Legislative Report, Volume 27, Number 17 – May 2017

headerlegreport


In This Issue

Important Dates

Governance

Natural Resources

Social Policy

Education Policy


news icon

Important Dates and Resources

Here are some key dates in the Oregon Legislature for 2017:

June 2: 
Deadline for committees to hold work sessions on measures that originated in the opposite chamber.
June 23: 
Target adjournment of 2017 Legislative Session.
July 10: 
Constitutional deadline for adjournment of 2017 Legislative Session.

For a list of our Action Committee members and brief position descriptions, please see Taking Action Through Advocacy.

 Back to top


buildingsymbolGovernance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

BRIEF

National Popular Vote, HB 2927, will go to the House Floor where we urge direct legislative passage, not a referral to the voters.  The May Revenue Forecast one page summary predicts kickers.  Friday’s bills deadline is not as urgent in this portfolio since it does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees (see the Governance Portfolio testimony bill status list at the end of this article).  Otherwise, bills in policy committees not yet scheduled for work session by Friday’s deadline are done for this session.

REVENUE

LWVOR Revenue and Tax Sub-committee:
Rebecca Gladstone, Alice Bartelt, Claudia Keith, Peggy Lynch, Chris Vogel.

Tuesday’s much-anticipated May revenue forecast showed positive economic growth of 2.4% above predictions, with a slight growth rate downturn.  Since growth is above 2%, triggering personal and corporate “Kickers” is predicted.  A predicted $408M would be taken back out of state coffers, from personal income tax payments, along with $72M from corporate taxes, which would go to fund K-12 education.  Personal kicker payments are now credited toward future tax payments, not sent back out as checks.  Look on page 14 of the Economic and Revenue Outlook to see what your kicker may be (roughly).

Oregon statute requires that our Legislature must provide a balanced state budget.  Kicker adjustments must be factored in, even though these are still predictions and won’t be settled until the next forecast on August 23rd.  There is talk in the building, not public yet, of a bill to take another look at possible options for this kicker.  Changes would require a 3/5th’s vote.

The Tax Reform Committee has been examining budget simulations at 0.75% corporate tax rates, to see outcomes that split the difference between corporate tax proposals from the House, at 0.95%, and the Senate, at 0.48%.

Meanwhile, grappling with budget pieces like Transportation, Health Care and various revenue plans continues. Some wonder if releases are delayed to see others’ numbers first and federal Health Care changes remain to be seen.  (review in “Capitol Confidential”).  One legislator is calling for a reconciliation bill for possible program add-backs as budgets evolve.  Budgets for many critical and worthy programs are being cut.  There is hope that revisions can be made to add back funding.

HB 5544: The Dept. of Administrative Services (DAS) has issued their standard protocol bill with blank slots for fiscals, to cover state services in the event the Legislature takes more time to produce a budget. It was heard May 19th, earlier than HB 5046, heard June 12, 2015.

ELECTIONS/ETHICS

SB 229: This elections Omnibus bill, now described as a “Christmas tree”, passed out of Senate Rules this week.  It has been in process through the Secretary of State terms for Kate Brown, Jean Atkins, and now Dennis Richardson.  Notably, it calls for electronic filings from initiative petition and other treasurers.  The League supports this anticipated improved efficiency, filing accuracy, and savings, over processing by hand.  We instigated examining the possibility of expanding candidate filings online, centrally.  The Secretary of State confirms that it is also technically possible and would be easier and more efficient for all state candidates to file through ORESTAR.  Software programming would need to be adapted, with fiscal estimates varying, depending on the extent of local governments’ participation.  Extensive statute revision would need to be considered by our local governments.

