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

Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 19 – May 2019

 

 

 


Sign up for the Legislative Report

In This Issue

Climate Change

Education

Governance

Natural Resources

Revenue and Tax Reform

Social Policy


Climate Change

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

Climate Day Of Action! Wed May 29 at the Capital

Please plan to attend this Wed May 29th a Climate Day of Action in Salem.* More Info at Renew Oregon Events:

“Cap and Invest” HB 2020 -94 amendment sits Joint Ways & Means on May 17. 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, builds climate resiliency and a just transition process statewide. The Clean Energy Jobs Bill (HB 2020-94) accomplishes all four. The recent fiscal impact analysis of $22.3M, see here, but a revenue impact that should offset these costs has yet to be filed. Do stay tuned….

HB 2020 A needs to be assigned to a Ways and Means Subcommittee where additional amendments may be considered. It will then need to be sent to Full Ways and Means before moving to the House floor for a vote and then the Senate floor with a final trip to the Governor’s Office for a signature, most likely in mid-June. The more realistic goal is the Governor signs by June 31. You should focus your contact with your legislators on the League’s and our coalition partner’s priorities, which include not including municipal trash incineration industries, F-gases/semiconductor industries as critical emissions. HB 2020 is in the news: May 23 Oregon Business News highlights opportunity. Find an updated Climate Risk assessment by state here. Today – another view related to gas tax and transportation budget future funding;  another news article here.

NEW HB 3433. “Requires certain state agencies and colleges at Oregon State University to conduct certain studies on opportunities for greenhouse gas sequestration by and emissions reductions from activities related to Oregon’s natural and working lands and in Oregon’s forest products, agricultural and building materials industries, transportation sector and electricity sector”. This bill passed to Ways and Means on May 17 and would be in addition to Oregon Climate Change Research Institute now located at OSU. Funding is referred to in HB2020A

Other Active Climate Emergency Portfolio Bills

Fracking Moratorium: The League is supporting HB 2623 A that would impose a 5-year fracking moratorium. During a work session in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on May 21, Senator Roblan successfully moved adoption of an amendment to reduce the moratorium to five years. The bill was passed out of the committee 3-1 (Olsen absent) on a “Do pass” motion. The bill is headed to the Senate Floor–calls to Senators are in order.

Oil Rail Safety: HB 2209 A sits in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources.

Oregon Climate Authority: It’s still unclear if SB 928A will be passed this session. In April 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. 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. League is concerned that the six Hanford Cleanup employees at the Dept. of Energy have a home as their on-going monitoring of Hanford is critical to public health. 

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 is in Senate Rules with a possible work session on May 29. The League submitted, with eight other organizations, opposition to SB 451 and addressed this issue in HB 2020. The League adamantly opposes the passage of SB 451. Recent Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility news here.

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 was signed by the Governor.

Jordan Cove Energy Project: No news on Jordan Cove this week. We are still waiting to see whether the applicant will appeal DEQ’s May 6 denial of their 401 Clean Water Act permit or, alternatively, whether they will submit a new application that seeks to address DEQ’s many concerns. Likewise, we have not heard any news from DSL on the applicant’s May 9, 1,600 page response to the Request for Information Department of State Lands (DSL) sent them on April 10. This process is related to the “Removal-Fill” permit needed by the project. Members working on a technical comment for the four Local Leagues representing the counties where the Jordan Cove project would be installed are still analyzing 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:

BREAKING: Oregon Supreme Court Grants Plaintiffs’ Request to Take Up Youth Climate Lawsuit Against the State Related news here: The Federal lawsuit could be affected by this related “Government argues for dismissal of Climate case…” .

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

MAY 28 Climate Science and Solutions with Dr. Shahir Masri Unitarian Universalist Church Eugene

JUNE 4 Rally with #youthvgov for the Right to a Livable Future! Director Park Portland

NEW JUN4     YouthvGov Hearing LIVE STREAM Watch Party UofO in Eugene: EMU Crater Lake Room North.  Plan a LIVE stream event in your community. More info HERE

NEW JUN 18  No Ordinary Lawsuit Webinar Tue 20:00 EDT (GET TICKETS at FB event)

Recent Press Release May 9, 2019: Groundbreaking Report Shows the United States Can Lead the Way Toward Climate Recovery Without Economic Hardship; Find the Climate RECOVERY Plan – 350 PPM pathway Report here.

