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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 20 – June 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

YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED!

SEE RECENT Climate Policy HB 2020 LWVOR Alert HERE

“Cap and Invest” Clean Energy Jobs HB 2020 A (was HB 2020 -94) will likely be assigned to a Ways & Means subcommittee this week where additional amendments could be considered. The May 29 Climate Day of Action was very successful with >150 folks from all over Oregon in attendance, representing 60+ endorsing organizations. The Bill currently reflects 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 2020A) 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, a realistic goal is that the Governor will sign by June 30.

Your VOICE is needed!: Please remind your legislators about the League’s and our coalition partner’s priorities, HB 2020 is in the news: May 23 Oregon Business News highlights opportunity. Find an updated Climate Risk assessment by state here. Find HERE, a recent NPR report reflecting mostly a California environmental justice counter view. More timely analysis/opinion at Twitter #CleanEnergyJobs #HB2020. NEW last week 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 the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute now located at OSU. Its unclear if this Republican sponsored bill will be recommended by Ways and Means.

Other Active Climate Emergency Portfolio Bills

Fracking Moratorium: PROGRESS! The League supported HB 2623 A, which passed out of the Senate and was sent to the Governor on May 29. It will impose a 5-year fracking moratorium.

Oil Rail Safety: The League supported HB 2209, which moved to the Full Ways and Means Committee with a do pass recommendation.

Oregon Climate Authority: It’s still unclear if SB 928 A will be passed this session, most likely be moved to next session for consideration. The Dept of Energy’s agency request budget is available, but it was not submitted by the Governor who filed SB 928 instead. It is unclear how the agency’s work and linkage to HB 2020 will be done. The League wants to be sure the 6 employees who monitor Hanford Cleanup work have a home as they sort out the climate work.

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 is still in Senate Rules where it’s unclear its status . It arrived in Rules without a recommendation. 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.

Jordan Cove Energy Project: According to our best information, JCEP did not choose to appeal DEQ’s May 6 denial of their 401 Clean Water Act permit. They still may submit a new application that seeks to address DEQ’s many concerns. 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, but dates and locations have still not been announced. 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: Youthvgov and #alleyesonjuliana news: ‘Climate change kids’ suit draws thousands of supporters as government seeks dismissal of case, theGuardian and NEJM.

Signup at to watch https://www.youthvgov.org/alleyesonjuliana

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)

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

JUNE 4 YouthvGov Hearing LIVE STREAM Watch Party U of O in Eugene: EMU Crater Lake Room North. Plan a LIVE stream event in your community. More info HERE.

JUNE 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. Now over 580 municipalities and two countries have declared a climate emergency and many other governments have declared 100% Carbon Neutral or Net Zero GHGE goals before or 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.  A number of League Climate ‘Emergency’ resolution efforts are active in 10+ states in their up-coming May and June Councils and Conventions. It is a possibility the LWVUS Council that meets late June will address this Climate Emergency declaration topic in some form. The media is in the process of changing how the Climate Emergency is described. The UN Secretariat General recent FT Letter; “inaction on climate change is simply not an option”….”It is essential that the goals laid out clearly by the scientific community are achieved: carbon neutrality by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century.”

Oregon Economic Analysis staff (OEA) recent quarterly revenue forecast  mentioned climate risks on page 18 of their 65-page report. The League is concerned that this issue needs broader consideration related to future costs to the state, the effect on future revenue and related population forecast assumptions. Related, European Central Banks are calling for improved Climate Risk reporting.

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

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Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

On May 30 Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, a more conservative split from the larger Oregon Business and Industries, filed paperwork to send the corporate tax section of the Student Success Act to the ballot. They now have 90 days post-Sine Die to collect nearly 75,000 valid signatures. Strategically, the filers of the referendum do NOT include the policy sections impacting schools nor the personal income tax changes in the referendum—they don’t oppose strengthening Oregon’s Education system, just don’t want to fund it. Of course, the Student Success Act would be crippled without this designated funding source. You can read about it: Willamette Week, OPB, OregonLive, Oregon School Board Association, and see the actual referendum here. LWVOR Action strongly supported the education policy changes in this bill and the taxing mechanism to provide funding. Stay tuned as we plan with partners to oppose this referendum, scheduled for January 2020.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

