1330 12th St SE Suite 200 Salem, OR 97302
(503) 581-5722
lwvor@lwvor.org

Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 11 – April 2019

 


Sign up for the Legislative Report

In This Issue

Climate Change

Education

Governance

Natural Resources

Revenue and Tax Reform

Social Policy


 Climate Change

By Claudia Keith, Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann and Lynette Pierson

Some good news, the Clean Energy Jobs (Oregon Climate Action Program) HB 2020 -31 amendment was posted to OLIS on March 25 and addressed favorably a number of important / critical policy topics. The League is encouraged with the progress reflected in this new amendment. However, ACTION is still needed on your part, please let your legislators know the urgent need to address meaningful climate policy is now! You can focus your contact with your legislators on the League’s and our coalition partner priorities.

The deadline was March 29 for policy committees to post a work session for any bill still in their first chamber to be considered active and have the ability to move forward. Then after April 9 all active bills will need to have moved out of their first chamber policy committee. However, this does not apply to bills located in any Rules, Revenue, or Joint Committees.

HB 2020: The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) work session March 25 covered the -31 amendment, which is basically a complete replacement of the original HB 2020. The March 29 work session continued with Q&A with Kristin Sheeran and Greg Alderson, concerning Energy Intensive, Trade Exposed (EITE), linkage policy and questions from many committee members including criteria specific to ensuring no manipulation of the trading market mechanism. We encourage folks to view this hearing to better understand the detailed questions coming from both sides of the aisle.

The HB 2020 Highlights (via Renew Oregon Brad Reed)

Upon initial review of the -31 amendment to HB 2020 (the Clean Energy Jobs bill), there are a few key takeaways for the Renew Oregon coalition.

A major priority for our campaign has been to include a guaranteed majority of Clean Energy Jobs investments to be directed to “communities most impacted by climate change,” meaning rural, low-income, tribes and communities of color. This amendment adds a guarantee of at least 50% of proceeds to benefit these communities.

Despite heavy advocacy from opponents of this legislation, lawmakers held firm on an interim reduction target of cutting greenhouse gases to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, a crucial piece for this legislation is to be successful. We urge them to continue to hold the line at these amendments and to resist calls from the fossil fuel industry, especially oil and methane gas, for any more changes to this bill.

We’ve advocated to have all major emitters included under the cap and treated equally. The amendment takes trash incineration and “F-gases,” created during semiconductor manufacturing among other processes, under the cap and treats them as all other greenhouse gases, a critical development.

The treatment of EITE industries has been reorganized, clearly reflecting feedback from many sides of the issue. Our campaign has maintained some protection is needed for these industries and we’re encouraged to see the amendment requires all industries to have skin in the game from day one, limiting free allowances to 95% in the first year. Businesses advocated to be recognized for energy efficiency already completed. This new system will reward those efforts.

We understand the next two or three JCCR work session meetings (April 1, 5 and 8) will be time for the JCCR members to finishing reviewing -31 amendment plus the new 15+ amendments added today; and there could be additional amendments next week. At this time, it has been posted for these upcoming JCCR meetings: “The work session is scheduled for the purpose of providing an opportunity for the committee members to discuss potential amendments to HB 2020. The committee will not be voting on amendments at this meeting.”

HB 2020 Conceptual Highlights: OPB Carbon Pricing Educational Video

Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals: The bill strengthens the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals to 80 percent below 1990 emissions by 2050 and adds an interim target of 45 percent below 1990 emissions by 2035.

Setting the Cap: The Carbon Policy Office will place an annual cap on total regulated greenhouse gas emissions by setting an annual allowance budget that will steadily decline to meet the state’s GHG reduction goals. Allowances each year act as permits to emit a ton of greenhouse gases. Regulated entities will be required to turn in allowances equal to their emissions.

Annual Auction: There will be an annual auction of allowances that regulated entities must purchase to cover their emissions. There will be a price floor and ceiling to provide certainty, and the Carbon Policy office shall adopt measures to protect against market manipulation.

Direct Allocation of Allowances: To protect Oregon businesses that are at risk of leakage and to offset potential impacts to low income utility customers, a certain number of allowances will be directly allocated to regulated entities.

Program Investments: All investment of proceeds from the auction must meet the goals of the program, which include: (1) reducing greenhouse gas emissions, (2) sequestering carbon, (3) helping communities adapt to the impact of climate change, and (4) helping communities and businesses adjust to a new low carbon future.

There is talk that this amended bill could be signed by the Governor on Earth Day.

Other Bills

Green New Deal: SJM 7 was introduced March 4th. The bill, urging Congress to enact Green New Deal legislation, has an April 9 public hearing and possible work session. The LWVOR Action Committee will discuss supporting this bill at our April 1 committee meeting.

Fracking: The League is supporting and provided testimony on HB 2623 creating a 10-Year fracking moratorium. The bill was passed in the House on March 18, and referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee.

Oil Rail Safety: Hopefully the last work session for HB 2209 will be April 2; however, there are a number of amendments.

Climate Authority: SB 928 is still alive and a public hearing and possible work session is scheduled for April 8. The League supports the Governor’s recommendation for forming (SB 928) and funding (HB 5044), an Oregon Climate Authority state agency, which would assist coordinating climate mitigation and adaptation efforts across all agencies, including folding the Dept. of Energy into the new agency. The League’s support for this kind of management structure was first proposed to the Oregon Global Warming Commission and the Governor by the League in August of 2016. (The Governor briefed the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on SB 928 at its March 21 meeting.)

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 has a work session scheduled for April 2. The League submitted, with eight other organizations, opposition to SB 451 and addressed this issue in HB 2020. We oppose passage of SB 451, which awards renewable energy credits for the creation of electricity from municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration, which includes the burning of plastic medical and non-medical waste.

