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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 12 – April 2019

 


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In This Issue

Climate Change

Education

Governance

Natural Resources

Revenue and Tax Reform

Social Policy


 Climate Change

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

Some progress and ACTION is still needed on your part: Please let the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) and 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, which include trash incineration industries and F-gases / semiconductor industries as critical emissions covered by the bill. All of these priorities are clearly addressed in HB 2020 -31.

As of April 5, 30+ additional amendments have been posted for the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) and will take time to consider. Most of these new amendments are unlikely to be voted on and many have already been heard in the last two work sessions. During the April 5 work session, Rep Brock-Smith and Senator Olsen presented their list of amendments to a full committee room. Five League members representing the LWVOR Action committee and three local Leagues were in attendance. The next work session will be on April 12 and that committee agenda includes a HB 3425 (gasoline rebate/credit) public hearing with possible work session. It’s unclear how many more work sessions will be scheduled before a committee vote and if any of the additional amendments for HB 2020 will be voted on. Earth Day (April 22) week may be the time to expect JCCR to vote on HB 2020. See previous Leg Reports for HB 2020 “Cap and Invest” conceptual highlights or read summary info here.

Session Deadlines: April 9—last day for active bills 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.

Other CC Portfolio Bills

Green New Deal: SJM 7 was introduced March 4. The bill, urging Congress to enact Green New Deal legislation, has an April 9 public hearing and possible work session. The LWVOR will provide testimony to support.

Fracking: The League is supporting and provided testimony on HB 2623 creating a 10-year fracking moratorium. The bill has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee.

Oil Rail Safety: HB 2209 -10 passed out of committee unanimously on April 2 with ”Do pass with amendments and be referred to Ways and Means.”

Climate Authority: SB 928 -1 with a March 30 amendment has a public hearing and possible work session 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 American Planning Association Oregon Chapter testimony can be found here. The League’s support for this kind of management structure was first proposed to the Oregon Global Warming Commission and the Governor 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 8. 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 and toxic metals.

Other League Climate Change Advocacy

Jordan Cove & Pacific Gas Pipeline: On March 7, the Dept. of State Lands (ODSL) announced a 6-month delay on its decision on JCEP’s removal-fill application to allow time to consider the large number of public comments submitted. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has extended its decision to September, as well. FERC staff released on March 29 their 1000+ page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) as part of the required NEPA process. The four southern Oregon local Leagues in the proposed project area will submit a joint technical comment on the DEIS by the deadline on July 5.

Our Children’s Trust: (OCT) (also can be found under ‘youthvgov’ in social media)

Mark your calendars for June 4. The Federal lawsuit has Briefing Completed, Oral Argument Scheduled for June 4 in Juliana v. United States. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral argument for the federal government’s appeal in Juliana v. United States to take place in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, at 9:30 AM. Briefing was completed on March 8 when the federal government filed its reply brief.

On March 26, the State of Alaska lawsuit case had amici brief filings, including one from the LWV of Alaska. Their brief was quoted in the Our Children’s Trust March 26 press release. “The separation of powers and related political question doctrine are, at their core, mechanisms for protecting individual civil liberties from unlawful government encroachment. By design, the judiciary has a duty to serve as a ‘check and balance’ by evaluating governmental action for constitutional compliance. This judicial duty is heightened in this case involving the fundamental rights of politically powerless young people who stand to suffer disproportionate harms from Appellees’ (’Defendants’) actions. The best available climate science and the allegations of the political branches’ affirmative conduct in exacerbating the climate crisis indicates that urgent and immediate judicial intervention is needed to vindicate Plaintiffs’ rights and to protect their vulnerable futures. The fundamental constitutional interests at stake here are exactly the kind that the judiciary is designed to protect. This Court should reverse the superior court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims.” Five state Leagues now have amici standing with OCT in their state lawsuits.

On April 2, Juliana v. United States Youth Plaintiff to Testify on Thursday Before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Watch the actual testimony at ABC news coverage here and other coverage here

Green New Deal: 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


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Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

The most important Education committee hearing thus far this session was held Tuesday evening. Listen on OLIS 4/4/2019 where verbal discussion and meeting materials at the Joint Committee on Student Success incorporated the work products of months of regional meetings with schools, students and stakeholders about needed efforts to strengthen the state education system. Read more about the concepts below, expect bill language next week with amendments to follow.

Joint Committee on Student Success

The first part of the April 4 meeting detailed rather technical options to increase revenue dedicated to school funding: Revenue, changes in corporate and personal income taxes – Revenue Subcommittee Options Summary—the actual bill language is expected to be available next week. (See the Revenue Policy section of this LR for an analysis.) Listen (starting at about 22 minutes) while reviewing the written Fund for Student Success – “Conceptual Amendment Outline that offers the framework for measurement, implementation, and funding of school improvement for years to come. Continue reading for details:

