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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 17 – May 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

Progress! “Cap and Invest” HB 2020 -84 amendment was posted to OLIS last Monday. This new bill continues to reflect an “energy economy that caps and permanently reduces greenhouse gas emissions, uses natural and working lands to sequester CO2, and builds climate resiliency statewide. The Clean Energy Jobs Bill (HB 2020-84) accomplishes all three. The Major Challenge: The R’s have boycotted the building for three days and it’s unclear at this point what specific compromises will be required to HB 2020-84 to ensure a vote can actually occur this session. Stay tuned….

*Don’t forget – Save the Date for May 29th Climate Day of Action in Salem.*

It’s unclear when HB 2020 will move to the House floor for a vote, most likely the end of May or possibly June after negotiated compromises and Student Success Legislation is completed. You can focus your contact with your legislators on the League’s and our coalition partner’s priorities, which include municipal trash incineration industries and F-gases/semiconductor industries as critical emissions.

As of May 10 there are 50 amendments posted for the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR) to take time to consider. Zero have been added in the last week. Most of these amendments are unlikely to be voted on and many have already been heard in the previous seven work sessions. See the Oregonian’s recent opinion/news article. OPB recent article: “Demands from Republicans in recent days have strayed far beyond the tax package to fold in other high-profile bills they would like to see killed or modified, gun controls and a cap-and-trade proposal among them….”

Other Active Climate Change Portfolio Bills

Fracking Moratorium: The League is supporting HB 2623 that would impose a 10-year fracking moratorium. We presented testimony to the Senate Environment and Natural Resource Committee at the public hearing on the bill on April 23. During the past week, Sen. Prozanski proposed an amendment that would reduce the moratorium period from ten to five years in an attempt to obtain adequate votes to get it out of committee. The work session is scheduled for May 21.

Oil Rail Safety: HB 2209 -10 passed out of committee unanimously on April 2 with a “Do pass with amendments” and now sits in Joint Committee Ways and Means. This bill may not be heard until late May or June.

Oregon Climate Authority: The SB 928 -1 public hearing was April 8 with the Governor’s Natural Resource Director Jason Miner’s testimony and with League testimony. The bill moved with “Do pass with amendments” to Ways and Means. The Governor’s recommendation is to form (SB 928) and fund (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. 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 the approach in SB 928.

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 in Rules has a work session scheduled for May 13. The League submitted, with eight other organizations, opposition to SB 451 and addressed this issue in HB 2020. We oppose passage of SB 451. It’s likely this bill is part of a compromise deal “the sausage making process” for HP 2020.

Governor Brown’s Oregon Environmental Protection ACT: HB 2250 A requires certain state agencies, Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority, to regularly assess proposed and 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 that were in effect on January 19, 2017. This bill passed in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on May 7, with no R’s in attendance. The League submitted supportive testimony in April.

Other League Climate Change Advocacy

Jordan Cove Energy Project: On Monday, May 6, the Oregon DEQ denied JCEP’s application for a 401 Clean Water Act (CWA) permit, along with a 200+ page evaluation outlining the application’s deficiencies. This is significant because a project of this type must gain approval of this particular permit in order for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue the necessary certifications for construction to begin. The Trump Administration is attempting to eliminate states’ ability to safeguard their water quality by exercising the oversight Congress conferred via the CWA as part of its effort to facilitate and fast track fossil fuel infrastructure project proposals. The applicant has the right to appeal the decision, and the denial is “without prejudice” so they could also reapply when/if they believe they have adequately solved the many problematic issues identified by DEQ. But the League and other opponents of JCEP are grateful that Oregon’s state agencies are so clearly doing a thorough and diligent job of upholding the law and protecting our resources. Work is continuing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released on March 29 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) staff. Public hearings are expected in June and the public comment period ends on July 5. This is a comprehensive list of all Oregon agencies involved in this project.

Our Children’s Trust (OCT) and Social Media YOUTHVGOV:

** Mark Your Calendars **: (Click for more details)

MAY 21 Climate Science Goes to Court! Tue 18:30, The Royal Room, Seattle, WA

MAY 21 If You Won’t, We Will: Youth Action on Climate, Tue 18:30

MAY 26 Forum: Climate Change in the Courtroom, Sun 09:00, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland

MAY 28 Climate Science and Solutions with Dr. Shahir Masri, Tue 18:30, Unitarian Universalist Church, Eugene           

JUN 4  Juliana v. US Hearing at Ninth Circuit in Portland Tue 10:30, Pioneer Courthouse Portland

Recent Press Release May 9, 2019: Groundbreaking Report Shows the United States Can Lead the Way Toward Climate Recovery Without Economic Hardship; more info here.

During the LWVOR May 17-19 Convention a “Climate Emergency” resolution will be proposed. Our Action committee CC team is about to send it to all Oregon Leagues for distribution this weekend. Over 500 municipalities and two countries have now declared climate emergency and many other governments have declared 100% Carbon Neutral or Net Zero GHGE goals by 2050. Ireland and the UK are the first two countries to declare.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, Transportation, Agriculture 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

This LR was completed prior to Monday, May 13th. The Senate convened at 3:00 pm 5-13 to hear HB 3427. Listen here. You may see the vote under “measure history” here.

