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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 2 – January 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

JOIN us for the Renew Oregon Campaign Clean Energy Jobs (Cap & Invest) Feb 6th Lobby Day at the Capital. Your voice can make a difference!

Please join with many League members, family and friends and plan to attend the Clean Energy Jobs CEJ (Cap & Invest) Feb 6 Legislative Lobby Day. Find signup logistics at Renew Oregon FB Event. Last year there were over 500. This year the Renew Oregon campaign goal is 650 Oregonians from all over the state. We encourage League members to attend and/or contact their legislators with support.

Refer to the LWVOR Climate Change (CC) pre-session Legislative report Jan 14 for the League CC resolutions policy framework and scope, including how the League CC position does not agree to the recent Governor’s Carbon / Climate Policy November 2018 announcement.

The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (JCCR), House Energy & Environment and Senate Environment and Natural Resources have all convened this past week. Today’s Jan 25 JCCR agenda includes the 2018 Global Warming Commission Report, Angus Duncan, Chair, Oregon Global Warming Commission Lesley Jantarasami, Senior Climate Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Energy and Fourth Oregon Climate Assessment Report, Dr. Philip Mote, Director, Oregon Climate Services and Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. Here are the meeting materials and or you can watch the recorded public hearing. The Jan 28 agenda includes: Tribal Perspectives on Carbon Reduction, Federated States of Micronesia Perspective on Carbon Reduction, Low-Income Utility Programs Working Group Update, and (DLCD) Climate Change Adaptation Framework.

LWVOR policy for CC legislation is to put a real price on greenhouse gas emission (GHGE) pollution. The CEJ bills have not yet been posted. We hope to see draft bills on Jan 31 and then be on the JCCR Feb 1 meeting agenda. We are hopeful the CEJ Cap & Invest legislation will only need minor amendments and potentially a vote early in the session. It is possible two CEJ bills will be posted: one bill covering the pricing mechanism including offsets, credits, exemptions and other rules, and second bill specifically about how the money will be spent. The League agrees with the Oregon Conservation Network (OCN) and Renew Oregon CEJ proposed policy outcomes.

Other Bills: The League is supporting HB 2623 creating a 10 Year Fracking Moratorium.  We are working with a number of other groups on this bill and expect this year to pass this important legislation. Our testimony will be similar to 2017 HB 2711 A. Shirley Weathers and I will be jointly writing this testimony. Related, here is Coos Bay Curzon Energy PLC info.

We are encouraged after four legislative sessions to see Oil Rail Safety disaster prevention and response legislation pass.  The League supports SB 41 and SB 99.  We support the Governor’s recommendation for forming/funding an Oregon Climate Authority state agency, which would assist coordinating across all agencies’ climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, including folding the Dept. of Energy into the new agency, HB 5044. We support with many other organizations off shore gas and oil moratorium SB 256. We oppose SB 444 on siting of small scale nuclear energy.

Other CC Advocacy: Jordan Cove & Pacific Gas Pipeline: Recent developments include Jackson County Commissioners opposition to the Dept. of State Lands removal/fill permits.  Our four local Leagues and state League will join in that opposition.  Our Children’s Trust (OCT) recent developments: Federal case, 9th Circuit will expedite interlocutory appeal. In the Oregon state case, we received an unfavorable ruling and OCT will appeal.  On Jan 10, LWVUS signed on with 600+ other groups a Green New Deal Congressional letter.

The CC team: Julie Chapman, Shirley Weathers, Cathy Frischmann and Nancy Murray. Openings: We critically need four volunteers to cover transportation, Oregon 2010 Climate Adaptation Plan update, forestry/ag, and renewable energy policy.

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


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Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with assistance from those listed below.