Expect bill language on 4/9. The Fund for Student Success will have a public hearing on 4/11. HB 2019 is expected to be on OLIS by 4/9 will include both the Revenue mechanisms and the percentage funding allocated for three specific areas: Early Learning Account – 20%, District School Improvement Account – 50%, and Statewide Initiatives Account – 30%. The Fund for Student Success will also be an umbrella that incorporates the current State School Fund to allocate money to each school district. In addition to allocated State School Fund money; districts must create and submit a four-year plan for use of School Improvement Account (SIA) funds. Plans will be drawn from districts’ Continuous Improvement Plans and shall include a completed school district needs assessment that meets the following requirements:

  • Conducted in a manner that is inclusive of students, parents, and families who are members of underserved communities.
  • Shall address the following five priorities:
    1. Reduce measurable disparities for students of color, students with disabilities, students who are English language learners, rural students, students from tribal communities; and low-income students.
    2. Students’ mental and behavioral health needs.
    3. Equitable access to academic courses across the school district, specifically for students from historically underserved and underrepresented communities.
    4. Teacher collaboration time sufficient for teachers and staff to review data on students’ grades, absences, and discipline by school and by course and to develop strategies to ensure at-risk students stay on track to graduate.
    5. Identify partnership with other organizations, federally-recognized tribes, school districts, education service districts, regional achievement collaboratives, post-secondary institutions, education partners, or nonprofit programs and community-based programs that have demonstrated achievement of positive outcomes in work with underserved populations, to achieve the purposes of the SIA.
  • Plans shall contain proposals to address students’ mental and behavioral health needs.
  • Plans shall include a budget estimate for each eligible use for which the district proposes to use SIA resources.
  • Plans shall explain how the district intends to increase achievement or reduce academic disparities for economically disadvantaged students, students from racial or ethnic groups that have historically experienced academic disparities, students with disabilities, and students who are English language learners. In determining how best to meet the needs of these students, the school district shall apply an equity lens and review student data disaggregated by student population including historically and traditionally marginalized and historically underrepresented students. The district may use an equity lens that has been adopted by the school district or the equity lens that has been adopted by the Oregon Department of Education.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is charged with establishing performance targets for each district using the following metrics:

  1. On-time graduation rate; Overall district-wide graduation rate; Gaps in disaggregated on-time graduation rates.
  2. Percentage of students who finish 9th grade with 6 credits toward graduation; Overall district-wide percentage of students who finish 9th grade on track; Gaps in disaggregated 9th grade on-track rates.
  3. Percentage of 3rd graders reading at or above grade level; Overall district-wide percentage of 3rd graders reading at or above grade level; Gaps among 3rd graders in disaggregated reading proficiency levels.
  4. Percentage of students classified as “regular attenders;” Overall district-wide chronic absenteeism rate; Gaps in disaggregated chronic absenteeism rates.
  5. Additional optional local measures may be included.

Of the remaining money in the Fund for Student Success, 30 percent will be allocated to the Account for Statewide Initiatives, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Student Success Teams of consultants and coordinating staff within ODE to provide support and assistance to districts who fail to meet their annual growth targets or to those districts identified and selected by the department for participation in the intensive program.
  2. ODE oversight and other costs to implement provisions of this bill with staff to review and approve districts’ plans; staff to review districts’ expenditures to ensure spending meets grant requirements; staff to coordinate all new initiatives assigned to the department.
  3. Full funding of Measure 98–an additional $170 million for dropout prevention, career, and technical education, and dual enrollment options for students.
  4. Expansion of Nutrition Programs with additional funding for school lunch and breakfast programs.
  5. Establishment of the “Reengagement Pilot Program” to test out new policies for bringing youth who have left high school back into the educational system. The pilot program will require districts to find community partners such as nonprofit organizations or community colleges and will provide funding for students who are reentering the education system.
  6. High-Cost Disability Fund which reimburses districts for the costs of providing a free, appropriate public education to students with severe disabilities.
  7. School Safety Task Force recommendations (see SB 584/HB 2327) that implements the recommendations of the School Safety Task Force, including a statewide safety net for students, suicide prevention personnel in every region of the state.
  8. Statewide equity initiatives to provide funding for the Black Students Success Plan, establish the Latino Students Success Plan and the Native American Students Success Plan. Distributes funding to culturally specific community-based organizations who work in schools to improve student engagement and graduation rates.
  9. Planning for increased transparency and accountability in Oregon’s education system.

Funding for interim work to review Oregon’s accountability systems, including the state’s ESSA plan and Division 22 standards, to make sure they are aligned and incentivize increased educational equity and improved outcomes for all students. Funding for interim work to review the availability and accessibility of information about Oregon’s education system and its component parts and to reduce the reporting burden on districts while improving transparency for Oregon’s taxpayers.

Please note that many of these changes will take several years to fund (with new revenue) and implement (in developing individual District plans and ODE oversight).

LWVOR shall offer testimony on various aspects of HB 2019, many anticipated amendments, and other bills referred from the House and Senate Committees on Education that will be folded into this big bill. Anticipate weekly updates in this LR.

The Joint Committee on Student Success continued its focus on equity in education in the meeting on Tues. 4/2. Co-Chair Senator Roblan began by saying that members of the Committee were continuing in their efforts to figure out how to include an equity lens and ensure greater equity in the system. At this meeting members of Oregon Advocacy Commissions were invited to share their perspectives.

