Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon » Homepage

Government Relations

2024 Legislative End of Session Report

The decisions state lawmakers made during the 2024 legislative session will profoundly impact the health of people in every part of Oregon. These include the decision to make major new investments in two of Governor Kotek's key priorities: behavioral health and housing.

As in any session, lawmakers faced hard choices. However, through it all, they demonstrated that the health of people in Oregon remains a top bipartisan concern.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is committed to distributing newly appropriated funds quickly and to implementing new legislation transparently, promptly, and in close collaboration with behavioral health partners, health care partners, Tribal and other governmental partners, community-based organizations, criminal justice system partners, and others to advance health equity and meet the urgent health challenges facing people across the state.

Click here for the full 2024 OHA Legislative End of Session Report.

Click here for a video presentation by the OHA Government Relations team about the 2024 session.

HB 4002 & HB 5204, Relating to Opioid Addiction in Oregon

Prior to the 2024 session, the state legislature created the Joint Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response specifically to consider bills relating to the increase in opioid addiction and overdoses in Oregon, especially relating to fentanyl. Over 2,000 members of the public shared their thoughts with the committee either in writing or at one of two public hearings. Ultimately, the committee proposed and legislators passed HB 4002, which includes provisions relating to misdemeanors, drug treatment programs, prescriptions, behavioral health workers, and much more. Legislators also passed HB 5204, which appropriates over $200 million to fund various parts of HB 4002, plus several other bills related to opioids or addiction.

This HB 4002 and HB 5204 Fact Sheet outlines the:

  • Community safety provisions in HB 4002
  • Addiction and behavioral health provisions in HB 4002
  • Funding related to HB 4002
  • Other legislation related to opioids or addiction
  • Relationship of HB 4002 to Measure 110
  • Role of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in implementing HB 4002, including ways to implement the bill that advance health equity

Prior Legislative End of Session Reports

2023: In 2023, the legislature passed many critically important investments and initiatives that will dramatically impact the health of people in Oregon and the goal of eliminating health inequity in our state by 2030.

Overall, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) budget for the 2023-2025 biennium is $35.8 billion, an increase of about 6 percent. The total number of positions at OHA increased to 5,664, even with significant administrative reductions and the elimination of vacant positions in the agency. 

Beyond the budget, 2023 saw passage of many bills that will impact health and health equity. From strengthening Measure 110, to continuing to modernize our public health system, implementing our state's ground-breaking 1115 Medicaid waiver, and building and maintaining a stronger health care workforce, the Governor and legislators made clear that they have high expectations and high hopes for success.

Click here for the full OHA Legislative Session Report for 2023.

2022: Below are highlights of the 2022 session of the Oregon Legislature relating to bills and budget items expected to most significantly impact the health of Oregonians and the work of Oregon Health Authority. These bills and budget items are sorted by topic (though these topics are interrelated, and many items could be listed under more than one):

  • Increasing and Maintaining Access to Health Care
  • Transforming the Behavioral Health System
  • Strengthening Oregon's Health Care Workforce
  • Building Healthier Communities

OHA End of Legislative Session Report 2022.pdf

2021: Read the 2021 Legislative End of Session Report below:

OHA 2021 Legislative End of Session Report.pdf (updated August 24, 2021)

Government Relations Staff

Phil (2).jpgPhilip Schmidt (he/him), the Interim Government Relations Director, joined OHA in March 2020, and almost immediately began work on the COVID response in communications. Later he supported the Health Policy & Analytics Division and Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan with communications. Earlier, among other things, he worked on Capitol Hill for a Puerto Rican Member of Congress from New York, first as communications director and later as deputy chief of staff. After his time in DC, he moved back home to Oregon and worked at the state hospital association for several years. Phil holds a bachelor's degree in both history and international affairs from Colorado College and a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University. In his spare time, he bikes, skis, hikes and camps with his young daughters and wife.

Interim Government Relations Director

Phone: 503-383-6079

Emily Headshot.jpgEmily Droge (she/they) has dedicated her career to fighting for social justice and health equity. She brings a background in food justice, social work, community advocacy, and strategic communications to her role as a Senior Policy Advisor on the Government Relations team. She was most recently a Health Promotion Strategist in the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention (HPCDP) Section. She managed the Smokefree Oregon brand and all commercial tobacco communications work in an effort to shift policies, systems, and environments to address commercial tobacco-related health disparities. Emily has been with Oregon Health Authority since 2021. They earned their Masters in Public Health from New York University and a Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Science from University of California, Berkeley.

