Legislative Report, Volume 27, Number 14 – May 2017

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In This Issue

Important Dates

Governance

Natural Resources

Social Policy

Education Policy


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Important Dates and Resources

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

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

LWVOR REVENUE AND TAX SUBCOMMITTEE: 

Rebecca Gladstone, Alice Bartelt, Claudia Keith, Peggy Lynch and Chris Vogel

This week a NEW Joint Committee On Tax Reform, with members from both Senate and House Revenue Committees, begins meeting at 8:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays to consider the Business Tax Reform Framework. These OLIS links include a committee roster, meeting materials, agendas, livestreaming during meetings, and videos posted a few hours afterwards. While lawmakers have been working behind the scenes looking at business tax alternatives, these will be the first public discussions.

News links this week:

PUBLIC RECORDS

HB 2101: This Public Records bill, sponsored by Representative Huffman, is the third public records bill we are supporting this session. It addresses review and management of public records request disclosure exemptions. Exemption alterations must be set in statute, so it makes sense that this be accomplished within the Legislature, not by the proposed Advisory Council, which would need to refer actions back to the Legislature. A “government impact statement” would be generated for exemption actions, in the same way revenue or fiscal impact statements are made. (video here).

This triad of bills is the result of comprehensive work since October of 2015 from the Attorney General’s Public Records Law Reform Task Force. The other two are SB 106 A (sponsored by Governor Brown), establishing a Public Records Advocate and Council, and SB 481 A (sponsored by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum) setting statute for Public Records.

The public hearing for HB 2101 began with Rep Huffman’s sponsor’s introduction, held up for proposal of an amendment, relating to a surprise appearance from the Secretary of State, proposing formation of an “Oregon Sunshine Committee” to “shine a light on barriers to public disclosure, to eliminate unnecessary obstacles to transparency ”. Note, this is not the same as The Sunshine Committee, Oregon Territory Society of Professional Journalists, which worked on the AG’s Public Records Task Force. They awarded their “First Freedom Award” to AG Rosenblum, for this Task Force’s work, on September 12, 2016:

“Our chapter thinks you have sparked a renewed movement toward transparency and we have high hopes that your task force can produce lasting change for our state,” said the chapter’s Sunshine Committee Chair Shasta Kearns Moore, who presented the award. “We are giving this award to you not only for the work that you have done, but the work you will do to pave the way for a more open government.”

ELECTIONS

SB 229: This 30-page elections omnibus bill has not been scheduled for a work session yet, awaiting possible, but unlikely, amendments. This “housekeeping” bill includes recommendations that have been in progress for several sessions. Notably, it includes electronic filing for statewide candidates, including Voters’ Pamphlet info.

SB 906: This elections omnibus copy of SB 229 is in the process of a “gut and stuff”. An amendment would statutorily allow beginning the process of expanding to allow “opt-in” for electronic filing of candidates at local levels. We are working on this with the bill sponsor, Senator Boquist, the Secretary of State, the Elections Division, Oregon County Clerks Association, the League of Oregon Cities, and Special District Association of Oregon.

REDISTRICTING (Norman Turrill)

A new draft constitutional amendment was released late last week and debated in a Monday meeting of the Secretary of State’s ad hoc Redistricting Task Force. Many members of the Task Force, including the League’s representative, disagreed with large parts of the draft, so another round of amendments will be proposed and discussed.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE (Norman Turrill)

HB 2505 and HB 2584 both try to deal with independent expenditures, sometimes known as “Dark Money”. Both bills were voted out of the House Rules Committee last week and will be considered on the House floor soon. However, when HB 2586 reached the House floor, a major flaw was discovered and it was referred back to Rules for correction.

It is important to discourage independent expenditures since they can be used to attack candidates without disclosing the real source of the money used. Candidates can also lose control of their campaign messaging. If Oregon had campaign contributions limits as proposed by the Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform in HJR 5, then control of independent expenditure Dark Money would be even more important to discourage circumvention of the limits.

