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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 13 – 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, Cathy Frischmann and Lynette Pierson

ACTION ALERT! Climate Cap and Invest Legislation: HB 2020 -31 IT’S HEATING UP! CONTACT ALL LEGISLATORS ON THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON CARBON REDUCTION TO SUPPORT HB 2020 -31.

You can focus your contact with your legislators on the League’s and our coalition partner’s priorities, which includes 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 13, there are still 30+ amendments posted, for the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) to take time to consider. Most of these new amendments are unlikely to be voted on and many have already been heard in the last four work sessions. April 15 is the next work session and that committee agenda includes HB 3425 (gasoline rebate/credit for certain households) public hearing with work session. It’s unclear how many more work sessions will be scheduled before a committee vote and if any of the additional amendments will be voted on. Earth Day week may be the time to expect JCCR to vote on HP2020; the bill could go to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and then the Bill is expected to move to the House and then Senate Floors. Some technical fixes and possibly a change in how natural gas GHG emissions are treated could appear in the next version. The League of Women Voters of Lane County President Linda Lynch succeeded in getting the Eugene Register Guard to publish a great OpEd. Other Leagues could consider the same in their local newspapers. See previous Leg Reports for HB 2020 ‘Cap and Invest’ conceptual highlights and or read summary info here.

Other CC Portfolio Bills

Green New Deal: SJM 7 was heard April 9 by the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. League testimony can be found here. The bill urgings the U. S. Congress to enact Green New Deal legislation. The bill was heard but no work session was scheduled. Instead SJM 7 will be converted to an Oregon Legislative letter and Legislators can then choose to sign. Senator Golden and Senator Fagan both gave extensive verbal testimony and engaged in a very robust conversation with committee members.

Fracking: The League is supporting and provided testimony on HB 2623 creating a 10-Year fracking moratorium. The bill was passed in the House and referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee. We expect the committee to have a public hearing in April.

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

Climate Authority: SB 928 -1 public hearing was April 8 with Governor’s Natural Resource Director, Jason Minor testimony and with League testimony. April 9 work session vote was expected (3/2 ) and it moved – with do pass with amendments and was referred to Ways and Means. The Governor’s recommendation is 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. This bill is linked to HB 2020. Legislators are considering whether or not to take on this new agency this session or link HB 2020 to work inside the Dept. of Environmental Quality. The League would prefer to see SB 928

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 had a work session with a 4 – 1 vote without recommendation as to passage in committee and was referred to Rules. 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 (DSL) 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. On April 11, DSL reported that they have finished reviewing these record-breaking comments and have charged the applicant with reviewing and responding to substantive technical public comments including those submitted by the four local Leagues representing areas directly affected by the project. The Department’s request to the applicant is available here.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has extended its decision to September, as well. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) staff released on March 29 their 1000+ page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) plus over 4,000 pages of Appendixes as part of the required NEPA process. Contrary to news coverage, the release is in no way a sign that the project has received some kind of “green light” from the FERC. A DEIS is just one bureaucratic step. It provides a much needed opportunity for public and agency comments on the project. The Commission isn’t expected to make a decision until January 2020. 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. LWVOR Action plans to add our voice.

On April 10, President Trump signed an Executive Order designed to fast-track permit approvals for pipelines, specifically targeting, among other areas, west coast LNG export projects. Of initial concern is whether Oregon and other states’ authority to protect water and air quality under federal laws could be reduced. We will be watching closely to see how this could impact the Jordan Cove Energy Project proposal in southern Oregon. In the meantime, we look forward to passage of HB 2250, requiring DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority to regularly assess final changes to federal environment laws to determine whether changes are significantly less protective of public health, environment or natural resources than standards and requirements contained in those federal environmental laws, as in effect on January 19, 2017

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

Mark your calendars for June 4. The Federal lawsuit 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. ‘Teens drop eloquent Congressional testimony’. April 8, NPR Fresh Air: ‘How Climate Change Became A Partisan Issue’. LWVOR may consider asking local Leagues to request that their local county commissioners follow the ‘Multnomah County Files Brief In Support Of Youth Climate Lawsuit‘ example.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, Transportation, Ag and or Forestry Climate Policy or Climate Adaptation 2010 Oregon Update, please contact Claudia Keith, ca.keith@comcast.net.


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Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

Bill language was released on 4/9 for HB 2019-6 in Joint Committee on Student Success that will create the new Fund for Student Success and define how that money may be invested in students. Read the 55 pages of bill language and watch the bill presentation committee meeting 4/9 and the public hearing 4/11. The revenue package needed was posted as a -9 amendment; see the Revenue LR. Other versions of HB 2019 will unfold as amendments over the next week or so.

Joint Committee on Student Success

The 4/9 meeting released the Fund for Student Success – “Conceptual Amendment Outline framework in bill format as HB 2019-6. The next day a workgroup was already busy developing other amendments to fine-tune the bill. Expect to see other amendments soon.

A three hour public hearing on 4/11 included a diversity of verbal and written testimony from many stakeholders including the LWVOR’s testimony.

