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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 21 – 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

HB 2020 A: Oregon Climate Action Program

It’s now up to leadership to decide next steps. The “Cap and Invest” Clean Energy Jobs HB 2020 A had a hopefully minor setback; on June 5 Ways and Means Natural Resource sub-committee moved it forward; however, late June 6 the bill was removed from the June 7 full Ways and Means agenda. This was caused by a number of reasons, but most likely related to Senator Betsy Johnson’s newly proposed (yet to be posted to OLIS) A-102 (LC 894) amendment. (See OPB article HERE.) This amendment would basically “for all practical purposes” gut the bill.

The historic proposed legislation currently reflects an energy economy that caps and permanently reduces greenhouse gas emissions, uses natural and working lands to sequester CO2, builds climate resiliency, includes a just transition process, and addresses impacted communities statewide. The Clean Energy Jobs Bill (HB 2020 A) accomplishes all five. The recent fiscal impact analysis is $22.3 M, and the revenue impact is $1.3 B.

Other Active Climate Emergency Portfolio Bills

Oil Rail Safety: HB 2209 A is on its way to the House floor next week

Renewable Energy Credits: SB 451 is still in Senate Rules where its status is unclear. 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 is here.

Jordan Cove Energy Project:

There is no real news on JCEP again this week. No new application for the 401 Water Quality Permit from JCEP. Betting people are saying they will reapply. They have to unless they want to walk away from the project or sue. A denial of that particular permit stops the project from happening. We have not heard any news from DSL on the applicant’s May 9, 1,600-page response to the Request for Information that the Department of State Lands (DSL) sent them on April 10. This process is related to the “Removal-Fill” permit needed by the project. We imagine Oregon state agency staff are working on public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). This is a comprehensive list of all Oregon agencies involved in this project. LWV members working on the comment for the four Local Leagues are doing the same. FERC has scheduled hearings, but it appears that they will again be one-on-one recorded hearings. No time-limit has been announced. You may also submit written comments.

Hearing Locations and times: Southwestern Oregon Community College, Hale Center for the Performing Arts, 1988 Newmark Avenue, Coos Bay, June 24, 2019, 1:00–8:00 p.m.; South Umpqua High School 501 Chadwick Lane, Myrtle Creek, June 25, 2019, 1:00–8:00 p.m.; Ramada Medford Hotel and Conference Center, 2250 Biddle Road, Medford, June 26, 2019, 1:00–8:00 p.m.; Klamath County Fairgrounds/Event Center, 3531 South 6th Street, Klamath Falls, June 27, 2019, 1:00–8:00 p.m. The public comment period ends on July 5.

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

June 5, 2019: Thousands Rally in Support of the Young Americans Behind Juliana v. United States on Tuesday

Via YouthvGov Facebook Page:

“On Tuesday, thousands of supporters showed up to demonstrate in support of the 21 Juliana plaintiffs. Hundreds of youth filled both the courtroom and the overflow room in the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, where the hearing had been moved to accommodate the public. All ages of supporters also gathered at a park in downtown Portland to watch the livestream on a jumbo-screen during a rally. These supporters joined thousands around the world who also watched the livestream as part of the Our Children’s Trust campaign #AllEyesOnJuliana, making this the first appellate hearing in American history to be livestreamed at such a scale. If you missed the live stream, you can still view it HERE.

Many League members attended the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing Live streamed and rally in Portland and viewed via live-stream in the Eugene Federal Courthouse – Big thanks to LWV Lane County past president Linda Lynch!

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

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

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.

LWVOR Convention passed a “Climate Emergency” resolution May 17-19. 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 6+ states in their up-coming June Councils and Conventions. LWV California just passed unanimously a similar resolution. The LWVUS Council that meets late June may address this Climate Emergency declaration topic in some form.

The language of Climate via media is in the process of changing how the Climate Emergency or Climate Crisis is described. The UN Secretariat General recent a letter to the Financial Times: “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 (OEA) staff’s 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, insurance regulations, and related population forecast assumptions.

Related: World Bank blogs: Finance Ministers, Climate Champions of our Time. The climate crisis is our third world war. It needs a bold response (Nobel prize in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz). NYT: Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years. 57 countries have Carbon Pricing mechanisms says the World Bank.