The committee invited members of Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office to provide them with additional information. Link to verbal testimony and written documentation.

Additional testimony about the Oregon College Possible program was given by Ken Thrasher, Dan Bartlett, and Gia Dacayanan. College Possible, which focuses on economically disadvantaged youth, has the goal of helping students to graduate from college. It is a data-driven program that has served over 1500 students in Oregon. The speakers expressed their support of the program and urged increased funding for it.

LWVOR Comments: Mariotta Gary-Smith has eloquently summarized the equity issues. We recommend that you listen to her testimony beginning at 13 minutes.

House Committee on Education and Senate Committee on Education

Both of these policy committees had a very busy week as they hurried through public hearings and work sessions to keep bills alive. We’ll wait for the dust to settle and then report over coming weeks on key policy bills that are moving forward to the opposite chamber for consideration. Also, note that many key policy bills were assigned to the Joint Committee on Student Success. Some will be incorporated into HB 2019 as the language in this Student Success bill develops through amendments.

Here we focus on a 4/3 hearing on HB 3414 that directs the Early Learning Division to develop multi-level system of certification of early learning professionals.

Rep. Lively, bill co-sponsor noted there is a workforce shortage in education and an even larger shortage in early childhood education. There is a need for people who work in the field to be educated but there are many barriers. This bill addresses how to help them to gain credentials that will allow them to advance professionally. He describes this bill as an attempt to start a conversation about how to develop a system for the delivery of early childhood training. The Joint Committee on School Success Early Childhood Sub-committee has recommended funding for scholarships and mentoring for members of the early childhood workforce. This bill supplements that request by addressing some of the structural issues relating to early childhood training.

Sen. Helt, co-sponsor of the bill, said that this is a bipartisan bill that started from listening. When legislators asked early childhood educators what they needed from lawmakers they were told that available training opportunities (professional development courses, associate degree programs and four-year programs) do not align. This bill is an attempt to make credits “stackable” and could lead to better pay and accessing college degrees.

This bill passed from the committee with unanimous support and moved to the JCSS to be incorporated into the big bill HB 2019.

LWVOR comments: Creating a seamless system of early childhood teacher preparation and aligning it with reasonable rates of compensation (similar to that of other teachers) is a thorny and complex issue. These legislators should be commended for being willing to start the conversation.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) has completed a three-week overview with budget presentations on HB 5024. On 4/10 the committee will see fiscal details for Teacher Standards and Practices Commission revenues and staffing needs. On 4/11 the Oregon Student Association has been invited to discuss rising tuition rates, student loans and other issues critical to college students.

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:

With the advent of changes in the K-12 education system under new Student Success legislation, this is an ideal time to add other League members to follow policies and funding. Please contact ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com. With appreciation to the following for analyzing specific bills and following committee hearings: Early Learning: Stephanie Feeney; P-3, K-12, P-20Nancy Donovan; 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.


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

Thanks to our volunteers! We need coverage for ethics and resilience issues.

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, SB 870, leads Governance news with Senate Rules passage to the Senate Floor this week after rebuffing four earlier session passes from the House. We have a set of elections bills coming into House Rules, probably next week. Redistricting and public records work continues. Worthy ethics and seismic preparedness bills lack League comments for want of volunteers – we could use your help. Read on for details.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

SB 870 The National Popular Vote (NPV) bill cleared a major hurdle on April 3 when it passed out of the Senate Rules Committee on a 4 to 1 vote with a do pass recommendation (LWVOR testimony). The bill contains no referral provision, and we’ve been advised that the votes are there for passage on the Senate floor. However, the NPV Action Alert issued early last week remains in effect. If you haven’t done so, please contact your state senator, as well as your state representative, as soon as possible to let them know you support NPV. Once it clears the Senate, SB 870 will be sent to the House Committee on Rules and likely House passage. We are thrilled to say that Oregon is now firmly on track to be the 16th jurisdiction to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact!

Redistricting, Norman Turrill

We are still waiting for a draft of our redistricting bill to emerge from Legislative Council. It may not be soon at this time of the session. A coalition of organizations is slowly forming around the idea of an initiative petition campaign. Stay tuned!

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

Save the date: April 25. We encourage our members to attend the Small Donor Elections Lobby Day, in Room 161 in the State Capitol. This is also the day that the House will take floor action about 11 am on HCR 8, commemorating the wonderful life of Kappy Eaton, a former LWVOR President among many other things.

SB 1014, the Senate bill that would create a Small Donor Elections Program is now apparently dead since it was not scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Campaign Finance Committee by last week’s deadline. HB 3004, its nearly identical House version, is still alive in the House Rules Committee.

SJR 18 A, to allow campaign contribution limits and other campaign finance reforms, passed out of the Senate Campaign Finance Committee on 3/27 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee for adding preparations the 2020 ballot. HJR 13 is also still alive in the House Rules Committee, but it seems likely that it will not move in deference to SJR 18 A.

A meeting, called by Sen. Golden, Rep. Rayfield, and Rep. Holvey of various stakeholders around campaign finance reform issues, was held Friday 4/4. We will report on what happened at a later date.