A few excerpts from the League’s five-page testimony are included here since this bill will form the basis for many new changes impacting how individual districts receive additional funding.

The League of Women Voters of Oregon has Positions in tax policy and child well-being that address the provisions of this bill.

  • LWVOR believes any tax proposal should be evaluated with regard to its effect on the entire tax structure. The League supports a tax system that is based on ability to pay, but that applies a benefits-received principle wherever reasonable and that recognizes the role of social expediency.
  • LWVOR supports policies, programs, and funding at all levels of the community and government that promote the well-being, encourage the full development, and ensure the safety of all children. We believe that the early years of a child’s life are crucial in building the foundation for educational attainment and greatly impact success or failure in later life. LWV is fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

LWVOR commends the thoughtful and well-researched efforts of the Joint Committee on Student Success. You have laid solid groundwork for the bill before us today as you met for more than a year, held meetings with students, educators and other stakeholders throughout the state, and listened to experts from Oregon and beyond.

You have recognized that a new dedicated funding source is needed, proposing the Fund for Student Success. You have explored with the Legislative Revenue Office and stakeholders various tax models that offer stable funding for education while not impacting existing revenues that flow through the General Fund for other essential services that are vital to Oregon including: health care, social services, public safety, and natural resources.

Regarding Early Learning LWVOR testimony said:

The items included in this bill represent a good starting place but fail to address all of the needs in our communities. Provisions for an early learning system should not be limited to these functions. The League recommends attention to these important items.

  1. Increased investment in programs for children birth to age three. Currently only a small percentage of eligible children in this age group have access to programs. Research has demonstrated that providing support for children and their families in the earliest years produces significant benefits in a child’s life trajectory.
  2. Develop early learning system infrastructure, first aligning the various professional development systems for teachers of young children. Currently teacher education is provided in three largely uncoordinated ways—child care research and referral agencies, two-year colleges, and four-year colleges. In order to have a strong, competent early education workforce these programs need to be aligned into a seamless system.

We encourage funding of all six of these provisions: early childhood special education and early intervention, relief nurseries, culturally specific programs, high quality preschool programs, professional development for teachers and programs for children birth-age three. Each makes a valuable contribution to the development and learning of children in Oregon. All are important components of a system that offers a balanced approach to providing for young children and families who have been historically underserved in Oregon.

The funding recommended in this bill will increase the number of children being served, and at the same time begin the process of building a coordinated early learning system. We wish to stress that the bill’s provisions reinforce each other and that each one has important benefits for children, families and teachers. In order to achieve long-term benefit, we recommend that the pieces of this fund be kept together and that each receives a percentage of the funding consistent with legislative intent.

Regarding the Statewide Initiative Account LWVOR testimony said:

The League appreciates that designated uses are defined and urges ongoing vigor to assure administrative costs are lean and efficient allowing more direct services at the local level for students. As the ODE plans allocation of the Statewide Initiative Account, and the State Board of Education adopts rules necessary for the administration of this section, some Legislative oversight should continue to assure that these various SIA purposes are balanced yet flexible to meet evolving priorities. Otherwise, some may be marginalized at the expense of others—what is the balancing mechanism?

  • “Department of Education shall use moneys in the Statewide Initiative Account for the following purposes:
    • Funding the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act at the levels prescribed by ORS 327.856;
    • Expanding school breakfast and lunch programs;
    • Operating youth reengagement programs or providing youth reengagement services;
    • Funding high cost disabilities grants under ORS 327.348;
    • Establishing and maintaining Statewide School Safety;
    • Developing and providing statewide equity initiatives, as identified by the Department of Education;
    • Planning for increased transparency and accountability in the public education system of the state;
    • Funding student success teams established under section 13 of this 2019 Act; and
    • Funding administrative costs incurred by the Department of Education and the Early Learning Division in implementing this section and sections 9 to 16 and 30 of this 2019 Act.”

Anticipate additional League testimony as other amendments unfold.

Regarding the Public Hearing

On April 11 the JCSS held a 3½ hour meeting to hear community reactions to HB 2019. More than 90 people offered testimony. Many of the speakers expressed their appreciation for the committee’s visits to schools to listen to community concerns. Generally, responses to the provisions of the bill were very positive. It is seen by many educators as an opportunity to rectify underfunding of schools that resulted from past budget cuts. Some of those testifying had concerns and suggested the need for attention to things that are missing in the bill or that hadn’t been emphasized enough.

There was strong support for the equity emphasis of the bill. Legislators were commended for the inclusion of culturally specific programs. The need for more funding for culturally specific parenting education programs and the importance of culturally specific programs for refugee children were mentioned.

Strong support for Early Learning investments was given by Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Head Start Association, Stand for Children, Children’s Institute, state early childhood hubs, Early Childhood Cares, the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries, and the Oregon Community Foundation. While early childhood educators enthusiastically endorsed the early learning provisions of the bill, they emphasized the importance of adding some other programs to the list of those eligible for funding. These include Heathy Families Oregon, Baby Promise, parenting education and early literacy programs like Reach Out and Read.