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE (Marge Easley)

No movement this week, please keep supporting direct legislative passage this session.

GENERAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY 

HB 3361 We supported this to bill increase transparency and efficiency in government by application of Open Data Standards and consolidating state information through a state web portal, to be overseen by a State Data Officer.  (video here)
Access note- This bill was heard in a House Rules meeting with HB 2101. The meeting had discussion about the lack of advance notice – HB 2584 for an amendment not yet posted and HB 2101 for an unposted amendment relating to the surprise visit from the Secretary of State.

Thanks to our Revenue Subcommittee and Governance Volunteers:

  • 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
  • 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.

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dropletNatural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

AGENCY BUDGETS (PEGGY LYNCH)

The Full Ways and Means Committee has begun to pass small fee-funded or non-General Funded agency budgets to the floor. Bills with an “SB” first go to the Senate floor and those with “HB” to the House floor first. The Dept. of State Lands budget (SB 5537) and Oregon Marine Board (HB 5022) have work sessions this week.

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 2135A is still alive in House Rules. Senate and House Environment Committees will continue to have Tuesday evening joint work groups – information testimony only by invitation and open to the public to attend, recorded and available on OLIS.

Oil Rail Safety: SB 7 is in Senate Rules. HB 2131, a similar bill, is in House Rules. The industry lobbyists are in full force; however, the Senate President has prioritized this legislation this session.

10-Year Moratorium on Fracking: HB 2711A passed the House 32-26. It will be a major challenge in the Senate. The League will continue to work with the Oregon Conservation Network and other partners to leverage our efforts.

Dept. of Energy and Oregon Global Warming Commission merger with funding request and a new Energy and Climate Policy Board, HB 2020A, moved to House Rules with a “do pass” recommendation.  HB 3269 has a similar theme for the Oregon Global Warming Commission.  It too is in Rules with a “do pass” recommendation.  SB 908, a similar measure, was moved to Senate Rules “without recommendation”.  SB 952A was also moved to Senate Rules “without recommendation”. Some restructuring of the Dept. of Energy may occur this session.  Rep. Holvey and Senator Beyer are both continuing to work on the issue.

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. Both HB 2236, enabling legislation for Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), and HB 2269A, on fees for funding the new DEQ rules and the agency work, have moved to Ways and Means.

SB 1008A, Clean Diesel, was sent “do pass” to Senate Rules. The League was disappointed that the -2 amendments were not adopted.  In the meantime, DEQ is moving forward with rules regarding the settlement.  Written public comment on the proposed mitigation fund plan elements proposed by DEQ will be accepted through May 19, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. The proposed plan elements, as well as background information and information on how to comment, can be found here: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/programs/Pages/VW-Die

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 understand that the State Treasurer may also provide a proposal to keep the Elliott in public hands.  The Secretary of State has expressed concern over the assessed value placed on the Elliott, so we are unsure of his position, although he supported an amended sale at the last Board meeting.

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 been sent to Ways and Means because it may cost any state agency that would manage former trust lands.  We expect a “priority bill” to be written to address a “keep it public” proposal after the May 9th meeting.

LAND USE (PEGGY LYNCH, MARGE EASLEY)

SB 432, which we orally opposed, would allow some rural counties in Eastern Oregon to opt out of our statewide land use system and was sent “without recommendation” to Senate Rules. We continue to oppose, but are willing to discuss how small cities in Eastern Oregon might be helped. HB 2023 would change the definition of high value farmland.  It was moved to House Rules “without recommendation”. HB 2730A, written specifically for a golf course expansion in Curry County, is still awaiting a vote in the House. It is another “one off” bill, meant to circumvent the local land use system.  The Oregon Coast Alliance and the League, among others, are opposed.

HB 3012A 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 passed the House.  We will monitor so that no amendments expanding this bill occurs in the Senate.