During the LWVOR May 17-19 Convention a “Climate Emergency” resolution was considered and passed. Over 500 municipalities and two countries have now declared a 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 a Climate Emergency and Germany announced a Carbon Neutral by 2050 goal. Multinationals are also joining in. Even Amazon is looking at aggressive GHGE reduction goals. A number of League Climate ‘Emergency’ advocacy state and local folks from 10+ states are working on similar resolutions for their up-coming May and early June Councils and Conventions. It is a possibility the LWVUS Council that meets late June will address this Climate Emergency topic in some form.

Oregon Economic Analysis staff (OEA) recent quarterly revenue forecast only mentioned climate risks in their 65-page report. The League is concerned that this issue needs broader consideration related to future costs to the state and the effect on future revenue.

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.

Back to top


Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

The legislative session is officially moving toward sine die adjournment—that suspends the requirement that 24 hours’ notice must be given for work sessions during committee meetings. If the meeting is scheduled to take public testimony, at least 24 hours’ notice must be given. Many education bills are awaiting their day, not yet on the calendar, with the Joint Committee On Ways and Means.

Joint Committee on Student Success

On 5/21 these three bills were moved without recommendation to the Joint Committee On Ways and Means. We await their outcome.

  • HB 2967 Directs Department of Education to award grants to enable school districts to provide courses in computer science as part of career and technical education program.
  • HB 2902 Requires school district to report on number of incidents during which students were removed from a classroom because another student in classroom was acting in a manner that would threaten to injure another person or to damage school property.
  • HB 2326 Provides funding for a program under which Department of Education awards grants to school districts for a percentage of certain student transportation costs for which the school district does not receive any amount in distributions from State School Fund or any amount related to transit activities.

Also, the following bill had a public hearing. No work session is yet scheduled, but it has support from Oregon Education Association and some school districts.

  • SB 456 Prohibits State Board of Education, school district or public charter school from requiring student to pass test to demonstrate proficiency in Essential Learning Skills in order to receive diploma.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

On 5/21 the Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education discussed Baby Promise and the Child Care Development Block Grant. Because LWVOR has followed the Early Learning Division over six years of development, this week we take an in-depth look at this testimony.

An informational hearing was held 5/21/19 to discuss the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) and the pilot Baby Promise program. Miriam Calderon, Director of the Early Learning Division (ELD) provided an overview of the work of the ELD, discussed some pilot programs that are underway and requested, and provided rationale for funding new positions. Link to verbal testimony and slides ODE – Child Care Overview

Calderon began by talking about the need for child care and its impact. There are two basic purposes for early childhood programs: supporting working families and promoting positive child development. She emphasized that the impact on children’s development is as important as the provision of child care. Calderon pointed out that the federal government and states have raised child care requirements to provide additional attention to children’s health and safety.

The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), established in the early 90s, and administered through the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, is the primary funding source for addressing child care. It provides financial assistance to qualified working families through the Employment-Related Day Care (ERDC) program, supports children’s health and safety through child care licensing, provides funding to improve child care quality through professional learning, and provides supports for increasing the supply of child care. The Oregon ELD is the lead agency for the fund.

An annual increase of $25 million was used as follows: 64% for support for children (child care assistance and pilot infant/toddler program), 26% for support for providers to assist programs in meeting new federal health and safety standards, and 10% to improve the child care licensing program.

The federal child care block grant provides most of the funding for the state Office of Child Care. For the 2019-21 budget, current service level (CSL) for the office, plus additional federal funds, totals $163.4 million, of which 88% is federal funds and only $20 million General Fund. It would be administered by 155 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff.

The office has asked for several Policy Option Packages (POPs) that would add 55 FTE. The total ask is $63 million all funds, including federal, of which $12.6 million is General Fund. Ways and Means will determine what is actually funded. 

POP 157 addresses improving care licensing. Calderon discussed a new Tandem Investigations Pilot designed to improve the handling of child abuse investigations by coordinating the efforts of the Office of Child Care and the Child Welfare Department. This POP makes permanent the 5 limited duration positions dedicated to this program.

POP 154 addresses quality improvement and professional development with a focus on improving coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral networks for providers. Improvements will be realized by having the ELD take over coordinating functions.

POP 153 addresses building the supply of quality infant-toddler care. Calderon emphasized that Oregon is a child care desert with regard to care for the youngest children (there are slots for fewer than one third of infants and toddlers whose families need them). This request is for the continuation of a pilot infant care program (Baby Promise) that contracts directly with caregivers. HB 2024 will codify the Baby Promise Program, and now sits in the Joint Committee On Ways and Means.

POP 151 addresses increasing the capacity of the ELD through the addition of new positions.