On 5/28 and 5/29 Hilda Rosselli and Rick Crager, Oregon Department of Education, presented SB182 (2017) implementation. The discussion noted that the Educator Advancement Council (EAC) is taking a critical step in improving how Oregon provides public school teachers, early learning professionals, and administrators with high-quality professional learning and support throughout their careers. Oregon is embarking on a strategy in the coming biennium to use local networks promoting the development of culturally responsive educators from the time they consider entering the profession through the hiring and induction process, professional learning, and career advancement. The Educator Advancement Council (EAC) will identify ten Sponsoring Organizations for Regional Educator Networks (REN) through a Request for Proposals to help facilitate the work of school districts in their respective regions as they improve systems designed to support educators. Regional Educator Network Funding Grants formula will be based on 3 year averages of four educator data points for school districts in each region: 1) number of licensed teachers and administrators (10%), 2) teacher attrition rates (30%), 3) gap between racial diversity of students and teachers/administrators (30%), and 4) number of new teachers and administrators hired (30%). There will be minimum base funding for small districts. These will be launching in 2019-2020 school year. Funding level will be determined in Ways and Means.

On 6/4 SB 5537, the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission budget bill has a work session and HB 2579 A–Relating to Farm-to-School Grant Program will have a public hearing and work session.

Many education bills are awaiting their day in the Joint Committee On Ways and Means or Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education including HB 2025 that aligns Preschool Programs, HB 2562 for Title IX enforcement funding, SB 130– School Nurses and Telehealth. HB 3165– School Health Center planning will have a work session on June 4 in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services.

A “Map” to Education Committees in the 2019 Session

To follow specific committee discussions in detail, use these links; then click on a specific date to see the agenda, meeting materials, and video recording.

This week (and every week) you may find value in reviewing other perspectives from within the Capitol: The Children’s Agenda, United for Kids, one of the many coalitions where LWVOR participates, offers a weekly update. Stand for Children writes a weekly blog during the legislative session. Legislative updates from educators and administrators offer their unique priorities: Oregon Education Association, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon Department of Education State School Fund, Oregon Youth Development Council, Early Learning Division of OEA and Early Learning Council, and Children’s Institute.

We welcome other League members to follow policies and funding in education. Please contact ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com. With appreciation to the following for analyzing specific bills and following committee hearings: Early Learning: Stephanie Feeney; P-3; K-12, P-20 Nancy Donovan; Higher Education Alice Bartelt and Karan Kuntz.


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

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

Rick Bennett, governance bills review
Marge Easley, National Popular Vote
Claudia Keith, immigration, discrimination, ** Welcome!

Josie Koehne, Transparency, Public Records
Ann Potter, League position review
Norman Turrill, Redistricting, Campaign Finance

Brief

See a video “foot off the brakes, back on the gas” as House floor full bill reading has stopped. National Popular Vote and three campaign finance reform bill compromises are now up for House floor votes. We’re seeing fast revisions as bills, discussed elsewhere, are landing on, then are taken back off agendas. We’re told that this doesn’t reflect on bills’ viability. Pressure is on to get things moving.

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

National Popular Vote is one step closer to passage in Oregon! SB 870 passed out of the House Rules Committee on a party line vote on May 29 and is now waiting in the queue for a full House vote. Now’s your chance to send one more email to your representative (look up) to urge support. If successful in the House, the next stop is the Governor’s desk.

Bill Watch: News from House Rules this week

These bills passed to the House floor: SB 870, for a National Popular Vote, and the campaign finance reform bills HB 2714, HB 2716, & HB 2983.

HB 3441 popped up overnight for a public hearing, to establish an automatic voter registration task force. We will support it. A public hearing was delayed in House Rules for the campaign finance bills.

SB 670 awaits a House Rules work session. It prohibits election official’s names from concurrent appearance on official voting materials as both candidates and officials. We spoke to the related, now inactive HB 3049.

We’re still hopeful for these bills, with some reassurance they’ll be heard.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

Another hearing was held Tuesday May 28 on HB 2714-6 to set campaign contribution limits, HB 2983-6 on independent expenditure reform and dark money disclosure, and HB 2716-5 on advertisement disclosure. A great variety of testimony was heard with some urging passage in spite of apparent shortcomings, and some opposing because these bills do not go far enough. See the League’s testimony about 12:30 minutes into the hearing here and the OPB article. A work session was held for all three of these bills on May 30 and they all passed to the House floor with party-line votes.