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

Student Success and its funding have not even taken effect yet, and already there are attempts for additional carve outs that would reduce funding to schools. See the Revenue section of this LR for an analysis.

Many education bills are still awaiting their day in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means or the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education. In this LR we highlight what our coalition partners in education and early learning see as priorities as the session wanes.

While the League is “watching” and providing feedback to the few legislators responsible for getting remaining education bills through Ways and Means and then the House/Senate floor before the end of the session, this is a time when lobbyist legwork rather that testimony determines the fate of bills. Legislators are pushing to get “their” bills through a process where there is not enough money for everything and the calendar is running down, so many bills may die in committee.

It is insightful to see what other education and childhood coalition groups are making priorities as the session nears an end. LWVOR Action, staffed by only a couple of unpaid League volunteers, routinely works with and greatly appreciates these nonprofit partners with full-time paid lobbyists. Our priorities frequently mirror theirs, though sometimes the League does not have a Position upon which to testify. The League’s well-placed written testimony and verbal support is valued by coalition partners.

As the session is nearing an end, Stand for Children prioritizes “HB 5015 that includes base money for Measure 98, early learning opportunities, and equity initiatives that students urgently need; and SB 880 that will give graduating seniors certainty about how to transfer college credits they earned while in high school to public colleges and universities.”

The Early Childhood Coalition (ECE) led by the Children’s Institute says that “at this point in session, decisions tend to be made with a very small group of people in the room, and it can be incredibly challenging to get information about where priorities stand.” Early childhood lobbyists have been making the rounds with a few legislators who are at the decision-making tables. Here’s what ECE is asking for:

  • Fund “Current Service Level” for all the early childhood programs. While we won new investment in the Student Success Act (HB 3427 and HB 5047), we still need to make sure our existing funding isn’t cut in the regular budget (Oregon Department of Education, Grant-in-Aid budget, HB 5015).
  • Retain critical staff at the Early Learning Division to support effective implementation of the Student Success Act. As of today, the legislature has still not committed to fund portions of two critical staff. $155,000.
  • Fund the last three items that weren’t accomplished in the Student Success Act:
    • One-time funding for two Relief Nurseries that are ready to open doors in 2019 (they’ll be funded by Student Success act in 2020). $300,000.
    • Create a childcare taskforce to make a plan for the state to address our childcare crisis. Exact cost TBD, but probably around $100,000.
    • Grow the impact of Reach Out and Read. $250,000.

Since we are getting so close to the end of session (which will take place sometime between June 21-30), this is an overview of all the bills the Early Learning Coalition tracked this legislative session and where they are now.

  • HB 2024 – Creates Baby Promise Program (contracted slots for infant-toddler childcare). This bill passed out of the House Education Committee months ago. The Joint Committee on Student Success decided NOT to include funding for this key strategy in the Student Success Act, although the Early Learning Division has been able to launch the work with some federal funding. The bill now sits in the Ways & Means Committee waiting for the legislature to determine if they will pass it.
  • HB 2025 – Revises the state’s preschool statute. This bill received the funding it needed to be implemented in the Student Success Act. It’s expected to be up for a vote next week, but it has not been posted yet.
  • HB 2346 – Establishes a taskforce on childcare. This bill has not been scheduled, so we’re still pushing to make sure it passes.
  • HB 2348 – Caps parent co-pays in childcare subsidy program. This bill is dead, but we are asking legislators to direct the Department of Human Services (DHS) to make headway in reducing co-pays. Legislators can do this by putting a budget note in the DHS budget.
  • HB 2897 – Early Childhood Equity Fund. This entire bill was included in the Student Success Act (HB 3427) and PASSED!
  • HB 3427 – Student Success Act. PASSED!
  • HB 5015 – Oregon Department of Education, Grant in Aid Budget. This budget includes base funding for all of our early childhood programs. It is expected to move next week, so we have been using this week to make our final round with key legislators to ask for “Current Service Level” funding – no cuts. Stay tuned!
  • HB 5047 – Allocates the funds raised in the Student Success Act. PASSED!
  • SB 526 – Universally available home visits. This bill passed the Senate Health Committee in March. It passed the Ways & Means Human Services Subcommittee on Tuesday, and it is scheduled for a vote in the full Ways & Means Committee on Friday. This is a priority bill for Sen. Steiner Hayward, one of the co-chairs of this committee, and is expected to pass.

