Legislative Report, Volume 27, Number 4 – February 2017

LR number 4 header


In This Issue

LWVOR Action Alert

Natural Resources

Social Policy

Education Policy

Governance

Important Dates


news iconLWVOR Action Alert

LWV Oregon Action ALERT   February 20, 2017

Support Climate Policy by supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Legislation!

Contact your legislators and members of Environment and Natural Resources Senate Committee & Energy and Environment House Committee to support Clean Energy Job Legislation Cap and Trade SB 557 and Cap and Fee SB 748

DEADLINE FOR ACTION: ASAP!  Legislator contact information: www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html

Wed, March 1, a Public Policy Hearing at 3pm is scheduled. Please join us at the Capital for a Rally (on the Capital steps 1- 2:00pm) and a chance to lobby and attend this important Legislative Public Climate Policy Hearing.

Example of message to convey – please consider writing in your own words:

Dear ________,

The Clean Energy Jobs bill will reduce climate pollution threatening Oregon communities. It will create thousands of jobs by encouraging investment in cleaner energy sources, greater energy efficiency, and upgrading infrastructure threatened by climate change. Oregonians need the legislature to enact a Clean Energy Jobs bill that; 1) reduces greenhouse gas emissions by setting a cap and using a pricing mechanism based on current science, 2) invests in the communities that need it most, 3) ensures that energy is still affordable, and that workers who are impacted by a clean energy transition are retrained in the new economy, 4) requires all sectors pay their fair share if they pollute above the cap, and that 5) ensures that no communities are left with an unfair burden of pollution or cost.

Signed                                                                     Dated                                     

The Clean Energy Jobs Campaign

It’s time for Oregon to transition from polluting energy to a clean energy economy.
Our state will reap the rewards of more jobs, clean air, and local, renewable energy if we build
on recent successes and finally hold large polluters accountable with a limit and price on the climate pollution they put into our air and water. The impacts of climate change are hurting Oregonians. Our families, farmers, fishermen and firefighters are all bearing the burden of climate pollution. Enforcing limits and putting a price on this pollution will shift the burden off Oregonians and hold large polluters to the same standards of responsibility as the rest of us. We must act now. Oregon can seize the opportunity to lead the clean energy economy, create good paying jobs for Oregonians and protect the health of our families and clean air.

The Renew Oregon coalition is championing a policy that will:
• Cap climate pollution using the best available scientific guidelines for limiting Oregon’s share of global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. The cap will be economy-wide, declining over time through 2050 to ensure we reach our reduction targets and provide certainty for business.

  • Price all qualified greenhouse gas emissions under the cap. Polluters pay for every ton of climate pollution they put into our air. The price is reasonably stable and can be adjusted over time to ensure the cap is not exceeded giving polluters incentive to cut emissions and allowing flexibility to do so efficiently and at lowest cost.
  • Invest proceeds from pricing climate pollution into clean energy like wind and solar, public transit, energy efficient homes and businesses and more. A minimum of 35% of proceeds will be invested to reduce pollution and climate impacts experienced by low-income and rural communities, communities of color, and impacted workers in Oregon. Equity and a just transition to clean energy are central to the policy.

A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY BENEFITS ALL –  more talking points @ The Clean Energy Jobs Campaign. The LWVOR endorsed this campaign last week.


REMINDER:  Remaining Ways and Means hearings around the state.

The first two town hall meetings drew hundreds in Salem and Portland- read more here and here. Be sure to attend the meeting closest to you in the coming weeks for your chance to weigh in on the state budget. Your voice counts!