Other League Climate Change Advocacy

Jordan Cove & Pacific Gas Pipeline: On March 7 the Dept. of State Lands (ODSL) and Dept. of Environmental Quality permits announced a 6-month delay due to the overwhelming number of public comments submitted. The agencies are required to consider the comments and will be looking to address specific comments related to the permit criteria. FERC announced on March 29 their 1000+ page Environmental Impact Statement and preliminary findings. Shirley Weathers, working with four southern Oregon local Leagues, will be leading the response to this disappointing news.

On March 14, the LWVUS provided GREEN NEW DEAL talking points to Leagues and about our engagement with climate change policy more generally. These points are meant to inform Leagues of the activities of the LWVUS and can be used by individual Leagues in their messaging on this subject. See above for the 2019 Oregon SJM 7 resolution bill.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, please contact Claudia Keith, ca.keith@comcast.net


Back to top


Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

This week we highlight Equity in Education, a continuing theme of this session. The Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) heard from five stakeholder experts—listen on OLIS for insights. Virtually all key policy bills on education, as well as many budget bills, will be decided by this key JCSS committee—funding for some programs may not appear in the upcoming biennium budget, but will wait until new revenue sources are vetted by the Revenue subcommittee of Joint Committee on Student Success (see the Revenue section of this LR for details) new revenue must be approved by legislators, and perhaps by voters in a referendum.

On 3/26/2019 the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) heard from experts addressing Equity in Education providing verbal testimony and substantial written documentation.

  • Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director, Coalition of Communities of Color
  • Carmen Xiomara Urbina, Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Education
    Amanda Manjarrez, Director of Advocacy, Latino Network
  • Coi Vu, Director, Asian Family Center, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)
  • Marcy Bradley, Program Officer, Black Student Success, Oregon Community Foundation
  • Parasa Chanramy, Director, Policy, and Implementation, Stand for Children

Co-Chair of JCSS Rep. Smith Warner said that key stakeholders, focusing on equity, had been invited to help committee members think about what would need to be done to increase equity in schools. What focus should legislation and funding have? What is being done? What would be most helpful to foster equity in Education?

  • Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director, Coalition of Communities of Color also serves as a co-convener of the Invest in Oregon Summit on Revenue and Funding (in which LWVOR participates) She offered principles around raising new revenue, and principles around investing new revenue suggest legislators rigorously applying an equity lens to all new investments.
  • Carmen Xiomara Urbina, Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Education said equity should be a central concern. Legislators need to think more about whether children and families are failing or if the system is failing children and families. It is important to look at forms of inequity. There is a need to focus on the system, not on the children, a need to invest in programs and policies that reflect an equity lens. This involves asking who are the children and families we aren’t serving? It is important to talk about race and racism—as a society, we can’t heal if we don’t talk about it.
  • Amanda Manjarrez, Director of Advocacy, Latino Network said a focus on equity can be challenging. There is a need to raise adequate and sustainable revenue beginning in early childhood and to make targeted investments, as indicated in the proposed Equity Fund bill HB 2897, which calls for community-driven solutions. There is no funding for early childhood culturally specific programs at this time. She also asked for support for HB 2440 which will lead to a statewide plan for Latino success.
  • Donell Morgan, Executive Director, Elevate Oregon said their African American organization in the Park Rose District has a grant to work with African-American students in cohorts, providing teacher mentors. This gives kids a feeling of home, link kids and families to resources, track kids, help with discipline and keeps kids on track.
  • Parasa Chanramy, Director, Policy and Implementation, Stand for Children notes it is important to fully implement Measure 98—including dropout prevention, career and professional development for early childhood educators. She says Measure 98 has had a positive effect on closing the opportunity gap. Partnerships are essential, work can’t be done in isolation. Stand for Children joins in urging the JCSS to support a substantial revenue package that funds equity measures in K-12, early childhood and post-secondary levels.
  • Coi Vu, Director, Asian Family Center, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) declared, “We know Oregon can do better.” Too many kids start kindergarten already behind because their families can’t access services, calling for culturally specific programs that engage families. She urged the legislature to raise revenue and pass HB 2897 and other bills and student success plans focusing on equity. It is important to look at the whole community in order to support quality and equitable education for student success.

Note: LWVOR supports HB 2897 and submitted written testimony.

House Committee on Education

To see all the bills that won’t make it out of this committee this session click on Assigned Measures then scroll down to see the second column “blanks”—holding your mouse over the bill number to get a brief description. March 29 was the deadline for most bills to be scheduled for a work session in their chamber of origin and must move out of the committee before Monday, April 8. It is important to note that sometimes pre-session filings of legislative concepts may be similar; one legislator’s bill moves forward often incorporating substance from related bills as amendments. Bills that are in a Revenue, Rules, or in a Joint Committee such as the education JCSS aren’t subject to this deadline.

On 3/25 public hearings considered: HJM 3 that urges Congress to fully fund federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and HB 2676 to increase the threshold under which school district may receive additional State School Fund money for students eligible for special education. Currently, districts can claim additional weight for special education students up to 11 percent of the district’s total students – though this may significantly shortchange the district and the students they are attempting to serve. And it does shortchange districts – 159 of Oregon’s 197 school districts – that currently have more than 11 percent of students needing special education services. Raising the cap to 13 percent would better reflect the statewide average and would represent about $62 million in additional resources to districts.