STATUS ON OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST to ECE

  • HB 2005 – Paid family & medical leave (this was HB 3031 earlier in session). This bill still sits in the House Rules Committee, but it is expected to pass. Neutrality from the business community was bargained alongside the Student Success Act. Stay tuned!
  • HB 2027 – Expands what office of childcare can consider in a background check. PASSED.
  • HB 2246 – Early Learning Division develops plan to transition children seamlessly between mental health services at age 6. DEAD.
  • HB 2247 – Creates Imagination Library program in Oregon. DEAD.
  • HB 2248 – Creates pilot program to reduce kindergarten student-teacher ratios in schools considered high poverty. While this bill did not pass, we may see some districts use their Student Success Act money to accomplish this goal. DEAD.
  • HB 2262 – Modifies membership of Early Learning Council. PASSED.
  • HB 2318 – Bans assessments in preschool through 2nd DEAD.
  • HB 2639 – Expands eligibility for the Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance program to children until they enter kindergarten (eligibility currently ends at a child’s fifth birthday). This bill is in Ways & Means awaiting funding.
  • HB 3063 – Increases vaccine requirements. This bill was traded away to get Republican Senators to return to work and allow a vote on the Student Success Bill. DEAD.
  • HB 3394 – Modifies requirements of childcare resource and referral entity services. PASSED.
  • HB 3414 – Creates a system for certifying early learning professionals. This bill was a bit confusing, as we do have a system for certifying early learning professionals already. DEAD.
  • HJM 3 – Urges congress to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This is where federal funding for Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education comes from. PASSED.
  • HJR 15 – Encourages state agencies to follow Child and Early Parenting Principles. PASSED.
  • SB 13 – Updates language on special education eligibility for developmental delay to comply with federal law. PASSED.
  • SB 490 – Prohibits individual with substantiated child abuse from providing childcare. The bill passed out of the Ways & Means Education Subcommittee yesterday and will be voted on in the Full Ways & Means Committee soon.
  • SB 543 – Allows local communities to form Children’s Service Districts to raise revenue to fund children’s programs. This bill failed on the House floor, which is a rare occurrence. This has been a priority for Sen. Riley for many years. FAILED.
  • SB 813 – Directs office of childcare to follow up on complaints about providers. PASSED.

The Children’s Agenda, United for Kids is tracking the following bills in a broad-based coalition that considers the welfare of children and youth across economic security, education and health and safety. These bills cross over portfolios in League Action to Social Policy, Governance, Natural Resources/Climate Change and Revenue—not all are in the League “Education” portfolio. Waiting in Committees (Ways & Means unless noted otherwise, status 6-2, some may have moved this week)

Economic Security

  • HB 2346– Childcare Task Force
  • HB 2024– Infant/Toddler Childcare Statute – in Ed Sub
  • SB 745– Expanding Transition Services for Foster Youth
  • HB 2389– Children’s Savings Accounts Task Force
  • HB 2650– Better Access to 211Info
  • HB 2614– Driver’s License Suspension
  • HB 3183/HB 2032– Strengthen TANF – HB 3183 in HS Sub
  • HB 2015– Equal Access to the Roads

Education

  • HB 2025– Align Preschool Programs – in Ed Sub
  • HB 2562– Title IX enforcement funding
  • SB 130– School Nurses and Telehealth
  • HB 3165– School Health Center planning – 6/10 in HS Sub

Health & Safety

  • SB 526– Universally Offered Home Visiting – 6/7 cleared W&M
  • HB 2639– WIC to Kindergarten
  • SB 1/SB 221– Support for the Most Vulnerable Children – SB 1 in HS Sub
  • HB 3180– Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention (HB 3178, HB 3179)
  • HB 2258– Family Treatment Courts
  • HB 2332– Governor’s Child Foster Care Advisory Commission
  • HB 2570– Expansion of CASA Services
  • HB 2849– Child Welfare Removal Standards
  • HB 2007– Dirty Diesel

Tax Expenditures/Revenue:

Rules

A “Map” to Education Committees in the 2019 Session

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

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

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


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

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

Rick Bennett, governance bills review
Marge Easley, National Popular Vote
Josie Koehne, Transparency, Public Records
Ann Potter, League position review
Norman Turrill, Redistricting, Campaign Finance

Brief

We’re anticipating the Governor signing the National Popular Vote bill! We are pressing for the bills we filed pre-session. Bills with delayed hearings have diminished viability, so we’re really pushing. Read for news on 19 bills–it isn’t over yet!