For more info contact Public Access Coordinator: Paula Krane, 541.752.2361, kranep@peak.org

Friday, February 24 — Ashland
5 to 7 p.m.
Rogue River Room
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland

Saturday, February 25 — Eugene
1 to 3 p.m.
Rooms 308-309 Building 17 (The Forum)
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene

Friday, March 3 — Tillamook 
6 to 8 p.m.
Officer’s Mess
Port of Tillamook Bay
6825 Officers Row, Tillamook

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dropletNatural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS:

Qualifications: Governor Brown is looking for well-qualified, thoughtful, collaborative Oregonians who have a statewide perspective. The Governor wants Oregon’s boards and commissions to reflect the diversity of Oregon, including rural communities, geographic diversity, gender, race and ethnic diversity, and diversity of knowledge and experience. Applicants must also demonstrate commitment to attend and productively participate in all meetings. Some boards and commissions have specific statutory requirements. Interested parties should contact the director or administrator of the appropriate agency, board or commission.  Interest forms are due by February 28 to meet Senate Rules Committee deadlines for April 2017 hearings. Interest forms are due by March 31 to meet Senate Rules Committee deadlines for May 2017 hearings.

AGENCY BUDGETS (Peggy Lynch)

Next week’s budgets are the Department of Agriculture (SB 5502 & SB 5503-public testimony on Feb. 22) and a one-day presentation/public testimony of the Oregon Marine Board budget (HB 5022).  The League supports Agriculture’s food safety mission and their Natural Resources Division to assure we continue to have farmland to feed Oregonians.  Our interest in the Marine Board relates to their collection of fees to address invasive aquatic species, which, if they get into Oregon, could decimate our water infrastructure.

CLIMATE CHANGE (Claudia Keith)

** ALERT** Refer to the Action Alert at the top of this Leg Report. The Senate E&NR and House E&E committees meet jointly this Monday Feb. 20 at 3pm for an informational meeting (no public testimony). The OSU OCCRI report and recent carbon pricing studies will be presented, Posted Agenda. The two policy committees have plans to jointly schedule a Public Hearing Wed March 1 at 3pm. We continue to support OCN’s Climate Policy Clean Energy Jobs Bill SB 557, update of SB 1574 (2016)

We are also watching:

SB 773 fossil fuel major infrastructure projects – a possible ‘Climate Test’ (1 of 2 possible bills on this topic)

HB 2343 comprehensive energy report – emerging energy opportunities, challenges and impacts

SB 7 & HB 2131 (Mosier Acts of 2017) addresses state transport of hazardous materials.  As currently proposed, these bills would require roughly $750 million and $1 billion, respectively, in insurance coverage for railroads like Union Pacific.

HB 2239 calls for a task force… energy efficient building codes; does not specify net zero or LEED

HB 2711 moratorium on hydraulic fracturing

SB 276 climate change impacts on ocean resources & ocean acidification / hypoxia…. follow Dr. Jane Luchenco for latest science https://twitter.com/JaneLubchenco?lang=en

HB 2468 update of HB 3470 (2015), includes requiring 8% annual GHGE reductions, achieving 91% below 1990 emission levels by 2050 – addresses many of Our Children’s Trust lawsuit issues.

AIR QUALITY (Marilyn Koenitzer)

We continue to follow the Cleaner Air Oregon (see www.cleanerair.oregon.gov) process.  New regulations are expected to be enacted in early 2018.  We provided a handout to the Rally for Clean Air.

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.

Elliott State Forest Lobby Day is Feb. 23rd.  Your attendance is more important than ever. To register, email staylor@audubonportland.org

LAND USE and TRANSPORTATION (Peggy Lynch and Robin LaMonte & Sandra Gangle)

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will hear a number of land use bills on Feb. 23rd.  Of particular concern are HB 2095 and HB 2094, both related to Metro.

WATER (Peggy Lynch)

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will hold public hearings on HB 2106, relating to mining—a bill of great concern, and HB 2785 and HB 2786, both related to our removal-fill laws, the latter related to exemption of some of those laws.  Wetlands are of extreme importance to our natural systems.

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 

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houseSocial Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

PUBLIC SAFETY

Legislative Committees are out of the starting gate and running as fast as possible, or faster than they can be tracked. Judiciary Committees are hearing substantive bills and Public Safety Ways and Means is reviewing agency budgets, with public testimony on the first round.

The Chief Justice of the Oregon Judicial Department proposed salary increases for state court judges in SB 11.  Judges received a cost of living adjustment in the last biennium, but base salaries are still among the lowest in the country. This request will move to the Public Safety Subcommittee of Ways and Means for budget review. House bills HB 2636 requests the same increase in salaries and HB 2605 asks for additional judges.  The League has supported the OJD budget and judicial salaries in the past as important to maintain a strong third branch of government.  The hearing schedule is pending.

