In the News


Protecting homeowners, tenant protections

On manufactured home parks, "Manufactured homes sit in a “no-man’s land” of sorts when it comes to Oregon real estate law." Register Guard. March 18, 2018 

"In 2015, partly in response to issues at Falcon Wood Village, Democratic state Rep. Nancy Nathanson of Eugene spearheaded a bill that placed additional regulations on park managers who sell homes."

Letter to editor in response: Fog clearing on Falcon Wood Village. Register Guard, March 20, 2018.  "Saul Hubbard and The Register-Guard are to be praised for the excellent investigative journalism found in the March 18 report, “State investigates sales at Eugene home park." The “shroud of fear” that has engulfed Falcon Wood Village for so long has been dissipated. ... Kudos must be given to state Rep. Nancy Nathanson. She was the one who encouraged The R-G to take a look at this. She has my vote."

Public Accountability

It's time for CCO reform. Register Guard. May 26, 2017

"When the Oregon Legislature voted to create Coordinated Care Organizations as part of health care transformation, the goal was to improve the way we deliver health care to low-income families through the Oregon Health Plan. This approach has led to healthier individuals, healthier communities and a healthier state.

Unfortunately, it’s also led to big profits being generated for shareholders of privately run CCOs. That’s why it’s time to pass House Bill 2122, which will provide more accountability, more transparency and more oversight over how these critical public funds are being spent.

In Lane County, we’ve seen firsthand what the consequences are of having 
little oversight, with the sale of Trillium to Centene Corp. The Register-Guard has reported on this sale since 2015.

According to the newspaper, “The sale has been controversial because of concern that Agate held onto government Medicaid money to make itself attractive to a buyer, instead of spending more aggressively to provide doctors and medical services for Oregon Health Plan patients … Centene reported ... that it bought Agate in September for $109 million. Agate shareholders divvied up that cash, according to the sale plan documents obtained by The Register-Guard.”

My constituents are angry. They say the Legislature needs to stop this from happening again. I agree wholeheartedly.
We need new rules, oversight and accountability. Never again should we allow this flight of public money for personal gain. I’m voting yes on HB 2122."

Time to make CCOs accountable  Register Guard, June 1, 2017.  Letter to editor

"High praise to state Rep. Nancy Nathanson for having the moral fiber and personal responsibility to stand up to the Coordinated Care Oregonization lobby in support of House Bill 2122. It was a disgrace that a handful of Trillium shareholders, including a former Eugene mayor and the CEO of Trillium, benefited personally from its sale in 2015, dividing up $131 million in Medicaid funds amongst themselves: taxpayer funding that was intended to support the medical needs of some of the most needy and/or disabled people in the state. As a retired executive director of a non-profit organization serving adults who are developmentally disabled, I witnessed far too many instances where such services were denied while these selfish few made off with their millions. ... Taking from the poor to give to the well-to-do is a betrayal of all things good and decent. Our president would cut 25 percent of all Medicaid funding and give more tax breaks to the rich, while the CCO lobby maintains that because they “performed well” during Medicaid expansion they should be entitled to 

continue such practices as illustrated in the Trillium sale.  Time for a change? You bet, and passage should be effective immediately."


What to know about Oregon's four new public records laws. Statesman Journal. July 11, 2017. 

Oregon’s top political leadership tripped all over themselves in recent months to make state and local governments easier for citizens to scrutinize. The Legislature passed no fewer than four public records laws -- pushed by the governor and attorney general -- in the session that just ended. And the secretary of state weighed in unexpectedly with his own plan for improving government transparency.

The bills, Gov. Kate Brown said, “are significant reforms to Oregon’s public records laws  -- and probably the most significant reforms we’ve seen in multiple decades.” The bills amend Oregon’s 1973 public records law, which established a presumption of openness. Citizens have the right to obtain government documents unless there’s a specific legal exemption that prohibits them from doing so. But over the 44 years since the law was passed, interest groups have persuaded the Legislature to write 550-plus exemptions from disclosure into the law, and some governments drag their heels about providing documents or charge exorbitant fees to the requester. ... 

Nathanson’s bill appoints a state chief data officer to maintain a web portal of government data to make it readily accessible to the public. The bill would also prohibit software that would obstruct access to data that should be accessible to the public. ...

Campaign finance reform

Elections transparency bill heads to governor's desk. KTVZ, June 14, 2017

House Bill 2505, a move to end “dark money” campaign spending in Oregon, passed the state Senate unanimously Tuesday and now goes to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) was the chief co-sponsor of the legislation with Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas).

“This legislation will shine a light on the dark money that is spent in our state during campaign season,” Rep. Nathanson said. “I am proud of the work we have done to give Oregonians the transparency they need and deserve.” 