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. HB 3245A is still awaiting a vote in the House. We still have concerns about a citizen’s affordable access to their elected officials.

SB 644 includes provisions around a 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 “without recommendation”. The League continues to be opposed.

HB 2007A, 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.

TRANSPORTATION (PEGGY LYNCH, SANDRA GANGLE)

Legislative members seem hopeful that we will have a complete Transportation Package this session. The latest on the allusive transportation package: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/04/bike_tax_car_tax_gas_tax_lawma.html

WATER (PEGGY LYNCH)

SB 812, a bill that will modify the onsite septic loan program, will have a Work Session in the House Environment and Energy Committee on May 3rd.  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 2706A, requiring a water rights management fee, was referred “do pass” to Ways and Means. HB 2705, requiring additional measurement of water rights, was recommended “do pass” and moved to House Rules. The League supports both bills. HB 2707A, asks for an additional $8.2 million for groundwater studies, was recommended “do pass” and 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 3427A, a bill that would require high hazard dams to have emergency plans, moved “do pass” to 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.

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. 

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

The South Coast Umpqua Regional Solutions Advisory Committee will meet May 5, 11a-12:30p @ Coos Bay Fire Hall, Community Meeting Room, 450 Elrod Ave, Coos Bay.  Call In: 877-848-7030, Password 5495754#.  Agenda is available online.

The Greater Eastern Oregon Regional Solutions Executive Committee will meet May 9, 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.@ Blue Mountain Community College Boardroom, 2411 Carden Ave, Pendleton.  Call In: 888-398-2342; code 7476425 #    Agenda is available here.

The South Central Region (Klamath & Lake Counties): May 11, 10:00 – noon @ Klamath Community College, Building 6, Room H138 7390 South Sixth St Klamath Falls, OR 97603 1-888-557-8511 code: 9470233 Agenda is available here.

The Southern Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee will meet May 15, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @ Josephine County Courthouse, Room 157, 500 NW 6th St, Grants Pass. Call In: 1-877-848-7030; Code 5495754#  Agenda is available here.

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

The Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee has been hearing about Behavioral Health programs in the Oregon Health Authority this week.  Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse treatment for Medicaid patients has expanded in the past 2 years.  Commercial insurances cover many more patients but cover a much smaller number of patients for behavioral or substance abuse treatment.  OHA has received grant funds for demonstration projects in 12 organizations in Oregon emphasizing behavioral health for homeless and veterans.  Public Health is emphasizing alcohol and drug prevention and suicide prevention.

The Oregon State Hospitals in Salem and Junction City will be on the docket later.  The Governor recommended the closure of the Junction City to save operational funds, but there is no consensus within the legislature yet.

The Department of Human Services will be reviewing the level of service in anti-poverty programs for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, along with job training and day care programs. The Senate Human Services Committee heard HB 2347 containing limitations to these programs this week.  Previous sessions had increased services, which may be withdrawn this session. The budget deficit will require cuts in services to Aged and Disabled Persons as well, unless additional revenue sources are passed.

The Oregon Judicial Department presented a courthouse repairs and replacement schedule to the Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee last week.  The first priority was the completion of the Multnomah County Courthouse replacement with new furnishings.  Tillamook was next in line, but Douglas County got repairs of water pipes with current funds.  Lane County asked for continued planning funds for a replacement project in 2019-2021.  Hood River and Clackamas County are in second priority in 2017-19.  Benton County is third in line for a replacement project in 2021-23.

The Budget bill, HB 5013, for the OJD will be enhanced with fees for the use of Oregon E-Court and fines paid for violations through the payment system.  The increase was necessary to cover a deficit in vendor costs for the technology system.