We worked toward amending full contents of SB 229 with “opt-in” language, to be presented as a “gut and stuff” version into SB 906, entirely replacing that content.  Our work to expand consolidated online candidate filing for all levels of Oregon candidates through the State Elections Division will continue, planning to phase-in with “opt-in”, not mandatory online filing.  This could apply to all Oregon candidates, excluding Precinct Committees.  Secretary Richardson was encouraging about this prospect and assured us that work will continue toward consolidated online candidate filing, continuing coordination between the Secretary of State, the Elections Division, the League of Women Voters, the Oregon Association of County Clerks (OACC), the League of Oregon Cities (LOC), the Special District Association of Oregon (SDAO), and the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA).  OACC is very supportive, LOC wants to present this at their annual meeting, SDAO anticipates strong interest from metro area candidates, but less or unknown interest rurally.

HB 2873: This bill would require election notice publication in ORESTAR by cities for local tax or general obligation fund measures. It passed out of House Rules, adding strength to a trend of online, centralized filing.

Ethics Update: Association of Oregon Counties would like to see expanded use of ORESTAR for special campaign accounts, with expanded transparency defined in statute. This relates to an ongoing ethics investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, the Oregon Secretary of State and the Oregon Ethics Commission in Deschutes County.

GENERAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY

HB 3213: Awaits final signature, adds the role of broadband technology in local, state and regional economies and economic development to the Broadband Advisory Council’s report.

HB 3361 passed as amended from House Rules to W&Ms, to appoint a Chief Data Officer to maintain web portal to publish state agencies’ data.

AUDITS

The Joint Legislative Audits Committee moved to send a letter to the Secretary of State, setting the biennial audits list.  They plan to post Legislative Fiscal Office audit information (not yet).  Their work plan includes criteria for setting audit priority, assignments, and follow up.  Audit Request criteria covered 14 proposed audits.  The committee called directly for audits of:

  • Department of Revenue (DOR) Information Technology (IT) conversion and customer service
  • Department of Education to reduce grant fund and administrative overhead “siloing”
  • Oregon Transit system safety, both for employees and customers
  • Improvement in State Procurement practices, to review if agency exemptions from Department of Administrative Services authority should persist

This committee looks at both policy and audit outcomes.  “Key performance measure” tracking reflected in audits needs to be monitored. A possible “quick reaction audit team” mentioned by the Secretary of State was discussed with respect to six consecutive problematic Dept. of Revenue audits that had not been addressed within the Secretary’s Audits Division.  Look to the May 30th meeting for developments.

Irregularities for both the Audits and Joint Information and Technology Management Committees, in committee bill generating and referral acceptance, need to be addressed.

PUBLIC RECORDS

HB 3274: We supported this bill as a technical fix to correct statute to the intended function of allowing confidentiality for small businesses seeking assistance or filing complaints with the Office of Small Business Assistance (another OSBA, not School Boards here).  Care must be taken to prevent disclosure exemption creep, to not allow this to become a statutorily protected “confidentiality haven” for any documents sent to the OSBA.  This passed out of committee.

Bill status for 2017 Governance testimony:

Bill # &                 League testimony and Bill Status
Hearing video

SJR 2                    Voter Registration up to day before election – In Senate Rules, no work session
HJR 6                   One senator per county – In House Rules, no work session
HCR 24                Testimony by videoconferencing – In House Rules, no work session
SB 106                 Public Records Advocate & Council – Referred to Ways & Means by prior reference, from General Governance and Accountability
SB 225-1             PAC & Petition Committee Treasurer liability – From House Rules to Floor, back to Rules
SB 481                 Public Records Policy – Referred to General Government and Accountability to Senate Floor, referred to House Rules
SB 802                 16 year old pre-registration for voting (compare HB 2948) From Senate Rules to Senate Floor,     referred to House Rules
SB 1035               Dog & Cat tax subtraction – In Senate Finance and Revenue, no work session
HB 2101              Public Records Exemptions – Public hearing in House Rules, work session anticipated.
HB 2584              Independent campaign expenditures – House Rules referral to Ways and Means, then House Floor, Passed both, Senate Floor first reading scheduled
HB 2702              Campaign advertisement disclaimers – In House Rules, no work session
HB 2771               Property tax phase-out – In House Revenue, no work session scheduled
HB 2830              Increase Corp excise tax – In House Revenue, no work session scheduled
HB 2831              Corporate minimum tax on S Corps – In House Revenue, no work session scheduled
HB 2871              study non-English voter registration – In House Rules, no work session
HB 2872              Process to ask for non-English voting materials – In House Rules, no work session
HB 2906              Data Sharing Council PASSED. Referred to Ways and Means, assigned to General Government returned to full W&Ms, passed House and Senate.
HB 2927              National Popular Vote – House Rules work session Passed. Floor vote anticipated
HB 2948              16 year-old pre-registration for voting (compare SB 802) In House Rules, no work session
HB 3274              OSBA disclosure exemptions – Referred to Judiciary, Passed in the House, Passed in General Government and Accountability work session
HB 3361              Chief Data Officer, Open Data Standards – House Rules work session Passed
HB 3422             Petition signature observers – In House Rules, no work session
SB 5536              SoS budget – 5 public hearings in Ways and Means General Government, work session anticipated

Thanks to our Revenue Subcommittee:

  • Alice Bartelt, Revenue Subcommittee Chair, attending Revenue Coalition
  • Jody Wiser, League member, revenue review, Tax Fairness Oregon
  • Chris Vogel, attending HSCO Coalition
  • Peggy Lynch, advisor

Thanks to our Governance volunteers!

  • Helen Beardsworth, testimony drafts, new member in Eugene
  • Rick Bennett, OLIS search, Medford
  • Marge Easley, National Popular Vote, past LWVOR President, also Gun Safety
  • Anne Potter, League position analysis,
    new member in Portland
  • Norman Turrill, CFR, Redistricting,
    current LWVOR President

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, please contact: Governance Coordinator: Becky Gladstone, 541.510.9387, rebecca.gladstone@gmail.com.

Back to top


dropletNatural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

The League continues to work on Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO) and has been invited to provide additional testimony on HB 2269 A, which provides fees in support of the program. (Your voice in support of CAO (www.cleanerair.oregon.gov) is needed. 

Land use bills, such as SB 432, SB 644 and HB 2007 A, are all in play.  The League continues to support our statewide land use system with local implementation.  These bills jeopardize that principle.  Address your concerns to the Senate and House Leadership.

More on land use, transportation and water below.

AGENCY BUDGETS (Peggy Lynch)

SB 5510, the Columbia River Gorge Commission budget, passed out of Full Ways and Means to the chambers on 5/19.  Unfortunately, the State of Washington has again underfunded the Commission, so, regrettably, the Oregon budget reflects that same amount.

SB 5528, the Land Use Board of Appeals budget, which LWVOR supported, passed to Full Ways and Means on 5/17.

HB 5011, the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries budget, which LWVOR supported, passed to Full Ways and Means on 5/18.  The budget moves four positions that have been “limited duration” to permanent, which allows for some stability for these workers.

HB 5010, the budget bill for the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), will be worked in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on May 25.  We continue to support linkages between the Integrated Water Resources Strategy and ODFW’s in-stream work.

CLIMATE CHANGE (Claudia Keith)

Legislative Leadership, with the Governor’s influence, could move on critical climate policy, although most likely will be completely dependent on the volume and quality of supportive business, labor, faith, tribal, health, disadvantaged communities and general public response between now and early June.

Clean Energy Jobs (Cap & Trade):  HB 2135 A is still alive in House Rules.  Senate and House Environment Committees may have another informational meeting on June 12.

Oil Rail Safety: SB 7 is in Senate Rules.  HB 2131, the Community Protection and Preparedness Act, a similar bill, is awaiting a work session (expected this week) in House Rules.

10-Year Moratorium on Fracking: HB 2711 A is scheduled for a public hearing and possible work session on May 22 in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  There is concern that there are not the votes to get it out of Committee.  Your help is needed.