Recurring themes in the testimony:

  • Need to reduce class size;
  • Behavioral health–need for counselors;
  • Support for emphasis on equity, serving the students who have the greatest needs;
  • More balanced curriculum including arts;
  • Attention to students experiencing homelessness;
  • Including public charter schools;
  • Importance of corporations paying their fair share; and
  • Including funding for community colleges—not included in the bill.

House Committee on Education and Senate Committee on Education

SB 963 addressing “classroom clears” or seclusion and restraint had a hearing on 4/10 in House Committee on Education. Disabilities Rights Oregon and the Oregon Education Association were the requesters of this measure already passed on the Senate floor. Listen to the testimony of chief sponsors: Senator Gelser and Representative Clem.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

An emotional Oregon Student Association Presentation on 4/11 highlighted the impact of growing tuition fees, increasing student loans, and food scarcity among students forgoing meals to pay tuition or buy textbooks. Over recent weeks in this committee, university, community college and others have pointed to the need for tuition increases and have asked for additional supports beyond the Governor’s Recommended Budget. 56% of Oregon students graduate with student debt. Average debt is $27,885. In the last decade, in-state tuition and fees at public universities in Oregon has increased by 59.9%

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 the 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-20, Student Homelessness; Nancy Donovan; and 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 is 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 help for ethics, immigration, 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

We await posting of SB 870, for the National Popular Vote, to the House Rules Committee, after passing on the Senate Floor this week – add your support! A set of elections bills is stacking up with the Secretary of State budget, delayed out of consideration for staffing changes, now probably out again in another week. Redistricting and public records work continues. We are looking at three immigration bills. Read on for details.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

SB 870, the National Popular Vote (NPV): History was made on April 9 when the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill, passed the Oregon State on a vote of 17 to 12. The bill is now on its way to the House, where it is expected to pass handily. Oregon is now one step closer to being the 16th state to pass NPV. If successful, it would bring the electoral vote total to 196 out of the 270 electoral votes needed for enactment of the Compact. If you haven’t done so, please contact your representative and urge support for NPV.

On the Senate floor, three Democrats voted against the bill and two Republicans voted for it. However, misconceptions about NPV are still prevalent. It’s important we make it clear that the goal of NPV is to make ALL votes matter, regardless of political party.

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. It seems unlikely that any of the several redistricting bills in the legislature will even get a hearing. A coalition of organizations is slowly forming around the idea of an initiative petition campaign. Stay tuned!

HB 2492 is about “prisoner gerrymandering”. It directs the Department of Corrections to determine the last-known address of inmates, if their address is readily known or is available to the inmate, and submit information to Secretary of State for use in redistricting. Currently, inmates are counted for redistricting where they are incarcerated, significantly distorting the representation of districts where prisons are located, as well as denying prisoners of representation in their communities. The League will likely favor this bill.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

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

HB 3004, the House bill that would create a Small Donor Elections Program is still alive in the House Rules Committee, but no hearing has been scheduled. Likewise, other bills on “dark money” disclosure (HB 2983), coordination of independent expenditures (HB 2709-2), and disclosures in advertisements (HB 2716) are still alive in the House Rules Committee. The League believes that all these bills or similar ones are necessary for a comprehensive, robust campaign finance system.

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. However, we have heard that Senate Rules Chair and Majority Leader Ginny Burdick is unwilling to move this bill until a companion bill to set the actual contributions limits is agreed to.

Related to that, a meeting called by Sen. Golden, Rep. Rayfield, and Rep. Holvey of various stakeholders around campaign finance reform issues, was held Friday 4/4. It included 30 or more stakeholder groups in a roundtable discussion about the parameters around CFR for each group. The legislators said they would compile what they heard into a summary document and then send it back to all groups for comments. They would then draft a bill for further consideration.

Transparency & Public Records, Josie Koehne

HB 2353 passed Monday, April 8, with a -4 amendment. This amendment keeps the $200 penalty to be paid to the public records requester if the Attorney General, a court or a district attorney (DA) determine that a public body has failed to respond or delivered with “undue delay,” i.e., past the 15 days allowed, but removes any associated attorneys’ fees. The reviewing body may also, or independently, order a fee waiver or fee reduction that a public body has denied. DAs and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Power, met to work out this compromise, as DAs want to maintain close working relationships with public agencies, which being named as the respondent to an agency lawsuit to deny disclosure and charging attorneys’ fees could compromise. This amendment helped pass the bill in the House Judiciary Committee with DAs remaining neutral. If the bill becomes law, public requesters, primarily the press, will no longer have to defend lawsuits brought by public agencies that sue to prevent disclosure; Das, the court and the AG will adjudicate these cases.

SB 703’s work session passed unanimously, on the commercial sale of health data without prior consent of the individuals involved, was gutted and a -2 amendment was added. It now establishes a 16-member task force to study privacy issues concerning the sale of health data, and complete a report due on December 1. Rep. Fagan has volunteered to serve on the task force.

HB 2430, the Public Records Advisory Committee and Advocate bill, passed on a 59 to 1 floor vote in the House and passed to the Senate Business and General Government Committee. HB 2431 on public records reporting, passed to Ways & Means on 4/3.