The Psychiatric Security Review Board has amendments pending on SB 64, which is considering language changes from mental defect to mental disorder, and the inclusion of alcohol and drug use as a condition that may cause a mental disorder to qualify as a Guilty Except for Insanity Defense. The Chair of Senate Judiciary appointed a work group to resolve conflicts among parties. They will report back later this session.

The Oregon Youth Authority leaders appeared in Senate Judiciary on SB 82.  OYA has worked with Disability Rights Oregon on the use of isolation within the correctional institutions.  The agency has agreed to use isolation only as a safety measure and not as punishment consequence. The bill passed.  The OYA Budget will be heard next week in Public Safety Ways and Means.

The Criminal Justice Commission Budget, HB 5005, is scheduled for this week.  The League has supported their work on data collection and funding for Drug Courts and Reinvestment Projects to prevent further criminality and reduce the prison population.  The Governor’s Budget proposed to cut the funding to $31.9 million, but those who testified urged the committee to provide full funding at $51.4, including $11 million for specialty courts throughout the state. The successful outcomes would be decreased If the funding for services is cut, as pointed out by county corrections representatives. A letter on the budget was submitted.

HUMAN SERVICES

The Foster Children’s Sibling Bill of Rights in HB 2216 was amended this week with input from former foster care youth. Defense attorneys supported this bill, which includes rights of visitation and contact with siblings, especially those who are in different placements.  The League supports the inclusion of rights for children in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

Child welfare bills, HB 2221 and 2401, were amended but not passed on 2-16. HB 2221 asked for reimbursement for medical evaluations in community assessment centers, and HB 2401 stipulated trauma-informed training for staff, but did not specify the curriculum.  HB 2550 also asked for further training for DHS employees.  HB 2344, on independent living programs, passed to the House floor. HB 2216, 2221, 2401 and 2550 are scheduled for a work session on 2-21.

BETTER PAY NEEDED FOR SERVICE WORKERS

Discussions in House Human Services focused on two other bills.  HB 2551 objected to placement of children in hotels when no other placements were available. This bill will continue to be worked.  HB 2728 asked for higher pay for providers in both child and adult group homes. Wages start at $11 an hour, which leads to turnover for better pay. SEIU talked about increases in wages, which will be referred to Ways and Means.

Oregon Project Independence may take huge budget cuts this session.  Advocates and program managers described the benefits and savings to the state to keep elders in their own homes. Disabled adults had been included in this program as a pilot, which may be discontinued.  SEIU testified that up to 1700 jobs may be lost if OPI is cut or discontinued.  Advocates are needed for Seniors and Disabled Services.  Please respond to this Coordinator by e-mail if you are interested.

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

According to the 2015-17 Legislatively Approved Budget (LAB) 2016 update education expenses accounted for 51.6% of the General Fund and Lottery Funds.  For comparison, other allocations from General Fund and Lottery Funds included: Human Services 25.9%, Public Safety/Judicial 16.2%, Natural Resources 2.1%, Economic Development 1.0%, Administration 1.4% and all other 1.8%.  As you have heard, the state faces a $1.8 billion shortfall in funding for the next biennium.  During these upcoming hearings we shall see what the agencies recommend in funding Education programs.  Later, in the Ways and Means process, the tough job of allocating funding across all of Oregon’s services will continue.  More details as the session continues.

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

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE (NPV) COMPACT (Marge Easley)

There has been a flurry of recent activity on NPV in Oregon. Two identical bills have been introduced and others may follow. The first one to drop was HB 2731, sponsored by Rep. Clem (Salem). A second bill, HB 2927 is sponsored by Rep. Keny-Guyer, Sen. Boquist, Rep. Rayfield, and Sen. Taylor. Please keep pressure on legislators to support NPV. Remind them that the direct-popular-vote method for electing the president has been an important League issue since 1970.