Protecting seniors and disabled persons in care facilities

Bill to protect seniors in care facilities goes to governor.  KTVZ.  June 16, 2017

“This bill makes Oregon a national leader in protecting seniors and disabled persons from inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medications.,” said Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene), the chief sponsor of the bill.

This bill aims to improve the safety of seniors and people with disabilities living in adult foster homes, residential care facilities, and long-term care facilities by increasing oversight of the use of psychotropic medications for individuals 65 years of age or older who are in an adult foster home, residential care facility, or long term care facility.
The bill allows the use of new psychotropic medications for up to seven days while review is taking place in case of emergency, ensuring that medications are still immediately available if necessary as part of an urgent or emergent preventive safety response.

“A statewide average for use of psychotropics shows a pretty good number, but, an average can obscure a few bad situations when added in with very good results elsewhere,” Nathanson added. “It’s those bad situations that deserve our attention, so we can protect the well-being of the more vulnerable of our citizens who are being robbed of their quality of life and are being put at increased risk for significant health complications.”

Smarter Government

On managing the state's information technology.  East Oregonian. April 12, 2018

State Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, who sits on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology, said she’d like to see the next CIO be a “well-rounded problem solver, administrator, collaborator, and visionary” who can implement the Legislature’s recent directives. “The Legislature has passed several bills over the past few years to tighten up contracting for IT, beef up IT security, and create a structure that provides state agencies with the system-wide technology support and direction — whether it’s databases, mapping, telephones or the thousands of individual devices used by all the agencies like Fish and Wildlife, Corrections and Transportation,” Nathanson said in a written statement to the EO/Pamplin Capital Bureau. “I’d be looking for someone to implement what the Legislature has put into statute to ensure appropriate, cost-effective technologies to support state programs.”

House passes bill to standardize Oregon contracts. Statesman Journal. April 23, 2015.

“Building on a promise to bring more transparency and accountability to government, Rep. Nancy Nathanson delivered on it this week when the House passed her bill to bring greater standardization to state contracts. The Eugene Democrat is the chief sponsor of House Bill 2375, which would require state agencies to use standardized forms, templates and other documents approved by the Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Justice instead of the jumble of forms currently used by various state agencies.”

Preparing for “the big one”

Buying a little time: Warning system for catastrophic quakes. Register Guard. July 30, 2015.

“The opportunity to gain a brief advance notice has gained lawmakers’ attention. At the urging of state Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, the 2015 Legislature appropriated $670,000 for the purchase of a network of 15 earthquake detection stations in Oregon from the National Science Foundation. The NSF installed the detectors in 2010 for a research project that ends this year, and would have moved them to Alaska if Oregon hadn’t moved to snap them up for about half their initial cost.”

University expands its role in earthquake early warning system. University of Oregon News. April 29, 2015.

“The University of Oregon will soon be playing an active role in preparing West Coast residents for the next magnitude 9 earthquake. Working in cooperation with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the UO will maintain 15 seismometers previously owned by the National Science Foundation. […] SB 5543 originated as a proposal by state Rep. Nancy Nathanson. U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio supported that effort by requesting former Gov. John Kitzhaber in May 2014 to include funds in his budget.”

Protecting college students’ wallets

Fees gouging financial-aid college students would evaporate under Oregon House bill passed Wednesday. April 30, 2015

"Students, of course, can ill afford to pay these fees," said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, a sponsor of House Bill 2832, who carried the legislation on the floor. "It's a heavy burden for them."

New Oregon Law Stops Hidden Fees In College Financial Aid. KLCC Radio. September 28, 2015

Students on financial aid are often issued "debit cards" with which to access their loan money. But Representative Nancy Nathanson who co-sponsored the law, says some companies take advantage of students. "College students, who are some of the most vulnerable least able to pay were getting charged really egregious fees and sometimes before they even realized they were being charged all those fees. Fees for using the card even, it was appalling, fees for not using the card-- a $19 inactivity fee."

Investing in education needs tax reform

Simplified tax can mend broken system. Register Guard. May 15, 2017. Guest viewpoint by Nancy Nathanson and Phil Barnhart.

Oregon is at a crossroads. For the past 2½ decades, since the passage of Measures 5 and 50, school districts and state legislators have been forced to patch budgets together based on a broken revenue system that puts nearly all of the burden on individual taxpayers. When those ballot measures became law in the 1990s, responsibility for funding public schools shifted from local property taxes to the state’s general fund, but with no additional revenue to pay for it. The general fund was already paying for public safety, higher education, child welfare, services for seniors and people with disabilities and other critical services. Since the state’s budget is funded almost entirely by personal income taxes, this put an enormous burden on individuals.

To be clear, we recognize that other factors have exacerbated the budget situation. The costs of providing health care to an aging population and increasing public employee pension expenses have put further pressure on the budget. Voters have approved multiple ballot measures for mandatory minimum sentences, which have expanded the prison population. Other ballot measures and legislative action have created new programs but have provided no additional revenues.