What an unusual week in the Capitol! Senate floor actions did not occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday this week due to a lack of a quorum in a Senate R disappearing act. The Student Success bill HB 3427 passed by the House on May 1 along party lines with a supermajority of Democrats, met with a vocal (and absent) Republican protest when scheduled for a Senate vote on May 7. Though the Senate has a supermajority of Democrats, it takes two minority party senators to make a quorum. The last time there was a Senate walkout was in 2001 and the Democrats were in the minority. Read on for more drama.

Joint Committee on Student Success

In JCSS a “blank” placeholder bill, HB 2018 to “determine the adequacy of public education in the state” has been added to the 5/14 agenda signaling possible revisions to the Student Success Act. Because HB 3427 is stalled without a Senate quorum, one wonders if this might be a possible compromise bill with changes in the taxing mechanism—wait to see. Joint Committee On Ways and Means Subcommittee On Capital Construction will take public testimony on 5/14 for a PERS reform bill SB 1049 at 5:00 pm—the same time JCSS is meeting. Thus far that PERS bill is a blank shell, presumably to be written over the weekend.

The Student Success bill HB 3427 has proven to be controversial, not because of the policy sections but the tax mechanism used to collect designated revenue. Some bills are rumored to be on the cutting block to obtain Rs presence on the Senate floor for a quorum. Check out media reports here:

On 5/7 all bills with a fiscal that had been previously assigned to this joint committee were moved without recommendation to Ways and Means. These were bills that might have been considered for inclusion in HB 3427 but were not. All have had a hearing, some may gain funding in W&M or in the session end “Christmas Tree” bill, but that is not certain

Moved to Ways and Means without recommendation:

  • SB 157 Directs Department of Education to enter into a contract with a nonprofit entity to administer nationally recognized assessment of high school students’ knowledge and skills.
  • SB 719 Directs Department of Education to develop and provide a system of supports and technical assistance for school districts that is related to abbreviated school day programs for students with an individualized education program.
  • HB 2024 Directs Early Learning Division to establish a program to improve access to high-quality infant and toddler care for families whose incomes are at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
  • HB 2025 Revises preschool program administered by the Early Learning Division and establishes the program as the Preschool Promise Program.
  • HB 2444 Directs Department of Education to coordinate with Oregon FFA Association to increase student achievement and improve college preparation and career placement for students enrolled in agricultural education courses.

There are other “assigned measures” in JCSS. On 5/14 there will be:

Public Hearing and Possible Work Session

  • A “blank” placeholder bill, HB 2018 that directs the Department of Education to conduct a study to determine the adequacy of public education in the state. Since HB 3427 is stalled without a Senate quorum, one wonders if this might be a possible compromise bill with changes in the taxing mechanism—wait to see.

Depending on what is dropped into HB 2018, JCSS may also have a 5/14 Work Session on:

  • SB 155 Requires all investigations involving suspected abuse or sexual conduct by school employees to be conducted by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
  • SB 800 Directs Higher Education Coordinating Commission to convene specified persons for the purpose of assisting in alignment of credits earned through dual credit programs with requirements of foundational curricula.
  • HB 3391 Directs Department of Education to coordinate with Oregon career and technical student organizations in support of organizations.

Public Hearing:

  • SB 17 Establishes Task Force on the Implementation of Electronic Transcripts in High School.
  • SB 739 Appropriates money from General Fund to Higher Education Coordinating Commission for distribution to the University of Oregon for program that strives to improve high school graduation rates through collaborative partnerships between university faculty and high school teachers.
  • HB 2902 Requires school district to report on the number of incidents during which students of the classroom were removed from the classroom because another student in classroom was acting in a manner that would threaten to injure other person or to damage school property.
  • HB 3414 Directs Early Learning Division to develop a multi-level system of certification of early learning professionals.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

Last week on 5/3 the Joint Committee On Ways and Means passed out HB 5047 Joint Committee on Student Success Budget Bill and HB 5016 Department of Education – State School Fund. Note that the budget bill for schools got votes from some opposing Rs noting that they appreciate the investment in education but don’t like the taxes imposed in HB 5047 to fund education–Budget numbers show how the money will be spent. Listen here.

On 5/7 discussion continued on student assessment testing. Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon Promise, and Emergency Student Assistance for higher education students were discussed on 5/8. Ballot Measure 98 was before the committee on 5/9.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education–Student Assessments, Stephanie

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education, Stephanie Feeney

Two informational meetings on student assessment were held on May 1 and May 7.

5/1/2019 Testimony was given by Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education, Dan Farley, Director of Student Assessments, ODE, and guest speakers. ODE – Student Assessments Presentation Gill and Farley began the meeting with an overview of current practice and recommendations for revision and rethinking of the assessment process. The emphasis was on broadening the approach and using “the right assessment for the right purpose.” They called for a high quality assessment system to inform learning” and emphasized that assessments needed to be balanced—including formative (student level information that can inform instruction), interim (information about learning at the end of a unit), and summative (state, district and school information at the end of the year) measures. Gill acknowledged that discouragement with the current assessment system can be attributed to the fact that “as a state we have exclusively invested in standardized, summative assessment.” He pointed out that a variety of stakeholders have been calling for balanced instruction which means adding more formative and interim measures.