LWVOR Comments: The Early Learning Division is asking for substantial state investment in new positions designed to improve and expand their capacity. Additional funding will help this small, quite new (six-years-old) agency to continue evolving into a strong, viable state agency. Legislators (and the public) need to better understand the implications of the fact that education for children between the ages of five and 18 is fully publicly funded while early childhood education receives a small amount of government funding while the great majority of program funding comes from tuition paid by families. This lack of public support results in low pay for teachers and concomitant poor morale and high teacher turnover. (With thanks to LWVOR Action members Stephanie Feeney and Maud Naroll for this review of Baby Promise and the Child Care Development Block Grant.)

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.


Back to top


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 is intense now. Additional and extended House floor sessions have been added with bills read aloud and House Saturday sessions now added to keep on track to finish the session on time. The Senate hopes to finish on June 21. Both should finish before July 1 to stay on track. See our Bill Watch list looking forward and our earlier reports for details on bills.

Bill Watch

SB 761 was resurrected from mid-March dormancy with one day’s notice. See purported partisan motivation and a reference to League opposition. The new -3 amendment would halt availability of online printable single-signature initiative petition sheets until 2023. The League opposed, based on multiple positions, our testimony here. A stack of printed forms was seen and that concerned some as fraudulent. The Secretary of State and the Elections Director countered with analysis showing e-sheets had a much higher validity rate than the 10-signature sheets paid and volunteer gatherers use.

HB 2714, HB 2716, & HB 2983 are companion campaign finance reform bills with a public hearing extended to this week, details below.

These bills are moving with assignments:

  • HB 2015 “Drivers’ licenses for all”, from the Joint Transportation Committee, without recommendation, to Joint Ways and Means.
  • HB 3348, an initiative reform bill, from the House to the Senate Rules committee.
  • SB 670, from the Senate to House Rules Committee. It prohibits election official’s names from concurrent appearance on official voting materials as both candidates and officials. We spoke to the related but inactive bill, HB 3049, and will now speak to SB 670.

Assignments on short notice may be challenging for these bills with House Rules schedules so full. Some have reassurance that they will be heard.

Redistricting, Norman Turrill

As the legislature moves into its final phase, there has been no movement in the legislature on the redistricting issue.

In the meantime, the hearing in House Rules for HB 2492 on prisoner gerrymandering was cancelled for unknown reasons. The League testified in favor of this bill on April 17.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

Last week we made an error in our reporting of HB 2714. It is not a Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform as the original bill version proposed, but is now a gut-and-stuff vehicle for campaign contribution limits, with the -4 amendment being the most recent version. It is therefore an important piece of the package of bills that Rep. Rayfield, Rep. Holvey and Senator Golden have proposed to go along with a proposed enabling constitutional amendment, SJR 18 A or HJR 13 (amendment to be determined). New drafts have also been issued for HB 2983-6 on independent expenditure reform and dark money disclosure and HB 2716-5 on advertisement disclosure. The May 23 hearings in House Rules on these three bills were rather brief with only Rep. Rayfield explaining them. A new hearing and possible work session on all three bills is now scheduled for Tuesday May 28.

We still hope that a small donor election system bill (HB 3004 or SB 1014) will also be considered further, so that we will have a complete and balanced campaign finance system.

Transparency and Public Records, Josie Koehne

Several public records bills await final Ways and Means Committee outcome in the coming weeks.

SB 25 A passed the Senate and the House Judiciary. It allows sharing of mental health records by medical providers, both public and private, for the purpose of conducting a mental examination or evaluation by court order, in the case of a forensic investigation. It also prevents use of these disclosed mental health records outside the courtroom to protect the defendant from future retaliation.

HB 2051 A is a state police tip line bill, signed into law by the governor on May 22 after passing the Senate Judiciary unanimously. It protects personally identifiable information of whistleblowers who file a report on the tip line concerning student safety, with several exceptions explicitly outlined in the long  -1 amendment where the public interest ‘balancing test’ might apply. The bill does a good job outlining instances where and when the public interest favors disclosure while protecting an individual’s right to privacy and safety.

HB 2053 A passed unanimously in the Senate Business and General Government committee and now awaits the governor’s signature. It authorizes a $200 penalty on state and public agencies that the DA or AG determine to have unduly delayed responding after 15 days to a public records request. The “A engrossed” measure states that the DA or AG “may order a fee waiver or a fee reduction if a public body has responded to the request with undue delay or has failed to respond to the request in the time and manner,” but does not allow the requester to recover attorneys’ fees in a winning law suit as stated in the original bill.

HB 2393 passed both House and Senate judiciary committees on May 22. It defines damages that can be awarded in a suit when an intimate (nude or sexually explicit) “personally identifiable” image of a person is disseminated without consent, and modifies the definition of the crime of harassment.

