Bills We’re Following—And You Should Too
With the 2020 elections fast approaching, now is the time to get involved with legislative efforts that affect the safety and health of children in our community. Despite the attention focused on the national level, the impacts of local and state-level politics are actually much greater, especially on things like public health, substance abuse prevention, and education. 2020 promises to be a busy legislative year, with both a short session in Salem and two elections for everything from the school board to the presidency.
Here’s a quick look at the top four bills and measures
Vibrant Future Coalition is watching as we head into 2020.
This bill, introduced by Governor Kate Brown, would increase the cigarette tax from $1.33 per pack to $3.33 a pack. It would also tax e-cigarettes at a rate of 65% of wholesale price of the device and increase the cap on cigar taxes from $0.50 to $1.00. 90% of the money generated by this increased tax revenue would be used to fund the final portion of Oregon’s Medicaid expansion, and 10% would be allocated by the Oregon Health Authority towards culturally and community-specific tobacco prevention programs. Oregonians for a Smoke Free Tomorrow has raised $11.3 million in support of the measure, but don’t expect Big Tobacco to roll over: industry groups outspent advocates of a similar measure in California 2-1 in 2016.
Psilocybin, a psychoactive chemical found in some fresh or dried mushrooms, is classified as a schedule 1 drug by the FDA. Initiative 34 would allow for the manufacture, delivery, and administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities along with a two-year development period. The program would be overseen by the Oregon Health Authority and advised by a board appointed by the governor.
Oregon is projected to have collected around $163 million in marijuana tax revenue between 2017 and 2019. This initiative would increase the percentage of Oregon marijuana tax revenue that goes towards drug addiction treatment and prevention. The money would be given out in the form of grants to increase the availability of evidence-based, trauma-informed, peer supported community recovery programs. These programs are desperately needed in Oregon (especially rural areas).
After failing to pass during the 2019 legislative session, marijuana advocates have re-introduced a bill to allow for marijuana temporary event licenses and indoor consumption of marijuana, among other provisions. Oregon passed the Indoor Clean Air Act in 1981, and it prohibits smoking or vaping in a public indoor area or within ten feet of a door, window or air intake. Initiative 42 would allow for the consumption of marijuana in violation of the Indoor Clean Air Act, as well as further normalize marijuana consumption in Oregon.