Legislative Update with Glenna Hayes, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator with UCP

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Fri, 04/07/2023 - 9:30am to 10:00am
Glenna shares three bill important to the disability community that are currently being worked on during Oregon's long legislative session.

Glenna Hayes, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator with UCP Connections and UCP Mentors:  503-777-4166

UCP=United Cerebral Palsy


Musical Intro:  Caught in the Fire by Klergy, sound of like a deep whale call and a femm voice "ooo"ing
JG:  Good morning.  This is Disability Justice: An Everyday Pursuit in Survival.  Your host John Griffiths.
DW:  and Dena Wilder, board operator. 

JG: So good morning, and let's start with the introductions. Yeah. Would you mind saying your name?
GH: Yeah, my name's Glenna Hayes. They /them pronouns, and I'm the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator for UCP Connections and  UCP Mentors.
JG:  Good morning, Glenna. It's good to have you in the studio.
GH: Yeah, thanks for inviting me. Good to be back.
JG: And... Advocacy and outreach for UCP...What does exactly that entail?
GH: Yeah, that is always a good question about my role, because it varies, a lot of different things that adapts, based on the need of the self advocates that I work with. I will say self advocates really define what my work focuses on and that's why it changes so much throughout my role. I support Self Advocates Taking Action, which is a tri-county self-advocate led group. I am the support staff for them. I help staff at our organization when there's like barriers or like they're needing resources specifically for the customers that they support. Like if someone has questions on like employment discrimination or barriers, who do they contact about it? There's other times where I'm also invited into like meeting spaces so that so you have a meeting with your employer due to discrimination that you're experiencing, I can be one of those supports on your team. I find that, generally having my title, levels out some of the power dynamics that exist in those spaces, and it provides the person with the disability, the ally support that they need in that space.
Just for clarification, I'm a white femm presenting person. I have an invisible disability, and I'm able to hide my neurodiversity in a lot of those spaces. So I'm able to fly under the radar where they don't really know my experience or my role. So it just helps in those situations when folks have are experiencing those power dynamics in ableism. I'm kind of there as like a support and a barrier. I help folks during the legislative period this year I helped UCP Connections and Mentors submit testimony, help them identify their key priorities. Self Advocates Taking Action has done a similar thing. So it really depends on the need at the time, and what the self-advocates themselves are focusing on. But yeah, I love my. I love what I do, and I love the community that I get to work with.I feel like I can be truly myself, and all my weirdness neurodiversity, which is really nice, feeling so welcome in a world that doesn't feel so welcome.
JG: Oh, yeah, I know what you mean. So shall we get started with the you know the legislation's so let's start with a legislative  updates, And the bills we should be starting with are, I should say, the bills that affect us are really need to be looked at at this time, and during the long session.
GH:  Yeah,There's 3 bills that I wanna highlight 2 are specific that are identified as key priorities for self advocates. And the third one, I wanna highlight it has to do with reproductive rights and Lgbtq gender affirming care.And I wanted to highlight that in, especially with how the political climate is reacting to a lot of anti-trans, anti-reproductive health legislation, in other states.
But let's start with the first one, which is House Bill 2 4 5 7.
This is going to require a raise for direct support providers, also known as DSPs. So this would put into place legislation that no matter what the minimum wage is, and as minimum wage increases, Dsps would be getting a 150% of the State minimum wage. And it would cover the cost of employer contributions for the medical and family paid lead yeah.
JG: That sounds like that would really help our our community quite a little bit.
GH: Yeah, and they made the addendum around employee contributions.
So I believe the employee contribution piece is still being navigated.
 There was a work session on the 22nd, just a couple of days ago, and a couple legislators in that committee did raise concerns of Well, who is gonna pay that piece if it's not gonna be the employee does that mean the state's gonna cover it?
Or what it they need, like some more addendums, I think in it before they're comfortable fully supporting it. So within them, talking about the addendum.
But they did take a vote. It hasn't been posted on OLIS yet, so I'm not sure why.
But in the committee it passed into the joint Ways and Means Committee, because it is gonna have a fiscal impact on our state's budget, and it has to go to the joint ways and means committee because that's the financial committee and they deal with both House and Senate bills.
JG:  Do you think? Do you think there's any chance It's gonna pass the ways and means committee because they're pretty hesitant on You know, adding things to that costs money.
GH: And this cost a lot when they read the number at the committee work session it was like almost a 1 billion dollars.
It was like 934 million, I believe, was the number that was quoted.
So with that being such a large chunk of the budget request, I'm not sure, because the people who were advocating for this bill during the work session, like a couple of the legislators, one of them was like I know, this is a large number and we're normally thought to be scared of this large of a number, because it's so big, right?
Like what we see, a number like that. We kind of get really clenched and defensive, but she actually was just talking to people from SEIU a little bit earlier, and says she's been actually engaging with direct support providers, and any type of support providers in our community and knowing how this is needed. So she did advocate for that piece of like.
Don't let the numbers scare you. This is a really big need, and the reason why the numbers so big is because it hasn't been getting the attention it's needed for a while.
So I I'm hopeful.
I'm looking at who the committee members are. I think actually, we do have a really good chance of it passing.
I can see quite a few allies here listed in the joint Wins and Means committee. I know Elizabeth Steiner has been at Build a Movement before, and a good support. Campos. Denbro. Frederic.  We have Salman in there, Maclean Fame.
So we have like, I would say, like about 6 or 7 legislators in that group of that committee who I think, would vote yes, on it.
It might take some arguing, but we're only a few months into the session.
I believe we're halfway at this point, so I'm hopeful as I'm hopeful, especially because it made it out of the first committee, and normally it tends to die in that first section of the committee.
So we'll see. But I'm really hopeful on that. And that would be a huge impact on the provider crisis that our community is dealing with.
JG: And what was the next bill you're interested in?
GH: Senate Bill 611. This increases the amount that landlords will owe for termination, and, like relocation cost, and it would limit annual rent increases.
This is a really important bill that I hope you can show up for.