Former legislator Lane Shetterly presented recommendations on Public Safety savings to the Ways and Means Capital Construction Committee.  Alternatives were the suspension of M 57 on sentences for Identity Theft and Theft 1, which might save 1,000 prison beds, or modify M 57 to save 568 beds.  Transitional leave expansion from 90 to 120 or 180 days would save prison beds, but require community supervision capacity.  Marion and Multnomah Counties have developed enhanced supervision.  Bills on prison reduction alternatives are still alive, although HB 3078 was sent to the House Rules Committee.

GUN SAFETY UPDATE (Marge Easley)

Two of the priority gun bills of the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety are still alive, despite a procedural error that nearly derailed them. The League presented testimony in support of both bills on April 17.

SB 719 is the new bill number for SB 868 (Extreme Risk Protective Order) and is scheduled for a Senate floor vote on May 1. It creates a process for obtaining a court order that temporarily prohibits a person from possessing firearms when it is determined he/she presents an imminent risk, or a risk in the foreseeable future, of suicide or causing injury to other persons.
SB 797, the Firearm Safety Package of 2017, has been sent to Senate Rules under a new bill number. It closes the Charleston Loophole and makes it easier to remove guns from stalkers and abusive dating partners.
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

In the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education on May 2, there will be a hearing on assessments, measuring student achievement.  The English Language Learners Programs will be reviewed on May 3.  The Oregon Promise Program and Community Colleges – Local Revenues and High-cost Programs will have a hearing on May 4.

The House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports will hear about the Oregon Child Care Market Price Study on May 2, and will discuss the Early Learning Budget on May 4, Oregon 529 Savings Network on May 9, and Culturally-Specific Early Learning on May 19.  This committee is NEW this year.  These informational hearings not only provide background for committee members, but create a permanent record of these programs.

In the House Education Committee, these bills (already clearing the Senate) have scheduled hearings: SB 4 phases in implementation of number of required minutes of physical education; SB 221 revises requirements for approval of educator preparation program; and SB 1003 prescribes requirements for screening tests related to dyslexia.

The Senate Committee on Education has received bills that survived House committees and a House floor vote. Public hearings are scheduled for the following bills:  HB 2147 requires each post-secondary institution of education to provide the Department of Education and Higher Education Coordinating Commission with the number of Oregon high school graduates from each school district enrolled at their institution along with the higher education graduation rate at institution for Oregon high school graduates from each school district.  HB 2457 alters the process for resolving student complaints against certain schools.  HB 2565 changes how the priority enrollment system in higher education is applied to continuing qualified students and new qualified students and removes certain requirements veterans must meet prior to receiving high school diploma.  HB 2311 makes 40-40-20 higher education goals relate to Oregonians completing education, rather than to all adult Oregonians.  HB 2666 gives community college recognized student government authority to establish process and allocate mandatory student-initiated fees, subject to refusal under certain circumstances by board of education of community college district or president of community college.

HB 2648 adds school social workers to a list of professions included in school-based system for which the school district or education service district may receive money for decreasing rates of school absenteeism.  HB 2997 provides for distribution of amounts collected upon conviction for violation of compulsory attendance laws.

HB 3106 directs Early Learning Hubs to convene annual meetings between representatives of preschool programs administered by the Early Learning Division for the purpose of coordinating enrollment of eligible children in programs.  HB 2013 modifies requirements for preschool program administered by Early Learning Division. HB 2956 directs the Early Learning Council to conduct an evaluation of Early Learning Hubs and submit a report on evaluation each odd-numbered year.

HB 3313 allows public charter school to give priority in admission to students who had resided within service boundaries of non-chartered public school that closed within two years prior to public charter school beginning to operate.  HB 2258 expands types of entities that may receive funding for certain activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and to career and technical education.  HB 2219 encourages school districts and public charter schools to offer students courses or other educational opportunities in civics.  HB 2229 encourages school districts and public charter schools to offer students courses or other educational opportunities in financial literacy.  HB 3340 requires Department of Education to develop and provide to public high schools written materials regarding apprenticeship opportunities.

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.

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