Assessment expert Rick Stiggens was invited to the hearing to provide more information about balanced assessment. He stated that the purpose (the why) of assessment is to “gather information to inform instructional decisions”. Decisionmakers include students, teachers, parents, administrators and legislators. Balanced assessment should allocate resources to meet the needs of all of these groups. He stated that formative assessment has the greatest impact on student learning and that we should focus on the classroom, and use assessment to inform teacher decison making that helps kids learn.

5/7/2019 Colt Gill and Dan Farley continued their presentation, A Balanced Approach, Framework of a Balanced Assessment Budget (submitted by Rick Stiggins) and presented their request for funding needed to implement it. They recommended continued funding for Math and English Language tests, efforts to improve science, social science, English Language Proficiency, Kindergarten Readiness and Essential Skills tests. They also proposed new investments in formative and interim assessments that will provide teachers with information they canʻt get from the current summative assessments.

In response to questions from legislators Colt Gill said that he recognizes that exclusive use of summative assessment has not been useful for teachers and that these tests were not designed to meet individual student needs. He stated, “We are misusing a test and saying it can be used for purposes it was not designed to be used for.” 

LWVOR comments: Largely because of Federal testing mandates, ODE has not invested in formative assessment, which is the most effective strategy for guiding teacher decision making. They now want to “do the right thing” by asking for a major investment in interim and formative assessment. The League congratulates the leadership of ODE on this change of course, but finds it unfortunate that the voices of teachers who want assessments that will help to improve their teaching have not been heard before this time.

The Oregon Kindergarten Assessment was only mentioned tangentially in these hearings but it should also receive legislative scrutiny. This assessment lacks clarity about purpose and does not provide teachers with information that can inform instruction. It is not consistent with best practices in early childhood education; the phonics and math components address knowledge and skills that should be demonstrated at the end of a year of kindergarten instruction, not on kindergarten entry; and language development which is a significant predictor of school readiness, is not included in it.

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.

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, offers a weekly update. Stand for Children writes a weekly blog during the legislative session. Legislative updates from educators and administrators offer their unique priorities: Oregon Education Association, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon Department of Education State School Fund, Oregon Youth Development Council, Early Learning Division of OEA and Early Learning Council, and Children’s Institute.

We welcome other League members to follow policies and funding in education. 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 Nancy Donovan; Higher Education Alice Bartelt and Karan Kuntz.


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

Thanks to our volunteers! You’re welcome to work with us, too.

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

Governance was affected last week by HB 3063 B (vaccines) and HB 3427 A, the Student Success funding bill, with staff reporting getting thousands of emails. A six and a half hour House floor session and four-day lack of a Senate floor quorum caused delays to ripple through meeting cancellations and rescheduled agendas, reflected in Governance bills.

Bill Watch

HB 3348 is an initiative reform bill requiring disclosure of ballot measure financial impact. We have worked on this from the 2017 version through the current pre-session filing and are very pleased to have been called for the public hearing this week.

These bills may be acted on shortly on the Senate floor, among others delayed for lack of a quorum.

  • HCR 8 to honor the work of Kappy Eaton, was passed in Senate Rules Committee (see testimony). We expect the third Senate floor reading this week.
  • SB 944 addresses election risk-limiting audits. We will support with a floor letter.

Stand by for short notice on these House Rules bills:

  • HB 2234, our online candidate filing bill, for all Oregon candidates.
  • HB 2685, our bill to codify clear guidance for candidate filing contact information.
  • HB 3202, to allow registrants to share race, ethnicity, and/or preferred language when registering to vote, has been pulled twice from scheduled agendas. We have extensive testimony prepared to address only the preferred language portion.

These other committee bills, delayed by bills subject to current deadlines, are still active:

  • HB 2210 is our incumbent website bill. We requested that a message be sent from the pre-session filing committee chair to the assigned committee chair.
  • SB 861 for pre-paid ballot envelopes passed from Senate Rules to Ways and Means.

Redistricting, Norman Turrill

Senator Golden has decided to not submit the full Redistricting Matters’ draft (LC 4233) as a separate bill, at least not yet. He will instead split it in two, a constitutional amendment bill and a statutory bill. In the meantime, a group of organizations is coalescing around the idea of a redistricting initiative campaign.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

Rep. Rayfield, Rep. Holvey, and Senator Golden presented a new draft contribution limits bill for feedback to another stakeholder meeting on for May 7. The whole package of bills may be ready to move by mid-May. We hope this package includes a constitutional amendment (amendment to HJR 13 or SJR 18 A), a contribution limits bill (amendments to HB 2714), a dark money/independent expenditure disclosure bill (amendments to HB 2983), a top-5-paid-for-by advertising disclosure bill (amendments to HB 2716 and/or SB 1018), an independent expenditures coordination rules bill (amended HB 2709-2), and a small donor election system bill (HB 3004 or SB 1014).