HB 3224 is a good transparency bill, unanimously passed in Senate Judiciary. It requires all county DAs to “develop and adopt policies relating to discovery, charging decisions and case disposition and to make policies available to public on website.” This should promote fair, open and consistent DA practices across the state.

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


Back to top


Natural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

Most of the action will be in Ways and Means the next few weeks where many natural resource agency budgets are awaiting action and where policy bills that have fiscals attached are also awaiting action. Your advocacy is needed on behalf of the budgets and policies in this report. Contact your legislator today! 

Budgets

HB 3309, relating to the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, repeals the restriction that new essential facilities may not be built in the tsunami inundation zone and repeals the requirement that DOGAMI adopt tsunami inundation zone parameters, as well as changes exemptions under the definition of surface mining. The bill will be heard in the Subcommittee on Natural Resources on May 29. There will also be consideration of a federal grant application from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board related to Coastal Wetlands Conservation on May 29.

On May 22, the Subcommittee on Natural Resources heard SB 40, which increases license fees for heating oil tank regulatory program at the Dept. of Environmental Quality and SB 42, which removes a sunset date and changes some meeting requirements for the Fisheries Restoration and Enhancement Board. These bills were considered in Ways and Means because of the fees associated with these programs. They passed out of Full Ways and Means on May 24 and are headed to the Senate floor. 

The Dept. of Agriculture budget (HB 5002), its fee bill (HB 5003) and three additional bills related to fee increases in specific areas (HB 2057, 2059 and 2061 A) were passed to the Full Ways and Means Committee, then on Full to the House floor this past week. You can review the specific details of budget bills by reading their Legislative Fiscal Office Recommendations.

Now is the time to contact your legislators on the following policy bills that are sitting in Ways and Means. Some of these policy bills will be given an “informational hearing” in their original policy committees next week. (Housing bills May 29 in House Committee on Human Services and Housing.)

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 2007 A, the “Dirty Diesel” bill, would phase out heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties where emissions are the worst. It will prohibit the sale of older equipment, which would stop the dumping into Oregon of equipment that is being phased out in neighboring states. The bill will allocate the remaining $52 million of the Volkswagon settlement with priorities to address those most impacted by new regulations and where the clean equipment will most benefit the highest impacted communities.

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 has signed on to a letter in opposition with partners alarmed by HB 2796 A. The Metro Council has also expressed their opposition to the bill. HB 2437 has been assigned to the Natural Resources Subcommittee, indicating that this bill may move.

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. The Dept. of Agriculture budget bill included a budget note: “The Oregon Department of Agriculture is directed to work with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to determine an appropriate funding mechanism for the reimbursement of the Department’s laboratory expenses related to the testing of cannabis in cases referred by OLCC and OHA, and report back to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means during the 2020 session.” We are hopeful that a similar note will be added to the Water Resources Dept.’s budget and we have asked if the OLCC budget should also contain a budget note on this issue. 

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).

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. This bill has a work session in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services on May 28. The League supports this bill.  

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 which includes funding for the Dept. of Environmental Quality Electronic Data Management System. The League supports this project. 

HB 5019 is the budget bill for the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. One funding proposal has been offered to address the need for more firefighting resources, community resiliency and landscape analysis.  

Air Quality, Susan Mates

SB 1044 A establishes goals to promote zero-emission vehicles, requires the biennial report assessing the progress of the state’s zero-emission vehicle goals, and sets requirements for states agencies to purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles for fleets. The idea behind this bill is to see whether or not we are on track to meet our 2050 goals, and it is complementary to HB 2020. Both bills will advance important greenhouse gas reduction steps needed to address climate change. It made it out of the Joint Transportation Committee with a do pass recommendation to Ways and Means.

The Secretary of State did an air quality audit on the Dept. of Environmental Quality program. A follow up has been issued.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

The Land Conservation and Development Commission moved to adopt both the Territorial Sea Plan Part 3 (Rocky Habitat Management Strategy) and Part 5 (Marine Renewable Energy Siting) amendments on May 24. The Part Three update process is scheduled to continue into its Phase 2 work plan, with the next working group meeting schedule for June 5, 2019 in Newport. For more information on the Part 3 and Part 5 rulemaking processes please visit the DLCD rulemaking page and www.OregonOcean.info. The League provided 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 State Forest

“It’s been six months since Oregon State University was chosen by the State Land Board to take over management of the controversy-plagued Elliott State Forest, and the message coming out of OSU is this: Not so fast.” (From the Corvallis Gazette Times May 19) Might carbon credits help? Or the proposed habitat conservation plan? How much timber harvest? A report is scheduled before the State Land Board on Dec. 10.

Free Fishing and Camping

It’s free to fish, crab or clam in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2. During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.

