Legislative Report, Volume 27, Number 11 – April 2017

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In This Issue

Action Alert

Important Dates

Natural Resources

Social Policy

Education Policy

Governance


news iconLWVOR Action Alert

Action Alert for Gun Safety Bills

Your help is needed! A hearing has been scheduled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, April 17, 8:00 a.m., on the high-priority gun safety bills below, and now is the time for action. The League is part of the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, which has provided a very simple way to contact your legislators. Just click the links below to urge their support. We also urge you to attend the hearing if possible. The opposition will undoubtedly show up in force, and it’s important for committee members and the press to see the high level of support for gun safety legislation.

SB 868, Extreme Risk Protection Order

Oregon law lacks the necessary tools to temporarily remove firearms from people in crisis showing clear evidence they are a danger to themselves and others. Senate Bill 868 establishes Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) to empower families and law enforcement to prevent gun tragedies. Similar to laws in Washington, California, and Connecticut, SB 868 establishes a civil court process to restrict access to firearms for up to a year, based on clear and convincing evidence.

Take action by asking your legislators to support SB 868.

SB 797, Closing Loopholes in Oregon’s Background Check Law

Senate Bill 797 will strengthen Oregon’s gun violence prevention laws by: (1) prohibiting gun possession by abusive dating partners and stalkers, (2) closing the Charleston loophole and giving law enforcement enough time to complete criminal background checks before gun sales can proceed, and (3) ensuring that law enforcement officials are notified when criminals try and fail to purchase guns illegally.

Take action by asking your legislators to support SB 797.

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Important Dates and Resources

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

April 18:
Deadline for committee chairs to hold work sessions in the bills’ house of origin.
April 21: LWVOR’s Day at the LegislatureRegister today!
May 16:  Revenue Forecast
May 19:
Deadline for committees to schedule work sessions on measures that originated in the opposite chamber.
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.

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dropletNatural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

AGENCY BUDGETS (Peggy Lynch)

We provided testimony on SB 5519, the Oregon Dept. of Forestry budget. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) budget (HB 5040) will accept public testimony on April 10.  Starting April 11, the Water Resources Department budget (SB 5542) will begin their presentation, with public testimony on April 13.  This will be the last of the natural resource agency budgets.  The Subcommittee will begin considering policy bills soon after.  We also expect the Full Ways and Means Committee to begin to pass bills to the floor starting April 14.

CLIMATE CHANGE (Claudia Keith)

We are planning testimony for HB 3343 and SB 1007, Climate Test, for Monday April 10 House Public Hearing only and April 12 Senate Public Hearing and possible Work Session. The bills would require that qualifying fossil fuel infrastructure project proposals be subject to a mini environmental impact statement (EIS), with full lifecycle accounting of a project’s greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with an economic analysis that will show whether a project is viable in a world where climate policy goals are met. Additional info at Sightline article.

We will provide testimony on SB 908, similar to HB 2020, where the League letter asked the Legislature to address how best to reorganize the Department of Energy and provide appropriate funds to ensure management of Oregon Climate Policy with optimal performance and clear accountability.  Other bills addressing this topic are HB 3269 and HB 3166 for April 12 Public Hearing and possible work session.

Great news, as of Friday, April 7, at 5:05pm the following bills have a work session scheduled:  HB 2131, Rail Safety; HB 2710, Energy Efficient Building Codes; HB 2711, and 10 year Fracking Moratorium. GHGE Pricing, SB 557, will most likely have amendments after it leaves the policy committee.

Related to SB 557, some really good news today Court-of-appeal-confirms-california-cap-and-trade-is-not-a-tax Latest Our Children’s Trust Press Release Youth-Respond-to-Trump.

AIR QUALITY & TOXICS (Marilyn Koenitzer)

We continue to follow the Cleaner Air Oregon process (see www.cleanerair.oregon.gov). Work Sessions have been scheduled for HB 2236, enabling legislation for Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), and HB 2269, on fees for funding the new DEQ rules and the agency work.  SB 1008, Clean Diesel, has also been scheduled for a Work Session.