Government Relations contact for: Public Health, Equity & Inclusion, Vital Records
Email: Emily Droge

Phone: 971-409-3449

Bobby Green.jpgBobby L. Green Sr. joined OHA at the creation of the agency in 2010. Prior to coming to OHA, he served as the Legislative Affairs Liaison for the Association of Community Mental Health Programs. He began at OHA as the Local Government Affairs Director, and also served several positions on an interim basis: Deputy Director of the Public Health Division, Chief Operation Officer, and Deputy Director of the Medicaid/Medicare Division. He was a Eugene City Councilor from 1989-1994, and County Commissioner for Lane County from 1994-2008. He was a board member of the Association of Oregon Counties, including President in 2007. Bobby has a bachelor's degree in English/Literature from the University of Oregon. In his spare time, he enjoys his three grandchildren and film studies.

Local Government Affairs Liasion
Email: Bobby Green

Phone: 503-947-2349

mgreen.png Matthew Green (he/him) joined Government Relations as a senior policy advisor in January 2019. He focuses on the Legislature's Joint Committee on Ways and Means, as well as communications for the GR team, including regular outreach with external partners. Matthew came to OHA from the Washington State Department of Health, and brings years of experience in public health, media relations and government affairs. A former newspaper journalist, legislative aide, and political campaign manager for several elected officials, he also served as an elected City of Olympia council member. Matthew holds a bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University.

Government Relations contact for: Oregon State Hospital, Addiction & Substance Use

Phone: 503-983-8257

Sarah.jpgSarah Herb (she/her) joined OHA in April 2023 as the executive support specialist for the Government Relations team. Prior to coming to OHA, Sarah worked as the executive search and events specialist for the Oregon School Boards Association. She graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor's degree in natural resources and watershed management.

Government Relations contact for: Executive Support for Government Relations Director

Email: Sarah Herb
Phone: 971-372-9887

John Inglish.jpgJohn Inglish (he/him) was a healthcare service provider for over ten years, practicing occupational therapy in clinical and educational settings. Subsequently, he worked in disability law and policy, representing clients in healthcare and education matters, and engaged in local, state, and national policy work. John also worked at the Oregon Department of Education, where he oversaw safe and healthy schools initiatives, managed the state mediation program for special education, and served as a county liaison. Most recently, John directed the Conflict & Dispute Resolution program at the University of Oregon School of Law. He holds a Master of Public Policy & Administration and a Juris Doctorate, both from the University of Utah. In his spare time he skis, climbs, plays guitar in local bands, and spends time with his wife, three sons, and two dogs.

Government Relations contact for: Medicaid, Education, Home & Community-Based Services, Ombuds

Phone: 971-393-3860

Robert Lee.jpgRobert Lee is deeply passionate about healthcare policy with over 17 years of government affairs, healthcare administration, and policy experience in private, public, non-profit and consulting industries. Previously, he served as the Quality Management Director of Standards & Compliance at the Oregon State Hospital where he successfully oversaw regulatory, policy, and compliance efforts. Robert holds advanced degrees in both Political Science and Public Administration from Portland State University, earned numerous professional certificates, and served as adjunct faculty at the PSU Hatfield School of Government teaching on healthcare policy analysis & development. In his spare time, he serves on his local school board, explores the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and maintains a competitive team of spoiled sled dogs.

Government Relations contact for: Behavioral Health, Tribal Affairs

Email: Robert Lee

Phone: 503-490-6180

Marybeth Mealue (002).pngMarybeth Mealue (she/her) has been with OHA and the State of Oregon since 2019. Marybeth has a background in project management, partner engagement, and strategic communications work. She has dedicated her time at OHA to improving systems and elevating community voices. Before joining OHA, Marybeth worked as a personnel and office manager for four prominent newspapers in the mid-Willamette valley. Marybeth was born and raised in Oregon and has a bachelor's degree in history and international studies from George Fox University. In her free time, Marybeth enjoys spends time with her family and going to Disneyland.

Government Relations contact for: Health Policy and Analytics, Pharmaceuticals, PEBB/OEBB, Oral Health

Email: Marybeth Mealue
Phone: 503-490-8100

Ashley Thirstrup.jpegAshley Thirstrup (she/her), the previous Government Relations Director, is now the Chief of Staff of OHA and the Director of the External Relations Division, which includes the Government Relations team. Ashley can still be reached at her previous email address and phone number.

Chief of Staff, External Relations Division Director 

Email: Ashley Thirstrup
Phone: 503-720-2557

Legislative Reports

More Information