Can't be in Salem to watch Multnomah County testimony? No problem. Follow Multnomah County experts on Multnomah County's legislative priorities.  

April 22, 2021: HB 2475-A - Relating to public utilities 

HB 2475-A Testimony

"Without HB 2475-A, a significant portion of Oregonians will continue to suffer the impacts of energy poverty and have to make choices like whether to pay for food or medical care and for an energy bill.HB 2475-A is the right approach for Oregon, and the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability looks forward to working with the Legislature, PUC, utilities, and the broad diversity of stakeholders to put HB 2475-A into practice and advance a just energy transition in the state." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director and Silvia Tanner, Senior Sustainability Analyst

April 21, 2021: SB 5555 - Oregon Health Authority request budget

SB 5555 Testimony

"Public health is about equity. The science of epidemiology works by measuring disparities -- figuring out who is getting sick and who is not -- and identifying the changeable factors behind those disparities that can be fixed to make everyone healthier. Because we haven’t been investing enough in our public health system,we’ve allowed health disparities to persist and grow. This $69 million investment is a chance to turn that around." - Daniel Morris, MS, PhD, Multnomah County Public Health Advisory Board

April 12, 2021: SB 5517 - Relating to the financial administration of the Department of Environmental Quality

SB 5517 Testimony

"Multnomah County strongly urges your support for the entirety of the DEQ funding package and offers our highest endorsement for the pops called out above. These programs, when fully funded, will protect Oregonian’s health, prosperity, and the State’s natural resources. Multnomah County is eager to partner with the state and sees that these programs succeed." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director

March 30, 2021: SB 274 - Protections for Sex Trafficked Minors

HB 274 Testimony

"Trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and survivor-driven services - not criminalization - are the key to assisting victims of sex trafficking. SB 274 provides an opportunity to begin to repair some of the systemic harm experienced by survivors of sex trafficking and to shift our focus on investing in data-driven, survivor-guided community programs that can aid victims in finding a path to safety." - Shannon Rose, Domestic & Sexual Violence Coordination Office

March 25, 2021: HB 2376 - Relating to naloxone

HB 2376 Testimony

"As Oregon’s most populous county, we are keenly aware of the need to do everything we can to address the ongoing opioid epidemic in our state. This includes passing House Bill 2376, which would require Oregon providers to simultaneously offer a prescription for naloxone when prescribing opioids and educate their patients about their risk of an overdose." - Jessica Guernsey Public Health Director

March 23, 2021: HB 3230 - Relating to universal representation

HB 3230 Testimony

"HB 3230 would provide critical support to Oregonians in accessing the legal system to ensure their rights. It expands upon a highly successful pilot program, Equity Corps of Oregon, to establish an ongoing program that builds on the lessons of the pilot and the expertise and capacity in legal services and community-based organizations." - Mohammad Bader, Interim Director, Department of County Human Services and Peggy Samolinski, Director, Youth and Family Services Division 

March 23, 2021: SB 680 - Relating to residential peer support for individuals with mental illness who are in crisis

SB 680 Testimony

"Investments in the community mental health system over the past decades have tended to focus on crisis services and longer term residential care. While these investments have been important, it has left a "missing middle” in the continuum. Increasing services such as peer respite will help fill that gap, and provide a vital resource to those in need of short term stabilization. This bill would include critical peer respite services as part of the continuum of behavioral health care." - Julie Dodge, DMin, LMSW Interim Director - Behavioral Health Division

March 23, 2021: HB 2337 - Relating to equity

HB 2337 Testimony

"Meaningfully and intentionally investing in community engagement to identify future strategies isa must. Oregon Advocacy Commission’s commitment to hosting racial affinity groups to ensure community voice informs and directs institutional racism and health equity strategies is a critical step. We fail communities and much needed change when community voices are not heard. Your commitment and accountability to investing in meaningful community engagement is needed now more than ever." - Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Public Health Director

March 23, 2021: HB 2261 - Prohibits remote sales of inhalant delivery systems.

