OSPIRG’s 2021 Legislative Agenda

OSPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government.
For more information about OSPIRG’s 2021 Legislative Agenda, to request our support for a bill, or to ask questions about our position on a specific issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to working with you.


OSPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government.

For more information about OSPIRG’s 2021 Legislative Agenda, to request our support for a bill, or to ask questions about our position on a specific issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to working with you.

Right to Repair

Companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. Some companies design products to be impossible to repair — such as gluing the battery in a smartphone so it cannot be replaced — or making repair proprietary so that only the manufacturing company can do the repairs. Most companies won’t make the tools, schematics or replacement parts available for sale, so even if repairs can be done by the user or an independent repair business, it’s more challenging and done with suboptimal products. 

We support giving Oregonians the Right to Repair by requiring manufacturing companies to make the diagnostic tools, schematics, replacement parts and tools available to the user or a third party available at a fair price.

High Value Health Care

The cost of health care continues to rise in Oregon, consuming more of the resources of consumers, businesses, and the public every year. OSPIRG is pushing for policies that will maintain a competitive marketplace, increase consumer choice, and bring costs under control, including: 

  • Creating a public option health plan available on the Marketplace that will help reduce costs and increase choice for consumers.  

  • Adding strong and escalating enforcement mechanisms for Oregon’s health care cost growth target, including a performance improvement plan, fines, and rate-setting to ensure compliance.

  • Requiring approval by the state for hospital mergers and acquisitions which can lead to higher costs for consumers. 

Control Prescription Drug Costs

The high cost of prescription drugs is a major driver of rising health care costs and public expenditures.  OSPIRG supports policies to rein in the prices of prescription drugs including:

  • Creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that can identify prescription drug products that cause affordability challenges, set an upper payment limit for those drugs, and penalize emergency price gouging by Pharma.

  • Prohibiting “pay-for-delay” of generic drugs, a practice where Pharma manufacturers pay generic drug manufacturers to delay distribution of less costly generic drugs and prevent less expensive medications from becoming available sooner

  • Increasing transparency on pharmaceutical drug sale practices by requiring drug sales representatives to register with the state, receive ethics education and disclose interactions with providers.

Beyond Plastics

Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — cups, plates, bags, containers, forks, knives, straws, spoons and more. All of this waste not only clogs our landfills, trashes our parks, and litters our streets, but it also washes into our rivers and oceans, where it can harm wildlife. OSPIRG supports policies that move beyond single-use plastic, including:

  • Requiring producers to be responsible for all waste costs associated with their products, including waste collection, transportation and management, and litter clean-up costs.

  • Banning polystyrene takeout containers and cups across the state.

  • Shifting away from single-use products and towards reusables by requiring reusable foodware for dine-in meals

  • Preventing the permitting of new or expanded “chemical recycling” facilities in Oregon, a false solution to our plastics problem, which exacerbates the climate crisis and distracts from real solutions like reducing plastic production and transitioning to a zero waste system

Democracy for the People

The influence of wealthy special interests in the funding of elections has eroded public trust in our political system and has discouraged civic participation. OSPIRG supports policies that ensure that every citizen, regardless of wealth, has equal opportunity to influence the actions of our government, including:

  • Establishing ranked choice voting in state and local elections to give voters more options when they go to the polls and ensure the winners of our elections represent a majority of voters, not just a plurality. 

  • Setting limits on campaign contributions to political campaigns to an amount a regular person would be able to afford.

  • Strengthening and expanding current disclosure requirements for political advertising

  • Amplifying the power of small donors at the state and local level by creating a publicly-financed match system. 

  • Expanding automatic voter registration to more state agencies. 

Protecting Consumers

Oregonians deserve fair rules of the road and an even playing field in the marketplace, and Oregon consumers deserve protection from scams and the unbridled power of unscrupulous corporate interests. OSPIRG supports: 

  • Preventing auto insurance companies from using credit scores to determine rates, a practice that leads to higher insurance rates for low-income Oregonians and those with mistakes on their credit score

  • Suspending all evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs until the state of emergency for COVID-19 has ended. In order to slow the spread of disease during a crisis, it is imperative that people who currently have shelter and utilities be allowed to continue to use them, regardless of immediate ability to pay.

End the Nicotine Trap

The U.S. Surgeon General has declared e-cigarette use, commonly known as vaping, among young people an epidemic due to its popularity and health risks. One in five high schoolers reported vaping in 2018, a nearly 80 percent increase in one year. An entire generation is at risk of nicotine addiction, and millions of kids are already hooked on nicotine with serious implications for their health and future. We support policies:

  • Banning online and other remote sales of vaping products, making it more difficult for underage users to purchase vaping devices and e-liquids.

21st Century Transportation 

Our transportation system should reflect and support the way we want to travel. We support policies that encourage the shift to zero emission vehicles and reduce the need to drive by making it easier, cheaper and more enjoyable to travel on foot, bike or public transit. 

Tax & Budget 

We have a right to know how our money is being spent, and no company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. Too many multi-state and multinational corporations are able to use accounting tricks to avoid paying their share, leaving individuals and small businesses to bear the brunt of the tax burden. OSPIRG will push for measures to:

  • Require certain large corporations to disclose tax information such as Oregon sales, Oregon property and income taxes paid, tax breaks used, and more.

Higher Education

Higher education in America continues to be critical for both individual success and the social and economic health of our country. While college attendance has grown over the past two decades, state appropriations and federal aid have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of college, shifting more costs to students and their families. As a result, more students than ever must rely on student loans to pay for a college degree, with the average borrower now graduating with over $26,000 in loan debt. OSPIRG supports:

  • Requiring registration of student loan servicers and increasing consumer protections for student borrowers.

  • Establishing funding for basic needs navigators who would help connect students at public colleges and universities to resources and services.

  • Provide course catalog price transparency so students know which classes use expensive textbooks and which don’t before they enroll in classes.

Together Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge for our country, threatening our health, wellbeing and economic security. Now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, safely and equitably distribute a vaccine, protect consumers from emerging dangers and take action to prevent or mitigate future pandemics. To this end, OSPIRG supports: 

  • Robust, streamlined efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines. The governor and legislature must provide sufficient funds to allow for effective vaccine acceptance education, coordination and staffing for distribution, and tracking of shots administered.

  • Continued investment in testing and PPE to suppress the virus and to protect essential workers. 

Transparent and Accountable Government

Oregonians have a right to know how government decisions are made and how taxpayer dollars are spent. Ensuring government transparency enables us to hold elected officials accountable and push back more effectively when powerful interests try to game the system. OSPIRG supports:

  • Clarifying the independence of the public records advocate.

  • Holding off on adding  to the 500+ public records exemptions until the Oregon Sunshine Committee can finish its work of reviewing current exemptions and making a final recommendation to the legislature. 

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