During the first days of the session, committees are organizing, hearing agency reports, beginning to schedule hearings on specific bills assigned to each committee. We follow policy legislation and budgets for student success, early learning, career technical programs (CTE), community colleges and higher education. We advocate to minimize factors impacting education for children at risk or historically underserved and underachieving youth. Committee bills, agency bills, and bills submitted by individual legislators have, for the most part, been posted on OLIS. Each bill is assigned to a specific committee but some will never receive a hearing and thus will die.  Those that do receive committee hearings will be the ones that LWV will track. If we have a Position, we may elect to submit written or verbal testimony. Click on the “assigned measures” within each committee below, then please hold your mouse over each number to get a brief bill summary.

Joint Committee on Student Success

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

Senate Committee on Education

Senate Committee on Workforce

House Committee on Education

The League leverages our effectiveness by joining together with other advocates at the legislature.  United for Kids (U4K), has just published the Children’s Agenda for 2019 that shows the breadth of issues impacting Oregon’s children and youth.  You may sign up for the U4K legislative updates as an additional way to gain updates during the session. Education Coordinator: Chris Vogel, 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: Fran Dyke, Nancy Donovan
  • Higher Education: Alice Bartelt, Karan Kuntz

2019 will be a very busy year for Education legislation.  If you have an interest in working with us, you’ll be able to follow specific assigned bills, watch recorded OLIS hearings from home on your own schedule and make recommendations to assure LWVOR Action is effective in following bills. Note: Chris is traveling as the legislative session begins, more specifics will be provided next week.  Email your questions to ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

Brief:

Governance this session will see lots of bills on elections process, campaign finance, redistricting, National Popular Vote, and more. Many of the more than 90 bills we are watching relate to facets of elections. Watch for updates. We expect rapid action. Bills can get progress reports at 16 possible triggers. Follow bills, committees, legislative newsletters and/or press releases by subscribing here. Three of our pre-session filings have been referred to House Rules, two for candidate filing proposals. Watch for public records, resilience, ethics, and a return of ongoing League efforts. Our HCR 8 to commemorate Kappy Eaton will open the first House Rules agenda this week. Our “They Represent You” website measure, HB 2210, has been referred for a committee change. The House has adopted new transparency rules to show origin of measures. We can use your help, contact us!

New Governance Committees

The first meeting of the new Senate Committee on Campaign Finance, “SCAMP”, opened with multiple recommendations in concurrence with League positions, with most members referring to redistricting (video here). The new Joint Committee on Capitol Culture “JCCC” opened with a Capitol Culture letter and a 51-page report from the Oregon Law Commission, recommending formation of a new Equity Office. Relevant to the League, Lobbyists required to register with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission should be required to take in-person workplace harassment training provided by the Equity Office.”

Audits

The Governor has mentioned a new Executive Branch Auditor. The relatively new Legislative Audits Committee has a different function from the Audits Division under the Secretary of State, and we hope to clarify distinctions between them during this session. 52 proposed bills refer to audits.

Elections

HB 2234: Our pre-session filing is a continuing effort from 2017 to push for optional online candidate filing for all Oregon candidates. It is clear that we need to update our elections candidate filing software, and we urge for efficiency in government by investing in a safe, efficient system that can centralize processing and allow local elections officials newly freed up time to provide personal support for filers. HB 2685: Our pre-session filing advocates for candidates to file for office with contact information that can be publicly listed, not incumbent office emails and telephone numbers.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

The League will be working hard once more to pass the National Popular Vote bill. This will be the sixth try. Each previous time the bill has passed the House but was blocked in the Senate by Senate President Peter Courtney. Now that more state legislatures across the country are close to passing NPV, we remain hopeful that soon it will be Oregon’s turn. Thus far two bills have been introduced, info provided by NationalPopularVote.com. HB 2704: The National Popular Vote bill, was sponsored pre-session by Representatives Rayfield, Keny-Guyer, and Hernandez and co-sponsored by Representatives Evans, Fahey, Holvey, Nosse, Power, and Wilde and Senators Gelser, Steiner Hayward, and Taylor. HB 2578 an identical pre-session filed bill, sponsored by Representative Clem.

