Salem, OR (STL.News) Governor Kate Brown provided notice that she intends to veto two bills passed during the 2021 Legislative Session. Under Article 5, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution, the Governor must provide at least five days’ notice before vetoing a bill after the legislature adjourns sine die. The Governor issued the following statement:
“I want to thank legislators for a successful and productive session that addressed the key challenges facing Oregonians, including the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfire recovery and preparedness, and taking steps to end systemic racism and address racial disparities in Oregon.
“This session was a turning point for Oregon. We worked together to build a safer, stronger, more equitable, and more resilient state––a state that provides for Oregonians’ basic needs, where we are all committed to dismantling systems of racism and addressing the racial disparities they’ve caused, and where the economy creates opportunities for working families and businesses.
“Since the close of session, my office has reviewed and carefully considered hundreds of bills enacted during the final few days of the session. This included a review of feedback from legislators, constituents, and other stakeholders on the efficacy of the new policies passed, as well as a legal review of those policies. Upon review, there were two bills with technical issues that I intend to return unsigned and disapproved. While I appreciate the goals of both bills, portions of both unfortunately come into conflict with federal regulations or federal authority.”
Senate Bill 721
As written, Senate Bill 721 would place the state in conflict with federal Medicaid law, which requires a single state Medicaid agency and prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from delegating its authority over Medicaid policies.
Governor Brown added, “I understand that supporters of SB 721 intend to re-submit a similar bill in the future with a modification to avoid the federal law conflict. I look forward to those efforts, and I applaud their work to center the consumer voice in improving the delivery of behavioral health care here in Oregon.”
House Bill 2646
House Bill 2646 would bar Oregonians under the age of 21 from purchasing kratom. The Governor supports efforts to prevent this product from reaching the hands of young Oregonians. However, the portion of this bill that creates a regulatory function at the Oregon Department of Agriculture is problematic. As is the case with other potentially harmful drugs, Governor Brown believes that the federal Food and Drug Administration is the appropriate regulatory body to oversee the importation and use of this product.
Governor Brown added, “Given there is currently no FDA-approved use for this product and there continues to be concern about the impacts of its use, I would entertain further legislation to limit youth access without the state agency regulatory function included in this bill.”