Public Records, Josie Koehne

HB 2353 A authorizes the Attorney General, district attorney or court to award a $200 penalty to a public records requester, or order fee waiver or fee reduction for agencies that fail to acknowledge and respond to a public records request within the 15 days required by law (with certain waivers). It is opposed by the League of Oregon Cities, the Association of Oregon Counties and the Special Districts Association of Oregon, as well as Oregon Association of Municipal Recorders’ (OAMR). They sight insufficient time for training agency public records personnel on the new 2018 public records law and the often overly broad requests submitted causing a time-consuming burden on staff, especially in small offices. They also object to lack of a specified appeals’ process. The bill passed out of House Judiciary on April 23 to the Senate Committee on Business and General Government and is scheduled for a hearing and possible work session on May 14.

HB3249 A ensures that client/attorney privileged confidential communications will not be subject to subpoena or public records requests without client consent. It passed out of the House Judiciary on April 24, and also passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 9.

HB 3399 is a controversial bill that needed more work and has died in committee. It had a work session on April 9 with a -1 amendment that requires a public records requester to be notified when an agency sues not to release a public record (proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief). The AG is named as the responder to the lawsuit in the case of a state agency and the DA is named as the responder for all other public agencies (such as school districts), rather than the requester. Although this takes the cost and onus to defend a suit by an agency off the requester, Open Oregon and the Oregon Territory Society of Professional Journalists (Nick Budnick) requested changes to ensure the requester can maintain control over their case and shop around for a lawyer to defend their right to disclosure of the public record they are requesting. District attorneys had concerns because they would be put in the position of defending a requester. This could alter their often close relationship with public agencies. The bill came about largely because of a lawsuit by a state agency against a family owned weekly newspaper, Malheur Enterprise, and one other case. See the article Records fight involving Enterprise leads to reform effort at Legislature” The work session focused on trying to avoid unforeseen consequences of the bill by the original supporters.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

Marge is away, submitted testimony in case SB 870 was assigned to be heard in a House committee (it wasn’t). Please stand by to support when it is called.

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

A decision by Senate Republicans to deny a quorum in the Senate has delayed work in that chamber. But the House continued their work and both chambers held committee hearings to consider bills. Now that the May 10 deadline to schedule a hearing in the second chamber has passed, some committees are holding informational hearings as they move toward the May 24 final day for action in policy committees (except Rules, Revenue and Joint Committees). Budgets requiring General Funds or Lottery Funds are awaiting the May 15 Revenue Forecast. Your advocacy is needed on behalf of the budgets and policies in this report. Contact your legislator today! 

Budgets

The Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) budget (SB 5521), along with two policy fee bills to help fund the OSMB: HB 2080 A and SB 47 A passed the Full Ways and Means Committee, as well as the budget (HB 5009) for the Columbia Gorge Commission. The State of Washington increased their budget by $323,000 for increased technology and another planner. Oregon will need to increase the Gorge budget in the end of session omnibus bill to match this increase per the bi-state rules on this Commission. The Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources forwarded the budget for the Dept. of State Lands HB 5035 to the Full Committee. Their recommendation matched the League’s testimony.

Now is the time to contact your legislators on the following policy bills that are sitting in Ways and Means:

HB 2001 A, 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, has a $3 million ask to help local governments do the work demanded by this bill. We have provided testimony in support of the amended bill.

HB 2003 A, 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 and enforce any lack of action, has a $1.5 million price tag—an amount expected to be increased should the bill be worked in Ways and Means. The League opposes the current bill as expressed in our testimony. New amendments are expected that may improve the bill slightly, but we still have concerns, particularly around the use of Regional Solutions mapping for the regional housing needs analyses. Those areas are too big to be helpful for local governments to use the data to assist in local planning. 

HB 2228 A is asking for $2.5 million General Funds for land use planning work AND for technical assistance focused on 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.  

HB 2436 A, 2437 A, 2438 A and 2796 A are all bills related to wetlands. The League is in support of only HB 2438 A. (See the April 15 Legislative Report for more information.) The League continues to work with an increasing number of partners alarmed by HB 2796 A who are lending their voices in opposition. 

HB 2672 is a bill that would allow some marijuana revenue to help Water Resources and Dept. of Agriculture address administrative costs related to our marijuana laws. A recent survey from Jackson County where respondents were most concerned about water usage was shared: 605 or 81 percent of respondents indicated water usage regulations should be more restrictive. The word “water” was the most mentioned word at 248 times in the 671 open ended comments submitted. Responses indicate this issue is of greater concern than any other. Marijuana producers are required to disclose and provide information of their lawful water source as a condition of their land use approval. However, Code Enforcement does not regulate water usage and works closely with the Oregon Water Resources Department through the District 13 Watermaster’s Office. Code Enforcement recognizes that collaboration and cross-communication between agencies is essential to addressing water usage concerns.

HB 2860 A is a bill establishing requirements for testing and reporting groundwater contaminants for residences that depend on well water as a drinking water source and establishes a Safe Well Water Fund. The League provided testimony in support. 

HB 2980 is a bill that extends the sunset date of the pesticide reporting system. HB 3058 A requires 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 3141 A would use $1.5 million to purchase electric vehicles and charging stations.

