Legislative Updates: National & State

U.S. Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017

On March 21, 2017 U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), reintroduced (S. 670) to make hearing aids for those with mild to moderate hearing loss available over the counter (OTC). A companion bill (HR 1652) led by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was also introduced in the House. The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter and remove unnecessary and burdensome requirements that currently create barriers for consumers who could benefit from hearing aids. http://www.hearingloss.org/sites/default/files/docs/Warren-Grassley_Press_Release.pdf

Oregon Senate Bill 829

Requires video transmission of executive department and legislative department to be close-captioned for access by hearing-impaired persons. Provides exception. Applies to video transmissions created on or after January 1, 2018. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

Oregon Senate Bill 1018

Establishes Oregon Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing Program within Department of Human Services. Establishes Oregon Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing Committee for purpose of administering program. Specifies components of program and duties of committee. Becomes operative January 1, 2018. Takes effect 91st day following adjournment sine die.

Oregon Senate Bill 1023

Establishes Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to Department of Human Services for purpose of administering programs of department for individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. Directs Public Utility Commission to transfer certain percentage of residential service protection and assistive telecommunication devices surcharge moneys to fund. Sunsets January 2, 2020. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

Oregon House Bill 3268

Repeals provisions directing Public Utility Commission to administer the residential telecommunication service program.

Oregon House Bill 3415

Imposes requirements upon mental health treatment providers and programs to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate care for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Authorizes civil penalty for violation of requirements. Prohibits and designates as unlawful practice denial of access to culturally and linguistically affirmative mental health services based on residual hearing ability or previous experience in alternative mode of communication. Requires Oregon Health Authority to appoint Coordinator of Mental Health Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals and specifies duties. The website for the Oregon State Legislature Activities is— https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1#.