ELLIOTT FOREST and FORESTRY (Jennifer Haynes and Peggy Lynch)

Write or call the Land Board members, Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and Treasurer Tobias Read and your legislators to share your belief that the Elliott should stay in public hands.  Governor Brown is working with others to present a plan to the State Land Board on May 9.  We will need the support of the Legislature to purchase the Forest from the Common School Fund, yet keep it in public hands.  SB 847, the Trust Lands Transfer bill, has passed out of Committee with a 4-1 vote and will go to the full Senate.

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

The list of still “live” bills is long.  We need your help to share concerns with your legislators on many of these bills. We have concerns about SB 1036, a bill loosening the permitting on excavation or grading operations necessary for construction and maintenance of utilities, drainage facilities and irrigation facilities. It is scheduled for a Work Session. SB 432, which we orally opposed, would allow some rural counties in Eastern Oregon to opt out of our statewide land use system, yet it is scheduled for a Work Session. A Judge from Sherman County shared that they just want the chance to create 5-acre ranchettes. We expect amendments.

We continue to work with others on possible amendments to HB 3012 & SB 1024 related to allowing accessory dwelling units in rural residential areas.  HB 3012 would allow a second home on a lot that has an “historic home” in rural areas in order to save that home from possible demolition. SB 1024 would require counties to allow accessory dwelling units on rural residential lands.  We currently oppose. We opposed HB 2222 that would have allowed Deschutes County to update their zoning without using Regional Problem Solving or HB 2229 (2009).  It died in committee.

We provided testimony in opposition to HB 3245, 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.

Marge Easley provided our testimony in opposition to SB 644. The bill originally included provisions around a reorganization of the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries and suction dredge mining. But the amendments will take away a local planning process for mining projects.

There are some good bills:  We support a modified version of HB 3373 that would provide a shared staffer for the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development and Housing and Community Services.  We provided testimony.  The bill has been sent to Ways and Means.

TRANSPORTATION  (Peggy Lynch, Sandra Gangle-transit)

Transportation bills moving forward include HB 3230, Safe Routes to Schools, and HB 2288, the annual Connect Oregon bill.  Legislative members seem hopeful that we will have a complete Transportation Package this session.

WATER (Peggy Lynch) 

We provided testimony in support of HB 3427, a bill that would require high hazard dams to have emergency plans.  The League will be supporting a new permanent staffer at the Water Resources Dept. to help with dam inspections.

Our water watch list includes HB 2786, related to our removal-fill laws—which we oppose. We will watch HB 2098 requiring the Dept. of State Lands to study our current removal-fill laws.

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 

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houseSocial Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

In the Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee, the Child Welfare Division and Self Sufficiency Division presented this week and Public Testimony was heard on April 5. This budget includes Aging and Physically Disabled, Intellectually Development Disabled, and Vocational Rehabilitation, as well as Self Sufficiency and Child Welfare.

Oregon Project Independence, General Assistance and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families were proposed for cutbacks from former budget years.  These programs serve people who have few other options, so hardships are expected.  The league submitted testimony to the committee and suggested that additional revenue was needed to make up for the deficits.

Housing continues to be a high priority for the House Human Services and Housing Committee.  This week the committee added an evening session in order to cover all the bills in its quiver. HB 3063 was a follow up on the Mental Health Housing bill and bonding of $20 million for supportive housing needed for those discharged from hospitals.  The League supported that housing need, but all the details are not finalized.

Child welfare definition was the relating clause for HB 2903, which allowed a gut and stuff for the Department of Human Services rules for child care providers.  Since the closure of a program in Portland, the licensing regulations for providers were strengthened.  As a result, several youth care providers did not renew the contracts for group homes, leaving the agency with a shortage of placements. The rules were renegotiated in this bill in order to bring back provider options.

HB 3372 stipulated that foster children have medical, dental and behavioral health screening within 60 days after they were signed up with a CCO for medical coverage.  Another bill, HB 3405, asked DHS staff to request a waiver from the federal government for monthly child care payments on the Earned Income Tax Credit program, rather than the end of year tax refund.  HB 2881 requested $700,000 for the Oregon Hunger Response Fund due to increased food demands.