Dept. of Energy and Oregon Global Warming Commission merger, with funding request and a new Energy and Climate Policy Board, HB 2020 A, sits in House Rules.  HB 3269 has a similar theme and is also in House Rules.  SB 908 and SB 952 A sit in Senate Rules.

SB 990, a bill that would open up Oregon to small scale nuclear reactors, will have a public hearing only in the House Committee on Energy and Environment on May 24.  Because no work session has been scheduled, it will then die this session.  Although League positions have much to say about nuclear weapons and nuclear waste, they only ask that nuclear power plants be well managed and not relied on.

AIR QUALITY & TOXICS (Marilyn Koenitzer)

We continue to follow the Cleaner Air Oregon process (see www.cleanerair.oregon.gov).  Our League member has been attending their final meetings as the committee works toward recommending rules for the Environmental Quality Commission.  HB 2236, enabling legislation for Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), is in Ways and Means.  The League has submitted additional testimony on HB 2269 A, a bill setting fees on businesses who have air quality permits in order to fund the DEQ rulemaking for CAO and other agency air quality work,

SB 1008 A, Clean Diesel, had a Work Session on May 17 in Senate Rules.  We can only hope that further amendments are adopted to increase requirements around the use of diesel engines in Oregon.

ELLIOTT FOREST and FORESTRY (Jennifer Haynes and Peggy Lynch)

The first step in keeping the Elliott State Forest in public ownership was taken May 9th by the State Land Board.  Next, we need to convince the Legislature to provide funding to “buy out” the Common School Fund and move forward with a new management plan.

SB 847, the Trust Lands Transfer bill, has been sent to Ways and Means because it may cost any state agency that would manage former trust lands.  This is based on a program used by the State of Washington.

LAND USE (Peggy Lynch, Marge Easley-aggregate/mining)

SB 432, which we oppose, would allow some rural counties in Eastern Oregon to opt out of our statewide land use system.  It sits in Senate Rules where we hear amendments are being considered.  At this point we continue to be adamantly opposed.

SB 644 includes provisions around reorganization of the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries and suction dredge mining, as well as removing local land processes for mining projects.  The bill was not amended, but moved to Senate Rules. The League continues to be opposed, but we understand amendments might be offered that would limit the bill to large mining operations and would use the permitting process now being used by the Calico gold mine outside of Vale.  The League has followed that process and believes the multi-agency streamlining is an open and positive process for the permittee, the agencies and the general public.

HB 2023 would change the definition of high value farmland and is in House Rules.  HB 2730 A, written specifically for a golf course expansion in Curry County, will have a public hearing and possible work session on May 24 in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 3012 A would allow a second home on a lot that has a “historic home” in rural areas in order to save that historic home from possible demolition.  It will have a public hearing and possible work session on May 24 in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. We are currently neutral on the bill, but will need to be sure the bill is not expanded in the Senate.

We continue to oppose HB 3245 A, a bill that would allow comprehensive map amendments to be considered by a hearings officer or planning commission, without a requirement to go to the elected body.  It does not address the appeals cost to gain access to their elected officials.  The bill will have a public hearing and possible work session on May 25 in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 2893 is a bill that would require a city to evaluate for inclusion in their urban growth boundary certain agricultural land consisting predominantly of soil classifications VI, VII and VIII with other first priority lands.  The bill is in House Rules.  The work session previously scheduled on May 16th was cancelled.  The League opposes this carve-out legislation.

HB 2007 A, a bill meant to address policies around affordable housing, was moved “do pass” to Ways and Means.  The proposals would significantly change how local governments process applications inside cities and urban growth boundaries and would require that accessory dwelling units and duplexes be allowed in single family zones.  The League has concerns around the lack of public process.  We understand additional amendments are being considered, but we are not sure that they will move the League to a “support” position. An informational hearing on this bill is set for May 25th in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing.