HB 2261 Testimony

"This bill improves the protections around remote sales of tobacco products in Oregon by defining the minimum sales age, inhalants delivery system, distributor, retailer, and consumer. A key strategy to reducing youth use of inhalant delivery systems (e-cigarettes), is by making it harder for youth to buy these products illegally." - Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Public Health Director

March 22, 2021: HB 2021 - Relating to clean energy

HB 2021 Testimony

"Like the rest of Oregon, Multnomah County’s community has been impacted by the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the natural disasters and other events of the last year. These impacts have highlighted for us the importance of an energy transition that translates to economic opportunities for Oregonians and that helps us build a stronger and more resilient energy system." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director

March 17, 2021: HB 2813 - Relating to protections against exposure to unhealthy air quality from wildfire smoke

HB 2813 Testimony

"Outdoor workers, especially those engaged in farming harvests, construction and those in which outdoor activities require heavy and prolonged exertion, would benefit from this bill’s call for increased situational awareness of outdoor air quality readings and forecasts, required communications of worker protections options in multiple languages,and required access to air filtering respirators." Andrea Hamberg, Interim Environmental Health Director

March 16, 2021: HB 2536 - Relating to school meals provided at no charge to students

HB 2536 Testimony

"The availability of free school meals during the pandemic regardless of income has been a tremendous support for our children and families this year. We need expanded eligibility in the future to support our children to reach their full potential at school, regardless of where they attend. This is why we are urging you and other lawmakers to ensure that all schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will automatically have Expanded Income Eligibility for free school meals." - Mohammad Bader, Interim Director, Department of County Human Services and Peggy Samolinski, Director, Youth and Family Services Division

March 15, 2021: SB 287 - Relating to wildfire

SB 287 Testimony

"Our communities will be better prepared for poor and extreme air quality events if Oregon Health Authority establishes a program to make air filtration systems available to cleaner air shelters in local communities alongside grants for air filtration systems in various building types, prioritizing installations in lower income residences. We urge your support of SB 287 and encourage legislators to fund efforts to expand availability of indoor air filtration materials." - Andrea Hamberg, Interim Environmental Health Director

March 15, 2021: HB 2482 - Relating to public safety

HB 2482 Testimony

"HB 2482 would reduce unnecessary contact with police and would eliminate a crime disproportionately enforced on houseless community members, under resourced and communities of color. It is affirming of gender and cultural practices related to names and identity. Removing barriers to safe and healthy transportation makes it more likely that we can meet public health goals." - Charlene McGee, REACH Program Manager

March 11, 2021: SB 566 - Removes the label of “mentally defective” from Oregon’s framework around capacity to consent to sexual contact

SB 566 Testimony

"SB 566 affirms and supports the rights of people with disabilities by removing the stigmatizing category of “mentally defective” from the sex offense statute. Removing this label from a large group of people honors their humanity and the fact that they are sexual beings with the right to express their sexuality." - April Kayser, Health Educator

March 9, 2021: HB 2368 - Establishes pilot program to improve educational outcomes by using trauma-informed approaches to education, health services and intervention strategies

HB 2368 Testimony

"We are in strong support of the -1 amendment that specifies the use of culturally-responsive practices and clarifies that partnering with culturally-specific organizations means organizations that are primarily staffed and led by members of the community served. Connection to culture is key to cultivating safety and healing and has been shown to be a strong protective factor for student resilience and wellbeing." - Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Public Health Director

March 5, 2021: HB 2952 - Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department  of Human Services for allocation to area agencies to address unmet needs of seniors

"In the best of times access to behavioral health services is challenging for Medicare and dual-eligible beneficiaries due to lack of providers, especially providers who have clinical experience treating older adults. HB 2952 would provide crucial funding to help older adults receive the care they need to make it through this difficult time and long-term effects of untreated behavioral healthcare as well as how to adjust to a post-COVID-19 pandemic." - Irma Jimenez, Interim Director, Multnomah County Aging, Disability & Veterans Services Division

