and support a community after a youth dies by suicide. The bill changes some reporting restrictions between counties and also requires the state to create a statewide post-suicide intervention plan with the intention to support a community to decrease the further harm that comes after a peer and child dies by suicide. The bill had a work session on 3/10 in the House Committee on Behavioral Health and passed out of committee with a unanimous vote. The bill is currently on the House floor, waiting to be voted on. 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 regulating indirect sources of air pollution, primarily diesel particulate matter. We know that high concentrations of diesel emissions put individuals at significant risk for immediate cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke as well as for developing more long-term conditions such as asthma and cancers. The air quality in the Portland metro area is some of the worst in the nation with 74% of our diesel emissions coming from offroad sources like trains and construction equipment. The bill had a public hearing on 3/3 and 3/8 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment. It is scheduled for one more public hearing on 4/7 and a work session on 4/12. Your testimony in support of this bill on 4/7 would be extremely helpful as industry is very much against this policy and we have an uphill battle to get this passed. 

HB 3035 creates a pilot program at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (the women’s prison) 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 Facility to create accessible electronic medical records for adults in custody to allow for more coordinated ongoing care. The bill had a public hearing on 3/9 in the House Committee on Judiciary and will have a work session on 3/30 where I have enough votes to pass it and expect to move it to the floor for a vote.

HB 3039 requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to convene a group of healthcare and technology stakeholders to create a strategic plan for moving Oregon into a future where healthcare and social service supports are collaboratively delivered and seamlessly coordinated. The goal would be 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 and 3/24 in the House Committee on Human Services. We received great feedback from the committee and amazing support from the community. It is scheduled for a work session on 4/7.

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 3/22, the subcommittee held an informational meeting to hear from Multnomah County Commissioner Dr. Sharon Meieran, and Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett and receive updates from local governments on their response to COVID-19 and their gradual reopening. The committee also held a work session on HB 3030, a bill that would allow optometrists to administer vaccines and sent it to the full Health Care Committee with a do pass recommendation.

On 3/24 the subcommittee received our weekly briefing on vaccine rollout from Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen. The committee also held a public hearing on HB 2327, a bill that would require the Department of Human Services to study and make recommendations for legislative changes needed to increase access to long term care for all Oregonians.

On 3/29, the subcommittee will hear about the B.1.1.7 variant and outbreaks outside of Oregon from Dr. Michael Osterholm, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Following that we will discuss Oregon school openings with Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon State Health Officer; Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education, and other school leaders.

Biweekly Constituent Conversations Update

The week of 3/29 marks my return to the hospital as a critical care and pulmonary physician on a part-time basis. It is a priority for me to continue holding these events on a regular basis and ask for your understanding as the timing of these events may change based on my work schedule.

With that said, my next Constituent Conversation will be on Saturday, April 3 at 5:30pm. These events 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.

RSVP Here
COVID Update

COVID cases have recently been trending downward, however this appears to be plateauing. There is a concern that we will see cases increase with variants present and opening up our communities. Nevertheless, Oregon’s case rate is fourth-lowest in the nation, which 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 - has been working! Please continue to practice these safety protocols as long as needed as we aren’t done with this yet. Finally and most importantly, please make sure you and your loved ones get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible, especially those who are 65 years and over.  

Vaccines Eligibility Expansion

On 3/19, Governor Brown announced an update to the vaccine eligibility timeline which is as follows: 

  • 3/29: Adults between 45 and 64 with underlying health conditions, pregnant individuals 16 and older, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, seafood and agricultural workers, food processing workers, individuals experiencing homelessness, people displaced by wildfires, wildland firefighters, individuals in low-income senior housing, congregate care or independent living facilities

  • 4/19: Frontline workers who meet the CDC definition, people in multigenerational housing and adults between 16 and 44 with underlying health conditions

  • 5/1: All Oregonians 16 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 the PDX Airport by clicking the “Let’s get started” button when you scroll down. To get more information you can call 211, email ORCOVID@211info.org, or text ORCOVID to 898211. Costco Pharmacies, Safeway/Albertsons Pharmacies, Walgreens, and OHSU also have direct vaccine appointment tools.

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. You should not pay out of pocket for your vaccine. 

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.

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.

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 3/20, both Multnomah and Washington Counties are at moderate risk of COVID-19 spread. 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.

 
 
DMV Update

Starting in early May, the DMV2U.Oregon.gov website will be updated to allow individuals to renew drivers’ licenses, standard commercial driver license (no endorsements such as hazmat or farm), ID cards, instruction permits, motorcycle instruction permits, restricted moped-only licenses, and disability golf cart driver permits online.

When you do an online renewal you will be able to change your address if you have moved or modify organ donation status. You will be able to renew online if your card is within 12 months of its expiration, your previous renewal was done in person, and you are not currently suspended or still owe a reinstatement fee from a previous suspension.

 
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period ends soon, on March 31. If you take advantage of this open enrollment period, you will have coverage that starts the first day of the month after you enroll. You must have an existing Medicare Advantage plan on Jan. 1, 2021 to use this enrollment period.

During this time, if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can:

·  Change to a different Medicare Advantage plan, either with or without drug coverage

·  Enroll in a stand-alone Part D (prescription drug) plan, which returns the beneficiary to Original Medicare

NOTE: Signing up for Part D prescription drug coverage is not guaranteed unless you were already in a Medicare Advantage plan on Jan. 1, 2021. You can make only one change during this enrollment period and can not change from one stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan to another stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.

If you need to switch Medicare Advantage plans you can get help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or find local help using the locator tool at dcbspage.org/SHIBALOCAL. SHIBA counselors provide objective options counseling using the Medicare plan finder tool at Medicare.gov/plan-compare.

The 2021 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans can be found at https://healthcare.oregon.gov/shiba/Documents/2021_Medicare_Guide.pdf

 
 
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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