The first weekend in June has long been Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon. (Oregon State Parks are also free for visitors that weekend, with free parking Saturday-Sunday June 1-2 and free camping Saturday.) Visit the Free Fishing Weekend page for more information including contact information for each event.

Forestry

The Oregon Board of Forestry will meet June 5 to discuss the fire season, Siskiyou streams protections and ecosystem services. Agenda is 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 bill has passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee even though the underlying revenue policies have been removed. The League opposes the underlying land use policy.

SB 10, establishing very high density requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors, sits in Senate Rules. We understand that amendments are being worked but they have not been made available to the public. As currently written, the League opposes. 

League members attended the meeting of the Land Conservation and Development Commission on May 23 and 24. Among the items on the agenda were reports about how counties might consider rezoning Exclusive Farm or Forest Lands to Non-resource Lands. They also adopted new rules around solar facilities on agriculture lands. Their next meeting will be held in Condon on July 25-26 where the 2019-21 Policy Agenda will be considered with adoption scheduled for Sept. 26-27 in Tigard. The League usually comments on this important agency work plan. 

Pesticides and Toxics, Amelia Nestler

HB 2619 , related to banning chlorphrifos, sits in the House Committee on Rules. It is unclear if this bill will be voted on this session. There is a “study” bill (HB 3058 A) in Ways and Means—infuriating since the chemical was about to be banned federally before there was a change in federal leadership and is a serious health risk.    

Scenic Waterways

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has initiated a study of approximately 27 miles of the South Umpqua River to determine its suitability as a potential Oregon State Scenic Waterway. For more information, contact Kitty.Weisman@oregon.gov

The League is awaiting the Governor to approve a section of the Nehelam River as our next official Scenic Waterway. The Oregonian provided information (https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2019/05/how-the-state-almost-clearcut-a-scenic-oregon-river.html) on this issue. 

Water

HCR 33, a resolution urging work on a state water vision, is stalled in House Rules. HB 2085 B, the dam safety bill, awaits a vote on the Senate floor.

From the May 20 Water Conditions Report from Water Resources Dept.: Snow water equivalent (SWE) values at NRCS SNOTEL sites continue to decrease with snowmelt across the state. The current statewide SWE value is 67 percent of normal. Warm temperatures have resulted in several basins melting out up to 2 weeks earlier than normal. Over the next 8 to 14 days, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-normal temperatures along with below-normal precipitation probability across most of the state. The most recent three month outlook indicates increased chances of above-normal temperatures. The precipitation outlook for the same period is for drier than normal probabilities in the northwest corner of the state with equal chances of above or below normal precipitation for the southwest and central regions of state. For eastern Oregon the outlook is for above-normal precipitation. The next long-term outlook will be issued on June 20, 2019.

DEQ will ask the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to approve rule amendment to add procedures for qualifying point source dischargers in the Willamette Basin to apply for and obtain a water quality standards variance that would apply to water quality based effluent limits for mercury. Other amendments will conform Oregon rules to federal rules. This rulemaking will amend rules in OAR chapter 340, division 041. To learn more about this rulemaking and the advisory committee you can view the rulemaking web page at: Mercury Variance Rulemaking Web Page.

DEQ has issued a proposed plan for controlling temperature pollution in the Klamath and Lost River watersheds. The plan is called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL. View the full news release at: https://bitly.com.np/4LXxl.

The EQC has received a petition to designate Waldo Lake as an Outstanding Resource Water. DEQ 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 EQC 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 Oregon Water Resources Department invites public comment on applications received for the 2019 cycle of Water Project Grants and Loans which provide funding to evaluate, plan, and develop water projects that help address an instream or out-of-stream water need and result in economic, environmental, and social/cultural benefits. Learn more about this Public Comment Opportunity to view the Applications Received- 2019 Funding Cycle. Written comments on the applications will be accepted until 5:00pm, July 16, 2019.

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 South Coast Umpqua Regional Solutions Advisory Committee will meet on June 3 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Bandon, OR. Call In: 1-669-900-6833; Participant Code: 139300807#. The agenda is available here.

The Governor’s budget recommends $15 million be allocated to this program for regional economic development projects. Last biennium the Regional Infrastructure Fund (RIF) was awarded $4 million in bonds which were not sold until this spring. But there is a total of $9 million now in this fund unspent so there should be questions around why a new $15 million should be awarded in 2019-21. This request is in the Oregon Business Development Dept.’s budget, SB 5544. The budget was scheduled to be worked and then pulled back. We’ll look for any changes to the budget recommendation when it is rescheduled.   