March 3, 2021: HB 2814 - Relating to indirect sources of air pollution

"Breathing is not a choice, and for most of us we cannot control the quality of the air we breathe. We rely on regulation to set standards so that everyone has the opportunity to breathe clean,healthy air. In the case of diesel emissions, you have a special opportunity to improve public health for everyone, but especially the health of children, communities of color and low-income communities that bear the greatest burden of diesel air pollution. This is the time to commit our state to a clean air future, the cost of inaction is too great a price to pay. Please support HB 2814." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director

March 2, 2021: HB 2819 - Relating to earned income tax credits

HB 2819 Testimony

"In Multnomah County, we see that the EITC is an important tool in addressing poverty and supporting low and moderate income households to be stable. It has a focus on families with children, while including individuals as well. To support families to receive this credit, we invest County dollars to provide tax preparation support. . . . We at Multnomah County support HB 2819 and ask that you take this important step to address this inequity in our revenue system and to promote racial equity in Oregon." - Mohammad Bader, Interim Director, Department of County Human Services and Peggy Samolinski, Director, Youth and Family Services Division

Feb. 25, 2021: SB 555 - Relating to program providing financial assistance to recipients who receive supplemental nutrition assistance

SB 555 Testimony (569.28 KB)

"Expanding innovative programs within SNAP is an effective way to reach a significant number of our children and families who are struggling with food insecurity, as well as support BIPOC communities and promote racial and food justice. We at Multnomah County support SB 555 and ask that you invest in this proven approach to addressing food insecurity and expanding access to nutritious food." - Peggy Samolinski, Director, Youth and Family Services Division

Feb. 22, 2021: HB 3141 - Reduces public purpose charge for retail electricity consumers within service areas of electric companies and Oregon Community Power

HB 3141 Testimony

"HB 3141 is a step in the right direction. The Multnomah County Office of Sustainability looks forward to continued collaboration with the Legislature, environmental justice communities, and the broad diversity of agencies, entities, and stakeholders on the work that HB 3141 helps advance to protect our vulnerable communities' energy access while advancing a just and clean energy transition."  - John Wasiutynski, Multnomah County Sustainability Director,

Feb.16, 2021: SB 587 - Requires Department of Revenue to issue license to qualified retailers of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems

SB 587 Testimony

"Multnomah County supports a state-wide Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) program. SB587 will ensure that all retailers in Oregon are equipped with the appropriate information and tools to keep tobacco and nicotine inhalant products out of the hands of our young people and help protect them from a lifetime of addiction and poor health." - Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Public Health Director

Feb. 15, 2021: HB 3037 - HB 3037 Directs medical examiner to report suspected suicides involving decedents 24 years of age or younger to the local mental health authority

HB 3037 Testimony

"HB 3037 provides concrete steps to improve these reporting mechanisms and will enhance regional coordination of suicide response and intervention. HB 3037 improves upon the good work already begun, opening up lines of communication between agencies which should lead to better services and cleaner data so we can understand the true nature of youth suicide and its broader impacts in our State." - Nimisha Gokaldas, Behavioral Health Division Medical Director

Feb. 11, 2021: HB 2733 - Removes prohibition against issuing dog license without proof of rabies inoculation

HB 2733 Testimony

"Multnomah County is invested in ensuring that all dogs and cats in the county are inoculated. The more dogs we can bring into the licensing fold, the more oversight we can provide. We are supportive of this bill, because it will allow us to amend our County code to be more flexible and ensure that rabies vaccines are tied to our licensing records -- without creating additional barriers to the pet owner." - Wade Sadler, Animal Services Director

Feb. 11, 2021: HB 2842 - Establishes Healthy Homes Program within the Oregon Health Authority

