Advocacy in Action: Oregon Bio Supports Innovation Funding and Fights Proposed Anti-Business Policy
In Oregon’s 2017 session, Oregon Bio’s policy team was successful by all measures. Oregon Bio’s Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee (GAAC) both lead efforts and partnered with key business organizations to advocate for protecting our growing bioscience community and staving off unfriendly measures.
To continue boosting Oregon’s innovation efforts, Oregon Bio joined hands with OTRADI (Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute) to increase state funding for its OTRADI Bioscience Incubator operations. In June, the state legislature approved $2.5 million in funding for OTRADI for the next two years, starting July 1, 2017. This is unprecedented in that OTRADI received its full ask, which included an additional $500,000 over its current biennial funding of $2 million. Business Oregon’s entire Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC) budget has been approved, largely intact. Therefore, starting in late 2017, Oregon’s innovation companies will have access to apply to a new $5 million commercialization fund managed by Oregon InC, as well.
During the current 2017 legislative session, Oregon Bio and its policy partners also actively opposed legislation that would:
- Make access to capital and investment more difficult,
- Impede patient access to our innovative medicines, and
- Unnecessarily impose costs on our members and the work that Oregon biotech and life science companies do, as well as the companies that do business in Oregon.
Oregon Bio advocated on a number of bills, but the primary focus this session was on House Bill 2387, a price control/cap and reporting bill. If passed, it would have triggered all three of the bullets above as one of the most overreaching and problematic drug pricing bills in the country. Oregon Bio also worked closely with many of its member companies to voice concern for a statewide ‘Take Back’ bill (HB 2645) that would have mandated manufacturers shoulder responsibility for used but unmanaged pharmaceuticals.
Oregon Bio’s additional efforts include consultation around shaping a potential corporate tax effort (HB 2380) in the interest of protecting both large firms and startups from tax burdens that would affect their labor force and sales while emphasizing the need for continued research and development tax credits.
Locally, Oregon Bio leaders also:
- Worked closely with the Oregon Talent Council to help in shepherding funding that underwrites a statewide workforce training program.
- Joined a working coalition to bring the Portland Innovation Quadrant to life. The IQ is a vibrant and inclusive community in the heart of Portland, fueled by collaboration across public and private sector partners that attracts and cultivates talent, entrepreneurs, and investment to catalyze innovation and propel regional economic development at the intersection of health, science, and technology industries.