March 20, 2017
The Oregon Senate dedicated the floor session this past Thursday, March 16th to honoring friend and colleague Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford), who passed away last August at the age of 71. In a unanimous vote, the Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 7, commemorating Bates for his service to his community of Southern Oregon as well as the rest of the state. It was the only piece of business taken up by the Senate on Thursday. A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators served as sponsors of the resolution, which came at the request of several former legislators.
After successes enacting paid sick leave and raising minimum wage during the last two legislative sessions, Oregon Democrats are looking to capitalize on the momentum to expand workers' protections once more by passing a bill that would require employers to pay workers during family and medical leave. House Bill 3087 would set up a statewide family and medical leave insurance fund. It is scheduled for a hearing Thursday, 3/23 in the House Early Childhood & Family Support Committee.
Gov. Kate Brown has reported that nearly half a million Oregonians may lose health insurance in the next ten years through 2026 under the federal health care overhaul proposal, potentially tripling the rate of uninsured individuals to 15 percent. Older adults could see premiums jump fivefold and roughly 23,000 health workers may lose their jobs. The data came from a 19-page report compiled by the Oregon Health Authority and the Consumer and Business Services Department per Brown's request in response to last week's introduction of the AHCA on Capitol Hill.
Oregon legislators are considering a proposal to elect the president of the United States by popular vote for the fourth time in the last eight years. Oregon's previous bipartisan efforts in 2009, 2013 and 2015 were successful in the House but ultimately failed in the Senate.
Department of Human Services Budget Hearings
The Human Services Subcommittee of Ways & Means began hearing from the Department of Human Services this past week. Tuesday began with an agency overview from Director Clyde Saiki and was followed by two days of programmatic overview from Ashley Carson-Cottingham, Director of the Aging and People with Disabilities Division of DHS.
There was a variety of different materials shared during these hearings:
DHS Overview: Click HERE
DHS Reference Materials: Click HERE
Legislative Fiscal DHS Budget Overview: Click HERE
DHS Governor's Budget Overview: Click HERE
DHS Quarterly Scorecard: Click HERE
Aging & People with Disabilities Division Materials ~
Aging & People with Disabilities Presentation: Click HERE
These materials offer great information about the agency, programs and the Governor's budget proposals. We encourage you to take a moment to read and review this information to use in your advocacy.
The Committee will continue to hear the DHS budget in various program areas over the next few weeks. You may access the Committee website HERE.
Public Testimony on the DHS Budget
Public testimony for Aging and People with Disabilities along with other program areas (Office of Developmental Disability Services, & Vocational Rehabilitation) is tentatively scheduled for March 28. This is an opportunity to offer your perspective on the programs, services and supports in long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities. We encourage you to consider participation in this testimony.
The Ways & Means Human Services Subcommittee meets Monday - Thursday at 8:30 am in Hearing Room F.
Please note if you need ADA accommodation for attendance at hearings in the capitol, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling 1-800-332-2313 at least 72 hours prior to the meeting time.
To submit written testimony to the Human Services Subcommittee Committee, please email: email@example.com and indicate Aging and People with Disability Budget.
Please do not hesitate to contact O4AD with questions regarding Committees and Hearings.
Resources for Advocates: O4AD has information for your use in the budget conversation. You can access our talking points on our website, bill tracking reports, bill calendars and more information on the Session at:
Hearings this week
This week, there are a number of hearings related to human services:
HB 2433 - House Human Services. March 21. 8 am: Directors Housing and Community Services to establish pilot program in which department constructs low income senior housing development on school district land and school district rents to low income senior at reduced rent in exchange for classroom assistance.
SB 380 - Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness. March 21. 3 pm. Requires State Parks and Recreation Commission to allow disabled veterans to make reservations for use of state park areas one month priori to reservation system being made available to general public.
SB 223 - Senate Human Services. March 22. 2 pm. Requires in home caregivers employed by or contracting with in home care agencies to meet training requirements of home care workers established by Home Care Commission.
HB 2961 - House Human Services. March 23. 8 am. Establishes Homeownership Repair and Rehabilitation Program within House and Community Services Department to provide grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to provide financial assistance to persons in low income households for repair and rehabilitation of residences.