On 3/27 the committee heard HJR 15 that directs state agencies to follow Childhood and Early Parenting Principles as a framework for policies and programs for early parenting and early childhood development. HJR 15 would help provide new parents with education and support to assist young children in receiving care that could ensure more positive physical, mental, and emotional development by following Childhood and Early Parenting Principles (CEPPs):

  1. provide leadership for early parenting and early childhood development at local, regional and national government levels;
  2. promote partnerships between government, nongovernment and civil society organizations;
  3. strive for universal access to early parenting and early childhood education and services while respecting cultural diversity and the voices of women and men;
  4. establish infrastructure and capacity for education and the delivery of care;
  5. promote best practices in education and the delivery of care for parents and professionals;
  6. adopt a multisector approach ensuring a continuum of care in the delivery of physical, emotional and mental health services and early childhood care; and
  7.  measure and publicly report on targets and achievements in relation to early parenting and early childhood development;

HB 2939 directs the Youth Development Division to build and administer a statewide youth reengagement system that includes these elements: identify and remove barriers to education and employment success; reconnect youth with education, training, and opportunity; strengthen engagement through personalized options, positive relationships and relevant learning; and support school completion, credential attainment, and career connection. It is modeled after a successful Washington State program. 17,506 Oregon youth ages 16-21 have no high school diploma or GED, and are not enrolled school.

HB 2571 provides that a current or former foster child under 25 years of age is eligible for a tuition waiver at an institution of higher education if current or former foster child is enrolled in courses totaling one or more credit hours for purposes of pursuing an initial undergraduate degree. This is particularly helpful for former foster youth who are employed and are taking a limited class load.

HB 2902 requires a school district to report on the number of incidents during which students of classrooms were removed from the classroom because another student in the classroom was acting in a manner that would threaten to injure others or to damage school property (called a “room clear”). The document A Crisis of Disrupted Learning from the Oregon Education Association documents this problem. This may not be “the” bill on disruptive learning with the greatest legs, HB 2224, SB 963, SB 763 also address this issue. One or more may move forward incorporating language from related bills. The priority should be that monetary resources and staff go to assist students and teachers and not just collect data.

Senate Committee on Education

Want to see all the bills that won’t make it out of this committee this session—lots of them! Go to Assigned Measures.

On 3/25/2019 public hearings were held on two sexual misconduct bills: SB 156 that revises definitions of terms “school employee,” “sexual conduct” and “student” for purposes of certain laws related to abuse and sexual conduct by school employees and SB 960 that establishes investigatory procedures for reports of suspected sexual conduct. Other bills addressed student without resident status: SB 693 extends by five years certain provisions that allow nonresident students to attend public schools as resident students for purposes of State School Fund distributions; SB 553 removes sunset on provisions that allow certain nonresident students to attend public schools as resident students for purposes of State School Fund distributions and SB 905 allows individual voluntarily placed in foster care to be resident of school district where individual resides due to placement by public or private agency if placement agreement provides that individual will no longer be considered resident of school district of origin.

On 3/27 public hearings discussed: SB 665 adds the anti-overdose naloxone (Narcan) and any similar medication designed to rapidly reverse an overdose of an opioid drug to allowed drugs administered in schools. SB 692 (a companion to HB 2939 discussed above) directs the Youth Development Division to develop and administer a statewide youth reengagement system. SB 801 authorizes public schools to provide firearm safety and accident prevention class to all students in first grade. Read LWVOR written testimony opposing this bill believing that the onus should be on adult gun owners to store weapons responsibly and keep firearms away from children.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

Soon this committee will begin to deal with specific funding for policy bills. But for now, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) along with universities and community colleges continue budget presentations, HB 5024 . Some of the presentation materials of interest may be: LFO Budget Review (Community Colleges), LFO Budget Review (OHSU), LFO Budget Review (Operations), LFO Budget Review (Opportunity Grant), LFO Budget Review (Public Universities), HB 5024 HECC Presentation (Part 1), and HB 5024 HECC – Governor’s Budget. On 3/20 written testimony and verbal testimony were given on HECC related programs. On 3/26 Community Colleges and Related Programs received public written testimony and verbal comments.. Next week on 4/3 Oregon Health Sciences Universities public testimony will be heard.

A “Map” to Education Committees in the 2019 Session

To follow specific committee discussions in detail, use these links; then click on a specific date to see the agenda, meeting materials, and video recording. We routinely follow:

2019 is a very busy year for Education legislation, to help please contact ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com. With appreciation to the following for analyzing specific bills and following committee hearings: Early Learning: Stephanie Feeney; Higher Education: Alice Bartelt and Karan Kuntz

This week (and every week) you may find value in reviewing other perspectives from within the Capitol: The Children’s Agenda, United for Kids one of the many coalitions where LWVOR participates. Read their excellent weekly updates.


Back to top


Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

Opportunities: contact us for training to follow Ethics and Emergency Preparedness.

Rick Bennett, governance bills review
Marge Easley, National Popular Vote
Josie Koehne, Transparency, Public Records
Ann Potter, League position review
Norman Turrill, Redistricting, Campaign Finance

Brief

National Popular Vote action leads governance this week. Our redistricting, campaign finance, initiative reform, and candidate filing improvement work continues. Expect another flurry of Governance testimony soon on our bills with active negotiation. This week’s scheduling deadline for bills not assigned to committee hearings does not apply for many governance bills, which tend to go to Rules, Ways and Means, or other committees exempt from this deadline.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

See our NPV Action Alert. Success is within reach to make Oregon the next state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

SB 870 will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee. This is the same bill that has passed the Oregon House four times in recent sessions, only to be blocked in the Senate each time. Fourteen federal jurisdictions with 184 electoral votes have already passed the bill. Eighty-six votes are needed before the Compact goes into effect.

Elections

We have been asked to speak to the Election Division’s POPs, Policy Option Packages, in the Secretary of State’s budget presentations this week. We have been actively negotiating for an overhaul of candidate filing software over several biennia, to improve efficiency, transparency, and to allow online filing while maintaining or improving election security.

HB 2234 online candidate filing: Officials agree with Oregon moving to comprehensive online candidate filing and would like to fulfill our request. They need a funded proposal from the legislature to act on it. Note: if candidates are unable or unwilling to file online, they would file as they currently do, submitting paper documents for County Clerks or City Recorders to decipher and file on their behalf. Soliciting fiscal estimates from the Election Division and the Legislative Fiscal Office, then comparing them, is being discussed.