Health Care Committees continue to work on refinements to the operations of the Coordinated Care Organizations.

SB 419 has amendments that create a Task Force on Hospital Rate Setting and the bill is set for a work session on 4-18.  SB 754A made sales of tobacco and inhalants to under 21 an offense. This bill passed the Senate on a 19-8 vote.  The League cheers.

HB 2122 has a -8 amendment which requires Coordinated Care Organizations to be non-profit, to maintain reserves of $250,000, and to invest in community social determinants of health. HB 2122 is scheduled for a work session on 4-10. The House Health Care Committee has a long list of bills for work sessions for 3 days next week.

Public Health Modernization was initiated with HB 3100 last biennium.  Counties are local Public Health Authorities, but funding varies from county to county.  State funds are allocated to counties with the greatest need for the most urgent programs, such as communicable disease outbreaks, which may cross county lines.  HB 2310 describes governance structure, shared responsibilities and the options for counties to defer to the state for public health services. The state funding available meets less than half the needs for the state, so it will be several biennia before statewide services are equitable. Local hospitals and health systems have helped form collaboratives for services in their areas, but service levels are inconsistent throughout the state.

The Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee has scheduled HB 3087, which is the bill proposing savings for the Department of Corrections Budget.  The Oregon Coalition for Safety and Savings has been working with legislators and proponents on methods of decreasing the population of our prisons.

In past years earned time release and justice reinvestments in county diversions made some impact on the population.  Property crimes, including identity theft, support addictions, which could be treated in the community with close supervision.  However, newer proposals for Family Sentencing Alternatives to keep parents with their children, and expanded transitional leave are on the table. Coffee Creek, the women’s prison in Wilsonville, has been over its capacity, so DOC has requested funds to open an old facility (not build a new prison).

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

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Education Policygradcap

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator

House Committee on Education policy bills recently considered that the League is monitoring and may submit testimony later in the session as bills move to the “other house”:

  • If you have followed Education over recent years, you may wish to review Representative Sprenger’s summary of those many changes in conjunction to proposed HB 3208, prohibiting the Legislative Assembly from enacting certain legislation related to education. Following a hearing on 3-30 we shall see if it moves forward.
  • HB 3318, with a hearing on 3-30, would establish procedures for conducting functional behavioral analysis and for developing, reviewing and revising behavior intervention plans for students with individualized education programs or 504 Plans.
  • HB 2223, directing the Department of Education to establish a program to develop and maintain statewide school nursing services, passed from the House Committee on Education and was referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.
  • HB 2261, expanding allowed responsibilities of the Youth Development Council to include coordinating statewide services to youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, passed from the House Committee on Education and was referred to Ways and Means.
  • HB 3191, directing the Department of Education to administer a pilot program to offer summer education to elementary school students in high poverty, low performing schools with high populations of English language learners, passed from the House Committee on Education and was referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.
  • HB 3185, establishing a Task Force on Family Engagement in Education, passed from the House Committee on Education and was referred to Ways and Means by prior reference.
  • HB 3340, requiring the Department of Education to develop and provide to public high schools written materials regarding apprenticeship opportunities, passed from the House Committee on Education to the House floor.

House Committee on Education policy bills that moved from committee included:

  • SB 182 , establishing Educator Advancement Council.
  • SB 1003 , prescribing requirements for screening tests related to dyslexia.
  • SB 1032 , amending the Oregon Promise program to remove prohibition on awarding more than $10 million in grants per fiscal year.

House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development policy bills that moved from committee included:

  • HB 2457, altering the process by which the Higher Education Coordinating Commission resolves student complaints against schools, passed out of committee.

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.