Bill Watch

We’re still advocating for these bills, down to the wire:

  • HB 2210, our incumbent website bill, referred but not on an agenda in the Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology. The site has been built already and should be considered not for the Transparency website but to be placed in the online Oregon Bluebook.
  • HB 2234, our online candidate filing bill (our testimony). We assert that the fiscal for instituting this software update bears a close look, is worthwhile, not as large as the Elections Division fears.
  • HB 2685, our candidate filing contact information bill (see testimony here & here). There is confusion that this bill would force or prohibit candidates using or not using personal home contact information in filing. We are clear. The intention is to clarify statute, so that public phones, emails and staff time not be used for campaigning.

These are still in the mill:

We support these campaign finance bills (our latest summary addressing amendments in hearing video, at the 12-minute mark). Note that we find them imperfect yet preferable to sustaining Oregon’s current position for unlimited legal campaign contributions. They are controversial. All three are scheduled for first readings on the Senate floor this week:

  • HB 2714, for campaign contribution limits.
  • HB 2716, for campaign advertisement donor identification.
  • HB 2983 A, to disclose “dark money” organizations intending to influence Oregon elections.

HB 3441 for an automatic voter registration task force, popped up repeatedly in revised House Rules committee agendas. We support and hope it proceeds, no action scheduled yet.

SB 224, for numerous elections’ issues, passed from Senate Rules as Printed A-Eng, with no further movement posted yet. (our testimony).

SB 670 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. SB 670 has passed from House Rules to the House floor this week.

SB 861 for pre-paid ballot envelopes passed to Ways and Means on March 13, awaiting decisions with many other bills. We would prioritize HB 2234, with a much smaller fiscal, over this one. (our testimony).

SB 870, for a National Popular Vote, has passed to the Governor for signing, expected this week.

SB 944 for election risk-limiting audits, is in House Rules for a public hearing and work session. This bill has shown strong bi-partisan support (our floor letter).

Immigration & Discrimination, Claudia Keith

HB 2015 “Drivers licenses for all”, now has a work session scheduled this week in Joint Transportation and Development (our testimony).

HB 2508 A for refugee resettlement grants, passed unanimously in March, now in Ways and Means.

SB 577 A, a hate/bias crime bill, passed unanimously last week (one excused), to Ways and Means.  

National Popular Vote, Marge Easley

SB 870 at last! It has been a long journey over the last five sessions, but the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk after its passage on the House floor on June 5. The vote tally was 37 to 12. Oregon will now join the 15 other jurisdictions that have already agreed to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, making a total of 196 out of 270 electoral votes needed for the Compact to go into effect.

Unfortunately, the news has not been as good in two other states that were slated to pass the bill this year. On May 30, the Democratic governor of Nevada vetoed NPV after its passage in both houses, and the Maine House of Representatives failed to pass the bill after its passage in the Senate.

Transparency & Public Records, Josie Koehne

Time is running out for the session. The records request reporting bill, HB 2431 A, still has not yet been scheduled in Ways and Means. It requires all state agencies to report the number of requests they get, how many are late (30 and 60 days) or not responded to, and how many received fee reductions or waivers. The LFO fiscal impact statement estimates a very high price tag to prepare a quality report. This seems shockingly high: “The fiscal impact to DHS is $90,395 General Fund and $90,095 Federal Funds for an Operations and Policy Analyst 3 (0.75 FTE) for the 2019-21 biennium, and $118,773 General Fund and $118,373 Federal Funds for this position (1.00 FTE) for the 2021-23 biennium.” Since these could be easily compiled in one Excel spreadsheet from a standard form created for this purpose and be reviewed by the now permanent Public Records Advocate and Advisory Council who requested this data, we are mystified by this excessive cost analysis!

SB 25 A, which allows for the sharing of mental health records in a forensic investigation, and SB 703, creating a task force on the protection of personal health records from commercial sale, also have not been scheduled in Ways and Means.

HB 2353 A: On June 4, the governor signed the $200 penalty bill on public agencies for public records requests that were late or were not responded to. Journalists and reporters pushed for this bill, as agencies have not improved their response time despite changes in the law that took effect in January 2018 requiring fulfillment of requests within 15 days (with reasonable allowances for exceptions). Small agency recorders and the League of Oregon cities had opposed the bill, citing more time was needed for training agency personnel.

