The important session facts: Oregon’s five-month virtual session adjourned sine die on June 26th, 2021. The DD Coalition initially tracked or monitored about 571 pieces of legislation for potential impacts or as part of the policy agenda for the developmental disability community.
What made this session unique?
The 2021/23 Legislative session is one that will be remembered! One thing that made this session special was the unique financial place that the state was in. With a positive revenue outlook, it allowed advocates to speak to why bills and budgets should be FUNDED instead of why programs shouldn’t be cut. Because of an influx of federal dollars, we saw hundreds of bills (300+) sitting in Ways and Means at one point. Unfortunately, there were some really important bills that never moved out of committees due to the sheer volume of legislation. Legislators simply ran out of time to work through all of them. The good news is that we saw some crucial bills pass that will have a great impact on our communities and Oregonians with disabilities.
Due to the pandemic, the Capitol remained closed to the public for the entire legislative session which means all advocacy was done virtually. A HUGE thank you to all of you who took the time to testify and meet with legislators over Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. Thank for responding to our GO! Advocacy call to actions—your advocacy during this virtual session was tremendous and noted several times on the record. Your voices were heard and your advocacy helped moved legislation across the finish line.
Who were our Legislative Champions This Session?
Another incredibly important reason that this Coalition was so successful in our advocacy this session was due to our Legislative Champions. Without their voices elevating the priorities and systemic challenges that we face; we would have never seen the success that we did.
A HUGE THANK YOU to our Ways and Means Human Services Sub-Committee who were all impactful in a variety of ways and supported all of our budget priorities as well many of the bills that affected the DD community.
Joint Committee on Ways and Means Sub-Committee on Human Services Co-Chairs Rep Nosse and Senator Leiber led this bipartisan committee and were the cornerstone of ensuring that bills continued to be heard and discussed. They took the time to really ensure that they understood each of the Coalition’s priorities and in turn, made sure that their colleagues did as well. An additional thank you to Rep Nosse for sponsoring (HB 2964) and along with the other committee members, championing the needs for raising the wages of Direct Support Professionals.
Rep Stark ensured that he made himself available for advocates, taking the time to meet with us and hear what was important and why. Senator Hayden took his support for the Family Networks to the next level by using one of his priority bills (HB 3395) in hopes to expand funding for the networks statewide. Representative Williams was a committed partner on this committee as well as the Chair of the House Committee on Human Services. Senator Knopp has been a steadfast advocate of the DD community for years and his support for our priorities did not waiver this session. Rep Campos and her staff were strong advocates for many DD issues, especially raising DSP wages. Last, but certainly not least, Senator Gelser continued to be the voice and DD leader that the committee looked to for answers and to raise to the surface issues and overlooked priorities. The Coalition is grateful for the investments and commitments that the legislature made this session.
At the start of legislative session, the DD Coalition established its budget priorities for the 2021/2023 biennium. Due to the dynamics addressed above, it was a successful session for ALL of the Coalition's budget priorities. They are listed below, in no particular order.
Establish DSP Wage Standards
Pass HB 2964 to finally resolve the DSP wage inequities by setting the wage for Direct support Professionals at 150% of minimum wage going forward, stabilizing this diverse and marginalized workforce and while reducing turnover that places people with developmental disabilities at higher risk. HB 2964 is the long-term solution to a long-term issue.
We are thrilled to see much-needed investment in Direct Support Professional Wages during this legislative session. This additional funding will be a tremendous support for an area of our system that has been experiencing a staffing crisis for years.
The legislature has done two things to create a historic investment in Direct Support Professional wages:
- Starting July 1, 2021, DD provider rates will increase by 3.2%.
- Starting July 1, 2022, the DD Provider rate model will be fully funded. This means the average DSP wage included in rate structures will go from $14.16 per hour to $17.28 per hour.
In doing this investment, the Legislature created a budget note to explain its intent as follows: “It is the Legislature’s intent to fully fund provider rates for adult and children’s group home services, day support services, employment services, attendant care, supported living and non-medical transportation.”
In spite of unwavering advocacy HB 2964 did not pass this legislative session. While we deeply appreciate the investment that the legislature made in DSP wages this session, it is critically important that we keep the funding of these programs in line with our economy. This is an issue that will likely come back around in another session.
You can find more in-depth data on the DSP wage investment here
Fully Fund Case Management Entities
Ensure DD Case Management Entities are fully funded. DD Case Management Funding has not kept pace with increased workload over the past 3 biennia. Currently funded just under 74% of what the state estimates it should cost, a return to 95% of the DD workload model for operational costs and 100% of the workload model for staffing is needed to meet needs.
The budget moving forward with SB 5529 (the DHS budget bill) sets DD Case Management funding at $170 million General Fund for the 21-23 biennium. Full funding would have required $190 million, but this investment covers two-thirds of the gap between the 19-21 biennium funding levels and full funding.
You can find more in-depth data on the Case Management investment here
Reinstate Regional Family to Family Networks
Family to Family Networks support 12,250 families experiencing disability, many of whom have barriers accessing the formal developmental disability service system. Family Networks partner with 1,800 businesses and non-profits to make Oregon communities welcoming to all people.
We are excited to see an investment by the legislature of $1.4 million per biennium to restore the funding for the Family Networks that was cut in the 2020 Special Session. This investment will fund 10 Networks statewide to support families raising children experiencing disability.
You can find more in-depth data on the reinstatement of the Family Networks here
2021-2023 Budget (contained in SB 5529)
The Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout their life span. The adopted budget for ODDS for 2021-2023 is a $3,851,367,065 total funds budget.
Contained within the approved 2021-2023 budget are packages. For more information on specific information on what is contained within those packages, see here.
Priority Bill Highlights and Link
HB 2964: Requires Department of Human Services to reimburse cost of care provided by specified agencies in amounts sufficient to allow agencies to pay direct support professional 150 percent of state minimum wage. (Did not pass)
SB 190: Modifies permissible methods of providing notice of appointment of guardian to protected person. (Signed by Governor, Effective date, January 1, 2022)
SB 199: Modifies laws relating to form of advance directive (Signed by Governor, Effective date, September 25, 2021)
HB 3395: Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Human Services for Oregon Consortium of Family Networks. (Did not pass)
SB 236: Directs Early Learning Division to conduct study on use of suspension and expulsion in early childhood care and education programs and on efforts to reduce and prevent use of suspension and expulsion. (Passed)
SB 282: Extends grace period for repayment of residential rent accrued during emergency period of April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, until February 28, 2022. (Governor signed, Effective date, May 19, 2021.)
SB 567: Includes as unlawful practice medical provider's denial of treatment that is likely to benefit patient based on patient's race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability. (Passed)
SB 90: Exempts from public disclosure addresses of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities residing in adult foster homes, residential training facilities or residential training homes, unless public interest requires disclosure in particular instance. (Governor signed, Effective date, September 25, 2021.)
HB 2105: Directs school district to provide child with disability and child's parents with information regarding supported decision-making and strategies to remain engaged in child's secondary education and post-school outcomes. (Governor signed, Effective date January 1, 2022.)
SB 710: Modifies allowed and prohibited uses of restraint of children in care by certain programs (Passed)
SB 725: Restricts licensing or certification of providers of developmental disability services. (Did not pass)
HB 2552: Removes limit on number of residents in adult foster homes. (Did not pass)
Interested in more information, you can find a complete list of the bills tracked by the DD Coalition here.
Published by the GO! Project Team