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! We don’t have anyone to follow Stewardship issues (as in plastic bag bans, etc.) and Transportation. If you are interested in these issues, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Peggy Lynch peggylynchor@gmail.com


 Back to top


Revenue and Tax Reform

By Maud Naroll, Revenue and Tax Reform Coordinator

The Joint Tax Expenditure Committee heard testimony on the many benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Cultural Trust tax credit, the agricultural workers’ housing credit, and the proposed expansion to cover operating costs for agricultural workers’ housing.

The PERS bill, SB 1049 A, sped through the Senate and is now in the House.

Tax Expenditures

Just renewing the existing tax expenditures scheduled to sunset next biennium will cost $68 million, of which $54 million is renewing – not raising – the EITC. The Co-Chair Budget currently allocates just $40 million to the Tax Expenditure Committee; if they want to spend more, they must end other existing tax expenditures. Alternatively, since the May revenue forecast found a surge in 2017-19 revenue that could be carried forward into 2019-21, the Tax Expenditure co-chair(s) might succeed in negotiating for a bit of that revenue bolus.

The co-chair running the meeting had never seen anyone say the EITC was not a good idea, and asked the head of the Oregon Cultural Trust quite positive questions. The other co-chair cautioned that the legislature can’t fund all worthy efforts and programs, and some programs are just as appropriate for a grant program, going through the regular funding process, instead of using a tax expenditure. Meeting materials here.

The co-chair running the meeting made it clear that the omnibus tax expenditure bill will also include technical fixes to the Student Success bill, HB 3427, now signed by the governor. Tweaks will affect banks, insurance companies, agricultural co-ops, auto dealerships, residential subcontractors, definition clarifications including telecommunications, specifying that local taxes paid on meals are not part of the tax base, and language on liquor stores, and a few others. The co-chair said most are not revenue issues, and hoped none were controversial. One Republican committee member was clearly unhappy that groceries were not on the technical fix list, and unhappy that the technical fixes to Student Success were not going to House and Senate revenue committees. Fix language is still being drafted, and there’s no vehicle yet.

Public Employees Retirement System – PERS

Recall that one Democratic senator was adamant in demanding substantive reform to the Public Employees Retirement System, PERS, in order to vote for Student Success. Recall, too, that the May revenue forecast found hundreds of millions in new 2017-19 funds that did not continue as new revenue in 2019-21, which some legislators wanted to put to one-time uses like PERS.

During the week of May 15, the -2 amendment to the PERS bill SB 1049 had received vehemently opposing testimony from public employees and their unions for diverting some employee contributions away from existing 401K-type accounts to fund individual accounts within PERS. The biggest benefit to employers’ contribution rates came from extending the amortization schedule, stretching out the pay down. The week of May 23, the bill sped through the Joint Subcommittee on Capital Construction, full Ways and Means, and the Senate, with a new -8 amendment. The -8 keeps the -2’s amortization change and reviled employee contribution diversion but adds $100,000,000 of General Fund, a one-time appropriation, to the PERS Employer Incentive Fund, providing up to 25% match of an employer’s unfunded actuarial liability lump-sum payment. Not all Democrats voted for the bill, and it passed with some Republican support.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of May 27

House Revenue will hear HB 2495, a forest products tax bill, “For purposes of considering amendment(s) that replace [the] bill.” The relating clause says “Relating to forest management.” They’ll hold a work session on HB 2053 A, which changes job creation and wage requirements for businesses in enterprise-type zones. And likely the Joint Tax Expenditure Committee will meet Friday May 31, but had not posted as of May 24, nor had Senate Finance and Revenue.

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


Back to top


Social Policy

By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

Health Care Committees have focused on bills refining the current health services through the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Consumer and Business Services. The League has supported the development of the Oregon Health Plan under a waiver from the federal government to cover and expand the Medicaid program. Oregon also participated in the Affordable Care Act development of the insurance exchange for the purchase of private insurance within federal rules. The latest report from DCBS is that the uninsured rate declined from 17% to 30% for existing conditions to the current 6%. The federal plan maintains protections for pre-existing conditions, non-discrimination for protected classes and mental health parity. Managers reported if the federal plan fails to be funded in the future, Oregon would not be able to assume the costs of the program.  

The Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee heard the Oregon Health Authority Budget Rebalance for 2017-19 on May 16. The report shows a General Fund cost of $10.6 million which will be balanced by $7 million in Cover all Kids and $4.9 million in other health service programs. HB 5544 -1 was moved to the full Ways and Means, which is scheduled for May 24. OHA will submit the next Rebalance in December of 2019. The Subcommittee will be hearing other health care bills sent to Ways and Means next week on May 28 thru 30. There is only a one-hour notice of bills to be considered.

