“Words matter.” Just look at the front wall of the Capitol building where the words pictured above are carved. Inside the building, everyone who testified on SB 64 in the Senate Judiciary agreed that words matter. We did not agree on whether the words in the bill should pass. SB 64 would change the term “mental disease or defect” to “mental disorder” in certain criminal law statutes. Supporters of the change (including DRO) said that words matter because “disease and defect” are obsolete and insulting words. Opponents said words matter because any change of language would invite new litigation about what the words mean. Can the bill clearly state that a change of words does not change the legal meaning? We think it can if it has an explanatory preamble and a section that says no change is intended, and legislators repeat their intent on the record to create a clear legislative history. After all, words matter.
The week in review
Public Hearings held in the Senate Committee on Judiciary:
SB 64, which would replace the term “mental disease or defect” in criminal statutes. DRO supports this bill.
SB 65, which would authorizes the PSRB establish a restorative justice program.
Public Hearings held in the Senate Committee on Human Services:
SB 58, which would authorize the Long Term Care Ombudsman to petition a court for a protective order or file objections in a guardianship proceeding regarding a person in a long term care facility or residential facility.
SB 59, which would authorize the Long Term Care Ombudsman to petition for a protective order when it appears that a person who is subject of petition is in need of protective services.
SB 95, which would require securities professionals to report suspected financial exploitation of elderly, disabled, or vulnerable individuals and delay disbursement of accounts if the professional reasonably believes that disbursement may result in financial exploitation.
SB 275, which would limit when the attorney for a person applying for public benefits can get a free copy of the person’s medical record. DRO believes that attorneys should not be unreasonably denied these records.
SB 104, which would include adult foster homes providing care to developmentally disabled persons and mentally disabled persons in the DHS background check registry.
Public Hearings held in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing:
HB 2547, which would appropriate $50,000 for the Gatekeeper Programs which train local business and organization employees to recognize and refer at-risk older adults and people with disabilities to the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).
HB 2728, which would require DHS to improve the pay of personal support workers for individuals with IDD. Another bill (SB 238) seeking better pay for direct services workers was heard in the Senate Committee on Human Services.
Other Public Hearings:
HB 2839, in the House Committee on Health Care, which would prohibit disability discrimination in the selection of recipients for anatomical gifts. DRO supports this bill.
HB 2634, in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, which would conform the “Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit” program with the ADA and state disability discrimination laws. This is a DRO bill.
DRO submitted the following testimony:
In support of HB 2634 (Modifies criteria for qualification as “person with a disability” under wildlife laws so it conforms with ADA)
In support of HB 2839 (Prohibits consideration of disability for receiving anatomical gift, such as donated organs, unless medically relevant)
SB 104 – Includes adult foster homes providing care to developmentally disabled persons and mentally disabled persons in the DHS background check registry. Set for Work Session in the Senate Committee on Human Services, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room D.
HB 2609 – Modifies the laws that govern nonprofit corporations in Oregon. Set for Public Hearing and Possible Work Session in the House Committee on Judiciary, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room 343.
SB 129 – Establishes a Task Force on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Oregon. Set for Public Hearing in the Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee, 3:00 pm, Hearing Room B.
HB 2574 – Directs the Office of Emergency Management to identify strategies for improving access to emergency preparedness education. Set for Public Hearing in the House Committee On Veterans and Emergency Preparedness, 3:00 pm, Hearing Room E.
SB 262 – Establishes timelines by which evaluations must be completed to determine eligibility for special education. Public Hearing set in the Senate Committee on Human Services, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room D.
SB 263 – Limits school district’s ability to require students to participate in abbreviated school day program. Public Hearing set in the Senate Committee on Human Services, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room D. This is a DRO bill.
HB 2005 – Provides definitions relating to comparable work for purposes of pay equity provisions. DRO believes the bill should provide that individuals with disabilities receive equal pay for equal work. Set for Public Hearing in the House Committee on Business and Labor, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room E.
HB 2552 – Requires OHA to operate, on each campus of Oregon State Hospital, a facility to provide short-term mental health treatment and residential care. Set for Public Hearing in the House Committee on Health Care, 3:00 pm, Hearing Room E.
SB 272 – Sets out transparency requirements for health plan drug formularies. Set for Public Hearing in the Senate Committee on Health Care, 1:00 pm, Hearing Room B.
HB 2482 – Permits round-the-clock self-serve gas stations in low-population counties. DRO has testified that stations need to be accessible for drivers with disabilities. Set for Public Hearing and Possible Work Session in the House Committee on Transportation Policy, 8:00 am, Hearing Room D.
HB 2458 – Permits card-lock gas stations to be used for retail sales during evening hours in low-population counties. Set for Public Hearing and Possible Work Session in the House Committee on Transportation Policy, 8:00 am, Hearing Room D.
Support our work
If you value our work to promote disability rights in state law, please consider a tax-deductible donation. Here’s how your donation can support our work:
- $35: One face to face meeting with a legislator
- $50: One DRO staff member can travel to the Capitol
- $100: One Legislative Update
- $500: One full day of advocacy during the legislative session