HB 2685 candidate filing contact information: Our bill has a -2 amendment working copy from Legislative Counsel, awaiting a hearing to post. It would protect candidate private residence and phone numbers from public records disclosure. This information is required in order to certify appropriate districting.

Initiative Reform

We are following three bills that address the “unfunded mandate” nature of public initiatives. See our “budget gap pie” report, from June 2017. We have supporting testimony from 2013 for these concepts.

HB 3348 requires the financial estimate committee to declare to the Secretary of State: “measure spends money without identifying a funding source” upon finding that a ballot measure with no dedicated funding source will have a financial effect on public expenditures greater than $100,000.

HB 2891 Chief petitioners would need to submit to the Secretary of State an estimate of public funds required by their measures before they could collect petition signatures. If $500,000 or more would be needed over a 10-year period, estimates for a new tax or fee, or increase in an existing tax or fee, must be included as part of the measure, with supporting documentation for estimates. The Secretary of State may consider these to determine whether the measure is in compliance. If revenue adequacy is challenged, chief petitioners would bear the burden of proving otherwise, to cover immediate and future costs of the measure.

HJR 18 with its HB 2891 companion bill would amend the Oregon Constitution to require that initiative petitions with fiscal impacts of $500,000 or more over a 10-year period also provide new tax or fee or increase in rate of existing tax or fee to cover immediate and future costs of the law or amendment.

Redistricting, Norman Turrill

A revised draft redistricting bill has been completed and submitted. If the legislature does not refer an amendment to the 2020 ballot, then discussions are underway for an initiative petition drive.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

The LWVOR will be supporting HB 3004 (referred to Rules) and SB 1014 (referred to Campaign Finance), the Small Donor Election Program, not yet scheduled for hearings.

Save the date: We encourage our members to attend the Small Donor Elections Lobby Day on April 25, Room 161 in the State Capitol.

On Wednesday 3/27, the League testified for a third time to the Senate Campaign Finance Committee on SJR 18, a constitutional amendment referral that would enable limits on campaign contributions. In its submitted testimony two weeks before, the League testified that we preferred HJR 13 and that other campaign finance legislation needed to be adopted for a complete system of campaign regulation and to avoid encouraging independent expenditures and “dark money”.

We are now pleased to report that the committee listened to our (and other’s) requests and passed SJR 18 out of committee with the -5 amendment that includes all the benefits of HJR 13 and solves a few more issues. The resolution next goes to the Senate Rules Committee for adding preparations for referring it to the 2020 ballot.

Citizens’ Initiative Review, Marge Easley

SB 755, which sets up an endowment fund for the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) Commission, passed out of the Senate Rules Committee with one amendment on March 25 and is on its way to Ways and Means for possible allocation of funds for ongoing costs related to the administration of Citizens’ Initiative Reviews. The League delivered testimony in support of public funding for the CIR process.

Transparency, Public Records, Josie Koehne

Three bills that we’re supporting were addressed this week, two moving with do pass recommendations:

HB 2430 to eliminate the Public Records Advisory Council sunset date passed unanimously and was referred to Judiciary.

HB 2431 for annual public records request reports passed with amendments, to Ways and Means, calling for state agencies to file annual reports on public record requests received, on those still awaiting responses, and information on fee waivers and reductions.

HB 2353 public records request penalties: The work session for this bill has been delayed twice. It would assess penalties and award them, with reimbursement of legal fees, related to undue delay or lack of responses to public records requests. The League supports this; see our testimony here.

Ethics

This week the Capitol Culture Committee continued work on lengthy conduct bills with weighty amendments. They deserve careful review. Please contact lwvor@lwvor.org to volunteer.

HB 3377 directs the Legislative Assembly to study issues relating to safe and respectful workplace in State Capitol. It addresses training, counseling, and reporting. A -2 amendment was added this week.

HCR 20 has a -6 amendment under consideration. It addresses investigating, evaluating and delivery of information for further action. It would establish standards of conduct applicable to Legislative Branch and others in the State Capitol. It addresses investigating, evaluating and delivery of information for further action.

Emergency Preparedness

These two bills deserve League support. “Resilience” is the jargon used to address needs for emergency response and recovery. Please contact lwvor@lwvor.org to volunteer.

HB 2558 calls for a study between the Office of Emergency Management and Department of Education, to evaluate what is needed to train students and prepare them psychologically; to help make schools and communities more resilient.

SB 1037 directs a task force to research psychological, emotional and psychosocial resilience education and skills training.

Governance Bill Watch

SJR 20 for same day voter registration: We are watching this bill which the LWVUS has declared a priority. It is not yet scheduled for hearings and is complicated by imposing a ballot conflict with political parties still requiring prior membership registration in order to vote for their candidates. We still have the 1980’s Oregon Rajneeshi law hangover.

HB 2015 for drivers’ licenses for all: We understand this bill may be heard on April 17 in a public hearing, in the Joint Transportation Committee. We anticipate adding our support, as we did for M 88 in 2014.

SB 838 lowers the Oregon voting age from 18 to 16 years old: The League will not be able to support this bill because our state League does not have a position on voting age. We also confirmed this with the national League, which also lacks a position, though we now nationally welcome 16 year-old League members.

SJR 22 is the companion bill to SB 838 and would correspondingly amend the Oregon Constitution.

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


Back to top


Natural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

Wetlands policies and major land use bills will be a focus, along with “Dirty Diesel”, harmful algal blooms and pesticides legislation. March 29 some bills “died”. Others are scheduled for work sessions. Due to the number of bills, expect that hearing and work session dates may change until end of day April 9. Your voice is needed to support or oppose bills as recommended in this report.

Budgets

The Columbia River Gorge Commission budget (HB 5009) was heard on March 25 where the League provided oral testimony in support. This budget must be equal to the monies allocated by the State of Washington and this year there is agreement between the states.