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buildingsymbolGovernance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

REVENUE

Revenue legislation discussions continue behind the scenes. Publicly this week, a Priority Oregon” TV ad says the Legislature is attempting to pass sales taxes. You can see the ad and a short review of the coalition funding here. The Revenue Coalition we attend notes that this ad is misleading and proposes no solutions. Tax Fairness Oregon says the average Oregonian pays $5.90 in gross receipts compared to our corporations paying $0.59. Main revenue factors under discussion remain unresolved to public view in this session’s tenth week:

  • Revenue reform
  • Cost containment
  • PERS reform
  • Hospital provider tax
  • Transportation package

A Senate Revenue preparatory bill hearing (video), ran to discussion on the Oregon constitutional responsibility to balance the budget warranted another look. Senator Boquist formally challenged the constitutional requirement to balance the budget, a myth created by Legislative Counsel, mixing two sections, especially that if the Executive Branch spends money, the Legislature then has to raise taxes at the end of the session to balance the budget. There was reference to a Reserve Fund bill, killed on the floor, and Senator Riley referred to Article 9, Section 2 of the Oregon Constitution:

Section 2. Legislature to provide revenue to pay current state expenses and interest. The Legislative Assembly shall provide for raising revenue sufficiently to defray the expenses of the State for each fiscal year, and also a sufficient sum to pay the interest on the State debt, if there be any.—

Representative Barnhart, House Revenue Committee Chair, later commented that the Oregon Constitution is archaic, which relates directly to Senator Boquist’s bill, SJR 44, relating to office holders dueling. The discussion continued around Finnigan and Joyce sales factor calculation rules, intangible services, and market base conjectures over fifteen years. No votes were taken.

ELECTIONS

HB 3422We supported this bill with comments, to codify signature observing for petition signature review (video). Collaborative work will continue on this bill. During the same hearing, a successful vote was taken to move HB 2578establishing Small Donor funded elections, which we support in coalition.

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE (Marge Easley)

Public support for the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill (HB 2927) continues to grow, but a few key legislators must be convinced to move the bill forward, following its hearing in House Rules on March 14. A complicating factor is that three other NPV bills, SB 823, SB 824, and SB 825, are sitting in Senate Rules. The latter bill is a legislative referral and is opposed by NPV supporters because of the likelihood it would turn into a highly partisan and expensive battle.

Thanks to a motivated group of activists, additional NPV educational forums are being scheduled around the state (see the list below), and we urge you to help us get the word out. It’s important that legislators, especially Senators Courtney, Devlin, Burdick, and Johnson, get the strong message that constituents favor the idea of “one person, one vote” when electing the President.

Here’s a list of NPV events occurring soon. Also stay tuned for an upcoming NPV Rally at the Capitol.

April 10, 6:30 p.m., Wilsonville Public Library,
April 11, 1:30 p.m., Oswego Heritage House, Lake Oswego (Sponsored by LWV Clackamas County)
April 12, 7:00 p.m., The Dalles High School
April 30, Medford, TBA

GENERAL GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY

SB 1035: We opposed this bill to allow a ‘tax subtraction” for adoption of cats and dogs from shelters, clarifying that we do not have positions on this directly, but with a review of League documentation of legislative budget shortfalls for over a decade (video).

HCR 24: We testified in support of remote videoconferencing, which has been available for over ten years, in practical use for over six years.

HB 3397: We supported this bill for provision of translators, with reservations relating to expense. This is well-supported in our positions. Questions we addressed related to participation and testimony access, for these two bills and SB 829, which addresses closed captioning (video).

HB 2906: We will be supporting this bill to codify the Oregon Geographic Information Council, after having testimony written in support of this concept during the last session. It would address inconsistencies in geospatial data file formatting, standardize geographic information systems, form a state library, and begin coordination between Oregon local and state governments.

PUBLIC RECORDS

We are following a triad of Public Records bills. The work session for SB 106-16, which creates an advocate and council, was extended to this week. SB 481-14 creates policy statute and “is scheduled solely for the purpose of sending it back to the Senate President’s desk”. A related bill, HB 2101, addresses public records disclosure exemption sunsets, with no work session scheduled.

Thanks to our Governance volunteers!

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

Thanks to our Revenue Subcommittee:

  • Alice Bartelt, Chair, liaison to A Better Oregon Coalition
  • Rebecca Gladstone, member
  • Claudia Keith, member
  • Peggy Lynch, advisor
  • Chris Vogel, liaison: Oregon Revenue Coalition & HSCO Revenue Coalition
  • Jody Wiser, League member, liaison: Tax Fairness Oregon

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

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