Redistricting Reform, Norman Turrill

The Redistricting Matters Coalition’s proposed redistricting constitutional amendment has now been submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting. We are now looking for co-sponsors and already have bipartisan support. In the meantime, the League has held 15 popular educational forums (video) throughout the state and more are scheduled in January, February and March. The next forum will be 5:30 pm, Jan. 29th  at the Hood River County Library (map). If the legislature does not refer an amendment to the 2020 ballot, then discussions are underway for an initiative drive.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

Small Donor Elections: A bill has been submitted on behalf of the Voice for All Oregon coalition that would allow candidates for statewide, legislative, and judicial offices to choose a different path to raise money for their campaigns. These participating candidates would agree to only accept contributions from small donors ($250 or less). In exchange, small donations would be matched six-to-one with limited public funds. This allows candidates with community support to raise enough money to win elected office without relying on wealthy donors and to spend more time talking to their constituents. This bill is similar to the program already adopted for Portland city elections. HB 2134, which extends the sunset of the income tax credit for political contributions, will be heard in House Rules this week. The League believes this money could be better used for small donor elections but understands that it should continue for now. The Senate Committee on Campaign Finance will hear this week the history and activity of the 2015-16 Joint Interim Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform.

Public Records Exemptions, Josie Koehne

Our public records access needs to balance needs for transparency, privacy, and security. Legislative Counsel has marked 39 of the 2019 bills with public records exemption requests, see Open Government Impact Statements. Quotations below are from these statements, received from Legislative Counsel.

Watch our reports for these bills:

SB 542: One of the more troubling ones concerns elections and vote tallying machines, which would have software deficiency auditor reports go to only the Secretary of State, the State Chief Information Officer, and Legislative Fiscal Officer, and the SOS would have the vendor correct any deficiencies or reject the machine. “If the public records were instead subject to mandatory disclosure under public records law, the public could gain additional information regarding the security of elections, but security vulnerabilities of voting machines could also be exposed and exploited.” It seems to the League that the public interest is better served if the public can be made aware of the gist of problems found in the audit report without revealing the source code. The public has a right to know the name of the vendor involved so reporters can investigate other similar machines elsewhere.

HB 2705: POLICE firearm DO NOT SELL list. “If the list must be disclosed, individuals might be less likely to voluntarily add themselves to the firearm Do Not Sell List.” This is very unlikely to happen in any case, and it is important for others to know who is on the DO NOT SELL list as there are other requirements in this bill about how the list may not be used to discriminate against those on the list.

HB 2710: Requires Secretary of State to randomly select for examination accounts of political committees four times per year and allows Attorney General or Secretary of State to investigate a political committee on elector complaint. Disclosure would mean the public could receive additional PAC examination and investigation information, particularly of those that do not find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify further pursuit.

SB 223: Prohibits state use of privately hosted email systems used for public business unless there is a specific written state agency policy detailing prohibitions on their use for state business with penalties for noncompliance. This measure prohibits use of personal email accounts for public business unless email is sent to a state-authorized email account within 24 hours. The measure similarly addresses text messages using personal cellular telephones. If disclosure is mandatory, there would be less need and costs for public records requests.

HB 2345: Reduces fees by half for public record requests for members of the media and exempts fees for narrowly tailored requests. Applies to public agencies, local governments and special districts.

HB 2353: Allows the Attorney General, District Attorney, or court to charge penalties for long delays in fulfilling public records requests. Note: A generic standard should be applied to active investigations into varied potential misconduct charges. These exempt disclosures only during active investigations, but must be subject to mandatory disclosure at the close and resolution of investigations. This could replace HB 2720 and similar exemptions SB 155, about school employee sexual misconduct investigation, SB 279 regarding student loan service licensee investigations, and SB 358, regarding Oregon law board violation investigations.

