July 19, 2013
House Bill 3166, which would have established a lower-level "environmental health technician" to
provide technical support and assistance to environmental health specialists, had one hearing on March 7 before the Senate Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency Committee.
HB 3166 went no further, however, and will not become law, at least not in this legislative session.
"Sometimes a bill doesn't go through because of a lack of stakeholder consensus," says OHLA Policy Analyst Randy Harnisch. "Sometimes there just isn't enough time to address all of the issues a particular bill presents."
At the request of the Governor's Office, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) and Environmental Health Registration Board held a neutral position on the bill.
Board member Mike Kucinski testified in favor of the bill, not as a board member, but as Manager of the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Onsite Waste Water Program.
Kucinski and DEQ Director Dick Pedersen testified that due to a lack of qualified professionals in rural areas, 35 percent of newly constructed waste water systems are not inspected.
Kucinski testified that the technician-level position, modeled after a similar position established by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), would provide another option for lower-risk environmental health duties and could potentially lower the cost of inspections as well.