HB 3326 A declares harmful algal blooms to be a menace to public health and welfare. It would fund both the Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA). On May 10, the Full Ways and Means Committee authorized the submission of a federal grant for OHA to address this important public health issue: The grant allows a limited number of applicants to apply for up to $250,000 to manage health risks from harmful algal blooms in water systems. The Center for Disease Control last provided funding for this purpose in 2013 and has taken a renewed interest since the contamination of City of Salem drinking water in 2018.

SB 27 A authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to adopt by rule a schedule for fees assessed on water suppliers to partially defray costs related to the Oregon Drinking Water Quality Act.

SB 45 A 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 88 A, a bill that would allow counties to authorize accessory dwelling units in certain rural residential zones, has a fiscal impact related to a requirement around fire risk mapping by the Dept. of Consumer and Business Services. The League is currently neutral on the bill.

SB 260 A 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.

SB 346 declares that it is the policy of the state to use zero-based budgeting in developing a biennial budget plan. The League provided testimony in opposition.

SB 756 requests $2 million to continue the on-site septic low-interest loan program the League has supported for the past two sessions, although with different funding amounts.

SB 1031 requests $2 million and a similar bill, HB 3408, requests $500,000 to continue to provide funding to the Department of Environmental Quality for the Residential Solid Fuel Heating Air Quality Improvement Fund. 

HB 5005 is the bonding bill for this session. On May 7, the Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology recommended that the Dept. of Environmental Quality Electronic Data Management System request be funded. The League supports this project. 

Air Quality, Susan Mates

A public hearing was held on HB 2007, the “Dirty Diesel” bill, where proposed amendments were discussed. Rather than applying to the entire state, the heavy-duty and medium-duty truck phase outs will target Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties where emissions are the worst. This, along with other amendments, reflects the compromises that were deemed necessary to attract a winning coalition to pass this bill. Another public hearing where the proposed amendments should be available in the House Committee on Rules is scheduled for May 13. A work session may also be held. 

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

An informational hearing will be held on May 16 in the House Committee on Natural Resources related to the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative. 

A Public Hearing will be held on the Territorial Sea Plan Part 3 (Rocky Habitat Management Strategy) and Part 5 (Marine Renewable Energy Siting), May 22, 4-6pm at Agate Beach Inn, Newport. Another public hearing will be held before the Land Conservation and Development Commission who is scheduled to potentially adopt both parts at their May 23-24 meeting in Salem. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing, Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact, Housing Impact Statement and the Proposed Rules are available here. See the League’s Coastal Study where some of these issues were discussed. The League is expected to provide testimony in support of these rules. 

SB 961, a bill that seeks to amend and expand the definition of “development” to land use planning goals related to beaches and dunes (Goal 18) continues to sit in the Senate Rules Committee. The League opposes this bill.  

Elliott Forest

League members attended the Dept. of State Lands Open House on May 7 where the new DSL state forester and OSU staff were available to share information about the evolving future of the Elliott as a research forest. For continuing information, see here.

Land Use

HB 2456 A is a bill related to rezoning 200 acres of farmland in the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region to residential uses. The League provided oral testimony in opposition in the House Agriculture and Land Use Committee. The bill has been moved to House Revenue without recommendation due to the income tax credit and continuing farm assessment allowed in the bill. A work session is being held on May 13 where the A5 amendment will be considered. Although this new amendment removes the tax portion of the bill, which we applaud, the League still opposes the underlying land use policy.

SB 8 A would require prevailing party attorney fees when publicly supported housing developments are challenged to LUBA and the developer prevails. We continue to oppose this bill.  The bill is on its way to the House floor.

SB 10, establishing very high density requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors, sits in Senate Rules. As currently written, the League opposes. 

Pesticides and Toxics, Amelia Nestler

HB 2619 is scheduled for a possible work session in the House Committee on Rules on May 15. HB 2619 no longer addresses neonicotinoid use; it simply bans chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos are neurotoxic and can drift from fields to neighboring communities, enter farmworker’s homes on their clothing, and impact the developing fetus in pregnant farmworker’s. It has off-target environmental effects as well. Banning chlorpyrifos protects the health of Oregon’s children and our environment. The Committee will consider the A3 amendment, making the effective date January 1, 2021. 

As part of her day job with Northwest Green Chemistry, League member Amelia Nestler has recently joined the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) for the Toxic Free Kid’s Act (TFKA) due to her expertise in alternatives assessment methodology. The TFKA defines a list of chemicals of concern and requires manufacturers to 1) notify the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) of their presence and 2) substitute the chemical of concern for a less hazardous chemical. In lieu of substitution, the manufacturer may apply for a waiver by either A) completing a quantitative exposure assessment or B) completing an alternatives assessment that shows that there are no alternatives. This phase of rulemaking will focus on the waiver requirements. The first meeting was Friday, May 10, and meetings will continue through June and possibly July, if necessary.

Alternatives assessment is a relatively new regulatory tool. Typically, a chemical of concern is banned with no process for evaluating the alternatives. This has resulted in regulators playing chemical whack-a-mole, where a banned chemical is replaced by another hazardous chemical, which is then banned and replaced by yet another hazardous chemical, and so on. Alternatives assessment requires considering the hazard, potential exposure scenarios, cost and availability, and performance of alternatives before selecting them for use.