HB 2393 was signed by the House Speaker and the Senate President on June 5th. This “intimate image” bill modifies the crime of harassment and spells out the damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit when a nude or sexually explicit image is disseminated without consent

HB 3224 requires DAs to “develop and adopt policies relating to discovery, charging decisions and case disposition and to make policies available to public on a website”. HB 3224 passed House and Judiciary Committees already, it also passed House floor. The last vote was on Senate floor 3rd reading which passed the bill on 6-6 with 26 ayes, 2 no and 1 excused. It is on its way to the Governor.

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

As we move to the end of session, the last three natural resource agency budgets will soon be considered. Most natural resource policy bills without fiscals have been heard, but a long list of policy bills that need money to implement are still on the waiting list to be scheduled—or not. Your advocacy is needed on behalf of the budgets and policies in this report. Contact your legislator today! 

Budgets

SB 5511, the budget for the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), and SB 5545, a bill that is being stuffed with the Oregon Dept. of Energy (ODOE) budget, will be worked on June 11 in the Natural Resources Subcommittee. Of concern is that SB 45 A, a bill that updates fees charged by DOGAMI 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, has not been included in the hearing. Currently, DOGAMI is only inspecting 6.5% of the 865 surface sites (over 1,000 total mining sites). Without the fee increase or an infusion of General Funds, the status quo will continue. 

The ODOE budget was created after SB 928, the Governor’s proposal for an Oregon Climate Authority agency, failed this session. The Legislative Fiscal Office files “blank” bills each session that can be used as needed for such purposes. SB 5545 reflects changes due to the proposed HB 2020 climate bill where some former ODOE work is now aligned but keeps such important features as the 6 positions that follow the work of the Hanford Cleanup, a priority for the League.

The final agency budget bill yet to be scheduled for a work session is HB 5019, the budget for the Dept. of Forestry. Originally scheduled for Monday, June 10, the bill has been pulled from the agenda. The agency had a proposal for more than $25 million to increase their ability to not only fight fires, but to help fire prevention in the wildland urban interface lands. The Governor had only asked for funding for her Wildfire Council, but Rep. Marsh has a proposal for more firefighting resources, community resiliency and landscape analysis of $6.8 million. Other legislators have proposed a variety of funding to address these issues. Further internal discussions must be continuing, but time is running out for an agreed-upon proposal. 

On June 11 the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development is set to work SB 5512, the budget for Housing and Community Services. HB 2001 A is 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. Also to be worked is 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. Each bill will each have a public hearing and work session. Amendments to the two policy bills are expected but had not been posted as of the writing of this report nor has the funding to DLCD and local governments needed to implement them. (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. 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.)

If major amendments are being considered in Ways and Means, the legislators seem willing to provide for a public hearing opportunity, although the chance of changing the minds of voting members is slight since a decision to schedule such a hearing usually means that votes in support have been counted.   

SB 5539 and 5540, the agency budget and local grants bills for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, were heard in the Ways and Means Natural Resources Subcommittee on June 6, and moved to the Full Ways and Means Committee. HB 2020 A, the climate bill, was forwarded to the Full Ways and Means Committee on June 5 but was removed from the June 7 Full Committee meeting. (For more information, see the Climate Report in this newsletter.)   

On June 7, the Full Ways and Means Committee passed:

  • HB 5027, the agency budget for the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development,
  • 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 only 2 positions were funded. Some mid-Valley legislators were upset that the Leaburg fish hatchery was not funded—look for possible funding in the end-of-session bill),
  • HB 2829, creating a new Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (but only allocated $1 million in a Special Purpose Appropriation (SPA) that can be accessed IF $1 million in private or other funds can be raised),
  • HB 5043, the agency budget for the Water Resources Dept.
  • HB 2084, a continuation of place-based planning for 4 areas of the state,
  • HB 5017 and 5018, the agency budget and fee bills for the Dept. of Environmental Quality (where a compromise set of funding proposals increase staffing to move toward increased effective processing of wastewater permits, Cleaner Air Oregon fees were approved along with new permanent staffing, money was allocated to work on drinking water issues such as harmful algal blooms and $500,000 was appropriated to work on wood smoke issues that were requested in SB 1031 and HB 3408),
  • SB 884, adding on-site septic systems to a loan program (which may mean SB 756 will not be funded),
  • SB 41, oil spill prevention fees, and
  • HB 2209, which requires funding by railroads for training and planning for safe transportation of oil.

