Sine Die! 2012 Legislative Session Ushers in Critical Reforms

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The first annual “short” session has adjourned Sine Die!  While it took a couple more days than planned, lawmakers were able to make the compromises necessary to move forward with landmark legislation that will make a significant difference in Oregon’s systems of health care and education.

OBA came into the 2012 Legislative Session with a lofty agenda — to transform the way that health care is delivered and to redesign Oregon’s education system to focus on students and give them a first class education.

While some considered these overly ambitious goals for the Oregon Legislature’s first official even-year “short” session, OBA, along with our partners and, most importantly, our dedicated elected officials worked tirelessly in the halls of the Capitol to see these critical reform efforts come to pass.

The 2012 Legislative Session has been, in a word, transformational.  Not only have our elected leaders ushered in a new paradigm for health care and education, but we have proven once again that Oregon is a place where policy makers can put the needs of our citizens first and find common ground on critical issues facing our state.

Below you will find a recap of OBA’s priority legislation that was approved by the Legislature during the 2012 Session. With these key policies in place, OBA will begin another round of agenda development with our members and policy committees to continue strengthening Oregon’s quality of life and long-term economic competitiveness in the 2013 Regular Session.

Health Care Transformation

SB 1580 – Health Care Transformation: This legislation will, beginning with the Medicaid population, create a more coordinated health care system through the formation of Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs). The goal of CCOs is to deliver patient-centered, quality care with an emphasis on prevention to reduce waste and inefficiency that comes from unnecessary procedures and emergency room visits, duplicative testing, and lack of coordination.  This new way of approaching health care delivery will save billions over time.

HB 4164 – Health Insurance Exchange: The Oregon Health Insurance Exchange is a public corporation which will create a central marketplace where consumers and small businesses can shop for health insurance plans and access federal tax credits to help pay for coverage.

Education Redesign

SB 1581 – Achievement Compacts: This bill clarified that the Chief Education Officer has authority over the six education executives to lead the development of an integrated public education system.  Additionally, this legislation will require K-12 school districts, Educational Service Districts, community colleges, the Oregon University System and universities, and Oregon Health Sciences University to enter into achievement compacts with the state in order to receive state funding. 

HB 4165 – Early Learning Council: This legislation gives the Early Learning Council (ELC) oversight of a unified system of early learning services for children 0-6 years old to ensure that children enter school ready to learn, including a system of community-based coordinators that will deliver services to local communities throughout the state. The bill begins the process of creating standards and assessments for children that determine kindergarten readiness.

HB 4061 – Local Board for Public Universities: This bill establishes the Special Committee on University Governance, which will create a structure for Oregon’s public universities to have independent local boards.  The committee will begin its work immediately to meet a deadline of November 1, 2012 for recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.