The Land Conservation and Development Commission met May 18 and 19.  Among the presentations were explanations on the possible effect of the Biological Opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service on the National Flood Insurance Program, employment in rural Oregon (all counties except Grant beat the U.S. unemployment number!) and a briefing on Portland State University’s Population Forecast Program.  As part of their work, they “geocode” every birth and death in Oregon!  Among the interesting statistics shared:  fertility rates have dropped (Hispanic from 3.21 to 2.16) and 300 people move to Portland every day.  Although 234 move out, that leaves us with an exploding growth of 70 people a day!

OREGON STATE PARKS:  The League provided oral testimony in support of HB 2318, a bill that will allow the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission to adjust fees to manage the use of our parks by reducing fees in lesser used parks and increasing in others, and changing fees related to seasons.  The bill passed the full Ways and Means Committee and is headed to the chamber floors.

TRANSPORTATION (Peggy Lynch, Sandra Gangle-transit)

Legislative members are hopeful that we will have a complete Transportation Package this session.  The Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee will meet Monday, May 22, to continue discussion of the proposal.  Public hearings on a final bill are tentatively set for May 31 and June 5 at 5:30 p.m.

OREGON MARINE BOARD and DEPT. OF FISH AND WILDLIFE (Peggy Lynch)

The League provided testimony on HB 2321, a bill that requires boat operators to drain water from boats in order to protect against aquatic invasive species (AIS).  The bill was amended in the House to remove the AIS permit requirement for non-motorized boats less than 10 feet in length.  We supported the A-5 amendments which keeps the AIS permit requirement for those boats, which will increase the budget for boat inspections by $300,000-$400,000.  A work session is set for May 24th in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, where further amendments are expected to be considered that may still increase the budget, but by a lesser amount.

WATER (Peggy Lynch)

SB 812, a bill that will modify the onsite septic loan program, is awaiting a vote on the House floor.  The League supports this legislation and has signed on to a joint letter with others.  Not yet funded for the 2017 biennium (but SB 383 in Ways and Means would do so), this program has brought in additional private dollars to help clean up Oregon’s lands and waters.

HB 2706 A, requiring a water rights management fee, is in Ways and Means.  HB 2705, requiring additional measurement of water rights, was moved to House Rules.  The League supports both bills.  HB 2707 A, asks for an additional $8.2 million for groundwater studies, was sent to Ways and Means.  Although we support the additional money requested in the Water Resources Dept. budget, we believe this “ask” is a bit too far this session.

HB 3427 A, a bill that would require high hazard dams to have emergency plans, is in Ways and Means.  The League also supports a new permanent staffer at the Water Resources Dept. to help with dam inspections, needed for this work.

SB 3 A, a bill that would remove the moratorium on suction dredge mining while limiting that action on enhanced salmon-bearing streams, is awaiting a vote on the House floor.

The 2017 public review draft of Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy is now available for public comment.  You can view the “Note to Reader” section at the beginning of the document to help orient you to what elements are new to this version, where to locate new sections or recommended actions, and what to expect for the remainder of 2017.  To view or download the draft as a PDF, click here. The Water Resources Department will accept comments on this Public Review Draft through Monday, June 19, 2017.  Comments can be sent electronically to waterstrategy@wrd.state.or.us  The League supports this effort and encourages members to read and comment. 

DEQ invites the public to provide written comment on the conditions of the proposed 1200-Z industrial stormwater permit, known officially as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit.  DEQ will hold a hearing on the proposed permit on Wednesday, June 14 at 2 p.m.  View the full news release at: http://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=2050.

DEQ proposes rule amendments increasing water quality fees by 3 percent above the fiscal year 2016 fees for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, Water Pollution Control Facility permits, including Water Pollution Control Facility permits specific to Onsite septic systems, and non-permit related fees for the Onsite septic system program.  To learn more about this rulemaking and how to submit comments, go to:  Water Quality Permit Fee 2017.  DEQ will accept public comments on this proposed rulemaking until 4 pm on Friday, June 30, 2017.