HB 3224, a transparency bill, directs the district attorney of each county to develop and adopt policies relating to discovery, charging decisions and case disposition and to make policies available to the public on its website. It was passed April 9 by a vote of 5-4 and is awaiting transfer to the next 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. This bill passed last week in the Senate and will move to the House Judiciary Committee.

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 de-identified data for research, for example. This bill was passed out of committee 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.” Four bills are designed to help with timely public records release.

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 for injunctive or 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.

Elections

HB 5034: We have been asked to speak to these Policy Option Packages, POPs, in the Biennial Secretary of State budget, rescheduled in General Governance Ways and Means for next week. We are inclined to add consideration for our bill HB 2234 here, for updating efficiency and security of candidate filing software.

  • 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 (Oregon Motor Voter) 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.

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 asking to replace both OCVR and ORESTAR.

HB 2685: Rep. Marsh is carrying this for us, to clarify 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.

SB 861 on prepaid ballot envelopes passed in Senate Rules, has been sent to Joint Ways and Means. 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.

SB 838 for 16 year old voters, with companion bill SJR 22, was heard in Senate Rules, without a work session. LWV does not have a position though we welcome 16 year old League members. We are preparing comments. Note that we did support SB 802 E, for 17 year olds to pre-register, then vote in the primary. See the SoS Newsroom.

SB 944 on risk-limiting audits versus hand tallies went to the Senate Floor this week, probably next to House Rules. The League has long supported risk-limiting audits and will speak in support of this bill.

SJR 20 is for same day voter registration, referred to Senate Rules, and is a priority for the LWVUS. This bill is complicated for not clarifying party registration discrepancies for prior registration dates. Ballots issued to same-day registrants will not be complete and this needs to be addressed.

Initiative Reform

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

HB 2891 and HJR 18: These two are Rep. Gomberg’s bills. We have a position of support using testimony from Kappy Eaton. These address initiative measures spending over $500K over 10 yrs.

Immigration

We are researching these bills to evaluate our positions, anticipate supporting them.

SB 577: Hate/Bias Crime Bill is in Joint Ways and Means with fiscal of about $700K. The League is following at this point, but may provide testimony when it reaches the House policy committee.

HB 2508 A: Refugee settlement funding, moved to Joint Ways and Means, fiscal is $4.5M. The League is following and may support.

HB 2015, driver’s licenses for undocumented drivers, has a PUBLIC hearing Apr. 17. It eliminates requirement that a person provide proof of legal presence to apply for driver’s license, and has NO fiscal. The League is following and is considering support.

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

On to the second half of session! The next deadline for policy bills is May 10th for scheduling a work session. Bill movement out of policy committees is May 24th. Budgets are SLOWLY working their way to a decision with May 15th being the important day to hear the Revenue Forecast for 2019-21. For now, we are hoping to get important policy bills sent to the Governor for her signature and getting support for important budget requests.  

Budgets

On April 8, an informational meeting was held so the Ways and Means Natural Resources Subcommittee could learn more about the goals of the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response because of the $400,000 General Fund request. Senator Taylor reminded the Governor’s office that she had participated in a similar process in 2016. The question: Besides the need for more money, what does this Council expect to learn? They explained that they are looking at strategies for mitigation, suppression and recovery. Included in the discussion were land use and building codes linkages. HB 2073, the standard timber harvest tax bill that helps fund the Dept. of Forestry, and HB 2495, a new bill that substantially increases the tax and creates a new fire suppression fund, will each receive a hearing in House Revenue on April 17. At least one of these bills is needed in order to move the Dept. of Forestry budget forward. 

On April 9, they discussed cannabis testing with the Dept. of Agriculture. We hope that HB 2672, a bill now in Ways and Means 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 might help with the funding burden.

On April 18, 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.    

Policy bills we are following in Ways and Means:

HB 2228-A, asking 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 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 is a bill that updates fees charged by the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries for various mineral and mining permits to help fund the Mineral Land Regulation and Reclamation program, which is fully funded by fees and federal funds.

SB 47 is a bill to establish the Waterway Access Fund to improve waterway access and promote boating safety education for the non-motorized boating community.

SB 260A requests $1.9 million (fiscal) from the General Fund to Oregon Ocean Science Trust, State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Higher Education Coordinating Commission and others to address ocean acidification.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

Many communities in Oregon currently face increased public health risks from wood smoke and wildfire air pollution. One, Oakridge, is among the twenty worst air quality communities for fine particulate matter in the entire United States and also struggles with median incomes significantly lower than the statewide median income. SB 1031 and similar a bill, HB 3408, would continue to provide funding to the Department of Environmental Quality for the Residential Solid Fuel Heating Air Quality Improvement Fund. It would help communities like Oakridge with heating system upgrades and compliance, weatherization, community firewood programs and education. Although they differ in the amount of funding, both bills passed to Ways and Means.