Transparency, Public Records, Josie Koehne

Two public records bills relating to personal health records passed last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will move to the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 25 extends forensic evaluations from 30 to 60 days, and makes it easier and faster for court ordered defendant’s relevant health records held by public bodies and private medical providers to be shared with a state mental hospital or other facility doing mental health evaluations.

SB 703 prohibits commercial sale of an individual’s health information without their prior authorization. This would include all entities covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, including the insurance providers, a business associate, subcontractor, or other third parties except under specified conditions, such as public health, security or judicial issues, workers comp, or identified data for research, for example. This bill is scheduled for a work session on April 8.

Oregon public bodies have the worst public records request track record according to Muckrock.com: “Oregon earns its spot as the worst state at responding to requests, with an average response time of 148 days.” There are four bills to designed help public bodies and state agencies with the timely release of public records:

HB 2431 passed to Ways and Means on April 4. It calls for state agencies to send annual reports to the DA, the Public Records Advocate, and the Advisory Council, on the number of requests processed, late responses, and their fee waivers and reductions.

HB 2353 will have a work session April 8, to allow a DA or the court to fine public agencies ($200) that fail to respond to a records request (or specify a date for compliance) within the 15-day time frame, payable to a requester. 

HB 2430 to make the Public Records Advocate and Advisory Council permanent, will have its third reading April 8 in the House Judiciary Committee and is likely to pass.

HB 3399: This new bill relieves public records requesters of the time and cost of filing a lawsuit against a non-responsive agency, as the burden of proof will fall on the agency denying the request rather than the requester. If a state agency files an injunctive or for declaratory relief to deny a public records request, the AG will be notified and decide the case, or if it’s a non-state public entity, the county DA will decide. The person seeking disclosure may intervene as a matter of right.

Upcoming

We’ve been preparing comments for the Secretary of State’s budget Policy Option Packages (POPs) related to elections. These were postponed for staffing transitions by the new Secretary of State. The week of April 22 will be busy for our bills, with the Legislative Fiscal Office projecting that the Secretary’s bill may be heard in Joint General Governance and House Rules, expecting to schedule our other elections bills together. This could include the NPV bill from the Senate.

HB 5034 Biennial budgets for the Secretary of State:

  • POP 105 Elections Division staffing needs, including positions to (1) respond to elections misinformation on social media and (2) increase technical support for OCVR and ORESTAR.
  • POP 202 continues OMV payments to counties.
  • POP 207 funds prepaid postage.
  • POP 102 includes a manager for our Network Operations Security Center.
  • POP 206 continues four elections security systems implemented last year.

No hearings have been set yet for these bills (again, expected in House Rules, week of April 22):

HB 2234: Rep Nosse is carrying this for us, for online candidate filing. Elections Director Steve Trout now thinks they can adjust ORESTAR to work, instead of the earlier ask to replace both OCVR and ORESTAR.

HB 2685: Rep Marsh is carrying this for us, for clarifying statute for candidate filing information. Sen Gelser filed a bill that has become the -2 amendment for this bill, to be posted after it is linked to a committee agenda.

HB 3348: Rep Nathanson’s initiative reform bill, to include the phrase: “measure spends money without identifying a funding source“, for proposals with fiscals greater than $100K. We strongly support, based on her “budget gap pie” concept from 2017.

HB 2891: These two are Rep Gomberg’s bills. We have a position of support using testimony from Kappy Eaton. This addresses initiative reform for issues of $500K over 10 years, along with HJR 18.

SB 861, on prepaid ballot envelopes, has been heard on the Senate side, presuming it will come over to the House. We support based on the actual reduced fiscal and the 8% voter turnout bump seen in King County, Washington. The full fiscal that will be cited is the cost if all ballots would be filed via USPS, with full business rate postage. They are negotiating a new postal delivery package, more automated, quicker, with expedited delivery, for a lower cost.

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


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Natural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

Your Action Committee can hardly wait until the end of day April 9! Many of the policy bills will be amended, pass, die or move to a Rules, Revenue or Joint Committee. By then our workload should be reduced! Look for some bills that make it through the first chamber to show up in the second chamber soon. Your voice is needed to support or oppose bills as recommended in this report.

Budgets

On April 2, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources held an informational meeting with the Dept. of Environmental Quality on harmful algal blooms. Legislators learned about the many challenges in addressing this public health issue. Of special interest is the focus on addressing the issue before the fact and not after an incident occurs. Besides nutrients and slow-moving waters, an issue the League has focused on included failing septic systems and the need to update wastewater permits. One effort is SB 756, a bill that continues the onsite septic grant and loan program for low income Oregonians. It sits in Ways and Means. SB 27, relating to the Drinking Water Division of the Oregon Health Authority, is also sitting in Ways and Means where we hope it will pass in order to fund another part of the issue.

On April 4, the subcommittee discussed their vehicle inspection program and the request for an increase in fees. On April 8, they will hold an informational meeting on the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response. On April 9, they will discuss cannabis testing with the Dept. of Agriculture. We hope that 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 will also be discussed. On April 10, the subcommittee will hear from the Water Resources Dept. and learn more about water rights management. In past years, the League has supported a water rights management fee to help pay for field staff to manage this important public asset. (Remember: Oregon water law explicitly states that “all water within the state from all sources of water supply belong to the public.”) The Full Ways and Means Co-Chairs have said they want to find ways to fund these agencies with fees as much as possible.