Resiliency/Emergency Management

Both the Senate and House Vets and Emergency Preparedness Committees opened this session with status updates, already evaluating needs and responses for our budget-busting wildfires and the scope of needs and response timing for a catastrophic earthquake. These will pertain to our physical infrastructure, communications needs, fuel and food pipelines, rescue operations, etc. The state Resilience Officer asks everyone to use Ready.gov to help prepare for emergencies like wildfires and earthquakes. The website should be active soon again, after the federal shutdown. We’ll report more details during this session.

Thanks to our volunteers! You’re welcome to work with us, too! –Becky Gladstone

Rick Bennett, governance bills review

Marge Easley, National Popular Vote

Josie Koehne, Transparency, Public Records

Tom Messenger, Initiative Reform

Ann Potter, League position review

Norman Turrill, Redistricting, Campaign Finance

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

We’re off and running.  See the bills being considered by the League and engage!  Budget hearings are starting with Parks next week. Both good and bad land use and water bills have been heard or will be soon.

The League focuses on budgets because, without money to implement policies, they cannot be implemented.  As each budget is heard in the Ways and Means Natural Resources Subcommittee, we will provide additional information.  The process is explained here.

On Jan. 29-31, SB 5527, the budget for Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. will be presented.  Public testimony will be allowed on Jan. 31, but you can send written testimony to the committee. The League adopted positions on Parks in 1999.  You can see an overview of the department during the Jan. 22nd meeting of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

We will watch HB 2672, which authorizes the Dept. of Revenue to reimburse the Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Energy and Water Resources Dept. for expenses incurred in administration and enforcement of activities related to cannabis. Each of these agencies has been impacted by the regulation surrounding the marijuana program.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

The Cleaner Air Oregon program is available here.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

The League has signed on to a letter in support of SB 256,which would block offshore drilling in state waters now and in the future.  The hearing is set for Jan. 26 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

The Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) is drafting policy statements that have clear intent and goals in alignment with the overall 1994 strategy to protect our Rocky Shores. The Land Conservation and Development Commission heard an update at the Jan. 24-25th mtg. (staff report)

Drinking Water Advisory Committee, Amelia Nestler

The League provided testimony in support of SB 27, a bill that authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to adopt by rule a schedule for fees assessed on water suppliers to partially defray costs of authority related to performance of duties under the Oregon Drinking Water Quality Act.  Water providers want a commitment for some General Funds and better criteria for how the fees will be spent.  The League believes the program is critical and needs funding.  We are happy to support General Funds if available, but also believe a new, fairer fee structure should be adopted by rule.

Environmental Quality

DEQ proposes rule amendments to revise several sections of the Motor Vehicle rules in Division 256 of Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 340. DEQ is proposing to:

  • remove references to procedures no longer performed, such as the enhanced dynamometer emissions test and noise control testing;
  • include references, definitions and procedures that will align rules with current program operations;
  • edit for plain language; and
  • raise the fee for a certificate of compliance.  To view copies of the notice documents, learn more about this rulemaking, and how to submit comments (due Feb. 4), you can view the rulemaking webpage at: Vehicle Inspection Program Updates 2019.

Elliott State Forest

More information here.

Emergency Management

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has a new online dashboard showing what rivers and creeks around the state are forecast to be at or near flooding. The Governor’s budget included $100 million for seismic rehabilitation grants, $20 million for emergency service buildings throughout the state, and a dam safety task force. She proclaimed Jan. 26 as Cascadia Preparedness Day. The proclamation is available here. Read Governor Brown’s resiliency policy agenda here.

Energy

Learn more about the State of Oregon’s home energy scoring program on ODOE’s website, including information about how to find or become a certified assessor.  To locate Oregon homes with energy scores or certifications, visit us.greenbuildingregistry.com.