JG: And you said, did you say something like it would cause a rent hold?
Or is that a rent freeze?
GH: It would cause annual rent increases to be limited.
So you know how this year we would just went up to about 14% from 10%.
I believe this would lower it to 8%.
It would lower it. Yeah.
JG: Still a lot.
GH: Yes, but I believe...
Yeah, that's to 8% or 3% plus some other factors.
But that is lesser than the 10% increase that we were just experiencing.
And it is way less than a 14% increase and because for some that 14% increase raise their rent like 2 or $300, and they've had to move.
So I'm hopeful. I think this is a really important bill to show up.
We do have a lot of landlords and rental companies testifying right now, justifying these costs.
So if you can show up in any way whether it's phone call, Microsoft teams to do live testimony or submitting written testimony, please do so.
Portland Tenants United, has a very accessible link on their Facebook page and their website, where you can also use some of their links to do quick, easy testimony and contacting your leislators about this bill, too, especially if they're on the committee for this, please reach out to them and advocate for this. The provider crisis is directly linked to the housing crisis.
Many of our customers cannot afford independent housing. We also have providers who just can't afford housing with the pay that they're making, especially if you have a family.
So those 2 are the most impactful pieces of legislation impacting our community right now, that is House Bill 2457and Senate Bill 611.
JG:  But it also sounds like you have a third bill that might be impacting our community.
GH:  Yes. So House Bill 2 0 0 2, which has many sponsors and chief sponsors, was put together by basic rights officials of Oregon, which is similar to disability rights of Oregon.
But their main focus is the Lgbtq plus community.
 So what this bill would do is it would protect gender, affirming care and reproductive healthcare, like abortions or accessing birth control from the medical providers.
 It would guarantee that if you say you're coming from out of state to access gender, affirming care or reproductive health care, our providers here in Oregon cannot be legally subjected to repercussions from those state policies.
 It would also mean that everyone has the right to access gender, affirming care and it has to be covered under medical insurance, the same with reproductive health care, so that way it doesn't come out of pocket. They gave an example of, like someone who is wanting to is a woman, and might have some facial hair or some body hair.
 They can get like hair removal processes covered under insurance which can run folks up from like 5 to 8 grand, because it's multiple sessions.
 So gender, affirming care can look like that. It could also look like my father was on gender affirming care.
 He was a man, but when he reached the age of about 60 his body stopped producing testosterone, and he needed it.
 He needed to produce testosterone because he is a man and wanted to continue keeping his level his hormones level. So I think there's a lot of bias and stigmas around reproductive or sorry gender affirming care where they just assume it's immediately directed to the trans community, and while it heavily impacts that community this could impact a variety of people who need gender affirming care. There are plenty of people who are a man or woman who'd have the right to get the gender affirming care where they feel comfortable in their body, and it's kind of like a dual a double edged sword, where it's like society doesn't want to support gender affirming care but if you go into society as a trans man or trans woman, and aren't presenting enough, you're ostracized as well.
JG:  Oh, yeah.
GH:  So, so, yeah, this is. And then the reproductive health piece.
It's a huge bill. They actually went into a very long public hearing on March twenty-th about it.
If you are tender, please don't. I would say some self carries, maybe not listening to the opposing testimony.
It. It was pretty dark. It was pretty bigotted.
JG: What is, sorry, when you say opposing testimony now was that the people who were stating who were, if I remember correctly, from what I saw in the news, the parents saying, Well, we have a right to know what's going on with our child, and you know it's a parent choice, not a child's choice, and you know I do believe some of the other stuff was, you know, children, saying, Well, you know.
But if my parents don't agree with my choice about gender or their religious views interfere with you know how I choose to present myself.
GH:  Yeah, no. A lot of the opposing testimony around the gender affirming care were people jumping to very biased information of like, well, what if a 10 year old wants to have gender reassignment surgery on their genitals and it's like they had a specialist who is a gender-affirming doctor, said it is a rigorous process for us to provide those types of surgeries.
You know, we have a psychologist. We have a month-long process, and we're not out to change the development of a child right away.
We're here to help them on their journey of gender affirming care, whether that's exploring their pronouns and their names when they get to a certain age.
Maybe go in on puberty blockers, but it's way more than the surgeries that they were just immediately going to, and then they had a couple of people who had double a mastectomy where they had chest surgery and came to talk about how they're angry about it, and the transition which I'm so sorry for them.
And that they have that experience of regrets, but their regret and their trauma should not be forced on other people to deal with.