HB 3141A, which modifies and adds laws related to electric vehicle charging stations, was sent to Ways and Means. There, they plan to tweak it to harmonize with the goals of HB 2001A, which also has applications for multi-family housing, so as to be sure charging stations are available to encourage electric vehicle use. A companion bill, HB 2093A, was referred to the Senate Committee on Business and General Government. Both bills would increase availability of charging stations, and the hope is that this will further incentivize Oregonians to reduce the harmful carbon emissions from Oregon’s transportation sector by driving electric vehicles.

HB 2007, the “Dirty Diesel” bill, 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.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

In remarks made as part of the last agenda item of the State Land Board’s meeting April 9, Department of State Lands Director Vicki Walker began an informational conversation about two issues the League has been watching: management of the South Slough and Elliott Forest. Discussions with Coos County for a minimum 100-foot buffer zone to protect Coho salmon spawning areas in the South Slough seems to be moving forward, hopefully without costing taxpayers for the swapping of land already owned by the state with parcels owned by Coos County. Because NOAA has management responsibilities with the Slough land, the Slough might also get some acres that are currently a meadow/marsh and not useful to the county. That will help NOAA possibly approve. Look for action at the June State Land Board mtg.

On April 3 the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) adopted two sections of the Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) that had been under revision (See the new revisions here) for the past two years. 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.

Part V describes the process for making decisions concerning development of renewable energy facilities (wind, wave, current, thermal, etc.). 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. Both will be considered by the Land Conservation and Development Commission at their next meeting.

The Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) is asking the legislature that created the Trust in 2013 (without money to support their work) to allow it to enter into contract agreements with non-profits for the purpose of raising research monies to support their mission of studying ocean acidification and hypoxia. SB 753 has passed the Senate and will have a public hearing on April 16 in the House Committee on Natural Resources. The League supports this bill. 

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 bill is now in the Senate Rules Committee. The League opposes this bill. 

Drinking Water, Amelia Nestler

HB 3326 A declares harmful algal blooms to be a menace to public health and welfare and was sent to Ways and Means to fund both the Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA).  

Elliott State Forest

The first meeting of the new Advisory Committee was held on April 10 to help the Dept. of State Lands (DSL) as they continue to work on the adoption of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and work with the Oregon State University’s (OSU) College of Forestry as they consider transferring the Forest to OSU as another Research Forest. (Whether OSU can afford to take over management of the Elliott remains to be seen.) DSL is planning a public event in Salem in early May, a tour of the forest in August and three public hearings to be held around the state in December. The new decision point is February 2020. The state is looking for grant monies to help with the HCP work but wants to be sure there are no strings attached to the money. The federal agencies are heavily involved in the HCP process as some employees have worked on this project a long time and want to see completion before they retire! The League continues to watch this development.

There were 44 purchasers of the $100 million in Certificates of Participation authorized by the 2018 legislature—enough that the demand brought down the interest rate. 

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 both died in committee. 

Land Use

SB 8A, requiring petitioners to pay attorney fees should developers of affordable housing prevail was narrowed to apply only to development applications that would qualify for “publicly supported housing” and passed out of committee. The League continues to oppose since it will have a chilling effect on public participation and appeals to the Land Use Board of Appeals is the enforcement mechanism to assure local Comprehensive Plans and Development Codes are enforced. It now heads to the Senate floor.   

We expressed concerns on SB 10 establishing very high density requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors. 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 2001A, 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, was moved to Ways and Means with a $3 million ask 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 2003A, a bill requiring extremely technical regional housing needs analyses and then each city greater than 10,000 population to develop and adopt a “housing production strategy” (defined in the bill) and that the Land Conservation and Development Commission will set criteria to review the local government work, has been moved to Ways and Means where there is an expectation that further policy work will be done. The League opposes the current bill and oppose that policy will be done in Ways and Means, but we will engage in a work group to see if improvements to the bill can be made. The League expressed concerns in our testimony on the original bill and provided oral testimony in opposition on April 2 although we had little time to review the latest amendments. The bill was moved to Ways and Means due to its at least $1.5 million General Fund request.

SB 88A, a bill that would allow counties to authorize accessory dwelling units in certain rural residential zones moved to Ways and Means due to the fiscal impact of mapping by the Dept. of Consumer and Business Services. With the amendments, the League is neutral on the bill.

HB 2456A is a bill related to rezoning farmlands in the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region to residential uses. The League provided oral testimony in opposition. The bill has been moved to House Revenue due to the income tax credit and continuing farm assessment allowed in the bill.   

SB 2, as amended in the Senate, has been assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use where a first public hearing was held 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 had a public hearing and work session on April 9 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use. It was amended related to replacement dwellings on farmland. Expect further amendments on issues around land use that legislators might want to add as the bill moves thru the system. 

Pesticides and Toxics, Amelia Nestler

HB 3058 would ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic nerve agent pesticide proven to cause brain damage in children, contaminate waterways and harm wildlife. HB 3058 was amended by the -5 amendments requiring the Dept. of Agriculture to review the most current scientific data regarding the safety of current uses within Oregon of pesticide products that contain chlorpyrifos and report back to the legislature. HB 2980, a bill that extends the sunset date of the pesticide reporting system, was moved to Ways and Means. Another bill, HB 2619, was amended and moved to House Rules for further work.   