Senate Health Care bills that have survived the 2-chamber process within the past 2 weeks are SB 134 B, which covers access to alcohol and substance abuse programs through Coordinated Care Organizations, SB 142 A, which renames sexual diseases as infections to reduce stigma and increase treatment. Next SB 250 A, confirms non-discrimination and access to health care, SB 409 B evaluates the benefits of a wholesale importation of prescription drugs, SB 707 A sets up a Youth Suicide Advisory Board in OHA, and SB 918 seeks notification of youth suicide cases. But SB 765 A on primary care was sent to Rules.

House Health Care bills that have recently survived the two-chamber process were HB 2185 B to rein in cost of pharmaceuticals via pharmacy benefit managers, HB 2658 A, which requires drug manufacturers to report planned price increases 60 days ahead, and HB 2935 A to notify patients that prescription readers are available. SB 698 B requires that labels be in language other than English if needed. Many of these bills, including SB 770 A for universal care commission, were sent to Ways and Means Human Services Subcommittee, so we will check the Subcommittee agendas in coming weeks.  

Senate Human Services successfully passed SB 167, which established a mental health services bill of rights and SB 543 A on Children’s service districts as a local taxing mechanism to support local programs. The House Human Services has passed a multitude of bills with a fiscal cost so they have been referred to the Human Services Ways and Means Subcommittee so we will check the agendas in coming weeks.

The most recent Human Services Ways and Means Subcommittee has received reports on caseload forecasts, which have shown decreases in child welfare cases but increases in guardianships, increases in Intellectual Developmental Disabilities services in homes, and increases in Community Based Care for Older Adults and People with Disabilities. The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and SNAP benefits has been dropping since 2013 and 2015, so it may reflect an improved employment market.

The Public Safety Subcommittee hears Agency Budgets in stages over the session. The Oregon Youth Authority, SB 5541, had its final budget consideration on May 15. Recommendations from earlier hearings were a shift of resources from unused community placements to correctional facilities operations. 30 group life positions were added in facilities and 3 positions in Health care were added in the Oak Creek facility in Albany. Community residential placements for 320 – 335 are available now and if more are needed, the agency can return to request additional funds.

Vocational education funding for older youth was increased. Special requests were the modernization of the Juvenile Justice Information System which is used by County Juvenile Departments and the state Youth Authority. The system has worked well but is at least 20 years old and needs updating. Special Budget Notes were on position management and equity improvement. The population has over-representation of youth of color. The agency will consider special programs and transition plans back to the community. The Budget passed the Full Ways and Means 5-17. Construction projects are proposed in separate budgets. 

The Capital Construction Subcommittee considered requests from the Department of Corrections on April 26. The Corrections Information System tracks records from both Community Corrections and the DOC prisons. An update is estimated to cost $1,650,000. Radio replacements in facilities is estimated at $14 million for interoperability between 6 facilities in Salem and 10 throughout the state. Cameras for surveillance in custody are needed in 10 of 14 institutions at $8.6 million and deferred maintenance in electrical, HVAC, plumbing and roofs for $24 million, for which there are no reserves. Here are one-time projects for revenue expenditures. 

Updates on House Judiciary bills show that HB 2625 EN on the Oregon State Police study of missing native women and girls has passed the House and Senate floors and has been signed by the Governor. HB 2568 EN on a review of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program has passed both chambers and been signed by the Gov. SCR 31 EN on support for the federal recognition, self-determination and economic independence of all nine Oregon tribes has passed both chambers and been signed by the President and Speaker.

Recent House Judiciary bills on District Attorney practices in HB 3201 A on plea agreements and HB 3224 A on printed policies passed Senate Judiciary on 5-22, and will be scheduled for Senate floor votes. These bills were promoted by the Oregon Criminal Lawyers Association. HB 2849 A was another bill supported by OCLA on standards for taking a child into custody without a court order. This bill was passed earlier but waits with others in the Human Services Ways and Means Committee.

Senate Judiciary passed other House bills: HB 2240 EN to set up a Violations Bureau in State Court Administration, HB 2568 EN on Court Appointed Special Advocate Review, HB 2589 EN declaring that sexual orientation is not a disability, and HB 3289 EN directing Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to study jail health care practices and report by September 2020. This bill passed House 55-2 no with 3 excused and passed Senate floor with 28 yes to 2 excused. The Governor has already signed these four bills. HB 2932 on immigration status in court proceedings passed the House floor by 38 to 20 with 2 excused. The Senate Judiciary Committee also passed it by a 4 to 3 excused vote last week.

Youth Justice, Barbara Ross

What it took to get a tough piece of legislation through the process. The League of Women Voters can be very proud of being part of a coalition that put this bill over the top.