The Dept. of State Lands budget (HB 5035) was heard March 26-28, with public testimony on the 28th. The League supported continuing oversight of the Elliott State Forest, continuation of Removal-Fill mapping, Portland Harbor Superfund expenses, and three Policy Option Packages on the South Slough. We also connected the one wetlands bill (HB 2438 with -2 & -4 amendments) we support to this budget since it will require some General Funds and 1 new position.

This is the last natural resource agency budget with the exception of addressing the Dept. of Energy. The Governor has recommended it be folded into a new agency: The Oregon Climate Authority (SB 928) with the connecting budget bill HB 5044. Until the policy bill passes, the budget is on hold. If it does not pass, expect to see a new Dept. of Energy budget bill to be filed by Joint Ways and Means. SB 928 has a public hearing and possible work session on April 8 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. It is a 5 p.m. meeting. The League supports both bills. (See the Climate Change Legislative Report.)

Next week the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources will hold informational meetings with the Dept. of Environmental Quality on harmful algal blooms (April 2) and their vehicle inspection program (April 4). Some policy bills have been sent to Ways and Means but none have been scheduled for hearings. A second round of agency budget discussions and policy bills with budget implications will probably begin the second week in April.

SB 45 will have a public hearing and possible work session on April 4 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. The bill updates fees charged by the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries for various mineral and mining permits. The League will provide testimony in support in order to fund the Mineral Land Regulation and Reclamation program which is fully funded by fees and federal funds.

We testified in support of HB 2672, a bill that would authorize reimbursement to the Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Energy and Water Resources Dept. for administrative and enforcement costs around activities related to the cannabis industry. A work session is scheduled on April 1 where we hope to see the bill moved to Ways and Means to help fund these agencies. Contacting members of the House Committee on Economic Development with your support could help move this bill and provide funding for these agencies.

SB 27, relating to the Drinking Water Division of the Oregon Health Authority, is sitting in Ways and Means where we hope it will pass in order to fund that important work.

The League supports SB 756, a bill that continues the onsite septic grant and loan program for low income Oregonians. It sits in Ways and Means.

HB 2228-A, a bill sponsored by the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) and League of Oregon Cities (LOC), has been referred to Ways and Means. It asks for $2.5 million General Funds for land use planning work AND for technical assistance focused on a variety of local actions around affordable housing. The funding MAY come out of the Housing and Community Services budget.

HB 2075-A has moved to Ways and Means with a $1.358 million General Fund price tag. It will create a new Fund in the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development to help local governments comply with HB 2001, HB 2003 and SB 10, should they pass the legislature, as will HB 2228-A.

SB 47 was sent to Ways and Means to establish the Waterway Access Fund to improve waterway access and promote boating safety education for the non-motorized boating community. The measure would also require a waterway access permit while operating a non-motorized boat and set certain permit fees.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

Seven legislators weighed in in favor of the “Dirty Diesel” bill, HB 2007, over two days of testimony last week. Since diesel pollution has between 2,500 – 3,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide3, this bill has implications for our climate goals, as well as a direct effect on our air quality, health concerns, and environmental injustice. Other states have been successful in reducing similar emissions by about 80%, although pushback from industries that would be affected by this bill points out that they have done so by pairing incentives with the regulations. Those potential incentives look weaker in Oregon, although alternative compliance strategies and exemptions may alleviate some of these issues – as well as the strength of the outcome. A work session has been scheduled for April 4 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment with a subsequent referral to Ways and Means. HB 2063 would extend the authorized use of the Volkswagen settlement money to the Clean Diesel Engine Fund. It will have a public hearing and possible work session on April 9 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment. It also has a subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

All open burning poses risks to the environment and public health. HB 3248 addresses open burning permits. It would make restrictions uniform across a county, require permits to be secured before burning, define the types of wastes covered by these permits, and make violations of these regulations punishable by a maximum of $250 fine. A public hearing and possible work session will be held on April 4 in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

About 40 to 50 percent of toxic air pollutants in Oregon come from vehicle exhaust. HB 3141 would modify and add laws related to electric vehicle charging stations by amending the state building code to require that newly constructed buildings provide for the charging of electric vehicles. It would also require at least 25 percent of certain state vehicles be zero-emission vehicles by 2025, and would conduct a study on the costs and feasibility of implementing a measure, which mandates that all public transit agencies transition to zero-emission buses by 2040. A public hearing and possible work session is set for April 2 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

Governor Kate Brown signed SB 256 into law permanently banning offshore drilling in Oregon’s coastal waters. Unlike previous bans this one doesn’t have an end date, thus barring the exploration, development or production of oil, gas or sulfur in the territorial sea area in perpetuity. A great sense of relief went up from the group known as the Coastal Caucus, including Senator Roblan, Representatives Gomberg and Brock Smith, all of whom worked hard to pass this legislation.

The Oregon Policy Advisory Council will hold an all-day Review and Approval meeting on April 3 at the Salem Holiday Inn. We expect a vote on the Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) Part Five Amendment which the League has supported in the past, as well as an update on the amended Part Three Rocky Shores Management Strategy. Part Five focuses on marine renewable energy development that represents a potential impact to natural resources and human uses protected under Goal 19, while also allowing for development of ocean energy. The protections under Part Five are now not in place due to a court ruling that voided the original adoption so we are hopeful it will move forward to the Land Conservation and Development Commission, providing for more certainty for both coastal residents and energy developers.

SB 961¸ a bill mentioned in the last legislative report, disappointingly has a work session scheduled on April 4 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. It was introduced on behalf of Steve Neville, a constituent in Sen. Roblan’s district, who owns a piece of deteriorating beach property he would like to see the state save by changing Goal 18 of the Land Conservation and Development Commission to include his property. The League opposes this bill.