HB 2228-A, 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. Both bills are intended to help local governments comply with HB 2001, HB 2003 and SB 10, should they pass the legislature.

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

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.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

Oregon can’t meet its climate goals without fully electrifying its transportation sector by 2035-2040. HB 3141 would accelerate adoption of electric vehicles by requiring 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. Amendments being considered would speed up those dates, as it is projected that light duty electric vehicles will reach up-front cost parity with internal combustion vehicles before 2025. This bill would also help expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Oregon by requiring that at least 20% of parking spaces support future installation of electric vehicles charging stations at newly constructed public buildings including retail, restaurants, hotels, schools, or other buildings open to the public during normal business hours and multi-family residential buildings. Installing EV charging stations at time of construction can be 85% less expensive than in retrofit scenarios. The language is still being fine-tuned. A work session will be held April 9 in the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

HB 2007, the “Dirty Diesel” bill, is a technically complex bill with many stakeholders. It has been referred to the House Committee on Rules in order to get more time for working with agencies to see what is feasible and to put together something that will be voted on later this year. “Everyone’s comments are still welcomed,” according to co-sponsor Rep. Power.

HB 3248A, concerning open burning, and HB 2063, extending the use of the Volkswagen settlement money to the Clean Diesel Engine Fund, both died in committee.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

On April 3, 2019 the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) convened in Salem to take up the adoption of two sections of the Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) that had been under revision for the past two years. Cutting past the procedural and statutory language of the two TSP sections under review, Part III covers the uses and protections of the three-mile territorial sea of the Oregon coast – its habitats, recreational, scientific, and sacred areas that need to be preserved and managed for future generations. The current revisions update the knowledge base that has grown considerably since the TSP was first drafted. See the new revisions here.

Part V of the TSP got snarled in a courtroom drama over language and ORS compliance rules only to relax into conversation and ultimate understanding on the part of both parties (OPAC and the Land Conservation and Development Commission—the ultimate “adopter”) since, in point of fact, everyone was rooting for the same ocean and the same Oregon coast. While the legal drama wore on, the world moved ahead and made moot the basis of the argument, to wit; Part V describes the process for making decisions concerning development of renewable energy facilities (wind, wave, current, thermal, etc.). Oregon likes to take it’s changes in small bites, so preferred to develop renewable energy projects through a precautionary approach. In the meantime the wave, current, thermal, etc. projects folded their tents and moved off to consider better technology developments. Part V was re-adopted with changes that will hopefully allow guidance to future projects as the renewal technology sector matures. See Part V here which is the 2009 version. The adopted version voted by OPAC will be posted soon.

We are still keeping an eye on SB 961 that sought to amend and expand the definition of “development” to land use planning goals related to beaches and dunes (Goal 18) allowing properties that had not been subdivided prior to January 1977 to do so now. This was driven by a single constituent in Sen. Roblan’s district – something that always raises red flags. It had no public hearing, one brief work session that generated written testimony from the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and is now on its way to the Rules Committee without a recommendation from the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The League opposes this bill.

Drinking Water, Amelia Nestler

The House Committee on Energy and Environment has scheduled a work session on HB 3326 for April 9. 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 (DEQ) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The -1 amendments would provide funding for DEQ’s laboratory to do testing for public water systems and money for OHA to hire a recreational hazardous algal bloom coordinator.

Elliott State Forest

A new committee is being formed to help the Dept. of State Lands as they continue to work on the adoption of a Habitat Conservation Plan and working with the Oregon State University’s College of Forestry as they consider transferring the Forest to OSU as another Research Forest. DSL and OSU are aiming to present a plan to the Land Board in December 2019. Stay up-to-date throughout the planning process via the project website where you can sign up to get notices of public outreach opportunities.

Forests

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 work sessions on April 8 at 5 p.m. in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. There is a –1 amendment for SB 931. We have supported the Forestry Notification System (known as FERNS) in past sessions.

A roundtable discussion on the Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan processes will take place April 12 in Salem. The roundtable will be at 1 p.m. in the Tillamook Room at the Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State St., Salem. To learn more about the Forest Management Plan revision and Habitat Conservation Plan process, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/AboutODF/Pages/Initiatives.aspx.

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 8. There is a –2 amendment that narrows the development applications that would qualify to “publicly supported housing”, but this bill will still have a chilling effect on public participation. Other Goal 1 advocates are also opposing.

We expressed concerns on 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. The bill has been referred to Rules by order of President Courtney, the sponsor of the bill, where we assume the bill will continue to be worked.

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 -11 amendments that address many of the League’s concerns. Speaker Kotek provided an explanation of the -11s that better explain the amendments. It will receive a work session in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing on April 8 where a new $3 million ask has been included to help local governments do the work demanded by this bill. Many of the League’s concerns have been addressed to the point where, although we continue to have concerns about state usurpation of local land use implementation, we have provided testimony in support so more mid-level housing might be provided.

