February 2021Newsletter

Sheri Schouten

February 2021 Newsletter

Neighbors & Friends,

Welcome to the 81st session of the Oregon Legislature! We are meeting and working in unprecedented and historic times; responding to a global pandemic, economic downturn and rebuilding from historically large fires. The discussions ahead of us this session and beyond are not easy and may be uncomfortable for some, but they are community conversations that are long overdue. I hope that those of us that call House District 27 home or work here can contribute to these important discussions over the coming months. I will be sharing with you my thoughts and the work I am engaged in through these newsletters. I hope you find them useful. If you ever have suggestions, please feel free to send them my way.


COVID-19 Updates


Updates about COVID-19 and our responses are changing by the day as more and more Oregonians get access to the vaccine. To follow the latest updates, please visit the COVID-19 resources page provided by the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s Office. CLICK HERE

Just recently OHA and the Governor lowered the risk level for Washington County and Multnomah County from EXTREME to HIGH. Our number of new COVID-19 cases dropped enough over a 14 day period and will be re-evaluated again in the near future. Limited indoor activities will be allowed to resume. We should all continue social distancing and other best practices. The Public Health Division of Washington County Health & Human Services issued a release explaining the changes. READ IT HERE



Committee Work

For the 2021 legislative session I will continue my work on the House Healthcare Committee. Right now we are meeting virtually and you find out more about the meetings here. You will be pleased to know that Washington County is represented by half of the members of the committee. Both State Representatives from our Senate District (Rep. Campos (HD 28) and myself (HD27)) are now serving on the Healthcare Committee. This will present a great opportunity for our region to have a positive impact on the state’s healthcare policies. Legislation related to COVID-19 will first be looked at from a special subcommittee.

My other two committee assignments align very closely with the work of the Healthcare Committee. They are the Human Services Committee and the Early Childhood Committee. You might recall I was on the Early Childhood Committee during my first session in the legislature in 2017. Both committees are vital to growing healthy communities for Oregonians.

Legislation Highlights

Below you will find some of the bills I am working on this session:

State Song Resolution (HCR 11)

Often our work in the Capitol takes a few sessions before it gets on the public’s radar. In 2017 I started working with constituent Amy Shapiro. (I’ve highlighted Amy’s work in previous newsletters.) She came to my office with concerns about the lyrics in our state song “Oregon, My Oregon”. We drafted legislation and got great feedback as well as some ridicule from traditionalists who felt change was not needed. You might have seen some of the press about our State Song bill.

Oregon’s 1920s-Era State Song Is Nakedly Racist

Lyrics rooted in white supremacist sentiment': Lawmakers consider changing state song

Oregon State Song Could Get New Lyrics

For more information about HCR 11, please watch my testimony and other advocates before the House Rules Committee found immediately below:


Insulin Affordability (HB 2623)

Diabetes impacts almost half a million Oregonians, with another one million that are pre-diabetic. In the last two decades, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled, and was the seventh leading cause of death among Oregonians in 2017. All Type 1 diabetics, and many with Type 2 are dependent on insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. Despite being such a life-saving medication, the cost of insulin has skyrocketed over 550% in the last 14 years, making it unaffordable to many individuals across the state.

I have sponsored a bill (HB 2623) that caps the out of pocket cost for insulin. Based on  legislation in Illinois, Colorado, and New Mexico, it would cap the out-of-pocket expense at $75 per 30-day prescription of insulin.

You might have seen some coverage about this legislation from the 2020 Session when we passed it out of the Oregon House but was derailed by the Republican walkouts in the State Senate.

Oregon bill to limit insulin costs in jeopardy because of Republican walkout

States are trying to cap the price of insulin. Pharmaceutical companies are pushing back.

The American Diabetes Association has been a strong ally in supporting my work to pass this bill. While the Republican walkout prevented this bill from moving forward, we are all optimistic that this year it will pass and be signed into law. No one should fear not being able to afford their insulin or forced to choose between insulin and paying other bills.

A public hearing was scheduled for 2/16 but has been postponed due the recent winter weather. We are hoping to know soon the date of the rescheduled hearing. CLICK HERE to find the most up to date information on HB 2623.

Upcoming Event


Joint Virtual Constituent Night Event

On February 24th, at 6:00pm please join me, Senator Kate Lieber (SD 14) and State Representative WInsvey Campos (HD 28) for a joint virtual event. The event will take place on Zoom and will provide an opportunity to hear about the work your area legislators are doing during the 2021 session. Register at the link below and feel free to submit questions you have. These questions will be addressed during the event. We will also stream the event live on Facebook. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

From the Inbox

Going forward this session I will be sharing some of the most common or interesting emails we get in our office and share my response to them. In this video I share a little info about my committees and three of our most frequent emails coming into my inbox. Click the photo to watch the video.


Reflecting on Leadership

You may have noticed I signed onto a letter asking Representative Diego Hernandez to resign from the Oregon Legislature based on the findings and expulsion recommendation of the House Conduct Committee. I have also called for Representative Mike Nearman to resign after he opened a door to a closed Capitol building to an angry mob outside.

I would rather not have to vote to expel any member of the legislature, but if I am forced to take that kind of a vote, I will. Accountability is part of the foundation of leadership. Both of these leaders have had opportunities to hold themselves accountable and both have failed to do so.


Have you heard of 211? It is a great resource that has been around for decades to help Oregonians find the information and resources they need. 211 has contracts with local governments and non-profits to connect Oregonians with the help they need. 211 has been on Oregon’s frontline resolving COVID-19 questions and concerns - connecting Oregonians to the right resources. Here is a recent breakdown of what kinds of requests are coming into 211.


Looking Ahead

As the legislative session continues, my staff and I look forward to answering your questions about the legislative process and my work at the Capitol. 

If you are wanting to know how to provide testimony to a legislative committee, please CLICK HERE.  For reference assistance, questions about the legislature, legislative process, or other government agencies, please email help.leg@state.or.us, or call 1-800-332-2313. If you are having trouble getting a hold of someone please feel free to contact me in my office and my staff can assist you.


Stay Safe and Stay Engaged,


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