2023 Legislative Session Updates



Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session is well underway, and we are thrilled to announce that legislators unanimously moved ODA’s flagship dental bills out of committee – the first big vote on their path to approval!


Following is our mid-session update featuring ODA’s priority bills and other legislation we support or we are tracking. Together, Oregon dentists are working to improve access to care, ensure transparency in dental insurance practices and address dental workforce shortages.

House Bill 2979: Addressing the Workforce Crisis

Approved unanimously by the House Health Care Committee. Show your support now!


Spearheaded by ODA, House Bill 2979 addresses the dental assistant and hygienist shortage affecting dentists statewide. This legislation would invest in high school and community college education and training programs for dental assistants and hygienists, expand eligibility for incentives to all oral health professionals serving high-need communities, and improve access to free resources for dentists offering on-the-job training.


KGW News recently featured the bill with an interview by ODA member Dr. Caroline Zeller. You can find the story here: Bill seeks funding to train dental workforce amid shortage. The bill also had a write-up in ADA News, which you can read here.


HB 2979 is now under consideration in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. Please make your voice heard now by sending a letter to your legislators! It’s incredibly easy – just click here for a template or use the button below.

Tell Legislators to Support HB 2979

House Bill 3008: Insurance Transparency

Approved unanimously by the House, now in the Senate

ODA members spearheaded House Bill 3008 to improve transparency of dental plans and prevent surprise business costs, protect access to care, improve oral health outcomes and promote public understanding of health care costs. The bill does this in two important ways: through transparency in insurance practices involving provider networks and through transparency in the claims reimbursement process.


It would require dental plans to obtain a provider’s consent before selling or leasing out associated provider panels, and it would require dental plans to obtain a provider’s approval to opt in if receiving reimbursement payments via electronic credit cards rather than checks. Insurers would also need to communicate about credit card reimbursements.


The Oregon House approved HB 3008, sending it to the Senate.


House Bills 2996 and 3223: Removing Written Exam Requirements

Approved by the House, now in the Senate

Sponsored by dentists, Reps. Hai Pham and Cyrus Javadi, HB 2996 would enable dental assistants to obtain certification to perform radiography procedures through a combination of education and hands-on training – with proficiency verified by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist – rather than requiring completion of a written exam.


The bill aims to empower dental assistants to practice to the full extent of their training and experience by allowing them to establish proficiency without paying to take a written exam that many dentists feel does not affect the health and safety of patients, does not accurately reflect competency, and which can serve as an economic barrier to career advancement.


HB 3223 expands on HB 2996 by removing written testing requirements for dental assistants and instead outlining requirements for a licensed dentist to train their dental assistants, attest that they have completed a set of hands-on procedures, and move their application to the Oregon Board of Dentistry for final certification.


The House advanced both of these bills, moving them to the Senate for consideration.


House Bill 3007: Office of Oral Health

Approved in committee, now in Ways and Means

Also sponsored by Reps. Pham and Javadi, House Bill 3007 would establish an Office of Oral Health with an Oral Health Advisory Committee to support the Oregon Health Authority’s dental director. The Healthy Teeth, Bright Futures Coalition has been advocating for this bill to promote evidence-based oral health disease prevention across Oregon.


The House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care approved the bill, sending it to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.


Other Dental Bills of Note

The ODA is tracking hundreds of bills in the 2023 Legislative Session. A few others to be aware of include:

  House Bill 3090: Flavored Tobacco — Passed out of House Health Care Committee on a party line vote. It goes now to Ways and Means.

 Senate Bill 412: Dental Lab Licensing — Passed out of committee. Now up for consideration in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

 Senate Bill 487: Funding for sealant programs and CDHCs — Moved out of committee. Now in Ways and Means.

How can you help?

Legislators need to hear from dentists directly about these issues! It’s time to turn up the heat and send letters encouraging lawmakers to pass these bills for the good of Oregonians’ oral health.


We have a template set up for dentists to show support for House Bill 2979. Please take a moment and act now!

Tell Legislators to Support HB 2979