SCR 1 and HCR 9: Support for “pump storage energy projects”.  Usually resolutions are not particularly important or impactful, but the hearing on SCR 1 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Jan. 22nd, the first day of session, showed how important they may be.  The resolution (and the similar HCR 9 in the House to be heard on Jan. 29 in the House Environment and Energy) wanted the legislature to support two projects:  one near Klamath Falls and the other near Goldendale, WA.  A number of Klamath County citizens came to oppose the concept—or at least the 32-mile transmission line needed to get the generated power to the main grid.  To learn more, listen to the Senate hearing.

Fish and Wildlife

The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is seeking public comment on two requests to waive fish passage requirements.  One waiver request is for the Bureau of Reclamation and Washington County’s Clean Water Services joint proposal to construct a new dam on Scoggins Creek in Washington County and the second request is for a culvert repair associated with the City of Newport’s Municipal Airport in Lincoln County. More info at the ODFW website. Written comments are due by Feb. 8 on the two proposed actions, for consideration by the Oregon Fish Passage Task Force. Send to Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program Coordinator, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., Salem, OR 97302, email, or by calling (503) 947-6228. Additional opportunities will be available at a Feb. 15th mtg. and at the ODFW Commission mtg. in April.

Forestry

Jim Brown, former Oregon State Forester, provided testimony at the House Committee on Natural Resources on Jan. 22. See his presentations at the Committee website and in meeting materials.

Land Use

SB 88, a bill that would allow counties to authorize accessory dwelling units in certain rural residential zones, will be heard on Jan. 31 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

-1 amendment has been drafted to create state-required sideboards around such a use if counties choose to allow in their development codes.  There may be a separate bill to ask the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to adopt a set of “fire risk” maps to guide future development throughout Oregon.

HB 2075, a bill that would establish a Development Readiness Program within the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), with $1.35 million in funding and one staffer, will be heard on Jan. 29 in House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use.  The League will support this effort to provide funding to help local governments update their Comprehensive Plans and Development Codes and work to provide housing for all.

Bills that the League will follow include SB 2, which will allow some Eastern Oregon counties to designate up to 50 acres outside of urban growth boundaries for industrial or other employment.  It is set for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Feb. 5.   This bill is a different version from SB 1588 (2016) and SB 432 (2017).  In 2018, DLCD had $300,000 included in their budget to help these counties do Economic Opportunity Analyses (EOAs).

SB 102: Requires State Forester to establish guidelines for wildfire buffer zones that produce defensible spaces around lands in forestland-urban interface. The State’s Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee has opened the application period for the Achievement in Community Engagement (ACE) Awards. This award recognizes organizations and individuals who have actively promoted and implemented the values of Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 1 through an outstanding community engagement strategy.  Applications are due March 27 for projects completed between January 2018 and March 2019.  For additional information, visit the website.

Marine Board

The League will follow HB 2351, which authorizes State Marine Board to adopt special regulations to protect shoreline in Willamette River Greenway and HB 2352, which creates a towed watersports program within State Marine Board.

Oregon Conservation Network

View the OCN Piorities Release.

Recycling

Oregon bottle redemption rate reaches 90%. The League supported the increase in types of containers and the increase to 10 cents.  We could use a volunteer to follow other recycling efforts in Salem.

Transportation

The Oregon Transportation Commission adopted a 7-point Statewide Transportation Strategy recently.  Oregon Solutions has been hired to help the Dept. of Environmental Quality, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and the Dept. of Transportation work together to address mechanisms for greenhouse gas reduction, especially in Metropolitan Planning Areas of the state.  A previous effort was started by DLCD. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) wants the public’s help as it undertakes a major planning effort to identify improvements to the Oregon Coast Bike Route (OCBR), a popular bike route that runs the length of the Oregon coast. Visit an Online Open House through Jan. 31 to provide public input.

Scenic Waterways

For more information see State Scenic Waterway program.