The League has joined an NPV Oregon coalition, under auspices of the national effort, also closely collaborating with Common Cause and the Bus Project. More coalition information can be found on the “National Popular Vote – Oregon Facebook page.” An educational forum will be held March 13, 7:00 pm, at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland. League members are urged to attend.

REVENUE

Revenue continues to reach into all portfolios. It is a top priority with the Human Services Coalition of Oregon (HSCO), with health care a much bigger chunk of our impending budget shortfall than PERS. Energy tax incentives could address cost of brown field clean up. General Governance touched on competing weakly with the private sector to hire for a “Cybersecurity Corps”. Personal and corporate property taxes were discussed. Tax credit talk is making news. Increase the bottle bill refund to a dime or stop it?

Mortgage: A mortgage bill retaining personal mortgage deductions only for primary residences, HB2006, from Housing & Human Services, hasn’t appeared in committee yet.

Business Taxes: Alternative revenue systems were examined all week. Businesses pay less in Oregon than in most other states. Those costs could be “distributed among consumers, workers, natural resource owners and capital owners.” (Council report). Business tax reform is very complex with a significant lack of transparency for possible applications. It is still attractive compared to cutting PERS.

PERS shortfall presentations continued, describing cutting services to seniors, schools, and/or for public safety. Many public employees traveled to testify personally. Tim Nesbitt, OR Business Council, on PERS, “Doing nothing doesn’t create a status quo; it goes into a steep decline, with a higher impact on lower paid employees.” A general unfairness is clear. Lower wages and benefits were accepted in the past, balanced by better retirement packages, which cannot be altered as established contracts. It is also unfair to burden current employees with pay and benefit cuts to balance the fund shortfall. It is already difficult to compete with the private sector for hiring in some cases and this may worsen as budgets tighten.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE (Norman Turrill)

There has been no visible movement this week on campaign finance issues. The LWVOR is still hopeful that the report to the legislature of the Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform, will be acted on.

REDISTRICTING (Norman Turrill)

The Secretary of State’s ad hoc Redistricting Task Force has just two more weekly meetings with the goal of crafting a constitutional amendment and statute bills for the legislature to consider. The Task Force will have to hurry to make its goal.

During this week’s meeting, the Task Force heard from Kristin Eberhard, Sightline Institute and LWVOR Election Methods 2016 Update contributor, about how using multimember districts and alternative election methods can reduce complexity and increase redistricting representation. Next Seth Woolley of the Pacific Green Party explained how computers could be used to aid the redistricting process. The Redistricting Matters Coalition, which the LWVOR is a member, is also following the Redistricting Task Force.

GENERAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY

Presentations all week blew a whistle on Oregon’s underfunded data management.

Budget Report snippet: “Despite 11 IT security audits in the last decade focused solely on state data center security, Oregon’s IT security remains fundamentally inadequate. Given widespread IT security underinvestment, persistent breaches and agency non-compliance with existing IT security statutes and policies, Oregon requires a new approach.”

All State Tech Officers (Strategic, Education, Health, Natural Resources, Transportation & Economic Development, Public Safety, and Admin agencies, boards & commissions) attended. One Senator described changing concern from vulnerability of a centralized system, to feeling that effective central coordination is necessary to respond effectively to challenges we face. Power needs, backup coordination with Montana, “east of the Cascades,” and addressing verified state agency hacks were all discussed.

Add to bills listed last week, a new related bill that could help our Voter Service GIS districting. HB 2906 relating to sharing geographic information, from the Data Sharing Task Force.

Interesting bills:

HJR 6 Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to increase number of Senators serving in Legislative Assembly to 36 and modifying Senate legislative districts to be coterminous with county boundaries. House rules, February 21st.

SJR 2 Changes voter registration to day before elections in Senate Rules, March 1st.

Thank our Governance volunteers!

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

Tip O’ the HAT: Bill Sweeney, OLIS webmaster, for TODAY button (under Session)– updated daily!!

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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Important Dates

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

February 24: Legislative Counsel will return measures that were requested by
January 13.
February 28: Deadline to file bills with the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk.
April 7: Deadline for committee chairs to schedule work sessions in the bills’ house of origin.
April 18Deadline for committee chairs to hold work sessions in the bills’ house of origin.
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.

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