As a result, our schools and critical services have suffered. Students, teachers and parents have endured years of budget uncertainty and cuts. We have among the shortest school years and largest class sizes, and we still haven’t been able to restore educational programs that were slashed in the recession. With those facts in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we also have among the worst graduation rates in the nation.

After 25 years of barely holding together, the link between our budget priorities and our ability to fund them is rapidly fraying. Without bold reforms now, we’re facing painful budget cuts this year and for years to come. ... Here's how we get there: The Education Investment Initiative would scrap our outdated, complicated corporate income tax system and replace it with a simplified Commercial Activity Tax of 0.95 percent on business sales above $5 million. Small businesses with less than $5 million in sales would pay a flat rate of $250 per year.  Our proposal also calls for $200 million in tax relief for low- and middle-income taxpayers. Cost containment and targeted spending cuts will save $400 to $600 million by lowering the cost of delivering the services that Oregonians depend on. The result is a proposal that could finally allow us to make long-term investments in our schools and critical services that will improve outcomes. ...

Bravo for tax reform proposal. Register Guard. Letter to editor. May 16, 2017

Kudos to Reps. Phil Barnhart and Nancy Nathanson for their tax reform proposal! Their vision of an “investment budget” is urgently needed and long overdue. It is time to ask Oregon businesses to pay their fair share of support for public education, public safety and child welfare programs, not the 85 cents they currently pay for every dollar of state services their receive. ... We hope all Oregonians will join us in recognizing the courage of Reps. Barnhart and Nathanson. We also urge all Oregon legislators to support this revenue reform proposal.


Fighting for Oregon’s workers

New laws for fair wages and accountability. Eugene Weekly. March 26, 2015.

“Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) is the chief sponsor of HB 3137, a bill that would make it unlawful for employers to make their employees sign off on falsified time cards. In testimony to the House Committee on Business and Labor, she explained that her attention was drawn to the issue by an employee who was forced to document hours in a way that meant the employer wouldn’t have to pay overtime. The employee had worked more than 40 hours a week over the pay period. The employee wasn’t given a copy of the timecard and had no documentation to prove wage theft had occurred.

“Workers subjected to this kind of practice are working long hours to support their family; they’re exploited as they struggle to make ends meet,” Nathanson said. Her draft of HB 3137 would make it illegal for employers to induce employees to sign documents containing false hours worked or compensation received. It would also protect workers from retribution if they reported that their workplace was violating the law. “

Paid sick leave bill passes hurdle in Salem. Bend Bulletin. June 2, 2015.

“If we look in total, Oregon is a good place to do business. The more we (say) it’s not, we’re just doing ourselves a disservice,” said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene. “Oregon is a great place to do business and we’re trying to make sure it’s a great place to have a job as well.”

Advocating for mental health

State budgets for health and human services near $30 billion. Lund Report. July 7, 2015.

“Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, argued that improvements in community mental health are keeping the state from opening the last two wings because of reduced demand for institutional care. “That’s all that’s needed right now,” she told The Lund Report.”

Increasing access to health care

Making the grade on health care price transparency: Oregon up to "B" from "F". State of Reform. July 26, 2016

"Oregon has received a health care transparency rating of “B” in The 2016 Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws [...]. In every previous edition of the scorecard, Oregon had received an “F” along with most other states in the nation."

"Oregon hospitals are grateful to have had great partners in this effort–especially in the Legislature, where key members were both active and engaged on this,” added Andy Davidson. “We thank Senators Laurie Monnes-Anderson, Jeff Kruse, Alan Bates, Betsy Johnson, and Tim Knopp as well as Representatives Nancy Nathanson, John Lively, Cedric Hayden, John Davis, Bill Kennemer and Brian Clem. These legislators’ focus on health care transparency and their advocacy for the bill underlying this work is truly commendable and we look forward to working with them to move our state further along towards a truly transparent, safe and sustainable health care system."

Islanders get promise of 2016 for insurance program while State refines details. Lund Report. June 25, 2015.

“I want to applaud the advocates for creating awareness about the situation. I don’t think people even understood what COFA was nor what their need for healthcare was,” said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland. “I appreciate the step forward and appreciate the co-chairs’ willingness and, it sounds like eagerness, to take it on in 2016” -- referring to Bates and Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene.”

Bill to abolish Cover Oregon and move functions to state agency heads to governor's desk. February 27, 2015.

“On a 42-14 vote, the House sent Gov. Kate Brown a measure that would jettison Cover Oregon and fold the operations of the agency into the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.  "We can put an end to an unfortunate chapter in our history," Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, said in support of Senate Bill 1.”

Investing in Lane County

Bond list gives $74M to county. Register Guard, July 4, 2017. 

