2023 Regular Legislative Session √
Hello! The legislature in Oregon has started, and there are some bills that are important for the deaf community. We need your help! Please talk to your representatives in the legislature, give them your opinion, go to public hearings if you can, and tell other people about these bills. The more your representatives hear from us, the more likely they will support us during the legislative process.
Senate Bill 287 X
SB 287 is a bill that tells the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission to make new rules to help increase the number of teachers who are deaf or hard of hearing or who are learning to teach children who are deaf or hard of hearing. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)
Senate Bill 569 √
SB 569 is a law that says TVs in public places like hotels or stores must have closed captions on, unless there is a good reason not to. It also requires people who work at these places to be trained on closed captions. The Bureau of Labor and Industries will make a training guide and put it on their website. If someone thinks a place is not following this law, they can tell the Bureau. The Bureau will then tell the place they need to fix the problem. If they don't fix it, they can be fined. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries can also make rules for this law. This law will start working 91 days after the end of the legislative session. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).
3-22-2023: Bill passes the Senate and awaits first reading at the House.
5-22-2023: This bill passed the House with amendment.
5-24-2023: This bill was signed by Senate president.
6-14-2023: This bill is now law, goes into effect September 24, 2023.
Senate Bill 685 √
SB 685 changes the meaning of the term 'communication facilitator'. See details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).
5-23-2023: This bill has passed the senate as introduced.
6-14-2023: This bill is now law, effective January 1, 2024.
House Bill 2664 X
HB 2664 makes sure that the Department of Human Services provides certain services to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are getting child welfare services. It also requires the department to have someone in charge of overseeing child welfare services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also changes some of the rules in the Oregon Foster Children's Bill of Rights. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).
Bridges Oregon has created an educational printable flyer for families who are doing foster service that involves Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing child/children, please share.
Summary of House Bill 2664 in ASL
House Bill 2669 √
House Bill 2696 √
HB 2696 is a bill that lets the Health Licensing Office give licenses to people who are qualified to be sign language interpreters. It defines what a sign language interpreter is, and it stops people from interpreting sign language without a license. There are some exceptions to this rule. The office can also punish people who break this rule. The office will also oversee the sign language interpreting program. There will be a board called the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters inside the office. People who don't follow the licensing rules will be given a fine. This bill will start working on January 1, 2024. It's an emergency bill and it will start working right away. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).
2-6-2023: Video recording of the HB 2696 portion of the public hearing, and a transcript.
A big thank you to House Speaker Dan Rayfield from District 16, Senator Dick Anderson from Senate District 5, Bill Hansen from Center District 29, Mish, Ktejik, interpreter and coordinator for Portland Community College's ASL interpreting program, and Cara Frank (frequent medical ASL interpreter user) for providing testimony in support of this bill.
3-10-2023: This bill has been recommended to pass and has been referred to ways & means.
6-8-2023: This bill has passed the house of representatives with amendment.
6-22-2023: This bill has passed the senate.
6-25-2023: Speaker of House signed
6-27-2023: Senate President signed
7-27-2023: Governor signed.
This bill is now law, effective as of July 27, 2023. Health Care Interpreters have until August 1, 2024 to become compliant.
House Bill 2994 √
HB 2994 changes the rules for health insurance to include things and services related to hearing. Makes it necessary for the Oregon Health Authority, the Public Employees' Benefit Board, and the Oregon Educators Benefit Board to offer coverage for specific things and services related to hearing through their health insurance plans. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)
6-23-2023 This bill passed the House & Senate.
8-4-2023 This biill is now law, effective date January 1, 2024.
House Bill 5026 √
HB 5026 This bill appropriates funds from the General Fund to the Department of Human Services for specific biennial expenses. It limits the amount of money that the department can spend from fees, revenues, and federal funds, but not lottery funds and some federal funds. It also sets a cap on the department's biennial spending from certain federal funds, and allows for some expenditures without limits. See full details on Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)
The public hearing for this bill provides us an opportunity to request an additional funding of $500,000 per year in the main fiscal bill, and a written authorization to enable the funding of linguistically and culturally sensitive services for Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing.
While it is too late to provide testimony formally, you can still contact comittee members directly such as Gregory Jolivette, a fiscal analyst for the Joint Committee on Ways and Means subcommittee on Human Services. He has some influence on the committee, and his email is Gregory.Jolivette@oregonlegislature.gov. Also, please contact Sen. Elizabeth Steiner and Rep. Tawna Sanchez, the co-chairs of the main Ways and Means committee, and urge them to address this issue. Currently, ODHS lacks the authority to fund these services, so we need to raise awareness with the Oregon Legislature.
5-9-2023 Video recording of the deaf portion of the HB 5026 work session, and a transcript.
A one-time 1 Million was included in the general budget as part of bill HB5026 for: “Access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. Provides $1,000,000 General Fund to increase access to appropriate services for individuals who are deaf or heard of haring [sic] through grants to community-based organizations.” Source: Page 9 on PDF.