Recently, Washington, Oregon, and California have all passed laws requiring this tool to ensure that the alternatives are not just as bad as the chemical being banned. The EU has recently adopted similar requirements for phasing out substances of very high concern. Dr. Nestler is discussing the issue with colleagues in Washington, California, and the EU to identify lessons learned in the regulatory approach, and she welcomes any suggestions or advice from League members as well.

During this legislative session HB 3355 proposed changes to TFKA. It is scheduled for an informational meeting on May 14 in the House Human Services and Housing Committee (invited testimony only) and will not be worked this session. Currently, TFKA limits the number of new chemicals that may be added to the list of chemicals of concern to five chemicals every three years. HB 3355 would have removed this limit and removed the option to obtain a waiver with a quantitative exposure assessment. Alternatives assessment is a more comprehensive tool, and as there are tens of thousands of chemicals used in commerce, with new ones added daily, it is important to be able to add chemicals of concern to the list as the science becomes available showing they are hazardous. This is a sample of the work that is done between legislative sessions to address issues that do not make it through the current session. 

Water

HCR 33 will have a public hearing and possible work session on May 13 in House Rules where the League will provide testimony in support. The resolution urges the Governor and others to work together over the next two years to create a comprehensive state water vision, using the Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) as the basis for that work. The League has been involved in the adoption of the IWRS, and we look forward to finally funding it. Testimony by others will revolve around the Governor’s water vision and legislator plans for public outreach. Stakeholder groups are working together to address water challenges in Oregon both now and in the future. 

HB 2085 A, the dam safety bill that updates statutes for the Water Resources Dept. on regulation of dams, particularly high hazard dams where the public’s safety could be at risk, will have a hearing and possible work session on May 16 in Senate Environment and Natural Resources where the A5 amendment will be considered. The League supports updating our dam safety policies.  

An informational hearing was held on May 9 in the House Natural Resources Committee around the City of Newport’s Big Creek Dam Project. SB 894 requests $40 million in bonding to help replace this high hazard dam where the total cost may be $70-80 million. 

The Environmental Quality Commission has received a petition to designate Waldo Lake as an Outstanding Resource Water. The Dept. of Environmental Quality will accept written public comments on the petition until 5 p.m. on June 3. To view the Notice Document and the Petition, and to submit written comment, please view the rulemaking webpage. The Environmental Quality Commission is scheduled to act on the petition at its meeting on July 18-19, 2019. If the Commission directs DEQ to conduct a rulemaking, that process will include an opportunity for public comment on the rule language amendments proposed by the petition. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new federal Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality criteria for freshwaters in Oregon to protect aquatic life from the effects of exposure to harmful levels of aluminum. More information is available on the EPA’s 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. This request is in the Oregon Business Development Dept.’s budget.

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, Revenue and Tax Reform Coordinator

The Senate scheduled a third reading for the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) bill, HB 3427 A, on Tuesday May 7. However, all but one Senate Republican boycotted, denying a quorum. News outlets reported the two sides negotiating. The House Revenue Committee heard HB 3028 A, renewing and raising Oregon’s earned income tax credit (EITC).

Student Success

In last week’s Legislative Report, LWVOR forecast the Joint Committee on Student Success (JCSS) bill, HB 3427, would pass the Senate, where Democrats have the 3/5 majority needed for passage, and gain the governor’s signature the week of May 8. We could apologize for faulty foreshadowing, or blame it on our budget-quality crystal ball.

Rumors abounded over which major bills Democrats would need to sacrifice, and what a PERS reform package would need to look like, to bring back Senate Republicans. The Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction held an informational meeting on PERS reforms Friday on May 10.

Earned Income Tax Credit

House Revenue heard HB 3028 A, renewing and raising Oregon’s earned income tax credit (EITC). Currently most eligible filers get a refundable credit against their Oregon taxes of eight percent of their federal credit; those with a child under three get 11 percent, some of the lowest rates. HB 3028 A raises that to 12 percent for most, 18 percent for those with a child under three, and creates a new category of filers with a child aged 3-5, inclusive, who’d get 15 percent of their federal credit. It would also allow filers to claim the Oregon credit using either a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). The Renew and Raise coalition testified that over 70,000 citizen children are in homes that don’t qualify for the federal EITC; only one filer without a Social Security number and using an ITIN can disqualify the entire household from the federal credit.

The Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) reported that it would cost $55 million to just to extend the existing state EITC for the second year of the next biennium; the expansion would cost an additional $40 million.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy shared a table listing estimates, for each revenue committee member’s district, of the number of EITC households, how much federal EITC flows to households in each district in a year ($7-16 million), how much Oregon credit residents of each district get ($700,000 – $1,400,000), and how much the districts’ households would get under Renew and Raise – nearly double current amounts, as expected given LRO’s cost estimates. LWVOR is generally skeptical of tax expenditures, but the EITC improves progressivity of Oregon’s personal income tax, a value we support, and we testified in favor of the bill.