SB 753, allowing the Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) to contract with outside non-profit fundraisers has cleared the Senate and moved to the House for its first bill reading. This bill has no fiscal impact on the state budget so it should pass through the House with little opposition and allow the OOST research program to seek funding from non-profits that it hasn’t received from the state to carry out its state mandated mission of promoting peer-reviewed ocean and coastal resource research.

Drinking Water, Amelia Nestler

The House Committee on Energy and Environment has scheduled a work session on HB 3326 for April 4. The bill declares harmful algal blooms to be a menace to public health and welfare and has a subsequent referral to Ways and Means to fund both the Dept. of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority. As per above, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources will hold an informational meeting on this issue April 2.

Forests

Starting March 18, through 5 p.m. on May 2, Oregonians can weigh in on draft Annual Operations Plans (AOPs) for state forests, which lay out on-the-ground activities expected to take place in the coming fiscal year. The draft AOP summary documents can be viewed online. ODF is offering several convenient avenues to comment on AOPs:

SB 926, a bill related to the aerial application of pesticides to state land, and SB 931, a bill that establishes new requirements for sending notifications to the Oregon Dept. of Forestry involving aerial application of pesticides to nonfederal forestland will have public hearings and possible work sessions on April 2 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. We have supported the Forestry Notification System (known as FERNS) in past sessions.

Land Use

The League provided testimony in opposition to SB 8, requiring petitioners to pay attorney fees should developers of affordable housing prevail. A second hearing and work session is scheduled in the Senate Housing Committee on April 1. There is a –1 amendment that narrows the development applications that would qualify as “publicly supported housing”, but this bill will still have a chilling effect on public participation. Additional amendments may be forthcoming. Other Goal 1 advocates area also opposing.

We expressed concerns SB 10, establishing very high density requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors. We have provided input on amendments to SB 10 to President Courtney’s office but no official amendments are yet posted. A second public hearing and work session is set for April 1 in the Senate Housing Committee.

HB 2001, a bill that would require certain cities and counties to allow “middle housing” in lands zoned for single-family dwellings and require a number of other changes to land use law may be amended by -10 amendments that address some of the League’s concerns. Speaker Kotek provided comments that better explain the amendments. It will receive another hearing in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing on April 3 where additional amendments are expected. Many of the League’s concerns have been addressed, but there is still a section related to attorney fees on appeal and how local governments address systems development charges.

HB 2003 is a bill related to housing and deals with a number of state agencies and regional responsibilities. The cost to the state and local governments to implement the bill will be extensive. The intrusion into local jurisdictions and reduction of Goal 1 obligations are just a few of the reasons that, as filed, the League expressed concerns in our testimony. A second public hearing is scheduled for April 2 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use on the -4 amendments that are a complete rewrite of the bill. They include a requirement that a regional housing needs analysis be done using the state’s 11 Regional Solutions designated regions. Then individual cities are to do “housing capacity analyses” and adopt a “housing production strategy” at least once every 8 years. These are to be submitted to the Land Conservation and Development Commission for adoption. The League will wait to hear the Speaker’s testimony and explanation of the amendments but will be prepared to provide oral testimony if appropriate. We have long supported more regular review of a city’s Comprehensive Plan and Development Code, but some parts of this bill seem overreaching. A work session has been scheduled for April 4. The bill will have a subsequent referral to Ways and Means due to its at least $1.5 million General Fund request.

SB 88, a bill that would allow counties to authorize accessory dwelling units in certain rural residential zones, sits in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources where a work session was held March 19 to consider the -2 amendments. -3 amendments have now been posted. With the amendments, the League may be neutral on the bill. It is scheduled for a work session on April 2.

HB 2456 is a bill related to rezoning farmlands in the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region to residential uses. The -2 amendment would allow a review board to consider a zone change that would not be a land use decision. The League provided oral testimony in opposition when it had a public hearing on Feb. 7. A work session has been scheduled for April 9 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use.

HB 2225, related to certain forest dwellings, will have a work session on April 9 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use. The League will continue to follow this bill that attempts to reduce the number of new dwellings in forest zones, a position we support.

SB 2, as amended in the Senate, has been assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use. The bill allows some Eastern Oregon counties to designate no more than 10 parcels region-wide up to 50 acres outside of urban growth boundaries for industrial or other employment. Because of the sideboards on this bill, the League is neutral.

Pesticides and Toxics, Amelia Nestler

HB 3058 and SB 853 would ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic nerve agent pesticide proven to cause brain damage in children, contaminate waterways and harm wildlife. These bills would also restrict the use of bee-killing neonicotinoids to licensed professionals only, thus removing them from store shelves. HB 3058 has a work session scheduled in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use on April 9. SB 853 has a work session scheduled in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on April 8 @ 5p.m. HB 2980, a bill that extends the sunset date of the pesticide reporting system, will get a work session on April 2 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Another bill, HB 2619 related to prohibiting the sale of neonicotinoids will have a public hearing and possible work session on April 9 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

Transportation

A new Oregon Department of Transportation website monitors, measures and reports on transportation investments. The website features the 2019 Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Condition Report, which presents a statewide look at the condition of Oregon’s pavement and bridges. Read more about the new website and the findings in the report.

Water

The Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is considering a 3% increase in their water quality permitting program. This increase will be billed in Sept. 2019. This is separate from the proposed significant increase in the 2019-21 DEQ budget that would take effect in 2020. These fees apply to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits and Water Pollution Control Facility permits. Water quality permit fee rulemaking 2019

HB 2085, the dam safety bill that updates statutes for the Water Resources Dept. on regulation of dams, particularly high hazard dams where the public’s safety could be at risk, will have another public hearing and a work session on April 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the House Committee on Natural Resources. Amendments are in the works. The League supports updating our dam safety policies.

Wetlands

HB 2437, a bill on how the agricultural community deals with their need to clean ditches while protecting fish streams, will have a work session on April 4 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use. There has been disagreement among the varied interests on this issue but work is being done to find some common ground. The -2 amendments may be considered at the meeting.