We heard this week that a small donor election system bill (HB 3004 or SB 1014) will not be considered further this session because of budget constraints and because of the push to pass the above CFR bills. The League believes we should pass one of these bills so that we have a complete and balanced campaign finance system.

Redistricting, Norman Turrill

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

Transparency and Public Records, Josie Koehne

Several public records bills still await Ways and Means Committee action in the coming weeks.

SB 25 A had a second reading May 30 in the House Judiciary and looks likely to pass. It allows for sharing of mental health records in a forensic investigation.

HB 2051 A was signed into law by the governor on May 22. This state police tip line bill protects whistleblowers’ personally identifiable information related reports filed on the police tip line concerning student safety, as reported in the last LR.

HB 2053A passed unanimously on May 23 in the Senate Business and General Government committee, and still awaits the governor’s signature. The A engrossed measure enables the DA or AG to impose a $200 penalty on state and local public agencies that they determine failed to respond to a public records request after the 15 days allowed by law, and who “may order a fee waiver or a fee reduction.”

HB 2393, the “intimate image” bill had a second reading May 29 in the Senate Judiciary committee, voted 6-3 with a due pass recommendation for June 3. It enumerates lawsuit damages that can be awarded when a nude or sexually explicit image is disseminated without consent and modifies the definition of the crime of harassment.

HB 3224 had a second reading on May 29 in Senate Judiciary and is carried over by unanimous consent  to June 3 with a do pass recommendation. It requires DAs to “develop and adopt policies relating to discovery, charging decisions and case disposition and to make policies available to public on website.” This transparency bill should promote fair, open and consistent DA practices across the state.

Immigration/discrimination Bills, Claudia Keith

We’re still following/supporting these bills, all passed to Ways and Means:
HB 2015 passed on a partisan vote without recommendation. It eliminates requirement that a person provide proof of legal presence to apply for driver’s license, and has NO fiscal. News from OPB, May 8.
HB 2508 A: The -3 amendment passed unanimously to Ways and Means with a do pass recommendation on March 13 for refugee settlement funding, with a fiscal of $4.5M.
SB 577 The -2 amendment to this hate/bias crime bill was voted unanimously with a do pass recommendation to Ways and Means on April 4, with fiscal of about $700K. It appears to be frozen.

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

Spending your taxes and the licenses and fees you pay—what’s the best way to spend your money? Agency budget bills are moving and, with a few exceptions, policy bills that cost money are now being considered in Ways and Means. But beware that amendments can still be considered. Your advocacy is needed on behalf of the budgets and policies in this report. Contact your legislator today! 

Budgets

HB 5027, the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development budget, has passed the Ways and Means Subcommittee. The addition of a person to work on an update of the state’s Climate Change Adaptation Framework (paid by a federal grant) and additional help tor local governments related to natural hazards and National Flood Insurance planning were approved. There was no additional money for all the new housing planning policy bills being considered this session so we will hope that those bills will include funding for local government and agency work. A budget note was added: Qualifications and criteria required of contracted planning professionals With respect to the funding provided in the agency’s budget for the provision of planning services or planning grants provided to local planning districts, the Department of Land Conservation and Development is directed to seek recommendations from the Association of Oregon Counties and the League of Oregon Cities when formulating the qualifications and criteria required of contracted public planning professionals.

HB 2209, a bill to address the safe transport of oil by train, and HB 2437 A, related to cleaning of agricultural ditches while also addressing wetlands and fisheries also passed the Ways and Means Subcommittee.

Other budget bills that may be considered next week are SB 5510, the agency budget for the Dept. of  Fish and Wildlife (where we advocated for 4 fish biologists in Policy Option Package 123 but the budget currently indicates only 2 positions were funded), HB 2829, creating a new Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (where $17 million General Funds has been requested but rumor has it that only $1 million was allocated), HB 5043, the agency budget for the Water Resources Dept. (where $788,561 has been allocated to the place-based planning program – See also HB 2084 – and $1.7 million for an additional groundwater basin study), HB 5017 and 5018, the agency budget and fee bills for the Dept. of Environmental Quality, SB 884, adding septic systems to a loan program, SB 41, oil spill prevention fees, SB 5539 and 5540, the agency budget and local grants bills for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. You can review the specific details of budget bills by reading their Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) Recommendations.