However, the Co-Chair Budget gave the Joint Tax Expenditure Committee a total budget of $40 million to cover all renewing, raising, and new tax expenditures, not enough to even renew the existing EITC. House Revenue meeting materials here.

Enterprise Zones

House Revenue also heard HB 2053 A, which changes the employment and compensation requirements for business tax breaks in various business enterprise zones. The Oregon Business Development Department Business Oregon explained that of the five programs, all have different hiring or wage requirements for the tax breaks and one has no requirement, some wage requirements include benefits and some don’t. HB 2053 A makes the requirements more similar and for, some programs, moves requirements from compensation, including benefits, to the easier-to-track wages.

Tax Fairness Oregon praised some changes in the bill, noted that the four programs already in effect will cost $234 million in personal and corporate income tax and property tax exemptions, that some changes would reduce current wage standards, asking for changes to the bill.

The House Revenue chair asked Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) staff to give feedback on the issues raised in testimony; staff said they are already working on it. Meeting materials here.

Tax Expenditures

In another sign that session may eventually end, the Joint Tax Expenditure Committee met to adopt rules and discuss their work plan. Well over a dozen bills, many extending scheduled sunsets of existing extensions, sit in their docket already, with more on the way.

House Share

Senate Finance and Revenue sent the house share property tax exemption bill, SB 1045, to the floor recommending do pass, amending in the -2 sideboards. LRO said local revenue would fall by at most $2.6 million, if all parcels were in highest tax Multnomah County. Meeting materials here. See last week’s Revenue LR for details on the -2.

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

The Department of Administrative Services Office of Economic Analysis (OEA)’s releases the revenue forecast release May 15 that sets the size of the budget pie for the 2019-2021 biennium.

It is possible the two party caucuses may come to enough agreement for the Senate to again have a quorum, pass the Joint Committee on Student Success bill, HB 3427 A, and send it to the governor for signature. But LWVOR is boycotting additional forecasts on that bill.

The Joint Subcommittee on Capital Construction holds a hearing and possible work session on PERS the afternoon of May 14.“`

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

Judiciary Committees considered bills on Juvenile Detention facilities. SB 15 A gives the Youth Development Commission (YDC) the responsibility of collecting data on youth detention facilities. Federal funds are received for diversion programs and YDC has monitoring authority. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 27 – 1 with 2 excused.

A youth offender under 18 cannot be held in adult jail, only in a juvenile detention facility. A runaway from home or a youth under 18 cannot be placed in the juvenile facility if they have no delinquency charges. SB 924 B makes this clear and grants an exception for youth who are runaways from another state. The Interstate Compact requires states to hold runaways until they can be retrieved and returned home. The House Judiciary passed this bill to the House floor.

The Senate Judiciary passed HB 3261 A, which is a requirement for police to record interviews with youth under 18 in a police station. The record is intended to protect the law enforcer and the juvenile. The bill was moved to the floor with a do pass recommendation.

The Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee reviewed the Budgets for the District Attorneys in HB 5014 and the Public Defense Attorneys in SB 5532. The District Attorneys Budget covers the salaries for the elected District Attorneys in each Judicial District. The assistant DAs are funded by the county governments. The Public Defense Commission provides all the court appointed attorneys in circuit courts. The agency has asked for increased salaries for the appellate division and 2 policy analysts for oversight and quality assurance. LFO recommended 2 accountants and funds for a financial management system. The League supported this budget.

The Oregon Youth Authority Budget SB 5541 is scheduled for May 15. The LFO-recommended budget covers an increase of general funds for operations and staffing. Equity issues are to be the focus in the 2019-21 biennium, with intent to improve equity and inclusion in programs and services with specific attention to transition services upon return to the community. The League also supported this budget request.

The Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee heard a presentation from the Oregon Health Authority – Behavioral Health Division on May 8. The presentation included prevention, screening, treatment, case management, recovery and support in community mental health clinics and the Oregon State Hospital inpatient services. Medicaid and specific grants provide funding through clinics and Coordinated Care Organizations. Crisis Assessment and Treatment Services are provided in Emergency Departments in 14 counties. The Oregon State Hospital is not funded through Medicaid.

Intensive treatment for children is provided through Trillium at the Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis. The need for residential beds for children is exceeded by the supply of 145 beds now. The estimate is a need for 67 more beds, similar to the shortage of placements for children in the child welfare system. The most effective treatment is in home with parent and child. Parent substance abuse treatment is also more effective when children can remain with the parent, but Medicaid often does not cover it.

The Oregon State Hospital intakes are 60% homeless people, with an inpatient stay of 18 months and the discharge to community group homes. OHA has 1,154 residential beds available. Permanent supportive housing is needed. The Governor has asked for $4.5 million in her budget.

Health Care Committees are processing bills from the other chambers. Senate Health Care has scheduled HB 2185 A on pharmacy benefit managers for May 20. Work Sessions on HB 2011 on cultural competence, HB 2447 on CCO 2.0 and HB 3074 A on rate reviews for health benefit plans are set for May 13. HB 2658 requiring 60-day notice of drug price increases and HB 2935 A for notice of the availability of prescription-reader devices for the visually impaired are scheduled for May 15.