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. The bill was amended by the -6 amendments in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use that are a complete rewrite of the bill. They include a requirement that a regional housing needs analysis be done. 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 provided oral testimony in opposition although we had little time to review the latest amendments. We have long supported more regular review of a city’s Comprehensive Plan and Development Code, but some parts of this bill seem overreaching. The bill was moved to Ways and Means due to its at least $1.5 million General Fund request. We hope to have time to continue to work the bill.

SB 88, a bill that would allow counties to authorize accessory dwelling units in certain rural residential zones, moved from the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources where the -3 amendments were adopted and the bill was moved to Ways and Means. With the amendments, the League is neutral on the bill.

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 and others provided written opposition testimony. A work session has been scheduled for April 9 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use where we hope the bill will die.

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 where a first public hearing is set for April 9. 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.

A perennial bill with a relating clause “relating to land use” has been filed by Rep. Clem, HB 2106, and has a public hearing and possible work session set for April 9 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use. There is a -1 amendment posted on OLIS about replacement dwellings on farmland. The League has yet to take a position on this bill.

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 where two amendments may be considered. SB 853 has a work session scheduled in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on April 8 @ 5 p.m. HB 2980, a bill that extends the sunset date of the pesticide reporting system, was moved to Ways and Means. 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.

Water

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, had another public hearing where the League again supported the proposed -4 amendments (not yet posted). It will have a work session on April 9 in the House Committee on Natural Resources. 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, was passed to Ways and Means. There has been disagreement among the varied interests on this issue but work is being done to find some common ground. The -3 amendments were adopted with the Farm Bureau, Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy expressing support. The fiscal statement says: The legislation has three separate General Fund appropriations of unspecified amounts to the following state agencies: Department of Agriculture (ODA), Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for distribution to the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

Another bill under consideration relates to 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). Proposed amendments -1 and -2 are being considered. The bill is scheduled for a work session on April 9. The amendments are focused on preparing for substantial work in 2020 and allow public wetlands banks to compete with private banks. We remain opposed. The request to fund one employee to work on this project competes with other wetlands bills this session. 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 -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. The amendments were adopted and the bill has been referred to Ways and Means where we hope that THIS wetlands bill will be funded. The fiscal impact statement says: The legislation provides a blank General Fund appropriation to the Department of Administrative Services for distribution to the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments to be used to hire employees to solicit bids and to contract for mitigation needs and the development of a local public wetland mitigation bank. Additionally, a blank General Fund appropriation is provided to the Department of State Lands (DSL) to conduct a study on wetland mitigation and for providing responses to notices received from local governments.

A fourth bill (HB 2796) has a work session scheduled for April 9. 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. One of the League’s concerns is whether or not the future owners of these planned manufactured homes would have flooding issues.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, has issued a special public notice regarding Change to Aquatic Resources Mitigation in Oregon. Special public notices and announcements may be viewed directly on their website here.

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 anyone to follow Stewardship issues (as in plastic bag bans, etc.) and Transportation. If you are interested in these issues OR have one bill you want to follow, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Peggy Lynch, peggylynchor@gmail.com


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Revenue and Tax Reform

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

The Joint Committee on Student Success heard about two possible hybrids between a gross receipts tax (commercial activity tax or CAT) and a value-added tax (VAT) in which businesses could subtract some 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 part of labor costs. They also heard about a simple gross receipts CAT, but did not hear more about a pure value-added tax. The Joint Committee on Student Success Subcommittee on Revenue hopes to narrow down to one tax proposal by April 11.

Student Success

In both the simple and hybrid or modified commercial activity taxes (CAT and MCAT), businesses with sales with less than $150,000 in Oregon sales would be exempt from filing, protecting the smallest businesses. Those with Oregon sales between $150,000 and $1 million would pay a flat tax of $250, and those with Oregon sales over $1 million would pay a flat rate, 0.37% of Oregon sales for the CAT, 0.45% on the smaller base for one modified CAT, the MCAT1, and 0.90% on the still smaller base for the MCAT2. The MCAT1 would allow businesses to choose between deducting 25% of business inputs or 25% of labor costs before apportioning the base to Oregon and applying the 0.45% rate. The MCAT2 allows businesses to deduct 100% of either labor or business inputs. Its bigger deductions mean a smaller tax base, requiring a higher rate for the same revenue.

The MCATs would let supermarkets and other businesses with high costs of inputs purchased from other businesses subtract some or all (depending on the MCAT version) of those purchased inputs. MCATs would let accounting firms and other service businesses, most of whose costs are labor, chose to subtract some or all of their labor costs instead.

Common to all three tax versions:

  • Exempt petroleum, because petroleum taxes fund highways, not education.
  • Exempt entities paying the medical provider tax.
  • Tax finance and insurance, using Oregon sales numbers from the businesses’ state corporate income tax returns.
  • As before, the taxes were shown paired with cuts to all but the highest personal income tax rate.
  • All tax changes take effect January 1, 2020, missing the first six months of the 2019-21 biennium.
  • Raise $1.4 billion next biennium but $2.2 billion in 2021-23 when effective for two full years.