People still deserve the right of gender affirming care, and my heart goes out to those folks.
But blocking other individuals from accessing the care that they are seeking and meeting just it just doesn't make any sense to me like I can understand wanting to raise education.
But around the topic, and then for the reproductive health side, they had a handful of people who were pro-life come in and talk about how they regret their abortionin the 19 seventies, and one person talk about how it's very important that we don't provide abortion access to people and colleges because the message that we're pushing is harmful to children, and that we need to push the message of love so it was it just got really dark it like the positive testimony, was great, but the opposing testimony, especially like as a non-binary person, and with the weight of the world going on in my community right now, I don't. I just suggest, maybe not listening to the all that hatred and some of the language that they were using.
But I do think it's important to support it. They have a work session scheduled which means that the legislators within that committee are going to be talking about the bill asking questions and clarifications on the bill, and potentially voting on if its gonna pass out of committee or not. So if you're legislators are on that committee, please reach out to them in support of this bill so that we can get gender reaffirming care covered by health insurance, we can protect our reproductive health providers from repercussions of pro-life, anti-abortion states.
We really wanna make this a safe space for these communities, especially with the political heat happening in other states. 2 States have introduced, legislation on wanting to be able to execute individuals who access abortion, or provide abortion. Tennessee has banned drag and public spaces.
They also in that bill have banned. If you are assigned mail at birth, and you do not dress like a male, you can be arrested and get a felony and in prison for up to 5 years.
So even just existing as a trans person in that world is going to be a criminal offense and there's so much more going on.
I don't know. I just wanna keep that limited.
But I really hope that we can support this bill so that we can protect these communities.
And these communities have a place in the disability community. We, the disability community holds so many different intersectional identities that we need to make it a safe, welcoming place for all.
Not just for one specific community.
 JG:  You know it always amazes me that Americans speak about choice and freedoms and everything else like that.
But when it comes to actual practice it's always about removing your choice.
 Get rid of your freedoms, and always seems extremely  hypocrisy.
 Hypocrisy to me you know I'm always tired of the prudish nature towards sex, towards the natural body, towards you know nudity, or talking about gender, or talking about something that's completely not neurotypical.
 Just, you know, playing white cis male or female.
You know, it really is quite disturbing how bad it all that is!
And I know people outside of the United States thinks, oh, well, you know the United States is all free. This and all free.
Of that and all that. Oh, boy, when you get here you get a rude awakening.
 GH No, the hypocrisy that I'm seeing.
It's I feel like it almost is like a cognitive disconnect, somehow, of like.
How do you not see that you are warping your own opinion just to hate on somebody?
I think there was like the conversation around like how some places are banning books first for certain pieces of education, but then at the same breath, you know, talking about how like?
Well, I don't want my choices made for me by the Government.
I have access, I should have access to free knowledge or when they're talking about.
I can't remember what Bill this is, but about talk.
I think it's around like the gender affirming care of, like the government is not coming here to tell you what to do with your child.
We're just opening it up coming and protection for that community.
And I just never understand where what the disconnect is.
It's like the guys who are like, I just don't understand why. You know, people are choosing to be gay.
It's like, do you wake up every day and have to tell yourself to like women?
Are you waking every day, making a choice to be straight?
And when you ask them that question, what do you mean?
I'm like, do you wake up and say, Oh, I must like woman today.
I have to like woman today, do you think you really? Think that's what gay people are doing like we're out here just having to think about the people we're attracted to.
And it's like, Do I have to connect the dots for you, or like, where is it disconnecting?
And it I it's like my body, my choice right like.
Don't tell me what I can, and can't do with my body, but I'm going to support anti abortion Bills.
JG: There's just always a huge amount of hypocrisy within the human race.
GH:  Mmm.
JG:  So I would like to get into. You know, this is very important subjects, and I would like to get into like how a person might submit some testimonies on these 3 bills, who they would contact.
You know, other areas that would need to be discussed to that. People, too, know what to do if they're interested in making sure some of these bills get passed.
GH:  Yeah, yeah, I always forget. I like, look at this website so many times during the session, the Oregon State Legislative Information System.
So OLIS. So if you look up OLIS.Oregonlegislator.gov, it'll bring you up to our main website for our legislative process.
They have a great help section, where it has visuals and videos.