The Water Resources Department is inviting public comment on applications for Water Project Grants and Loans which provide funding to evaluate, plan, and develop water projects that help address an instream or out-of-stream water need and result in economic, environmental, and social/cultural benefits.  These projects may be of interest to local Leagues.  Public comments submitted will be considered by the Technical Review Team (TRT).  The TRT will evaluate applications and make a funding recommendation to the Commission.  The Department will post the TRT funding recommendation for an additional public comment period.  The tentative date for the Commission to make its funding decision is November 2017.  To access all applications, please click here.  Written comments on the applications will be accepted until 5:00pm, June 29, 2017 to Grant Program Coordinator, 725 Summer Street NE, Suite A, Salem, Oregon 97301. 503.986.0869. waterprojects@wrd.state.or.us

REGIONAL SOLUTIONS (Peggy Lynch)

Continue to follow the Regional Solutions (RS) program to assure that there is a public element to any funding decisions and that local citizens know what projects are being “helped” by the RS process.  Please sign up to get the notices of meetings in your region: www.regionalsolutions.oregon.gov

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!  If any of these areas interest you, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Peggy Lynch at peggylynchor@gmail.com or 541-745-1025

 Back to top


houseSocial Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

HUMAN SERVICES AND HOUSING

How did those housing bills fare in this legislative session?  If they didn’t involve state funds, they did well.  Others were referred to the Ways and Means Subcommittee if they involved funding and we will have to wait on the outcome of the Budget for the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency.

HB 2008 A requires landlords to pay tenants of manufactured home parks if the park is closed.  The amounts are specified in the bill that passed out of the Senate Human Services Committee on May 17. Two other housing bills passed that day, HB 2944 A, which limits the amount landlords can claim for damages from the Housing Choice Landlord Guarantee Program, and HB 3175, which defined low income households as 60% for rentals and 80% of median income for home purchase programs. HB 3370 A, which defined housing with services and required notification to the Department of Human Services, passed on May 15.

HEALTH CARE AND DEPENDENCY CARE

Two other bills, HB 3372 A, which required CCOs to provide health screenings to foster children within 60 days of enrollment, and HB 3405, which requested a waiver of SNAP rules to allow parents to receive advance tax credits for dependent care expenses, passed May 15. Now parents get the tax credit at the end of the year when they file annual tax returns.

Two mental health bills were finalized on May 17.  HB 3090 A requires hospitals to adopt discharge plans for behavioral health treatment follow up from emergency departments.  Coordinated Care Organizations are required to follow-up within 7 days.  A stakeholder group had been meeting the past 2½ years on this matter.  HB 3091 requires parity for payment of mental health care from CCOs. These bills were a success for the legislative leaders and the mental health advocates.

Senate Judiciary Committee passed two bills on Sobering Facilities on May 17. HB 2175 presents a new model for intoxicated adults.  Public safety officers would usually take an intoxicated person to the hospital for medical evaluation and supervision.   A sobering center is a facility which allows the intoxicated person to sleep off his intoxication for up to 24 hours and be assessed for treatment options. It is less expensive and follows up on referrals.  HB 2176 allows county health programs to use 10% of its alcohol and drug funds for sobering facilities.  The Oregon Health Authority has registered 3 pilot facilities and has 3 more scheduled to open. The Association of Oregon Counties supports the expansion of this diversion model.  Both bills passed to the Senate floor with a do pass recommendation.

HB 3380 A, the Family Alternative Sentencing Act, was heard on May 16, but not passed. The bill passed out of House Judiciary and House chamber with 60 votes.  The League submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 895, the Senate version, passed the Senate floor with 58 votes and 2 excused, and was heard in House Judiciary.  HB 3078 remains in House Rules.  The Public Safety Subcommittee has scheduled the Criminal Justice Commission Budget on May 25.