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, was amended by the -4s and moved to the House floor. Due to continuing work on amendments, the Water Resources Dept. has provided a list of possible amendments to be addressed in the Senate. The League supports updating our dam safety policies. 

Wetlands

HB 2437A, a bill on how the agricultural community deals with their need to clean ditches while protecting fish streams, was amended and passed to Ways and Means. 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 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). The -2 amendments were adopted and the bill sent to Ways and Means. We remain opposed in part because of the request to fund one employee to work on this project which competes with other wetlands bills this session. The Oregon Farm Bureau expressed concerns with the amendments that don’t clearly remove their constituents from assumption

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 2438A). The League supports this bill. 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 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 2796A) has a work session and was moved to Ways and Means. It would allow development on “degraded” wetlands. The bill was brought by a developer in Sheridan where his property has been determined 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, in part because it would allow a 1 acre to 4 replacement for these wetlands instead of the current 1 to 1 ratio. Another of the League’s concerns is whether or not the future owners of these planned manufactured homes would have flooding or mold issues. We have reached out to the Governor’s Housing Policy Advisor to see if help for this particular project can be found without changing wetlands rules and with a provision for protection for future homeowners.   

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


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Revenue and Tax Reform

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

Not only did the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) post 55-pages of proposed education policy language, discussed in the Education LR, they posted their 25-page tax proposal to fund Student Success, HB 2019-9. House Revenue held two mornings of hearings on tobacco and vaping taxes, which could free up General Fund money from the Oregon Health Plan budget.

Student Success

Not only did the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) post 55-pages of proposed education policy language, discussed in the Education LR, they posted their 25-page tax proposal to fund Student Success, HB 2019-9, with a corporate activity tax, CAT. Recall the revenue subcommittee was looking at either a simple gross receipts tax or one of two versions of a modified gross receipts tax. They picked modified. It’s similar to the MCAT1 the Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) presented the previous week. Starting with Oregon gross receipts, businesses subtract the larger of labor costs or the cost of purchased goods. If the result is less than $1 million, they pay no tax. Businesses with taxable gross receipts over a million pay $250 plus 0.49% of the amount over a million. Businesses with receipts over $500,000 file a return whether or not they owe tax. Exemptions include: groceries; hospitals and other entities paying the provider tax; sales to farmers’ cooperatives that then get sold out-of-state; and motor vehicle fuel (receipts would go to highways, not education).

Stay tuned for a long list of groups wanting more exemptions, never mind that the more exemptions, the higher the tax rate needed for the $2 billion per biennium target for student success.

The business tax is paired with 0.25% cuts to all personal income tax rates except the top 9.9%. Presumably business groups will put the CAT on the ballot. Presumably the personal tax cuts are to help voters get to yes.

House Revenue

House Revenue heard a number of tobacco and vaping tax bills. The Oregon Health Authority and the governor’s HB 2270 would increase the cigarette tax $2/pack, tax some vaping, remove the tax limit on higher-priced cigars, and require little cigars be sold in packs of 20, presumably to raise the price point for teens. All the new revenue would go to the Oregon Health Authority. Ninety percent would fund health-related programs and the rest fund tobacco use and chronic disease prevention. Other bills in the hearings focused on premium cigars or broader definitions of vaping.

Governor Kate Brown kicked off testimony, supporting her HB 2270, pointing to the $346 million for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), smoking-related costs for OHP, that two-thirds of OHP smokers want to quit, that teen vaping is growing, and that cessation funding will go to many groups including tribes and others targeting culturally-specific quitting messages. The governor had put the tobacco tax increase in OHP’s budget, but the Co-Chairs proposed fully funding OHP without the increase, plugging the hole with General Fund money. Passing HB 2270 would free up that $346 million of General Fund for other uses.

Many support the bills, including health care providers, the American Cancer Society, county health offices, and tribes. Teens testified to a school evacuation because vaping fog set off a bathroom fire detector, and to the prevalence of vaping, and nicotine addiction, among their peers.

Oregon vaping shops and manufacturers swore they sold only to adults, that vaping was healthier than smoking, and it got adults off combustible tobacco. Cigar shops said customers would switch to buying on the internet. Plaid Pantry said customers who stop coming in for cigarettes would also not be dropping in to pick up other items. All three groups predicted lost sales and lower employment.

The League of Oregon Cities would like a share of the additional revenue; they get a small share of the current cigarette tax, which would continue, though smaller dollars as the $2 tax hike reduces consumption. The Association of Oregon Counties, which has an equally small revenue share, supports the governor’s bill, both the funding for OHP and the health effects of reduced smoking.

LWVOR wrote testimony in support of the bills. Meeting materials here; video 4/10 and 4/11.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of April 15

House Revenue hears HB 3349 A, which removes the mortgage interest deduction from incomes over $250,000 and from second vacation homes. The League wrote testimony in support when it was in Human Services and Housing and still supports the bill. They hear HB 2073, extending timber privilege taxes, and HB 2495, making the taxes permanent and increasing the rate to pay for fire suppression.