Water

The League is supporting HB 2084, which would extend the Place-Based Planning program sunset to 2023.  We support increasing dam safety and are working with stakeholders on legislation to address this important public safety issue. We will also be asking the Legislature to fund this program. The Wetlands Work Group, mentioned in the last Legislative Report, is expecting to see bills on how the agricultural community deals with their need to clean ditches (HB 2437 to be heard on Jan. 31 in the House Committee on Agriculture and Land Use), whether or not the state should partially “assume” part of the role of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers related to some removal/fill permits (HB 2436) and establishing a pilot program to help Willamette Valley cities develop a mitigation bank or find other answers to addressing the clash between wetlands and development (HB 2438). The League is likely to support the third bill. SCR 1 was heard on Jan. 22 in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.  It would declare support for “pump storage energy projects”, specifically one located in Klamath County and another near Goldendale, WA.  The concept of circulating water to create power is “interesting”, but the use of water, where grid lines would be located and other issues brought a plethora of testimony.  A separate bill has been filed in the House (HCR 9) The U.S. Drought Monitor for Jan. 14th continues to show warmer and less precipitation across the state.  “Indicators now point toward D3 (Extreme Drought) in over 23 percent of the state. The report also shows 78 percent of the state is in D2 (Severe Drought), 92 percent is listed as in D1 (Moderate Drought) and 100 percent of the state is listed as D0 (Abnormally Dry).”

Regional Solutions

The League encourages members to continue to follow the Regional Solutions (RS) program to assure that there is a public element to any funding decisions and that local citizens know what projects are being “helped” by the RS process. Please sign up to get the notices of meetings in your region.  Members can attend or call in to listen to economic activities in each of the 11 regions. The Governor’s budget recommends $15 million be allocated to this program for regional economic development projects. YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! We don’t have someone to follow Stewardship issues (as in plastic bag bans, etc.), Transportation and Toxics.  If you are interested in these issues OR have one bill you want to follow, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Peggy Lynch at peggylynchor@gmail.com.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas above interest you, please contact Peggy Lynch, peggylynchor@gmail.com


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Revenue and Tax Reform

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

The Revenue Roundtable, which includes LWVOR, released its proposals for additional revenue. Revenue 101 for House and Senate dominated the first week of session, with informative slide decks by the Legislative Revenue Office (LRO), some direction-pointing questions from committee members, and one hearing on a minor bill. Joint Student Success formed its revenue subcommittee.

Revenue Roundtable Proposals

LWVOR and many others participated in the Revenue Roundtable through 2018, discussing ways to increase state revenue. The proposals focus on corporate taxes but include other possible revenue raisers as well. The group explicitly decided against addressing ways to spend or decrease state revenue, leaving changes to the earned income tax credit or lower income tax brackets to other groups and other documents. Roundtable proposals are released at https://www.ocpp.org/media/uploads/RevenueRoundtableProposal_fnl.pdf. The Revenue Roundtable has folded into the long-standing Oregon Revenue Coalition (ORC) during session and will revive this summer when ORC goes inter-session dark.

Direction-pointing Questions

Federal Disconnect: Later in session we’ll see a bill to automatically disconnect from federal tax changes, requiring passing a bill to actively connect to a federal change [the opposite of current situation, where if the legislature does nothing, OR automatically connects to federal tax changes].

Property Tax: LC 3495 would send a repeal of Measures 5 and 50 to voters. [It appeared on meeting materials but was not introduced and was sent back for rewrite.]

Property Tax: A senate committee bill will be up in a few weeks that would allow the legislature to change property tax language in a revenue neutral way.

Property Tax: A senator, discussing HJR 1, which would move assessed value (AV) to 75% of real market value (RMV): How valid are these RMVs? Maybe assessor RMV estimates are way off in places, but no one cared. The senator has property in three counties and those assessors say they pay little attention to RMVs. In the long run, it will work out, but at first people will blow a gasket. LRO: There will be conversations on getting more resources to assessors.

