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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown plans to veto bills related to mental health oversight, kratom sales

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she'll veto a bill aimed at prohibiting children from buying kratom.
Kristian Foden-Vencil
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she'll veto a bill aimed at prohibiting children from buying kratom.

Gov. Kate Brown intends to veto two bills approved during the recent Oregon Legislature session.

Brown’s office announced Sunday that she will reject Senate Bill 721. It changes the way members are selected for a consumer advisory council that helps the Oregon Health Authority deal with mental health and substance abuse. The bill would allow members of the advisory council to select future members and refines its advisory role in an attempt to ensure consumers have a voice in how mental health and substance abuse policies are crafted and enforced.

The governor’s office says the legislation is well intentioned, but contradicts federal law, which prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from delegating its responsibility over implementing Medicaid policies.

Sponsors plan to submit a revised bill.

The governor also plans to veto House Bill 2646. That legislation would bar Oregonians under the age of 21 from purchasing kratom. That’s a plant grown in Southeast Asian countries that can be used like an opiate to fight pain and addiction.

Brown says she wants to prevent young people from obtaining the herbal supplement. But she worries about wording in the House bill that puts the Oregon Department of Agriculture, rather than the federal government, in charge of regulating it.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated the age at which Oregonians would be barred from purchasing kratom under House Bill 2646.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Anna Griffin