Senate Finance and Revenue hears SB 1045, allowing cities or counties to exempt from property tax the portion of one’s house rented out through a nonprofit or housing authority program, adding to existing tax breaks for low-income housing, and an incentive for someone with more house than they need to rent rooms to low-income individuals.

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

Social Policy includes Health Care, prescriptions, mental health care in hospitals and the community, and coordinated care delivery of Medicaid services. Human Services covers all the anti-poverty programs, child welfare, senior and disability programs, food supplements, housing and work training. The Human Services Ways and Means makes funding decisions, except for housing, which lives in the Department of Housing and Community Services. Look for your issues below.

The Public Safety portfolios cover juvenile and adult processes, legal representation, state courts, state correctional institutions and community corrections programs. Both Judiciary Committees and Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittees share decisions in this arena.

Senate Health Care

Emergency Hospital Boarding in SB 140 was adopted on April 8, almost the last day for bills in the first chamber. Mental health hospital and treatment programs do not have sufficient space for patients who need a hospital level of care. The result is that hospitals keep these patients in limbo until a placement or treatment plan is developed. This bill will allow the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to authorize pilot projects to meet this need for mental health hospitalization.

SB 133 was amended to restrict advertisements for mental health and substance abuse programs. This bill was sent to Senate Rules after one amendment was adopted, but there was no agreement on crisis and emergency services in another amendment. SB 808 required continuing education in suicide risk assessment, treatment and management but it was also sent to Senate Rules.

SB 139 sought to impose restrictions and reporting requirements for utilization of health services by commercial insurers, coordinated care and medical assistance programs. SB 179 asked OHA to support a palliative care pilot project for community based end of life care. Both passed to Ways and Means.

Prescription drug costs are a predominant issue and SB 409 asks the State Board of Pharmacy to evaluate the importation of prescription drugs into Oregon and report back. SB 698 asks pharmacies to use other languages on labels for persons not proficient in English. Both passed

SB 770 establishes a Universal Health Care Commission to move to a Health Care for All system with a deposit of $1. Three senators voted yes and 2 voted no. The Senate Joint Memorial 2 was also filed to urge the Oregon Congressional delegation to endorse State-Based Universal Health Care. This bill was heard but not passed.

House Health Care had several hearings on prescription drugs and the role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM). Many owners of small local pharmacies complained of the low profit margin allowed under the purchasing from PBMs. HB 2185 and HB 2840 specified roles and restrictions in amendments that passed on April 9. The Department of Consumer and Business Services requires reporting from PBMs and monitors its processes. HB 3273 requires that drug manufacturers participate in a drug take back program or face a fine of $10,000 a day. This bill passed on a yes vote of 10 members with one excused.

The Health Care Committee has continued to insist on Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) transparency in HB 2267 and reviewing pharmaceutical cost increases in HB 2653. New this session is allowing voluntary enrollment or buy into CCO enrollment in HB 2012, and setting up Health Care Access through employers in HB 2269. The evolution of the Oregon Health Authority programs continue.

School Based Health Centers got another boost this year in HB 3165, which asks the Oregon Health Authority to plan for 10 centers in the coming biennium and to provide operating funds for 4 centers for five years. As usual these bills will go to Ways and Means. The League has supported these health clinics in schools in previous sessions.

Senate Human Services has focused on Child Welfare issues this session. The federal government has passed a new law called Family First Prevention Services Act, which attempts to keep more children with their families and provides services to the family. The Title IV E funds for foster care can be used for other child caring agency options such as shelters, but do not extend to children in the Oregon Youth Authority placements. SB 825 directing the Child Welfare agency to report back died in committee.

SB 171 orders the Department of Human Services to study and make recommendations on laws relating to children. A 30-page amendment was filed on April 4 and passed on April 9 with little testimony from the public on the record for that hearing. Presumably it will be heard on the House side where there may be additional public input. This bill was referred to Ways and Means for funding decisions.

SB 1 A established a Statewide System of Care Advisory Council with the task of collecting data on placement of children under 21 and services provided by DHS, OHA or OYA. SB 221 A provides for the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act. The bill allocates funds for children with behavioral needs and provides crisis and transition services for children including intellectual disabilities as well as behavioral mental health needs. Both passed and went to Ways and Means.

Oregon has a high number of children in the custody of the Department of Human Services, which has exceeded the number of available placements. As a result, children were housed in hotels with staff temporarily or were placed in residential programs out of state. There were many objections to these practices, and Child Welfare is working on foster parent recruitment and training new caseworkers. The most recent case of a child in a residential program out of state has drawn a lot of attention

House Human Services covers food, assistance and housing programs. Two bills for expansion of Women Infants and Children food benefits passed early. General Assistance passed again too.

HB 2644 proposed a pilot for Youth Development services in 5 counties. The bill passed easily and was sent to Ways and Means. HB 2627 requested that the OHA establish peer mentor recovery centers in large cities. The centers would be managed by peer mentors who will provide therapy and support each day and operate a 24 hour telephone line. The bill passed April 9 and went to Ways and Means.