As Legislative Counsel starts drafting language, decisions get more detailed. How are labor costs defined? Does it include payments to board members? To contractors? To temporary workers? Much minutia are to be decided.

For the Joint Committee on Student Success Revenue Subcommittee, the Legislative Revenue Office, LRO, ran both the CAT and MCAT1, paired with the income tax cuts, through their Oregon Tax Incidence Model, OTIM. Results were similar for both the CAT and MCAT1. In the medium term, effects were tiny. Prices showed the largest effect, still small at 0.33%. Other changes were all less than 0.1%, less than a tenth of one percent. Then LRO modeled how spending the revenue on education, increasing labor productivity in the longer-term, would affect Oregon. Effects would still be under 1%, but all positive, including wages 0.6% or more higher than they would be otherwise.

LRO showed the effects on mean real disposable household income by income group, i.e. the average change after adjusting for the income tax cut’s boost to after tax income and the projected small hike in prices. In the medium run, all income groups would see small reductions of $113 – 211 in both tax versions modeled. In the long run, factoring in productivity increases from better education, all groups would see increased household income except those under $34,311, who could lose $89 or less. The committee understood that what the state spends the extra revenue on makes a difference.

The committee pondered possible ways to buffer those at the lowest end from negative effects of a new business tax. Many with the lowest incomes do not have earned income or file taxes, so reductions in rates, increases in the earned income tax credit (EITC), or a separate refundable tax credit could all have trouble reaching them; one senator said the group most needed housing and health care. Listen and read here to the OTIM discussion. Listen and read here for discussion including all three tax options.

House Health Care

House Health Care Held work sessions on HB 2269 and HB 3262. With its -1 amendment, HB 2269 would charge employers who do not pay enough for employee health insurance, using the revenue to fund premiums on the health insurance exchange and other out-of-pocket health costs for staff of those employers. The much broader HB 3262 would charge certain large employers for some of the public assistance their employees or employees’ children receive, working to address the interesting question of taxpayer-funded assistance helping employees and thus subsidizing their large employers. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555’s testified that 50,000 Oregonians are on the Oregon Health Plan despite working full time. The bill has much political appeal. However, administering the HB 3262 program, pulling information from a list of assistance programs and matching it with information on employers and their children, could be an information technology challenge. The bill applies only to a few sectors of the economy, and has other holes as well. See meeting materials here. HB 2269, looking just at what employers pay for employee health, is a much simpler bill. The committee sent both bills to Revenue, to live another day, without recommendation and with the narrower HB 2269’s -1 amendment.

Senate Committee on Business and General Government

The Senate Committee on Business and General Government considered SB 346, which calls for zero-based budgeting, starting each agency’s budget at zero and requiring justification for all costs. Some committee members wanted to receive more budget information on how much was included in current service level (CLS) budgets for inflation, caseload increases, and pay increases, detail they do not have now. Some discussed picking one agency to pilot zero-based budgeting, while others suggested looking at the budgeting process during the interim. The committee sent the bill to Ways and Means without recommendation. LWVOR wrote testimony against the bill, supporting current budget methods, and would not be displeased if the bill is quietly zeroed out on the way to Ways and Means.

House Revenue and Senate Finance and Revenue

House Revenue and Senate Finance and Revenue held hearings and work sessions on a variety of policy bills, of which the most interesting might have been SB 268, creating a personal income tax subtraction for adopting dogs and cats from shelters. The news was all in Joint Student Success and a couple of policy committees.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of April 8

For the first time, the Joint Committee on Student Success Revenue Subcommittee will meet on a Monday afternoon, hearing more from LRO on revenue options, giving us revenue watchers hope they may be closer to landing on a tax proposal. In theory they have a single business tax option by Thursday April 11. House Revenue will light up, hearing a pack of bills Wednesday and Thursday on taxing vaping and tobacco.

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


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Social Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

This week committee agendas were very long in a frantic effort to get bills passed before the first chamber deadline. Senate Judiciary has scheduled the bills modifying the criminal code on juveniles charged with Measure 11 crimes to be heard on April 8. So, we are hopeful. The committee has passed SB 606 A for the Criminal Justice Commission to study and make recommendations to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence in the state. Also, SB 992 A directs the Department of Corrections to study the adequacy of funding for community corrections programs and report to the interim committees.

SB 577 A amends the criminal code to change Intimidation to Bias Crimes due to perception of a person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or nation of origin.  Crimes are to be reported to the Department of State Police and statistics passed to the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC). The District Attorneys in 3 counties will record statistics and consult with the CJC staff. The Department of Justice will operate a Hate Crimes Hotline with a response coordinator. This bill passed with a vote of all 7 committee members. The bill was referred to Ways and Means because of costs to District Attorneys and the CJC.

SB 1005 directs the CJC to conduct another study on the relationship between sentences and to submit a report during the interim. However, 2 amendments have been filed for other studies, one a Task Force on School Safety and another on Kratom processors. The bill is scheduled for April 8, but it is not clear which version of the bill will be considered or passed.