Corporate Tax: A representative was surprised at how small a share of the General Fund (GF) comes from corporate taxes, only 6%, and asked what share of tax collection comes from partnerships, S corporations, LLCs, and sole proprietorships. LRO: About 10% of personal income tax (PIT) [thus about 7% of General Fund, since PIT is about 70% of GF – thus roughly 13% of GF is paid by business].

Corporate Tax: A representative asked for more detail on corporate tax credits, seeing LRO’s graph showing credits used by 45% of C corporations with income over 25 million, but almost no small corporations using credits, saying he has a large constituency that wants to tax the rich.

Revenue System: A representative: Is our revenue system serving us in the social environment we are in vs. 20 or 80 years ago?

Marijuana Tax in the Senate: Huntington, 40 miles from the Idaho border, has lots of Idaho cars parked in marijuana dispensary lots – though the Cole memo said don’t sell into a state in which it’s illegal. The City of Ontario, also a border town, wants a bill to let it raise local tax for police [presumably above the 3% local option already allowed]. Another senator: Maybe treat frontier counties differently for this.

Joint Committee on Student Success

The Joint Committee on Student Success formed subcommittees. The Revenue sub has not, as of Friday morning 1/25, scheduled any meetings. Rumors fly that the big bill to fund additional education initiatives will start in this subcommittee. 

Minor Bill Heard

Gambling Deduction: SB 194 disconnects from federal deduction for gambling losses, disallowing them on Oregon taxes. Disconnect would bring in $11 million. This bill does not affect Oregon allowing the first $600 of lottery winnings to be tax-free.

Senators’ questions: Wouldn’t professional gamblers move to another state? Who would be hurt by this? Are there outliers? Are some of these large?

Oregon Center for Public Policy: There are many better uses for $10 million.

Tax Fairness Oregon: Disconnecting from the feds is good. Should disconnect from 1031 exchanges, mortgage interest, and opportunity zones, and there will be bills on all those.

Notes from Revenue 101

  • Oregon gets 70% of state tax revenue from the personal income tax (PIT). We are more reliant on a single revenue source than any other state.
  • Our PIT rates are surprisingly flat and can hit the poorest: the 9% rate covers single filers with taxable income from $8,700 – $125,000 ($17,400 – $250,000 for joint filers). Even those with taxable income under $3,450 pay 5%.
  • Although the December 2017 federal tax law increased the federal standard deduction, Oregon’s has not changed. LRO expects only 15% of us to now itemize on federal taxes, but about 45% to still itemize on Oregon PIT.
  • Three most expensive Oregon deductions for 2019-21: $912 million home mortgage interest, $488M charitable contributions, $458M property taxes.
  • Our top corporate tax rate is in the middle of other states at 7.6%.
  • 81% of corporate income tax revenue comes from multi-state corporations headquartered outside Oregon.
  • Counting alcohol taxes and sales taxes, Oregon has the lowest beer tax and 47th lowest wine tax.
  • To handle payments of the marijuana tax, the Department of Revenue (DOR) built a special cash room with counting machines.
  • When recreational marijuana passed in 2014, tax projections were $35 million/year. Receipts were $74 million in 2017 and $95 million in 2018. Likely over 70% of sales are now legal.

Sneak Preview for January 28-February 1

  • House committee continues Revenue 101 through Wednesday, then on Thursday, January 31, it will hear three bills including HB 2103, which repeals (not extends) the sunset of the homestead property tax deferral program.
  • As of Friday morning, 1/25, Senate Finance and Revenue posted only Tuesday’s meeting, hearings on three very minor bills.