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 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. The Volkswagen monies will need to be allocated by 2025.

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. The League opposes this bill.

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 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. Latest word is that HB 3058 may not move forward and neither will HB 2619, related to banning chlorpyrifos.

HB 3141 A would use $1.5 million to purchase electric vehicles and charging stations.

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.

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. 

Air Quality, Susan Mates

SB 1044 requires biannual reporting by the state about how we are meeting our emissions goals and what recommendations to provide to the legislature about how to better meet those goals. It allows investor owned electric utilities to get involved with creating charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, encourages the state government to buy or lease electric vehicles, and expands the uses for public purpose charge moneys by school districts. The bill passed the Senate and has been referred to Speaker’s desk, although it may be too late in the session for final passage. The bill would need to be referred to Rules as other policy committees have been closed this session.

The DEQ budget bill, HB 5017, in the arena of air quality, includes positions to address the enormous permit backlog in the Air Quality program, increases the expenditure limitation for the Electric Vehicle Rebate program, makes a one-time appropriation to support local efforts to reduce wood smoke in communities violating or at risk of violating federal air quality standards, and funds the Cleaner Air Oregon program. More information here.

DEQ’s companion fee bill, HB 5018 A, approves a fee schedule for Cleaner Air Oregon, the air toxics program. Some legislators were upset that only 3 of the 40 businesses being audited this go-round are in the Portland area. 

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

Peggy called in to the South Coast Umpqua Regional Solutions Advisory Committee meeting on June 3 to listen to issues of concern related to economic development in this region. Having a League member call in to these meetings indicates to others our interests and concerns about all corners of the state. It also informs us of pending issues about which we may want to address in the future. We encourage others to call in to these meetings (see end of this report for details).

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.  

Drinking Water Advisory Committee, Amelia Nestler

SB 27, which the League supported in testimony, is set for a vote on the Senate floor Monday. SB 27 would update the fee structure that water suppliers pay to the Oregon Health Authority. The drinking water program has been underfunded for years, leaving our water supply vulnerable to legacy and emerging contamination threats. The bill then needs to pass in the House and get the Governor’s signature to become law. 

Forestry

The Board of Forestry decided they need more information before requiring the Siskiyou area to comply with certain riparian buffers. They will be reviewing the 2011-2020 Forest Vision for Oregon this next year. In November, the Board will hold a 2-day science workshop. The department continues to work on a Habitat Conservation Plan for our state forests. HB 2073, the harvest tax bill, passed out of House Revenue with the continuing 60/40 funding split between General Funds and harvest tax. 

The Department of Forestry invites you to a meeting on June 12, providing an update on the Habitat Conservation Plan process for state forestlands west of the Cascades. This meeting is open to the public and primarily intended for those with an interest in management of Oregon’s forests. They ask that you please RSVP by clicking here.

For those of us in Western Oregon, the threat of wildfire is beginning, starting on the north coast and working south thru the Coast Range and to the foothills of the Cascades. The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for June 2019 has been issued by Predictive Services at the National Interagency Fire Center.

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.

SB 10, establishing high density development requirements in areas adjacent to transportation corridors, had another public hearing on June 5 in Senate Rules. New amendments were considered that we understand would only affect the Cities of Salem, Springfield and Eugene. Representatives of those cities, the League of Oregon Cities and our own Lane County League provided testimony of concern or in opposition.

Water

HCR 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. Senator Taylor says it best: “Oregonians are used to taking water for granted. We complain about the rain, enjoy the snowpack in the mountains, and play in our beautiful rivers and lakes. Until recently, scarcity seemed like a California problem. Water quality was something we fixed in the 70s. Now we are dealing with the effects of climate change and pollution every day. Water is the next critical issue this state needs to address.

Quality and quantity. Infrastructure and research. Protection and restoration. This legislative session I have made no secret about my priorities when it came to water policy. This isn’t a problem that will go away on its own. This is an enormous, monumental problem that will require cooperation between state agencies, businesses, legislators, and people like you. I believe that we can create the necessary solutions and ensure that Oregonians will always be able to access and enjoy fresh, clean, plentiful water.”