House Judiciary heard public testimony on HB 2849 regarding taking a child into protective custody without a court order. The usual procedure for custody by Child Welfare staff requires a court hearing within 24 hours. Advocates want to reduce the number of children in foster care and/or shorten the time in care. Amendments were pending, and there is some agreement on which will be included.

HB 2932 A on the court’s practice of no questions on the disclosure of a defendant’s immigration status during criminal proceedings passed. Discussion covered the sanctuary status, the desire to have residents in Oregon with drivers’ licenses and to participate in the court process. The vote was 7 for and 4 against. The bill goes to the House floor for a vote.

HB 3224 involves transparency in District Attorney practice. The public needs to understand the legal processes, such as plea bargaining, and the options open to defendants. The District Attorneys plan to come back with a proposed amendment for the hearing on April 8.

Ways and Means Public Safety considered the Oregon Judicial Department Budget SB 5513 this week. The Chief Justice submits the department’s budget directly to the legislature since it’s a separate branch of government. In the last biennium, OJD asked for additional judges and courthouse staff but did not get what was requested. Caseloads have increased and new judges are still needed, as well as courthouse staff to assist the public. The League has supported the OJD since it studied the Oregon Judiciary, visited many of the courthouses even in remote areas, and published a 2-volume report.

The newly appointed Chief Justice made an appeal for an increase in the number of judges and the number of staff, but the decision usually is not made until the end of session. See the League’s letter on SB 5513.

HB 3360 requests bond funds for courthouse remodels or expansion. OJD has developed a schedule for replacement projects for District Courthouses, but funding for smaller projects is also needed to accommodate additional courtrooms, jury meeting space, mediation and lawyer/client space. The request asks for a 50/50 match by state and county for these projects. Clearly this bill will go to Ways and Means for funding consideration in Ways and Means Public Safety. 

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last week at the Legislature

Bills must receive a work session and a vote in their first chamber committees by April 9.

The House Energy and Environment Committee held a public hearing on HB 3094, which creates an incentive program for home weatherization and energy efficiency improvements for single- or multi-family dwellings occupied by low-income and very low-income residents.

The House Human Services and Housing Committee held a work session on HB 2002. It 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. There are -2 amendments that are technical in nature and clarify timelines. 

The House Revenue Committee held a public hearing on several bills to extend the sunset on the 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.

The House voted to approve HB 2916, which would clarify provisions related to transitional housing campgrounds and give local jurisdictions the authority to declare a wider range of locations as options for people lacking permanent housing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 873, a bill related to expunging previous eviction histories. 

Next Week at the Legislature

Almost all the excitement will take place during the first two days of the week, with the looming deadline of April 9 to hold a work session on bills in their first chamber.

On Monday, the Committee on Human Services and Housing will hold two meetings, one at 1 pm, and if needed, another at 5:30 pm to finish their work.

It is likely the committee will hold work sessions on HB 2002, as well as several other housing bills, including:

  • HB 2997, which relates only to the City of McMinnville, and makes a technical fix to inclusionary housing programs;
  • HB 3359, which creates, a Vacation Occupancy Task Force; and
  • HB 3184, which requests a study on vacancy taxes.

On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a work session on HB 2285, which amends the receivership process to make it easier to address abandoned and vacant homes.

Note: Please refer to the Natural Resources section of this report for housing bills related to land use. 

Gun Safety, Marge Easley

April 2 was a busy day for gun safety. The League submitted testimony (LINK) to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of SB 978-1, an omnibus bill with a range of provisions distilled from a list of over thirty gun safety concepts introduced this session by Governor Brown and gun safety advocate groups. A work session on the bill will be held on April 8. The amended bill currently includes provisions to:

  • Allow businesses to set a minimum age of 18 to 21 for the purchase of firearms or accessories;
  • Require the safe storage of firearms using a trigger lock, cable lock, or locked container;
  • Require the reporting of the loss or theft of a firearm within 72 hours;
  • Require a person who transfers a firearm to a minor to directly supervise the minor’s use of the firearm;
  • Prohibit the ownership of undetectable, downloadable, or untraceable firearms;
  • Require hospitals to report firearm injuries to the Oregon Health Authority in a prescribed format;
  • Increase fees for a concealed handgun license;
  • Allow a city, county, metropolitan service district, school district, college, or university to adopt an ordinance regulating or prohibiting the possession of firearms in public buildings; and
  • Provide a museum exception for a private transfer of a firearm.

League testimony (HB 2013, HB 2505, HB 3329) on three additional gun safety bills was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee. HB 2013 expands current law related to firearm relinquishment for domestic violence offenses. The other two bills are very similar to provisions in SB 978-1 (above). HB 2505 requires safe storage of firearms, while HB 3329 allows businesses to set a minimum age of 21 for firearm purchases. During a work session on April 4, the bills were sent on to House Rules with no recommendation.

Paid Family Leave, Debbie Runciman

HB 3031, the medical and family leave insurance bill, failed to advance on Monday. It remains stuck in the House Business and Labor Committee, and will not move forward.

That’s the bad news. The GOOD news, however, is that legislative leadership has introduced a NEW paid family leave bill, HB 2005, and sent it to House Rules. This will be the new vehicle to move a family leave insurance bill forward.

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


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