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

HB 2001 A, a bill that would require certain cities and counties to allow “middle housing” in lands zoned for single-family dwellings and require a number of other changes to land use law, –has a $3 million ask to help local governments do the work demanded by this bill. We have provided testimony in support of the amended bill, but understand there might be additional amendments considered. This bill and HB 2003 are both not sitting in the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development.

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 would 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 would 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. Although this bill is now in Ways and Means, we understand there are further negotiations, so the status of this bill is unknown.

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 2331 would limit the authority of the Water Resources Department to enforce against well standards related to well repair, construction, alteration, abandonment or alteration beyond three years. Properly constructed, maintained and abandoned wells are critical to ensuring against health hazards, ensuring public safety and protecting the environment. The Department’s authority to protect these public values should not be limited and/or restricted in any way.

HB 2436 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 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.” A similar note was not added to the Water Resources Dept.’s budget.

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, allowing a change in the fees to help pay for OHA’s Drinking Water Division, passed out of Ways and Means.

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. Of interest is SB 884 that would allow the Water Pollution Control Fund to include septic projects.

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  (https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/marsh/Documents/OFFRIP.pdf) has been offered to address the need for more firefighting resources, community resiliency and landscape analysis.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

With wildfire season just around the corner, it’s time for people in Oregon to make sure their homes are ready to resist smoke, they know how to track air quality conditions and they understand how to safeguard their health during severe smoke.

To mark Wildfire Awareness Month, the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are offering ways to prepare for wildfire smoke. A good first step: Become familiar with DEQ’s Air Quality Index.

The color-coded Air Quality Index provides current air quality conditions. The index also includes specific health-based recommendations. It ranks air quality as follows: Green is good. Yellow is moderate. Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include those who have heart and lung conditions, such as asthma, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Red is unhealthy, meaning everyone may begin to experience health effects and should limit their time outdoors. Purple is very unhealthy for all groups. Maroon is hazardous.

You can check the current local air quality conditions on DEQ’s Air Quality Index or download the OregonAIR app on your smart phone. You can sign up to receive air pollution advisories.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

The House Committee on Natural Resources has rescheduled a presentation about the Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative to June 6. 

The Territorial Sea Plan Part 3 (Rocky Habitat Management Strategy)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 rulemaking processes please visit the DLCD rulemaking page and www.OregonOcean.info.   

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

The Oregon State University College of Forestry is inviting southern Oregon residents to provide input regarding the Elliott State Forest at “listening sessions” scheduled next month in North Bend, Reedsport and Roseburg. The listening sessions are part of an OSU-led exploratory phase to assess the feasibility of converting the Elliott into a research forest. The sessions are scheduled June 4-6, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., (doors open at 6p) at the following locations:

• June 4: North Bend Library, 1800 Sherman Ave., North Bend;
• June 5: Umpqua Discovery Center, 409 Riverfront Way, Reedsport;
• June 6: Douglas County Extension Annex, 1134 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg.

College officials will be on hand to listen to community input regarding the future of the forest, a 91,000-acre parcel in Coos and Douglas counties. Topics for the open discussion could include public access and recreation, conservation, timber harvests, carbon sequestration and educational partnerships. “Our goal is to gather input so we can develop a shared understanding while offering opportunities to discuss issues related to OSU’s process and intentions, ask questions, and identify opportunities to incorporate a spectrum of views into the management of a world-class research forest,” said Anthony S. Davis, interim dean of the College of Forestry. A report is scheduled before the State Land Board on Dec. 10.

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 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.

Forestry

The Oregon Board of Forestry will meet June 5 to discuss the fire season, Siskiyou streams protections and ecosystem services. Agenda is here.

SB 10, establishing high density development requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors, has been posted for a public hearing and possible work session on June 5 in Senate Rules. New amendments have been offered that we understand will only affect the Cities of Salem, Springfield and Eugene.   

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. 

Scenic Waterways

See information on the May 24 Legislative Report regarding both the South Umpqua and Nehalem Rivers.  

Water

33, a resolution urging work on a state water vision, is stalled in House Rules. However, legislators and our water partners continue to work on the beginning of this two-year project. HB 2085 B, the dam safety bill, still awaits a vote on the Senate floor.

The Klamath River Compact Commission will meet June 18 from 11:00 am to 1:30pm in the Mt. Scott Room, Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, OR. Contact the Water Resources Dept. for the complete agenda. 