Another bill on whether or not the state should partially “assume” part of the role of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers related to some removal/fill permits (HB 2436) was filed as a “place-holder”. The proposed amendment is scheduled for a work session on April 9. Although the amendment is focused on preparing for substantial work in 2020, we remain opposed because of the request to fund one employee to work on this project. If passed, this bill will have a subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

A third bill would establish a pilot program to help some Willamette Valley cities develop a mitigation bank or find other answers to addressing the clash between wetlands and development (HB 2438). The League supported the -2 and -4 amendments because the mid-Willamette Valley’s Regional Wetlands Consortium has done significant work and the staff assistance and General Fund monies to work on this pilot might well assist in having additional industrial lands available for future jobs. A part of the requirements for getting the state assistance would be to provide a manual for others who might want to follow this lead in the future. Also, an additional Removal-Fill staffer would help local governments as new, more inclusive wetland maps are rolled out. A work session is scheduled for April 4 with a subsequent referral to Ways and Means.

A fourth bill (HB 2796) also has a work session scheduled for April 4. It would allow development on “degraded” wetlands. The bill was brought by a developer in Sheridan where he has been blocked from development by a determination that wetlands exist on his property. The League appreciated the need for housing and the comprehensive description of the community and how lack of housing can affect families, but the bill itself would create bad public policy related to wetlands so we provided oral opposition. Since being scheduled, it has received greater interest and opposition.

Regional Solutions

The League encourages members to 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. Members can attend or call in to listen to economic activities in each of the 11 regions. The Governor’s budget recommends $15 million be allocated to this program for regional economic development projects.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! We don’t have someone to follow Stewardship issues (as in plastic bag bans, etc.), Transportation and Toxics.  If you are interested in these issues OR have one bill you want to follow, please contact Peggy Lynch, peggylynchor@gmail.com


 Back to top


Revenue and Tax Reform

By Maud Naroll and Chris Vogel, Revenue and Tax Reform Co-Coordinators

The Joint Committee on Student Success Subcommittee on Revenue heard about a hybrid between a gross receipts tax (commercial activity tax or CAT) and a value-added tax (VAT) in which businesses could subtract a share of some of their costs when computing their CAT tax, subtracting either part of business inputs (what’s purchased from other businesses, like cost of goods sold) or subtracting labor costs. 

This hybrid discussed on 3/26 has some similarity to the Texas Franchise Tax, which allows a business to pick from a variety of tax bases, one subtracting the cost of goods sold, one subtracting compensation, etc., which the subcommittee heard about during their first meeting January 29. The 3/28 session of the Joint Committee on Student Success Subcommittee on Revenue was canceled. We anticipate more discussion on the hybrid CAT/VAT next week. Presumably, the Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) will use the extra time to process more Oregon Tax Incidence Model (OTIM) runs. A March 25th Oregonian news article reported why some Oregon businesses prefer a VAT (Intel and Oregon Business & Industry) while others prefer the CAT (Nike and Coalition for the Common Good). 

On 3/26 meeting materials from OTIM modeled contrasted a potential value-added tax (VAT) and a commercial activity tax (CAT), a gross receipts tax. As with other OTIM runs, the effects on employment, prices, wages, etc. would be tiny, all under a quarter of one percent. Both business taxes were paired with about $275 million in cuts to all but the top 9.9% personal income tax rates.

  • The structure of the CAT used in the OTIM model run exempted both petroleum, because it would go to highways, not education; and those paying the medical provider tax, who have been promised no double taxation.
  • Businesses with sales with less than $150,000 in Oregon sales would be exempt from the CAT, protecting the very small businesses. Those with Oregon sales between $150,000 and $1 million would pay a flat tax of $250, and those with Oregon sales over a million would pay a fraction of a percent of their sales, 0.29% in the OTIM run.
  • Under a VAT, taxing insurance companies and financial institutions could be tricky because it is less clear what the dollar amount of value-added is when, for example, a bank opens a free checking account. There are Oregon sales numbers for those sectors, so taxing them under a CAT would be more straightforward.

House Revenue and Senate Finance and Revenue continued to analyze a variety of policy bills. On 3/26 Senate Finance and Revenue held a work session on SB 262, extending the property tax exemption for multiple-unit housing and on SB 702, directing LRO to study land value taxation. Both passed out of committee. On 3/26 House Revenue heard HB 3237, which would create a tax credit for workers at three star or better child care facilities, a suite of bills on the transient lodging tax, and a few on food and agricultural equipment.

House Human Services and Housing voted out HB 3349, which phases out the mortgage interest deduction starting at an income of $200,000 and eliminates it above $250,000 and for any second homes, as do pass with amendments. The Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) estimates that would bring in $150 million more per biennium in income tax revenue. The estimated savings would go toward housing and homeless services. The bill moves to House Revenue. Amendments tweak how the savings would be spent and allow interest deductions for homes just sold but no longer the principal residence.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of April 1

On 4/2 House Revenue will have LRO discuss the economics behind Tax Expenditures Implicit Sunsets. Then a series of sunsetting tax expenditures will be heard later in the week.

If Oregon’s revenue and tax reform issues interest you, please contact Chris Vogel, ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com or Maud Naroll, MaudLWVOR@gmail.com


Back to top


Social Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

Senate Judiciary featured the most promising legislation on juvenile justice legislation this week. Four bills, SB 966, 968, 969, and 1008 were heard. These bills requested in SB 966 that a youth placed in the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) correctional facility be given a review hearing before being transferred to a Department of Corrections facility at age 25. SB 1008 requested a Second Look hearing half-way through a sentence served at an OYA facility.

SB 968 adds a provision that the court may not impose life imprisonment on a person under 18 at the time of the crime. SB 969 requires that waiver hearings be held to transfer youth to adult court. Please attach letters. The testimony in favor may be heard on the Senate Judiciary website on March 28.

