End of Session Newsletter

Sheri Malstrom


Last week, the 79th Legislative Session ended. Overall, I have returned to the district feeling positive about my first session in the building as your state representative. While this session was challenging, the legislature delivered several of our priorities including expanding access to reproductive health care, preserving and expanding Medicaid coverage, and a historic investment in our transportation system.


As many of you know, the major legislative goal for the 2017 legislative session was tax reform. Sadly, we were unable to garner the 3/5 majorities requisite to amend Oregon’s broken tax system, but I remain dedicated to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle during the interim and beyond, towards a more equitable tax system.


Of the work that the legislature accomplished, I am the proudest of our work in health care. Even as Congressional leadership works to cut health care coverage to millions of Americans, the Oregon legislature is forming policies that protect the most vulnerable populations in our state: the elderly, the economically disadvantaged, the sick, and children.


Read below for more details about the session, and don’t forget to join me for our End of Session Town Hall:


End of Session Town Hall at the Garden Home Recreation Center

7475 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223

August 7th, Doors open at 6:00pm, with program starting at 6:30




Join Representatives Margaret Doherty (HD 35) and Sheri Malstrom (HD 27)


Expanding Access to Reproductive Health Care: The Reproductive Health Equity Act (HB 3391) establishes comprehensive coverage for the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including family planning, abortion, and postpartum care, for all Oregonians, regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity, or type of insurance. Included in this coverage is a full range of preventative reproductive care, including post-partum care for 60 days. Equally important, this coverage is not dependent on immigration status, and codifies in Oregon statute the right to a safe and legal abortion.


Persevering the Medicaid Expansion: In 2003 the Oregon Legislature developed a hospital assessment as a revenue source for The Oregon Health Plan, which provides health care coverage to more than 1 million Oregonians who are at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (less than $16,400 a year for a single household). HB 2391 extends the hospital assessment from 2019 to 2021.


This proposal is the result of four months of debate and discussion in a bipartisan, bicameral workgroup. This approach has the support of major health care groups, including the Oregon Medical Association, the Hospital Association, 15 CCOs, and an overwhelming majority of insurers who do business in the state. It’s also supported by a broad coalition of community organizations such as the Oregon Health Equity Alliance and Children First for Oregon.


Cover All Kids: As a nurse and proponent of universal single-payer health care, Cover All Kids (SB 558), which modifies eligibility guidelines for the Health Care for All Oregon Children program to include all children, regardless of immigration status, was one of the easiest votes I cast during the 2017 legislative session. Not only do I believe that providing coverage for all children is the morally correct decision, as Senator Ferrioli (R-John Day) noted during his comments in support of the policy, programmatic health care for all children will save the state money, and is the fiscally responsible decision for policymakers.


Pay Equity: I was proud to cast my vote to support HB 2005 which insures that all Oregon workers are being paid based on their skill and experience, not based on their protected class, which includes race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, national origin, age, or veteran status. All Oregonians deserve a fair pay check for their work, and with the passage of HB 2005 the Oregon Legislature is taking steps to make sure that happens.


Predictive Scheduling: SB 828 sets scheduling standards for certain employees in retail, hospitality, and food services industries who employ 500 or more people worldwide. This policy guarantees that these workers have two weeks’ notice of their working schedules so that they can balance child care and other responsibilities with their work schedules.


Oregon’s Transportation Package: This session’s transportation package is long overdue, and presents significant investments in all parts of Oregon. Locally, there are a number of exciting opportunities for Washington County, and Beaverton, which include funds for the following projects and areas:


  • $2.4 million annually for Beaverton;
  • $13 million annually for Washington County;
  • $10 million annually for Safe Routes to School;
  • $44 million for Hwy 217 Southbound;
  • $54 million for Hwy 217 Northbound;
  • $130 million annually for statewide public transit; and
  • $71 million for Tri County Metropolitan Transportation District



My main personal goal as a freshman legislator was working on policies that benefit families, children, and public health. This session I partnered with OHSU (click here to read an article written by OHSU’s Alumni Magazine) to pass two policies regarding vitamin k administration for newborns, and car seat safety, ensuring that children remain rear facing until age two, aligning Oregon statute with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Other successful policies that I championed included:

  • HB 3008, an anti-wage theft measure that gives employees a tool to keep bad actors accountable when employment records are falsified;
  • HB 3355 allows qualified psychologists to prescribe medication, which greatly increases access to mental health care, especially in rural areas;
  • HB 3439, an economic development piece, that cuts red tape and authorizes nurse practitioners to be the majority shareholders in corporations established for the purpose of practicing medicine;
  • HB 3440, which removes barriers to prescribing, dispensing, and distributing naloxone, a lifesaving medicine that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose;
  • HCR 19, a resolution that declares Marion berry pie to the be the official pie of Oregon, contributing to a “branding” of Oregon products to bolster our tourism economy and support local businesses;
  • SB 269, another red tape cutting measure, which permits visiting nurses to practice in Oregon if staffing a school sponsored event; and
  • SB 274, a bill that requires post-secondary institutions to provide information regarding vaccine-preventable diseases, to educate our students about the dangers of avoidable illnesses.


Drug Take Back: HB 2645, the drug take back program, was the most ambitious project I took on during my first legislative session. This bill would have created a statewide drug take back program for unused prescription medications. The benefits of establishing a safe, responsible way to dispose of pills include improving our water quality, reducing accidental poisonings, but most importantly, as this article written by three mothers who lost their sons to addiction note, helps to address the opioid crisis.


While HB 2645 did not pass this session, Governor Brown and legislative leadership are forming an opioid taskforce, which will propose legislative concepts to help address this public health crisis, and I look forward to coordinating efforts with the taskforce to include a drug take back program as part of their efforts.


Thank you, Katherine! A special thank you goes out to our legislative intern this session. Katherine has been a wonderful addition to the team. She is currently a sophomore attending Chemeketa Community College. Katherine is especially interested in legislation dealing with reproductive health and is an active volunteer with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.


Malstrom Votes Aye! As you may have heard, on the final day of session the Speaker of the House and Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten had a surprise for me: House rules were suspended so that Commissioner Schouten could make a proposal of marriage. Thank you to all that have sent your best wishes. I have tried my best to respond to them when they have come in this week.





Thank you for sticking through this session with me. Your emails, letters, and phone calls were much appreciated and helped ground me on many issues. I hope you have enjoyed hearing my perspective. Looking forward to hearing from you all again or seeing you in the district at a local event!



Capitol Phone: 503-986-1427
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-280, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.SheriMalstrom@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/malstrom