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 Southern Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee will meet on June 14 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at the RV Council of Government Offices, 155 N 1st St, Central Point, OR. Call-In: 1-877-848-7030; Participant Code: 5495754#  The agenda is available here.

The Governor’s budget recommends $15 million in bonds be allocated to this program for regional economic development projects.

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


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Revenue and Tax Reform

By Maud Naroll, Revenue and Tax Reform Coordinator

As expected, an initiative petition was filed to take the Student Success tax to the ballot.

The House passed the PERS bill, SB 1049 A, sending it to the governor, who proposed kicking part of the kicker to PERS.

Student Success

The Student Success bill, HB 3427, contains a myriad of initiatives for P-12, and a new $1 billion/year corporate activity tax to fund them. As expected Initiative number 301 was filed to repeal the tax. Although Oregon Business and Industry pledged to remain neutral, and Nike and others in the Coalition for the Common Good supported the whole bill, other businesses oppose the tax. Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce had vowed to put the tax on the ballot.

Public Employees Retirement System – PERS

The PERS bill, SB 1049, squeaked through the House with one Republican aye and eight Democratic nays, headed for the governor. OregonLive reported the governor proposed capping kicker checks at $1,000, sending $250 million of the money saved to a side account helping K-12 PERS contributions, $220 million for rural housing and $29 for rural broadband, but despite the sweeteners for rural Republicans, she does not seem to have the two-thirds votes needed to retain part of the kicker.

Measure 50

SJR 21 proposes to repeal the 1997 Ballot Measure 50, limiting property tax, from the Oregon Constitution and require the legislature to put the same repealed provisions in statute. Senate Finance and Revenue adopted an amendment that would allow the replacement statute to “address the inequities of the property tax system established under section 11 of this Article without affecting the stability of that system.” The chair asked for the amendment so the original intent, and the bill summary, would be clear to anyone looking at SJR 21 later, and mentioned the tale of two houses and the tale of two businesses. The committee complied, and the chair said that was probably as far as the bill would go this session.

Timber

House Revenue heard three amendments to HB 2495, a forest products tax bill. The original bill creates a Wildfire Suppression Fund for the State Forester to pay for emergency fire suppression. The -1 would add a 2.5% severance tax on timber harvest, exempting small tracts. The -2 would add a harvest tax of $10 per 1,000 board feet. Both would send their tax to the Wildfire Suppression Fund. The -4 would not impose any new tax, but instead re-allocate 60% of the existing harvest tax to the Wildfire Suppression Fund, leaving only 40% of the tax for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI).

The committee chair had to limit testimony to two minutes to allow all opponents to speak. OFRI testified to how much they educate the public on the value of forests. Others said OFRI provided helpful information to foresters; foresters cause only a small fraction of fires; many farmers and cattle ranchers have some timber, so additional tax would be bad for them as well; and landowners already pay assessments for fire-fighting. The State Forester, officially neutral on the bill, said creating a second fund would complicate financial tracking for their already stretched-thin accounting staff.

Only the Oregon League of Conservation braved the crowd to support the bill, saying all agree more funds are needed for wildfire suppression, the General Fund pays for fighting large fires, and climate change will increase the cost of large fires.

Enterprise Zones

HB 2053 A changes job creation and wage requirements for businesses in a myriad of enterprise-type zones programs. The Legislative Revenue Office told House Revenue they were still crunching the revenue impact, so the chair deferred action.

Tax Expenditures

The Joint Tax Expenditure Committee did not meet the week of May 30.

911 Telecom Tax

HB 2499 A raises the tax on phone services that funds 911 call centers, mostly by 25 cents per line per month. One Democratic sponsor reminded a Republican sponsor of his promise to support an interim study of efficiencies that could be gained by combining many of the call centers. The bill got an amend and do pass, with one soft no from a Republican who wanted the study first and tax increase second.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of June 2

Not much, now that the legislature is on one-hour notice. No revenue or tax expenditure agendas were posted as of May 31.

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

Senate Judiciary finished its work on bills for this session on 5-23. Senate Judiciary handled 311 bills (22%) this session with 162 passing, the highest number of all committees. The members commended the Senate Judiciary staff work on these bills, especially SB 1008.

The last bills were HB 3201 B and HB 3224 B regarding District Attorney plea agreements and posted policies. HB 2474 A on further exam of prosecution powers will be the subject of an appointed work group. The District Attorneys Association helped with amendments to the final bills. Their representative said the goal was to seek justice, protection of rights, consistency in policies and public trust. The Bills will be scheduled for the Senate floor for final votes.