An Informational Meeting on Children of Incarcerated Parents was held on May 18 in the Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee.  Marion County has had a Family Sentencing Act pilot for the past two years and reported on its outcomes with 25 moms and 48 children.  Five Counties have pilots with a total of 75 parents with 139 kids. 72 parents (men and women) are still in the program, 2 returned to prison and 4 have failed to report and have warrants pending.   SB 241 A is the Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents.  This bill has passed both chambers.

The YWCA of Greater Portland operates the Family Preservation Program at the Coffee Creek prison in Wilsonville.  Two women parolees testified about their positive experience in this program.  SB 242 is the request for continued funding for this program.  The bill passed the Senate and was sent to Ways and Means where it will meet its fate along with other Department of Corrections programs.

WOMEN’S HEALTH AND WELLNESS COALITION BILLS (Debbie Runciman)

Despite the revenue uncertainty, many of the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness agenda items are moving forward.  HB 2005, the Pay Equity Bill, is through both houses and poised to pass this session.  This is a BIG accomplishment!  Advocates have worked for a pay equity bill for many years and finally their hard work is paying off.  Also, several sexual assault/domestic violence bills have seen success.  HB 3176, HB 2972, HB 3060, SB 762 and SB 261 will move forward, providing Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence survivors greater services and protections.  Progress is also being made to help victims of sex trafficking.  SB 249 and SB 250 allow victims of sex trafficking to avoid convictions and more easily clear their records of prostitution charges; and HB 2740 makes youth 15-18 years old subject to the same protections afforded younger victims of trafficking.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, please contact Social Policy Coordinator: Karen Nibler 541.752.8567 niblerk@comcast.net

Back to top


Education Policygradcap

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator

Education

The Friday 5-19 deadline required most committees to put bills on the schedule for a hearing or they are dead in the second chamber.  On June 2, bills in play need to be reported out of committees or they too are dead for the session, except for the Rules, Revenue and Joint Committees (i.e. Transportation and Ways & Means).  Bills with fiscal requirements are in Ways and Means awaiting work on Revenue.  Thus Education funding (Early Learning, K-12, and Higher Education) all await “the budget” so local districts will know more about teacher cuts and class size, and colleges can finalize tuition.  One of many revenue proposals being considered in the Joint Committee On Tax Reform would highly favor schools, Oregon Education Investment Initiative (May 4 2017); Democrat support is outlined in Rep. Hernandez Testimony and Vernier Letter of Support considers benefits of stability in Education funding.  On May 16, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released its May 2017 Economic & Revenue Outlook showing that the State has more revenue now than it ever has before–so much revenue, the Kicker may result in personal tax refunds this year.  Many Republicans argue that the State’s budget shortfall of approximately $1.4 billion is not a sign that Oregon needs even more revenue, but rather a sign that Oregon’s government needs to do a better job of controlling state spending.  Thus, the philosophical disagreements continue to create a divisive session.  “Education” final funding is being held back in case there are further revenues since this budget is so important to Oregonians.  Education policy bills still in play after the 5-19 deadline are reviewed here.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means

Still “Parked” in Joint Committee on Ways and MeansSB 5516, SB 5517, the two major funding bills for Schools and Education, and SB 5525, Higher Education Coordinating Committee funding.

Also in Ways and Means are these Education Policy Bills: HB 2408, increase student access to school-based mental health providers and to fund pilot program that uses trauma-informed approaches.   HB 3191, summer education to elementary school students in high poverty, low performing schools with high populations of English language learners.  HB 2038 modifies purposes for which school districts may receive grants to pay for costs incurred by school districts to purchase food produced or processed in state.  HB 2223 directs Department of Education to establish program to develop and maintain statewide school nursing services . HB 2261 expands allowed responsibilities of Youth Development Council to include coordinating statewide services to youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.  SB 111 establishes pilot program to assist school districts and education service districts in increasing use of Medicaid billing.  SB 183 directs Department of Education to establish Early Indicator and Intervention System.   SB 187 directs Department of Education to reimburse education provider for expenses incurred from providing vision screenings.  SB 231 establishes Task Force on Student Mental Health Support.  SB 314 directs Early Learning Division to support Relief Nursery programs statewide.  SB 421 establishes Task Force on School District Spending.

