Oregon legislators say Democrats have lost an overwhelming majority, but after the midterm elections have swept a new progressive governor, lawmakers in the legislative session that begin next week will see looming dichotomy on everything from homelessness to gun control to drugs. We plan to cover a series of laws on the issue of socialization.
Our top priority is to address the interconnected crises of homelessness and mental health that have plagued our state for years. Dozens of new bills target issues that make it difficult to provide mental health and medication and build housing for those in need.
Federal data shows Oregon has one of the highest rates of homelessness and drug addiction in the nation. This is largely due to severe housing shortages, rising rents and lack of mental health services.
A bill to ensure continued funding for the new national 988 mental health hotline ranks high on the agenda of the state House Committee on Behavioral Health and Healthcare, said Commissioner Rob Nosse. Stated. The bill proposes a 50-cent monthly levy on mobile phone subscribers to maintain helplines and ensure efficient routing of calls. State analysts estimate the move could raise about $60 million over a two-year budget.
“Many serious mental health issues can be resolved over the phone,” says Nosse. “People who have just started talking to someone can lower their body temperature. So we need to get that system up.”
988, the nation’s first triple-digit mental health crisis hotline, opened in July. It was built on an existing network that was located at the old National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). When called, the coordinator connects people with a trained mental health counselor, not the police or paramedics. Six months into his service, the helpline has received over 2 million calls, text messages and chat messages.
The federal government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the project, but states are expected to take over the operation and funding of the line, similar to the 911 emergency service. So far, five states—Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia—have passed cell phone taxes to fund 988, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Other potentially controversial bills make it easier to force certain people into mental health treatment, fueling debate across the state and across the country about hospitalizing people against their will. For example, one bill states that if a person is determined to be unable to care for themselves or has a mental illness that is dangerous to themselves or others, Allows judges to commit civil crimes for substance use disorders.
Faced with the state’s high drug addiction rates, Republicans have introduced several measures to repeal all or part of Proposition 110. The bill was approved by her voters in 2020, making Oregon the first state to decriminalize hard drugs in the country.
One of the most important bills introduced seeks to encourage housing construction by changing planning and land use rules. Oregon is short of her 110,000 homes, and officials estimate he will need to build more than 500,000 homes over the next 20 years to keep up with demand.
“We know we need to double our housing production rate to meet our current needs,” said Democratic House Majority Leader Julie Fehey.
Democrats, who control Congress, are also proposing gun control legislation amid a court battle over a bill that would require a permit to buy firearms and ban high-capacity magazines. They are set to compete with the Republicans, who have introduced several of their own bills to ease gun control.
One Democratic bill would ban “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms without serial numbers that individuals can build themselves. Another bill, which has yet to be formally introduced, would raise the age for buying and possessing firearms to his 21, except for hunting, law enforcement and military personnel. Federal law sets the minimum age he can buy a handgun at 21, but anyone over the age of 18 can buy a rifle or shotgun.
About voting rights — an increasingly controversial issue following false claims that former President Donald Trump was unable to re-elect due to voter fraud in 2020 — automatically voters for Oregon’s Medicaid plan Introduced a bill to register in the state and expanded the state motor vehicle voter laws. The nation’s first law, which went into effect in 2016, automatically registers anyone who renews or applies for a driver’s license or ID card with the DMV. Oregon Secretary of State Shemir Fagan said the bill could add about 170,000 people to the voter roll.
Oregon’s Auto Voter Act and Mail-in Voting System are credited with boosting participation in the state’s elections. In November’s midterm elections, her 61.5% of voters turned out, the highest turnout in the nation.
Additionally, House Democrats say they plan to introduce legislation to protect Oregonians from criminal and civil liability for accepting or providing abortions. The move puts Oregon on the list of states that have taken steps to protect people from lawsuits in states where abortion is prohibited or severely restricted after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned her Roe v. Wade decision. will be added. Meanwhile, Republicans introduced a bill banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies.Abortion is now legal in Oregon at all stages of pregnancy.
Democrats still control both houses of Congress, but lost an overwhelming three-fifths majority in the November election.
Claire Rush is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.follow claire twitter.