"The much-anticipated bonding list, released Monday, includes $5 million for Lane County government to help it purchase Eugene’s former City Hall block for a new county courthouse, $8 million for a health care facility at Lane Community College and $6 million in lottery-backed bonds to renovate the former Civic Stadium property in south Eugene.

Lawmakers also are proposing to provide $5 million to Lane Transit District so it can seek federal funding for a new rapid transit bus line, and $750,000 to the Eugene Ballet Co. to help the group move to a mixed-use condominium building on Pearl Street.

The large number of Lane County projects identified for funding comes during the first session that Rep. Nancy Nathanson, a Eugene Democrat, has served as the co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget committee — an influential post."

Protecting Oregon’s resources

Oregon legislators protest Nestlé water deal. Statesman Journal. April 23, 2015.

“Nine Oregon legislators are urging Gov. Kate Brown to block a water-rights transfer they say gives the public's water to a multinational corporation for free. The deal "evades public interest review while enabling a private company to extract Oregon's clean water," the lawmakers said in a letter to Brown last week.”

Supporting new and innovative therapies

Legislature asks Brown to sign bill licensing music therapists. The Lund Report. June 23, 2015.

“Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, said the savings to the state would be at least the $30,000 salary of that aide. She cited a Journal of Pediatric Nursing article that found music therapy was shown to be effective in a pediatric cancer unit, reducing the need for painkiller drugs, which can be particularly hazardous for vulnerable children.”

Jobs and economy

A monster deal: A Eugene software firm benefits from an expanded tax incentive. Register Guard. May 11, 2014.

"My committee heard the proposal to expand the film and video (incentive) to other areas of design and creativity ... Oregon is already doing remarkable work in film and video ... now we're encouraging other innovations in design ... "

Helping local programs

Totally cool: a treasure trove of arctic artifacts comes out of cold storage. [Jensen Arctic Collection moves to UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History] Register Guard. May 15, 2014.

The Oregon Legislature, with coordination from State Rep. Nancy Nathanson of Eugene, authorized nearly $1 million in bonds to support the move and storage of the Jensen artifacts...

Making government work smarter: more accountability for public IT contracts

The Privatization Backlash. The Atlantic, April 23, 2014

"I think it's important when you're spending public money, whoever's doing the work needs to have their books open ... We need to see how the money is spent. We need to see performance measures to determine whether something is working. We need accountability."

Cover Oregon: House bill would require independent oversight on large IT projects.  The Oregonian – Yuxing Zheng – Feb. 6, 2014

"We want to make sure that we keep project failures and projects that have gone sideways from happening again in the future," said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, one of the bill's sponsors.

Cover Oregon: IT contracting oversight bill passes Oregon House. – Yuxing Zheng – Feb. 17, 2014

“We need to ensure technology projects will be managed better in the future,” said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, one of the bill's sponsors. “This bill is an important step. It will make a difference.”

House backs bill targeting technology failures.  Associated Press – Jonathan Cooper – Feb. 18, 2014

The bill is a message to the people who run state technology projects, said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, a Eugene Democrat and a chief sponsor: “We are watching, and we’re making sure there are more eyes watching you than there were in the past."

Nathanson Bill Requires Quality Assurance for IT Projects That Cover Oregon Ignored.  The Lund Report – Chris David Gray

Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, the chief sponsor of HB 4122, said her legislation would require a quality assurance firm like Maximus for all state information technology projects worth more than $5 million and all contracts worth more than $1 million if they meet certain criteria such as if the project will take longer than a year or if it’s critical to the mission of the agency or public corporation.

Presenting a bill in House Chamber

Saving affordable housing

House OKs bill to assist manufactured home owners. – Feb 12, 2014

“We have improved the law so it’s easier for park owners and easier for residents,” Nathanson said. “I’m proud that we finally arrived at a compromise that can help people keep the homes they already own, in the neighborhoods where they live.  We’ve crafted a simpler process that meets standard business practices, easier for everyone to work with.”

Saving public libraries

Library supporters stand against cutting branches.  Eugene Register-Guard – Edward Russo – Jan. 22, 2014

State Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, who represents the Bethel area, and State Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, who represents north Eugene, asked the committee to support the branch libraries. Libraries “provide food for the mind, which is every bit as important as food for the body,” Nathanson said.

On the February session

Salem showdowns: Lawmakers have a lot to tackle in the upcoming abbreviated session.  The Register Guard – Saul Hubbard – Jan. 19, 2014

Rep. Nancy Nathanson, a Eugene Democrat, is working on a bill that would require third-party oversight by a private firm of all public contracts in excess of $1 million. Under the policy, “The reviewer would be checking in at different points during a project when things might be going south,” she said. While there would be a still-undetermined cost to adding such oversight, Nathanson said “it would be well worth it” and “could pay for itself” when expensive projects are prevented from spinning out of control.