The 5-19 deadline for putting bills on the schedule in the second chamber committees for hearings is an excellent opportunity to review this session’s policy bills and the various committees working Education bills.

House Committee on Education:

SB 4 A phases in implementation of number of required minutes of physical education.  SB 208 A provides that school district may not deny participation in interscholastic activities by student who attends public charter school.  SB 263 A limits school district’s ability to require students to participate in abbreviated school day program.

House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports

Has finished most of their committee bill assignments, but is holding informational sessions.

House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development:

SB 395 A requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to, on annual basis, work with HECC, each public university and each community college to determine number and graduation rates of former foster children and current foster children at each college or university.  SB 274 A requires each post-secondary educational institution that provides housing for students to provide to each student enrolling or registering at institution for first time information on vaccine-preventable diseases known to occur in individuals between 16 and 21 years of age.  SB 207 A requires each public university and community college to provide credit in applicable subject area to students who receive certain grades on advanced placement examinations.  SB 253 A requires institutions of higher education to provide to each applicable student information detailing amount of education loans received, amount of tuition and fees student has paid to institution, estimate of total payoff amount of education loans student has received, estimate of amount student will have to pay each month to service loans and percentage of borrowing limit student has reached for each type of federal loan.

Senate Committee on Education (that receives bills from three separate House Committees still has numerous bills to consider):

  1. School District, Student Considerations

HB 3353 A provides parents or guardians of students an opportunity to request not to participate in dental screening.  HB 3181 A requires that parents must include explanation of reason that dental screening is burden for student or parent or guardian of student.  HB 3029 A allows parent or legal guardian of child whose sixth birthday occurred on or before September 1 to delay enrolling child in public full-time school for one year for purpose of better meeting child’s needs for cognitive, social or physical development.  HB 3267 A directs school districts and public charter schools to waive the high school diploma requirements that are not established by state law if student is or was foster child, homeless or runaway.  HB 3293 A provides that school district may not deny participation in interscholastic activities by student who attends public charter school.  HB 3318 A establishes procedures for conducting functional behavioral analysis and for developing, reviewing and revising behavior intervention plans for students with individualized education programs or 504 Plans.

  1. Higher Education

HB 2864 A requires each community college and public university to establish process for recommending, and providing oversight for implementation of, cultural competency standards for institution and institution’s employees. HB 3340 A requires Department of Education to develop and provide to public high schools written materials regarding apprenticeship opportunities. HB 2311 A makes 40-40-20 higher education goals relate to Oregonians completing education, rather than to all adult Oregonians.  HB 3423 A exempts person serving in Oregon National Guard from requirement to enroll in community college courses within six months of attaining previous highest level of education in order to qualify for Oregon Promise grant, provided that person enrolls in community college courses within six months of completing initial active duty training.

  1. Reports, Studies, Advisory Groups

HB 2956 A directs Early Learning Council to conduct evaluation of Early Learning Hubs and submit report on evaluation each odd-numbered year.  HB 2013 A modifies requirements for preschool program administered by Early Learning Division.  HB 3216 A directs Chief Education Office to conduct study for purpose of identifying practices that assist students in poverty families.  HB 3289 A directs Higher Education Coordinating Commission to submit annual report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly that describes progress made in providing competency-based education in public post-secondary institutions of education.  HB 3358 A directs Department of Education to convene advisory group related to English-language learner programs.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!  If you have an interest in following early learning, K-12 or higher education, please contact Education Policy Coordinator: Chris Vogel, 503.586.8314, chrisvogelvolunteerlwvor@gmail.com we always appreciate further inquiries on bills of interest.

Back to top