July 20, 2013

Legislative Report Back

Legislative Day 2013

APANO launched our legislative advocacy work in 2011, and this year we had significant wins and gains. Our work focused on increasing opportunity and access for Asian and Pacific Islanders and all Oregonians. Overall we engaged hundreds of community members through our policy forums, State of Cultural Competency Community Forum, legislative trainings, and Statewide APANO Legislative Day, meeting elected officials, testifying at the Capitol, and working in coalition. Highlights:

Health - Start with Equity

  • Culturally appropriate data collection ensures that disparities facing our API communities are visible and addressed. APANO organized a Data Equity Coalition that introduced and won our first bill (HB 2134) establishing uniform data standards for race, ethnicity, language and disability status in the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services.

  • Cultural competency is about interacting effectively with people of different backgrounds, and promoting the health of communities facing health inequities. APANO worked with the Urban League of Portland and other partners through the HOPE Coalition to pass HB 2611 that creates a new system for cultural competency continuing education for licensed health professionals in Oregon.

  • Strong relationships are the foundation for meaningful change, and APANO is a proud member of the Oregon Health Equity Alliance that worked to pass a range of health equity policies, including prenatal care for all women and establishing a traditional health care commission to support the emerging community health worker professionals.

Education and Economic Justice

  • Driver licenses give our communities the opportunity to work, go to school and contribute to our economy. We worked successfully to restore driver licenses for Pacific Islanders who are COFA Residents* through HB 2517 and create a driver card for immigrants and refugees who lack citizenship documentation with SB 833.

  • Access to in-state college tuition, regardless of immigration status leads to better education results, invests in our children who graduate from Oregon high schools, and leads to better lifetime opportunities and health outcomes. After ten years of hard work, we helped pass Tuition Equity HB 2787 increasing access to college for immigrant children.

  • Refugee Services including job training help our economy and increase self-sufficiency. APANO worked with IRCO, Lutheran Community Services and other providers to continue full TANF social service funding that supports refugee resettlement programs in Oregon.

Next Steps

  • APANO is planning a series of report back meetings with individual API groups and organizations. This will be an opportunity to listen to community feedback and envision ideas together for next year. If you're interested in hosting a report back, please contact joseph@apano.org or call 971-340-4861.

  • The Racial Equity Report Card, a collaboration between leading community of color, immigrant and refugee organizations and allies, will be releasing the 2013 Legislative Report Card on MLK Day 2014.

*Pacific Islanders from Micronesia, Palua and the Marshall Islands have a special relationship with the US called the Compact of Free Association (COFA) that ensures health, housing and security of COFA residents in return for US military interests in the islands.