House Health Care has scheduled SB 250 A on equity, SB 134 A on mental illness or substance use disorder treatment options, SB 707 A on youth suicide Intervention, and SB 765 A on primary care spending reports among other bills on May 14.

Senate Human Services has already passed HB 2908 on the Oregon Project Independence Program expansion study and HB 2462 on Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention (CAMI) grants on May 7. The bills scheduled for May 14 cover early childhood, child care and abuse investigations. This Committee heard a report from the Oregon Housing and Community Services on Homelessness. HB 2962 requested OHCS to survey the homeless shelter capacity in each county and report back on the survey results. OHCS receives federal and state funds for homeless shelters, rent assistance and other anti-poverty programs.

Health Care, Bill Walsh

SB 770 A was amended to become a bill to establish a Universal Health Care Commission that will make recommendations regarding a single payer system in Oregon by February 1, 2021. It passed (3-2) the Senate Health Committee on April 8; it is now in Joint Ways & Means and is expected to be assigned to the Human Services subcommittee.

The Universal Health Care Commission will have 13 voting members and 7 non-voting seats. Commission Tasks include: assessing the costs of the Health Care for All Oregon Plan; eligibility; scope of coverage; choice of provider; no patient cost-sharing; federal waivers; cost-containment features; research models; educating and involving the public in the design of the plan. Findings will be regularly reported to the legislature and the public.

Costs for SB 770 are estimated between $800,000 and $900,000, mostly for support staff as Commission members will serve unpaid except for expenses. It has an Emergency Clause so appointments and contracting can begin by November 1, 2019.

SB 867: The criteria in this bill reflects the findings of the 2017 RAND Report. The intention of the Legislative Assembly is to achieve the goals of universal access to an adequate level of high-quality health care at an affordable cost. It is four pages of principles and standards the legislature thought to codify so that the recommendations would not be lost over time. It calls for cross-agency coordination, public involvement and transparency. These bills did not make it out of the Senate Health Committee so they are dead.

Paid Family Leave, Debbie Runciman

HB 2005 still sits in the House Rules Committee, awaiting action. An interesting development occurred in dealing with the Republican Senators’ walk out: Speaking for the Republicans, Senator Tim Knopp identified several bills they wanted to die. In addition, they included paid family leave, HB 2005, as a bill they wanted to PASS, with the qualifier “that it be shaped to meet their approval.” Does that mean HB 2005 must include the compromise already reached between advocates and business lobbyists? Or does that mean they’ll want something more? Time will tell….

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

  • On Monday, the House Revenue Committee held a public hearing on HB 3028, which would renew and raise the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  • On Monday, the Human Services and Housing Committee met at both 1 pm and 5 pm.
  • The Committee held an informational hearing with OHCS regarding changes to the homeless service system, as well as permanent supportive housing and the Governor’s proposal to support children and families experiencing homelessness. You can view the slides from presentation here.
  • The Committee held a work session on SB 8 A, which would provide attorney’s fees to affordable housing developers who prevail at LUBA. The bill passed unanimously out of Committee, and now heads to the House floor.
  • The Committee held a work session on SB 278 A, which expands access to the Rent Well Program. The bill passed unanimously out of Committee and now heads to the House floor.
  • The Committee is also beginning to hold informational hearings on bills which have missed the deadlines and are not intended to move. On Monday, they heard about a bill from Representative Zika, which would study shelter needs.
  • On Monday, the Senate Housing Committee heard HB 2306 A, related to the timing of issuance of building permits.
  • On Monday, the House Rules Committee held a very brief hearing on HB 3432, related to condo defects. The Committee will take up this bill again next week.
  • On Tuesday, the House Revenue Committee held a public hearing on SB 262, which extends the sunset on a key property tax exemption used by the City of Portland and the City of Eugene for housing. The bill now awaits a work session in this Committee.
  • On Thursday, the House Revenue Committee held a public hearing on HB 2137, which extends the sunset on the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit. The bill has been amended to create a tax credit to operate agricultural workforce housing.
  • On Friday, the Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures will meet for the first time, which marks the beginning of work to determine which tax credits and expenditures will be renewed or extended.

Next Week at the Legislature

On Monday, the Senate Housing Committee will meet to hold work sessions on two bills. First, they will hold a work session on HB 2916, which is our technical fix bill for transitional housing campgrounds. Second, the Committee will hold a work session on HB 2997 A, which would only impact the City of McMinnville. The bill clarifies that if the city adopts an inclusionary housing program, and a proposal comes forward for a housing development that splits a housing development of twenty or more units across several buildings or lots, they would still be subject to the inclusionary housing rules. The Committee has heard amendments which would clarify that retirement communities are not subject to inclusionary zoning rules.

  • On Monday, the House Rules Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 3432, related to condo defects.
  • On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a work session on HB 2285, which would clarify city receivership programs, to potentially support affordable housing.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee will meet, and hear HB 2530 A, which would require veterans to receive notification of programs to help with rental assistance and foreclosure assistance.
  • On Wednesday, the House Revenue Committee and Senate Finance and Revenue Committee will meet to receive the Revenue Forecast. This is the final revenue forecast of the Legislative session, and will help Legislators understand how much general fund dollars are available to be spent.

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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