Presentations from Revenue 101

Personal Income Tax: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/154361

Corporate Income Tax:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/154529

Transportation:

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/154437

Legislative Revenue Office Assignments

Chris Allanach, Chief Revenue Officer

Mazen Malik – Transportation, Beer & Wine, Marijuana

Dae Baek – School Finance, Tobacco

Kyle Easton – Personal Income Tax, Tax Credits

Jaime McGovern – Property Tax, Natural Resources

Kaitlyn Harger – Corporate Income and Excise Taxes, some Tobacco

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


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Social Policy

 By Karen Nibler, Social Policy Coordinator

Criminal Justice Reform, Barbara Ross

LWV of Portland in cooperation with other League members across the state is working on three issues on juvenile justice reform: (1) LC 1404, eliminating automatic waivers to adult court. (2) LC3109 expanding access to Second Look hearings. (3) LC1255 streamlining the expungement process for youth convicted under the age of 18.

Since October we have had face to face meetings with 22 legislators and have 3 more scheduled, including all members of the house and senate Judiciary committees and the W&M’s Public Safety Subcommittee. We will be looking carefully at the wording of the bills when they are filed and any subsequent amendments. It appears that we have the support of both the house and senate leadership and are working on getting some bipartisan votes.

We are cooperating with a loose coalition called the Youth Sentencing Allies made up of the, Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC), Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ), the Defense attorneys’ Association, the ACLU, the Latino Network, the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) and the LWV of Portland. Our role is to work on grass roots support in the districts of key legislators on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. For example, members of the Klamath Falls League have agreed to be in contact with Senator Dennis Linthicum, an important Republican on the Judiciary committee. We have an appointment with him on January 31 in Salem.

The National Association of Sheriff’s has passed a resolution supporting keeping youth in Juvenile court.

Women’s Issues, Debbie Runciman

The 2019 legislature is tackling sexual harassment on several fronts.  A new Joint Committee on Capitol Culture will be looking at ways to deal with harassment issues, as will the Senate Workforce Committee.  Several measures have been introduced to deal with the issue, affecting the Capitol and other places of employment.  New policies were adopted as stop gap measures in both the House and Senate rules (HCR11) until formal legislation can be completed.  SB 479 has already had a hearing in Senate Workforce, which requires public employers to adopt prevention policies.  Other measures would limit employers’ abilities to mandate confidentiality agreements, extend the time period for reporting on sexual harassment, and increase liability of presidents/owners for unlawful harassment activities in their workplaces.  This will continue to be a work in progress.

The Family and Medical Leave Insurance Workgroup has yet to finalize the details for the 2019 version of the bill.  SB 121, introduced by the Senate Workforce Committee, is a placeholder bill which might be used; however, the FAMLI bill will likely be first introduced by the House.  Stay Tuned!

Gun Safety, Marge Easley

So far 17 firearm-related bills have been introduced this session. There has already been considerable public commentary, both negative and positive, on several of these bills, and in the weeks to come we will do our best to keep you up to date on League advocacy efforts.  Here are some of the key gun safety bills that have received the most attention:

HB 2505, Yuille Forsyth Safe Firearm Storage Act:  Named after the victims of the Clackamas Town Center shooting, this bill requires the securing of a firearm with a trigger or cable lock or in a locked container, except in specified circumstances.

HB 2251:  This is Governor Brown’s omnibus bill, which includes a prohibition on the transfer of a firearm to someone under the age of 21, an expansion of the Charleston Loophole from 3 days to 30 days, a prohibition on firearm ownership to anyone subject to a protective order who fails to attend a court hearing, a court requirement to order firearms to be relinquished to those convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, a hospital requirement to provide data with firearm injuries to the Oregon Health Authority, and establishing criminal liability for endangering a minor by allowing access to a firearm.

SB 501:  This omnibus bill was submitted by Oregon’s Student’s for Change, a high school group that formed after the Parkland shooting. Many of its provisions are included in other bills, but two aspects have received the most attention:  requiring a permit to purchase a firearm and requiring a background check to purchase ammunition.

Also, stay tuned for two bills from Lift Every Voice Oregon to be added to the list soon.  Not yet numbered, these bills would establish a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

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


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