The bills will be scheduled later for further action. The League advocates were pleased to view legislation that recognized the mental status of youth and efforts to keep them in the juvenile system, where they will get age appropriate services.

On March 27 the American Civil Liberties Union released a poll which showed over whelming support for their package of Juvenile Justice bills:

  • SB 969, Keeping youth offenders in the juvenile justice system instead of going to adult court; 81% of Oregonians support this proposal.
  • SB 1008, Youth who are convicted in adult court will have access to a “second look” hearings half way through their sentence where a judge will determine if they have been rehabilitated and can be safely released to community supervision. 80% approval
  • SB 966, allows youth who are 25 and scheduled to go to adult prison to have a hearing to determine if they can serve the rest of their sentence in community parole. 77% approval
  • SB 968 eliminates life without parole for youth convicted of crimes at age 15, 16, and 17. 61% approval

The central theme of the testimony on March 28 was that teens can do impulsive, dangerous and criminal acts, but with support they also have the capacity to grow, change and become constructive adults. Only three gave opposing testimony, including the author of the original M 11 ballot measure, who wanted to put the issue before voters again.

These bills will be scheduled for a work session soon and then will go through the House Judiciary process too.

Senate Judiciary has reviewed Mental Health bills: SB 762 extends holds from 5 to 15 days, and SB 763 expands definition of danger to self or others in the near future or recent past which resulted in harm to self or others. On March 29 the committee heard from clients who had lived experience and wanted the Work Group to continue. A retired Salem psychologist wanted more services, not more mandated treatment. SB 762 was scheduled for a work session on April 8, and SB 763 was scheduled for April 4 to keep these bills alive and moving.

The Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee heard a budget presentation from the Department of Corrections (DOC) this week. The Governor’s Budget contained an increase in funding, but all agencies face a 5% reduction because of revenue shortfall. DOC faces deferred maintenance, staff shortages, health care costs and mechanical and electronic upgrades. A 10% reduction would be drastic for staff layoffs and possible prison closures. At least no new prisons are necessary.

The Community Correction programs are showing good outcomes with services in the communities, and many representatives of those programs appeared to request continuation of funding for community supervision and services. The SB 5504 budget will not be determined until close to the end of session. League members continue to support the Justice Reinvestment Act in HB 3064.

The Oregon Judicial Department Budget SB 5513 will be heard next week. HB 2238 asks for increased salaries for Supreme Court, Appeals, Tax Court and Circuit Court Judges. HB 2239 asks for an increase in the number of circuit court judges, which was passed on a 9 in favor with 2 excused vote.

Gun Safety, Marge Easley

On April 2, five firearm-related bills will be heard, ensuring large crowds and high security at the Capitol. The League will provide testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on three of those bills:

  • HB 2013 closes loopholes in current law related to someone who is subject to a court protective order for a domestic violence offense. Firearms must be relinquished within 24 hours of conviction. A prohibition on firearm possession remains in effect even if there is no request for a hearing on the order or if a withdrawal from a hearing occurs. When a court order is lifted, law enforcement must notify the Department of Justice and perform a background check prior to the return of a firearm.
  • HB 2505, known as the Yuille Forsyth Safe Firearm Storage Act, is named after two victims of the Clackamas Town Center shooting. It requires the owner or possessor of a firearm to secure it with a trigger or cable lock or in a locked container except in specified circumstances that are outlined in the bill. It also sets the fine amounts for violations, holds adults liable for injury to person or property caused by a minor’s use of a firearm, and requires the reporting of the loss or theft of a firearm within 24 hours. 
  • HB 3329 allows gun dealers or those transferring firearms, accessories, or ammunition to establish a minimum age of 21 for purchases, repairs, or services related to firearms. It creates an exemption from anti-discrimination statutes that have prevented age-based restrictions on firearms in the past.

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

The Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development heard public testimony on the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget, SB 5512. Grantees from around the state shared their successes in using the agency’s programs to create housing opportunity. The agency provides a number of critical services for Oregonians in need of help in accessing affordable housing or staying housed. The League submitted a letter in support of this bill.

The House Human Services and Housing Committee held hearings and work sessions on several bills.

  • HB 2802 to create a Healthy Homes fund to provide basic health and safety repairs passed unanimously and moved to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
  • HB 2916, a technical fix to transitional housing campground statutes, also passed unanimously.
  • HB 3349, to reform the mortgage interest deduction passed the Committee by a vote of 5–3 and was moved to the House Committee on Revenue. Representative Keny-Guyer is commended for her work with her Committee and needed amendments to the bill (-1, -2, -4). If passed, the bill is expected to generate $150 million per biennium for homeless prevention programs and affordable homeownership. This bill is a League priority. Please see our written testimony.

The Senate Housing Committee held an informational hearing on permanent supportive housing and emergency rent assistance. They also heard bills on disclosures for the sale of manufactured homes and landlord-tenant law. In a work session the Committee passed SB 491 to move the Fairview Trust to the Oregon Community Foundation. This bill heads to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. 

Senate Finance and Revenue Committee held a work session and unanimously passed SB 262, to renew the sunset on the property tax exemption for multiple-unit housing used by Portland and Eugene. The bill heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

Next Week at the Legislature

On Tuesday the House Energy and Environment Committee will hold a public hearing and possible work session on HB 3094 to create an incentive program for home weatherization.

On Wednesday the House and Human Services Housing Committee may hold a work session on HB 2002, which would require adequate notice to be given to the state, local government, or designee before the sale of housing with affordability restrictions. This bill is intended to preserve housing that is currently affordable to low-income households.

The House Revenue Committee will hold a public hearing on several bills to extend the sunset on tax credits for residents whose manufactured home parks are closing, as well as the capital gains exemption for sales to non-profits, housing authorities or resident cooperatives. Those bills are HB 2127, HB 2136, and HB 2664.

For housing bills related to land use, see the Natural Resources Report.

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


Back to top