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Past Newsletter Issues
Discussing medical malpractice reform and breast density legislation
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Legislative Update

Mar. 14, 2013

This Week in Salem:

CRC Update: The U.S. Coast Guard, which has veto authority over the Columbia River Crossing, requested additional information from project managers before it considers a bridge permit. Read
Oregonian's article.

PERS Update: Portland attorney William Gary issued a legal analysis that the Oregon School Boards Association's proposal to cut PERS benefits has "a firm legal foundation." Read
Statesman Journal's article.
Taxes, Ballots, and Voter Registration: The Oregon Education Association has introduced a bill to remove notifications on ballot envelopes warning voters of potential property tax hikes (read Oregonian's article).

House Committee on Rules is hearing three bills that would tweak voter registration rules in Oregon. Read Oregonian's article.
  • HB 2017 would allow voters without drivers licenses to update voter registration online using the last four digits of their Social Security number as identification.
  • HB 2988 would allow a person at least 16 years old to register to vote. They would still need to wait until they were 18 to cast a ballot.
  • HB 3175 urges public universities and colleges to increase access to voter registration information.

A Message from Representative Whitsett

With the passage of
Senate Bill 483, the House and Senate voted in a beginning step toward medical malpractice reform. This compromise bill resulted from a promise made by Governor John Kitzhaber during the last legislative session. In 2011, the governor agreed to put forward a medical liability bill in return for passage of his Health Care Reform Plan.

SB 483 is the result of a gubernatorial work group where both the trial lawyers and doctors agreed to a confidential mediation process for those medical errors which may end in malpractice suits.

Under SB 483, the discussions are confidential and the resultant information cannot be entered into evidence at trial, at a later date. A primary concern regarding the bill is that it does not go far enough toward true medical tort reform.

As background information, Oregonís non-economic damages were limited to $500,000 in 1987, but a subsequent challenge to the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the law in 1999 on the basis that it was unconstitutional. Oregon has not had a cap on medical liability since then and this bill represents a very small, but positive step forward toward true tort reform. It is hoped that the Governor will continue to push for the solid tort reform he promised the state and the legislature when his health care reform bill was passed.


Spotlight On: HB 2015

Every week I will be focusing on one of the bills I have introduced this session.
Last week's focus was TANF reform (HB 3322). This week's spotlight is on HB 2015, which would notify women if their mammogram indicates that their breast tissue is dense.

Why is this an important issue? According to the
Are You DENSE Advocacy Group:
  • 40% of women have dense breast tissue.
  • Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography to detect cancer.
  • Mammography misses every other cancer in dense breasts.
  • Breast density is a well-established predictor of breast cancer risk.
  • Breast density is a greater risk factor than having two first degree relatives with breast cancer.
Additionally, 95% of women do not know their breast density.


Are You Dense?

Know Your Breast Density!
Facts in support of breast-density notification legislation
If passed, Oregon would join five other states - California, Connecticut, New York, Texas and Virginia - with lifesaving breast-density notification legislation. Fifteen other states as well as the federal government have similar bills pending.

I expect HB 2015 to receive a hearing on April 3rd in the House Committee on Health Care and will include its progress in future newsletters.

Best regards,

Representative Gail Whitsett
House District 56

Committee Updates


Agriculture & Natural Resources

Tuesday 3/12/13 - Thursday 3/14/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 3201 - Allows property owner to recover damages resulting from fire resulting from rule violations or escaped fire from forest land under certain conditions
  • HB 3199 - Prohibits release of sky lantern or discharge of exploding target or tracer ammunition during fire season on or near forsest protection district lands
  • HB 2027 - Requires DFW to develop wildlife/human conflict reduction program
  • HB 2257 - Allows Water Resources Department to amend names/addresses on water rights certificates and charge a fee
  • HB 2396 - Adds large woody debris to removal-fill provisions
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 2259 - Increases certain fees charged by Water Resources Department
  • HB 2783 - Creates offense of unlawful tethering
  • HB 2992 - Authorizes OR Health Authority to operate Farm Direct Nutrition Program enabling WIC participants to purchase fresh produce at farmers' markets
  • HB 2390 - Repeals sunset of provisions allowing Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to appoint person to act as agent for purpose of using dogs to hunt bear or cougar
  • HB 2039 - Creates and modifies provisions related to the regulation of outfitting and guiding services

Energy & Environment

Tuesday 3/12/13 - Thursday 3/7/13

Tuesday's bills:
  • HB 2435 - Exempts from fuel tax diesel fuel blended with minimum 20% biodiesel
  • HB 2321 - Requires agencies of executive department to take certain actions to protect environment
  • HB 2939 - Requires Public Utility Commission to establish comparative energy usage disclosure program to notify customers of comparative energy usage
Thursday's bills:
  • HB 2435 - Exempts from fuel tax diesel fuel blended with minimum 20% biodiesel
  • HB 2516 - Allows moneys in Watershed Conservation Operating Fund and Watershed Conservation Grant Fund to be used for educating elementary school students concerning protection and restoration of native fish or wildlife habitats, watersheds or ecosystems
  • HB 2694 - Requires Department of State Lands to study certain issues related to development of energy resources in Oregon's territorial sea
  • HB 2792 - Imposes tax on fuel suppliers and utilities based on amount of carbon in carbon-based fuel that is supplied to consumers in this state
  • HB 2048 - Repeals sunset on architectural paint stewardship program
  • HB 3448 - Exempts diesel fuel sold to facilities that store more than 50 gallons of fuel for use in emergency power generation from requirement to contain certain percentage of biodiesel or to contain other diesel with specified percentage of renewable component

Human Resources & Housing

Monday 3/11/13 - Wednesday 3/13/13 - Friday 3/15/13

Monday's bills:
  • HB 2013 - Directs Early Learning Council and Department of Education to assist school districts in implementing process to assess children to determine their readiness for kindergarten
Wednesday's bills:
  • HB 2355 - Modifies method for determining amount of lottery proceeds to be allocated to Problem Gambling Treatment Fund fiscal quarter
  • HB 2477 - Extends sunset for earned income tax credit
  • HB 2850 - Increases percentage of federal earned income tax credit allowable as credit against Oregon personal income tax in each of four consecutive tax years
Friday's bills:
  • HB 2417 - Increases amount of fees charged and collected by county clerks to record or file certain real property documents
  • HB 2980 - Extends sunset for tax credits for owning or operating farmworker housing and for lending to construct or rehabilitate farmworker housing
  • HB 2671 - Creates State Office of the Public Guardian and Conservator to provide public guardian and conservator services for persons without relatives or friends willing or able to serve as guardians or conservators
  • HB 3129 - Prohibits person from being nominated as fiduciary for three or more protected persons who are not related to person unless person is certified as professional fiduciary by Department of Human Services


Ag & Natural Resources
Energy & Environment
Human Services & Housing

Latest Third Readings List
Rep. Whitsett's Record
Bills Passed By the House
Past Newsletter Issues

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Representative Gail Whitsett
900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 H-474

Read Senator Doug Whitsett's newsletters here



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