So it kind of teaches you how to find a bill, how to explore the website, because we are very transparent with our legislative process here in Oregon.
So each committee, if it has a work session, public testimony, whatever is recorded.
And so, if you go to that particular committee, you can see all of the previous recordings.
You can, and you can see all the agendas of what was actually covered in those recordings.
Future meetings, all of that stuff you can see membership and the staff.
So the House Bill 2002 is housed in the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Healthcare.
So when you go to OLIS, you can either look up House Bill 2 0 0 2 or look up the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Healthcare and see what the assigned measures are.
You'll find it in there so little easier to just search the bill number, though.
One way to advocate for this bill, currently, because the public testimony piece has already closed is you can reach out to the chair the vice chairs, or, if you have representatives on this committee that are your legislators, you can reach out to them directly and talk to them about why this bill is important, or how you feel about the bill.
 So that is one way to advocate for it, if there's a public testimony, go straight for the top 3 individuals. If your legislators are in there, make a meeting with them, you can email them as well.
Sometimes you might get their staff, but that's totally okay.
 You will see when you go to the bill. They will have an option to submit testimony like I said, that piece has closed but when you're exploring the bill you'll have that is like a tab at the very top of the page, for you to like click on it, and then, if testimony is open, it'll take you net to the next phase to submit written testimony.
 If the committee or the public hearing hasn't taken place, you will see an option to register for testimony.
So those are the 2 options that you'll see on that Bill's main page.  
If you really want it to have like a work session and get passed out of committee, talk to them, the committee members cause you can advocate within the committee to get something scheduled for a work session, and that the work sessions are when they start taking votes on those bills and that applies for House Bill 2 4 5 7 because public testimony has closed reach out to the committee members on that particular committee which is the House Committee on Early Childhood and Human Services and advocate for them to vote it out of committee.
 It's very straight forward on how to navigate.
You have 4 buttons at the top: session, bills, committees, and more, and when you click on the bill, option is, that's when you can search the specific bill.
JG:  So when you say straightforward, do you think it's pretty accessible, or do you think it could be quite confusing for somebody just starting out onto it?
GH:  I will say I haven't tried this page out with an audio, reader, so I think it is only available if you unless maybe your computer has its own software, it's only written information. It's not in plain language.
I do believe they tried their best to make it pretty straightforward, like the homepage.
You have multiple tabs that you can explore like, and how to find your legislator.
I would say, if this is the first time you've been using this website or ever looked at it.
Give yourself a little bit of time for a learning curve, even though I think it's straightforward and direct.
It takes some time to navigate and figure out what you're looking for and what you're looking at.
But that's also why the help section is so great.
Because if you actually go to the help section first, the index will show you how to find your legislator, how to find a bill, how to submit testimony, And that's where you'll find the audio option, because they also have video with the audio. So the you'll see visually how to like click on things.
So my suggestion is like you might if you get overwhelmed, and you're not sure, go to that, help page. And if you email them, they're really, really friendly.
They'll help you navigate it. Unfortunately, I don't think they have a phone number unless it's related to accommodations request. So email is the only function that I see available.
The website is available in very many a lot of languages.
I just looked . It's probably about like 20 languages.
If you need ASL interpretation for meetings with your legislators, they can provide that, and all committee meetings and public hearings automatically have ASL interpreters in the recordings.
They also live caption all of their events, like the work sessions, the floor votes, and all of that.
That's the that's the accessible piece around that that I wanted to highlight.
But I think other than that. Go explore, figure it out, and if you have questions, you know, they have a great help support process, and also my information will be in the show notes for folks who might need like a little bit more of like a one on one training session for it.
Oh, good! Thank you! 
Well, it was good to have you in on our show.
And I hope to see you again and once again. This is Disability Justice: an every day pursuit in survival with Glenn Hayes around the legislative issues that affect the I/DD community and other related communities as well.
GH: Thanks for having me, John. That was great.
JG:  Yeah, thanks for coming in.  
That's the end of Disability Justice.  Since we cannot be fully aware of everybody's difficulties within the community, we would really like it if you would send us your email:  DisabilityJustice@KBOO.org
Musical Outro: Caught in the Fire by Klergy, ominous urgency music with heavy drums and a low groaning metalic whale-likesound

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