HB 2210 - House Human Services. March 23. 8 am. Directs Housing and Community Services Department develops and implement Retaining Affordable Rental Housing Program to provide grants to owners of multifamily rental housing to rehabilitate and maintain housing at affordable rental rates.
In the Human Services Subcommittee of Ways and Means this week, the schedule is as follows (at this time, subject to change):
Tuesday, March 21 - Office of Developmental Disabilities
Wednesday, March 22 - Office of Development Disabilities
Thursday, March 23 - Commission on the Blind
Please consult the Committee Webpage for more information on these budget hearings.
*Remember, all hearings can be live streamed or watched at a later date via the Capitol's online system. You reach access those hearings via the Committee or bill webpage or via the Capitol Audio/Visual Webpage.
Oregon Health Authority Releases Report on Impacts of Proposed Medicaid Changes
The Oregon Health Authority, under the direction of the Governor's Office, has released an analysis of the potential impacts to Oregon's Medicaid system based on proposals within the American Health Care Act, currently under consideration in Congress. This report discusses impacts within DHS and OHA. The impacts of the current proposals would reach not only into health system transformation but also impact services for seniors and people with disabilities. You can read this report HERE.
n4a Releases Analysis of President's Budget Proposal
n4a, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, has released their initial analysis of the impacts of budget proposals within the recently released President's budget. Please read on for their analysis:
n4a’s Analysis of the President’s
FY 2018 Budget Blueprint
March 16, 2017
Today President Trump sent an outline to Congress of a FY 2018 budget that would dramatically alter the course of federal investments in both defense and non-defense discretionary funding. The “skinny” budget is an opening salvo to lawmakers, federal agencies and the country outlining the Trump Administration’s funding priorities. The budget does not contain many individual program line-items, so it is impossible to say exactly what funding levels the President proposes for many programs—including for Older Americans Act and other aging programs within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and Administration on Aging (AoA).
However, overall, the budget increases defense programs by $54 billion by breaking current parity between non-defense (NDD) and defense discretionary programs, and slashing NDD programs by $54 billion overall. Top-line agency numbers in the Trump’s FY18 budget reflect deep cuts far below current budget caps and sequestration levels as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. We don’t know exactly how the Trump Administration proposes to divvy up proposed NDD cuts among many specific programs, but top-line agency allocations suggest deep and concerning cuts will be proposed later this spring. The budget delivered to Capitol Hill does not outline the Administration’s proposals for mandatory spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, or for federal revenue and tax proposals; that, too, will come in the next budget round
What We Know—and Don’t Know—About Older Americans Act (OAA) and Other Aging Programs
President Trump proposed funding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which houses the Administration for Community Living and its Administration on Aging, at $65.1 billion. This reflects a deep $12.6 billion cut (16.2 percent) from current funding. However, because the budget outline released today lacks many details on individual agency spending, we do not know exactly how this overall cut would affect most Older Americans Act programs. Roughly $10 billion of the overall cut to HHS comes from rolling back recent funding increases for the National Institutes of Health and from eliminating other block-grant programs.
President Trump proposed eliminating many workforce development programs including the OAA Title V Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), housed within the Department of Labor. Last year, Senate appropriators targeted SCSEP for a $34 million cut to its $434 funding level, but the House lawmakers rejected that cut. The Trump budget would zero out the program entirely.
Within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the President proposed cuts to rental assistance programs, which could include Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly. Again, we don’t have details on exactly how these cuts would roll out, but overall HUD was slated for an 11.6 percent cut.
Other Key Programs Slated for Elimination
In addition to SCSEP, other programs on the chopping block that could affect services and support for older adults include the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which includes the Senior Corps programs such as Foster Grandparents and RSVP; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides financial assistance for utility bills; the Community Services Block Grant, which provides wrap-around services for older adults in many communities; and the Legal Services Corporation, which administers some elder justice programs.
Additionally, the budget would eliminate funding within HUD for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). This $3 billion cut would eliminate CDBG funding to states to use for a variety of programs including a small amount that a few states and communities direct toward shoring up senior nutrition programs such as home-delivered meals. However, this cut does not mean that the federal home-delivered meals program under the Older Americans Act was slated for elimination. Those details are not available in the current budget blueprint, but news reports of the CDBG cut have led to confusion among advocates and the public.