HB 2842 Testimony

"Safe, affordable housing is foundational for health. Unfortunately, people in our community have limited help available when their homes aren’t sound. Environmental hazards in homes lead to adverse health outcomes such as lead poisoning, injuries and chronic asthma. Homeowners and renters regularly call us seeking support with serious problems like mold, dangerous materials like asbestos, and other hazards." Andrea Hamberg, Interim Environmental Health Services Director

Feb. 9, 2021: SB 286 - Relating to environmental justice

SB 286 Testimony

"Multnomah County remains committed to advancing environmental justice in our work and looks forward to supporting the Council and its important work. In addition, the cumulative impact tools developed under this statute will greatly aid local governments, and state agencies. We urge the legislature to seize this important opportunity and pass SB 286." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director

Feb. 9, 2021: HB 5024 - Relating to the financial administration of the Oregon Health Authority

HB 5024 Testimony

"We cannot continue supporting a status quo that systematically burdens our BIPOC community members, our elders, and our most vulnerable with health inequities. We need you to advocate for the $69 million in funding to continue implementing the Public Health Modernization model the legislature adopted in 2015 to improve health outcomes and health and well-being for all Oregonians." - Jessica Guernsey, Public Health Director

Feb. 8, 2021: HB 2316 - Relating to individuals with mental disorders

HB 2316 Testimony

"The Oregon Health Authority understands the complexity of behavioral health treatment, housing and supportive services. Returning the Housing for Mental Health fund to their oversight simply makes sense. It allows OHA to be intentional in sustaining and developing a range of support that makes a positive difference in the lives of Oregonians. We hope that it will allow more opportunity to leverage funds for the full continuum of services. We hope that it will promote more innovation, more open communication and more collaboration, and we are eager to be a partner in this." - Julie A. Dodge, Interim Behavioral Health Division Director

Feb. 2, 2021: HB 2077 - Relating to lead-based paint

HB 2077 Testimony

"Passage of HB 2077 will better equip the Oregon Health Authority with the primary prevention tools needed to prevent poisonings from lead-based paint hazards in and around rental housing, including housing occupied by families with small children and other vulnerable populations. Those individuals calling the Lead Poisoning Prevention program or a local tenant’s rights organization to report lead hazards around their rental housing would be better served by the proposed change." - Perry Cabot, Senior Program Specialist, Environmental Health Services

Feb. 2, 2021: HB 2518 - Relating to brownfields

HB 2518 Testimony

"As of 2015 there are as many as 2,300 properties characterized as Brownfields in Multnomah County. Brownfield sites are more likely to be located in historically underserved communities that bear a disproportionate burden of threats to health and well-being .Brownfield sites have two major public health implications: risk of exposure to contaminants and lost potential for health-benefiting development. This bill adds resources to support the assessment and clean-up of sites that may contain toxic substances and to begin the process of redevelopment into uses that benefit the community." - Andrea Hamberg, Interim Environmental Health Services Director

Feb. 1, 2021: HB 2475 - Relating to public utilities

HB 2475 Testimony

"Unless we consider additional approaches to the challenge of energy burden, Oregonians will continue to suffer the devastating impacts that energy poverty brings to communities across the state. National data indicates that low-income households have gone without food or medical care to pay their energy bills. HB 2475 creates a path for differentiated electric utility rates that will protect the most vulnerable members of our community at a time when energy access determines our community members’ ability to live, thrive, and participate in society." - John Wasiutynski, Sustainability Director 

Jan. 27, 2021: SB 570 - Establishes product stewardship program for mattresses. 

SB 570 Testimony (140.49 KB)

"Since the adoption of the bottle bill, Oregon has been a recycling leader.Oregonians throughout the state value their ability to safely dispose of potentially hazardous materials such as paint and electronics and seek out every opportunity to properly recycle and compost household items. Mattresses, despite the fact that the constituent parts are ripe for recycling, are not easily recycled and as result are sent to the landfill or worse yet blight neighborhood streets and roadways. This bill, SB570, would fix these issues." - John Wasiutynski, Multnomah County Sustainability Director