This week Senate Judiciary has had Informational hearings on the Oregon Criminal Justice Projects in community corrections in nine counties. HB 3194 initiated the Justice Reinvestment Projects, which are followed by quarterly reports. Lane County has an intensive supervision trial for repeat property offenders with substance abuse issues. A pretrial assessment tool was used to determine flight risk and need for pretrial detention. Treatment referrals resulted in improved outcomes.

Portland State University research staff reported on the effect of length of stay on recidivism. The data from 2013 to 2016 incarceration of property offenders showed no relationship to length of stay. The data showed no further impact after 12 to 24 months of incarceration with 18 months flatline with no further benefit from longer incarceration. 60 months was far end for repeat offenders.

On Thursday, Senator Jackie Winters death was announced. Chair Prozanski acknowledged her contributions to Public Safety, where she served on Ways and Means and contributed to decisions on innovations in the criminal justice agencies and programs. Senator Winters was a strong supporter of the Criminal Justice Commission and its innovative programs for probation and parole supervision in lieu of incarceration. 

House Judiciary Chair Jennifer Williamson did her share of the work this session on the passage of SB 1008 A, which was brought to the House floor in a late evening session. The vote was 40 – 18, which will result in major changes in the juvenile justice system. She also entertained discussions on SB 321 B on DNA testing for the Oregon Innocence Project. The Senate passed the bill 29 to 1 excused and the House passed it 56 to 4 excused. SB 388 B on pardons by the Governor passed Senate on 22 yes to 4 no and 4 excused and the House vote of 47 yes, 11 no and 2 excused.

Public Safety Ways and Means Subcommittee heard SB 5506 on the Criminal Justice Commission Budget on 5-23, and SB 5515 on the Department of Justice Budget on 5-30. The CJC manages Justice Reinvestment Programs and grant projects, but federal grant funds have been decreased. The League has supported CJC agency staff and programs. See letter on SB 5506

HB 2631 A was approved by the Public Safety Sub to fund a pilot program at Coffee Creek prison for women. The grant will pay for legal services from 3 attorneys at the Oregon Justice Resource Center. Next week SB 973 A is scheduled in Public Safety. This bill covers Behavioral Health services through Justice Reinvestment grants of $10 million to counties. The CJC will receive funding for 3 positions to administer the program but the Oregon Health Authority receives no additional funding.

Housing, by Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

Policy committees in the Legislature were mostly shut down and while there were not many scheduled hearings on issues related to housing, several housing-related bills did receive attention and floor votes. 

  • On Tuesday, the House voted to pass SB 970, which includes many changes to the law related to manufactured home park residents. The bill also prohibits landlords from asking prospective tenants about whether they have a medical marijuana card, and prohibits landlords from screening out an applicant from the application process solely because of a conviction for possession of marijuana.
  • On Wednesday, the House Human Services and Housing Committee met for an informational hearing. They currently are considering ways to prioritize the requests they’ve approved to submit to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. The Committee reviewed the list of housing bills and members were asked to identify priorities.
  • On Thursday, the House voted to pass SB 873, which would allow tenants to expunge evictions from their records, which are past the period during which landlords legally are allowed to consider an eviction. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature.
  • On Thursday, the Governor signed HB 2285. The bill, led by Habitat for Humanity of Oregon, makes changes to the receivership process to allow cities to address blighted and abandoned homes and hopefully turn them into affordable housing.

Next Week at the Legislature

Next week marks several budget hearings in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. 

  • On Monday, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services will hold a work session on SB 491 to move the Fairview Trust to Oregon Community Foundation so it could continue to be used to support creating housing opportunities for people experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • On Wednesday, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will hold a work session on SB 5512, the Oregon Housing and Community Services’ budget. More information is anticipated about whether the budget will include additional investments in OHCS’s programs.
  • Also on Wednesday, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will hold a work session on HB 2006. This bill would provide resources to support renters in the private market by increasing access to renter’s education, hotline services, training, navigation and other items. The original proposal allocates $20 million in resources.
  • Next week a final vote is expected on HB 2916, which would make changes related to how cities can allow transitional housing campgrounds for people experiencing homelessness. The House will consider some technical amendments adopted by the Senate. If the House concurs on the amendments, the bill will head to the Governor her signature.

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


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