HB 2849 stipulates reasons for removing a child from home to protective custody and/or placing a runaway youth in a shelter or detention. HB 3383 authorizes a Yamhill County pilot for a community-based child welfare program. HB 3179 asks the Department of Human Services to Study the Prevalence of Abuse for $1 billion. All 5 bills passed and were sent to Ways and Means.

Gun Safety, Marge Easley

Two key gun safety bills, SB 978 and HB 2013, were amended and passed their respective Judiciary Committees on April 9 and are each headed to a floor vote. SB 978 is the omnibus bill that contains a range of concepts including safe storage requirements, minimum age changes, regulation of “ghost guns,” reporting of lost or stolen firearms, and allowing local concealed carry restrictions in public buildings. HB 2013 closes loopholes in current law that allows the removal of firearms from those convicted of domestic violence offenses.

Senate Judiciary heard many bills because of fitness determinations in the Oregon State Hospital for civil commitments of seriously mentally ill patients and criminal determinations of the ability to aid and assist in their own defense. As mentioned before, the OSH is full of aid and assist patients. SB 25 asked for shorter timelines for delivery of court orders to move patients from jail to the hospital. SB 378 asked for a timeline on hospital reports to the court, which passed earlier on March 21.

This past week SB 762 died and SB 763 passed on April 9. SB 762 had asked for timelines of hearings and civil commitments. SB 763 defined dangerous to self or others within 30 days as criteria for civil commitment with no time restriction. The Aid and Assist patients can be civilly committed if they meet the above definition and they can be released to a lower level of care in the community.

Barbara Ross reports that all the youth justice bills, SB 966, 967, 968, 969 were rolled into SB 1008, which passed on April 8 with three no votes. The current expectation is that the bill will go to the senate floor on Tuesday the 16th and pass with bipartisan support. It will then go to the House Judiciary Committee, where there may be substantial opposition. It will not go to Ways and Means. Stay tuned.

HB 3064 accountability and equity act was put forward by the Partnership for Safety and Justice. This legislation will require that counties that receive justice reinvestment grants use the funds as intended and reduce the number of offenders sent to state prison beds. County Corrections staff will receive technical assistance to help them improve their performance. This bill is currently in the Public Safety subcommittee of Ways and Means.

HB 3224 requires all District Attorneys to have written policies to guide their operations. It passed out of the house on a party line vote. We will be looking to see if amendments are proposed in the Senate. HB 3148, was intended to limit DA’s plea bargaining practices but it was not passed out of committee.

HB 3145 A is a detailed proposal to restructure the way that defense attorneys are compensated and supervised. Because this will cost new general fund dollars, the decision about this proposal will be in Ways and Means Public Safety and with the co-chairs of Ways and Means. The League has already testified about Public Defense Attorney payments.

HB 3300 A establishes a Center for Incarcerated Parents and Children at Coffee Creek Correctional facility, which will be operated by the YWCA of Portland. The bill is in Public Safety Ways and Means. Another bill, HB 3289, asks the Criminal Justice Commission to study health care and behavioral health in jails. HB 3282 and HB 3297 were sent to House Rules as placeholders for CJC bills.

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

Almost all the excitement was packed into the first two days of this past week, with the deadline of April 9 to hold work sessions on bills in their first chamber.

The Committee on Human Services and Housing held work sessions and passed several very important housing bills, including:

  • HB 2001, permits communities above a certain size to allow middle housing options such as duplexes, townhomes, triplexes, fourplexes, cottage clusters and more. The adopted amendments lengthen the timeline and make other changes to support this bill. It now heads to Ways and Means. The League submitted a letter in support of this bill on April 5, 2019. 
  • HB 2002, which extends the right of first refusal to all affordable housing, and makes technical changes to the timeline for notices. The bill passed out of Committee and moved to Ways and Means.

The House Judiciary Committee held a work session on HB 2285, which amends the receivership process to make it easier to address abandoned and vacant homes. The bill heads to the House floor for a vote.

The Senate Housing Committee held public hearings and work sessions on several bills, including:

  • SB 8 provides attorney’s fees in instances in which affordable housing developments are challenged to the Land Use Board of Appeals, and the developer wins. The Committee adopted the -2 amendments to the bill, which clarify instances in which attorney’s fees are awarded, and to whom, and clarifies both the definition of affordable housing and that the entire project must be affordable. The bill passed unanimously out of committee. The League continues to oppose the bill because of the chilling effect on public involvement in land use. Enforcement of local Comprehensive Plans and Development Codes is done through a LUBA hearing, often brought by local community members.
  • SB 820 was amended to turn it into a bill to fund counseling as part of the Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program for the 2019-21 biennium. A homeowner who received assistance through this program gave a compelling testimony on the importance of this program. The bill moved unanimously out of Committee and heads to Ways and Means.

The Joint Ways and Means Committee on Capital Construction will hold a public hearing on HB 5005, which will provide general obligation bonds in support of Oregon Housing and Community Service’s LIFT program and permanent supportive housing.

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

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


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