*Oregon Note - Oregon does not currently uses CDBG funds for Meals programs serving seniors and people with disabilities. This specific proposal does not impact Oregon funding for these programs.
What’s Next for the FY 2018 Budget
There is much to be concerned about in President Trump’s budget blueprint, and this budget clearly highlights the need for increased advocacy in every community. However, this is simply the first step in the budgeting process—and the Administration hasn’t even released its full budget outline, so it’s really a half step at this point
While the President’s budget does begin the annual process of setting spending levels for all discretionary federal programs, it is simply a starting point for conversations with Congress. Lawmakers will ultimately have to draft their annual funding bills and send to the President for approval. Furthermore, Congress hasn’t yet finalized funding for FY 2017, and current funding, which expires at the end of April, will have to take priority.
In the coming weeks, Congress will hold hearings on some components of the President’s recommendations, but we have heard early objections from House and Senate appropriators on both sides of the aisle about the level of overall NDD Cuts in the President’s budget.
Once Congress finalizes FY 2107 funding and when the Administration sends full details to Congress, the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees of jurisdiction make the specific programmatic determinations for each discretionary line item (e.g., a specific program such as OAA Title III B). This can take several months to move through committee, and larger or more contentious bills can take all summer or fall before being passed. Like all other legislation, the House and Senate must agree on appropriations bills. Achieving agreement further lengthens the process.
Thank you for n4a for their analysis of these budgets and proposals. For more information, visit http://www.n4a.org.
Advocacy Check-ins and Updates
O4AD Advocacy Check ins: Launched in 2016, O4AD has reserved Room 350 in the Capitol as an opportunity for advocates to come to the Capitol, have a place to take a break, grab a cup of coffee or tea, hear updates from O4AD and visit with your legislators. It is O4AD's goal to make the Capitol as accessible as possible for advocates. If you are planning a day to meet with Legislators or bring advocates, please consider utilizing a check in day in order to have a meeting room at your disposal. Check in days are scheduled on the following dates:
- Thursday, April 13. Room 350. Oregon Capitol
- Thursday, June 8. Room 350. Oregon Capitol
- Thursday, June 15. Room 350. Oregon Capitol
O4AD Legislative Conference Calls: O4AD will be hosting weekly Legislative Conference calls. We may revise the schedule as the session continues but as things move quickly during the opening of the session, we will be scheduling calls on Fridays. Please call in on our conference line for an update of the weeks activities and occurrences in the Capitol.
Friday, March 24, 2017. 11:00 am
O4AD Conference line: 1-866-200-5786. User code: 835329
Please utilize the many resources available for advocates:
- O4AD publishes our bill tracking reports regularly on our website. Click HERE to access our information page. You will find bill tracking reports and bill calendars updated regularly.
- O4AD's Bill Tracking Report & Calendar can be found HERE.
- 2017 House Committee Membership
- 2017 Senate Committee Membership
- 2017 Legislative Committee Meeting Schedule
- 2017 Legislative Calendar of Deadlines
Oregon Legislative Website
Oregon's Legislative Website offers many different ways to stay up to date on the Session. Take a moment to visit Oregon's Legislative Website to learn what you can access. Click HERE for the website.
Tools for Advocates on the Oregon Legislative Website:
- OLIS (Oregon Legislative Information System): OLIS provides a wealth of information regarding the current session. Find Committee agendas, Committee membership, Bills, New Measures, Daily and Cumulative Publications and more.
- Committee Agendas Online: This page offers a listing of all currently scheduled Committee hearings and is updated as soon as Committee hearings are posted or revised.
- Today's Session Information: Each day, information on hearings, bills introduced, bills to be heard on the Senate or House Floor and Session Publications are listed.
- Audio/Visual for the Capitol: Hearings are now streamed live which allows for greater access by all. Advocates can review hearings that are upcoming which may be access online. Hearings are also archived and may be watched later.
Stay up to date!
With the Legislative Session around the corner, stay up to date on what's happening and how you can be involved. O4AD values the participation of our advocates and their voice in the conversation about supports and services for Oregon's seniors and people with disabilities.
Please do not hesitate to contact O4AD with any questions or for information we can provide! 503.463.8692. firstname.lastname@example.org
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O4AD advocates for the independence, dignity, choice and safety of Oregon's seniors and people with disabilities.