An amazing victory: On Thursday night, May 23, the juvenile justice bill SB 1008 A passed on the House floor, 40 to 18, with two legislators excused. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee the previous week on a party line vote This is the bill that eliminates automatic waivers to adult court for youth charged with measure 11 crimes. If they are convicted, they will have the right to a “second look hearing ” half-way through their sentence or before they are transferred to an adult prison. At the hearing a judge will determine if they have been adequately rehabilitated and can safely be released to community supervision. Life without any possibility of parole is eliminated for offenders whose crimes were committed at age 15, 16, and 17.

The passage of the bill in the Senate was due to the determination of several heroes:

Senator Floyd Prozanski, chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, led a work group of stake holders over a year to fine tune the proposals.

Senator Jackie Winters, the Republican Senator who has worked on justice reform issues for decades. She persuaded her republican colleagues  to “let” the bill pass.

Senator Dennis Linthicum, from Klamath Falls who signed on as a supporter early at the urging of his local District Attorney, Eva Castillo, local ACLU and LWV members.

Peter Courtney, Senate President, assigned Senator Winters the job of getting SB 1008 through the Senate. He gave the bill the priority it needed and gave a dramatic persuasive floor speech.

Because it alters some provisions of Measure 11, the bill required a two-thirds vote to pass. The final senate vote was 20 to 10. with three Republicans voting yes.

In the house the outcome was very uncertain because of the number of issues in play including education funding and corporate taxes. The heroes here were: Tina Kotek, Speaker of the House, gave this bill strong priority and did not let it get lost in the struggle over other issues. Kimberly McCullough, ACLU policy director, assembled a fantastic coalition of grass roots organizations and skillful paid lobbyists. They were persistent, patient and kept explaining the bill over and over to skeptical democrats and angry republicans. They kept their cool, rebutted false rumors and never gave up. They kept detailed track of who said what.

Jennifer Williamson, Chair of the House Judiciary committee, who kept the Democratic Caucus together and persuaded the Republican leadership to allow some of their members to  vote yes.

In the end 4 Republicans voted yes, two from Eastern Oregon, one from Klamath Falls and one from the south coast. These folks appear to be in safe districts where a ” soft on crime” vote would not hurt them too much. Only one House Democrat voted no. He will be in a tough race next year in a very conservative district.

Gun Safety, Marge Easley

HB 2013, which will likely be the only gun safety bill to survive the session, is now on its way to the Governor’s desk, following Senate passage on May 23. The bill closes loopholes in cases of extreme risk protection orders by prohibiting possession of firearms by individuals who don’t request a hearing, don’t appear for a hearing, or withdraw a hearing request. Read League testimony here.

Meanwhile, the gun safety community continues to express its anger with the Governor’s decision to sacrifice SB 978, the omnibus gun safety bill, in a trade deal to allow passage of the education funding bill. Students from the March for Our Lives organization gathered at the Capitol on May 23 to meet with sympathetic legislators and to press for comprehensive legislation to make classrooms safer. 

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

  • On Monday, the Senate Housing Committee held work sessions on HB 2916 A, the technical fix bill for transitional housing campgrounds, and on HB 2997. In its original form, HB 2997 would only have affected McMinnville, but the committee adopted amendments that removed the contents of the bill and replaced them with amendments that clarify that continuing care retirement homes are not subject to inclusionary zoning rules.
  • On Wednesday, the House Human Services and Housing Committee held a work session on SB 586 A, the Manufactured Home Park Landlord Tenant Coalition bill. The bill passed out of committee and heads to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee held a work session on HB 2530 A, which would require veterans to receive notification of programs to help with rental assistance.
  • On Wednesday, the House Revenue Committee met for a work session on SB 262, which would extend the sunset on a key property tax exemption for housing used by Portland and Eugene. The bill passed unanimously out of the committee, and now heads to the House floor for a vote.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate passed HB 2285 The bill makes technical changes to the receivership process to allow cities to more effectively address blighted and zombie homes. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature.
  • On Thursday, the Senate passed HB 2916 B, which makes small changes to the transitional housing campground statutes. The bill now heads back to the House for concurrence after some small amendments were made to the bill.
  • On Thursday, the House passed SB 278 A This bill gives youth who have aged out of the foster care system access to the Rent Well program.
  • The Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures held an informational hearing on several tax credits, including the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit.
  • Friday, May 24, was the final deadline for policy bills to move out of their respective committees.

This Week at the Legislature

Several housing bills likely will receive a vote in their respective chambers, and soon there should be news about the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget or other housing bills.

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


Back to top