HB 2085 B, the dam safety bill, awaits the Governor’s signature.

The House Committee on Natural Resources held an informational meeting on June 4 on the Willamette Basin Water Reallocation project. It has been determined that there is 1.59 million acre/feet of water available, but the need among agricultural irrigation, municipalities, industry and the fish is greater, so the parties are continuing to work on a fair distribution that will then need approval by Congress. The PowerPoint presentations by the parties are worth reviewing.

On June 13, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an informational meeting on the OSU Paired Watershed Studies. 

The Dept. of Agriculture provided a report summarizing the Coordinated Streamside Management process in Strategic Implementation Areas, how the process has evolved, accomplishments so far, and next steps. Coordinated Streamside Management is a partnership involving ODA, OWEB, DEQ, and ODFW, local partners including SWCDs and other organizations, and private landowners. The partnership works in small watersheds called Strategic Implementation Areas to comprehensively evaluate agricultural lands, identify opportunities for improvement, work with landowners to achieve compliance and meet state water quality goals by achieving ecological uplift provide capacity support to local partners, and monitor and evaluate outcomes.

The Klamath River Compact Commission will meet June 18 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm 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 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 YEAR ROUND! If you are interested in natural resource issues, please contact Natural Resources Coordinator Peggy Lynch.


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Revenue and Tax Reform

By Maud Naroll, Revenue and Tax Reform Coordinator

The Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures received a $30 million bump in their budget, allowing them to renew sunsets plus grant $5 million in additional tax expenditures.

The omnibus tax credit bill will also contain clarifying wording tweaks to the now-signed Student Success CAT tax, HB 3427. A proposal to exempt billion dollar investments from the CAT hit dogged opposition.

Student Success

Recall the Student Success bill creates a wealth of investments in P-12 education. They will be funded by a new corporate activity tax (CAT). Most of the proposed changes to the CAT just tweak wording to fix vagueness or unintentional meanings, clarifying, for example, that marijuana edibles or seeds are not included in the groceries exemption, and grocers’ 35% subtraction from the gross receipts base just applies to the taxable, non-grocery, portion of their business.

However, the Tax Expenditure Committee heard several possible policy changes in the -1 to HB 2164, one controversial. Student Success and its funding have not even taken effect yet, and already there are attempts for additional carve outs that would reduce funding to schools.

  • Potential addition to the CAT: If a business invests at least $1 billion over a decade, then their construction contractors and the contractors’ suppliers can exclude from their own CAT computations any receipts from the investment’s construction (Sec 8-9). No one in the room mentioned the word Intel, which has announced plans for a multi-billion factory in Hillsboro, but committee Republicans protested mightily that large businesses would get a break that small ones would not, one agreeing with a Democratic colleague’s statement against long-term corporate welfare. In the June 7 meeting, a co-chair announced that the CAT changes would be significantly different when they re-appear at the next committee meeting, a possible signal that the Intel tax break is dead.
  • In a separate section of the -1, all payments to subcontractors for design, construction, remodeling, remediation or repairs of buildings would be exempt. This portion may be narrowed before amending into HB 2124.
  • Recall that when buying goods in a sales tax state, the sales tax shows separately on the receipt. Unlike a sales tax, the CAT tax will not display to business customers. The -1 amendment heard June 4 would allow car dealers to collect from customers an estimate of the CAT tax attributable to the vehicle being sold. Could this be a wedge to get car buyers to see the CAT as a sales tax, which it is not?

Listen to the meeting on possible CAT changes here.

The Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce association (OMC) claimed responsibility for the filing to put the CAT on the ballot, which would de-fund, and effectively prevent, all improvements to education in the Student Success Act. OMC held training for volunteer signature collectors, though they are likely to use paid collectors as well. Before collection for this and any other possible measures begins, LWVOR recommends reading our Think Before You Ink page.

Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures

The committee will amend its omnibus tax expenditure changes and sunset renewals into HB 2164. The Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) walked the committee through a table detailing three amendments.

The -2 covers renewing existing tax expenditures for which the committee has consensus: the credit for Cultural Trust contributions and a change allowing joint filers twice the current $500 limit for both single and joint filers; changing the 529 college savings tax expenditure from a subtraction to a refundable credit, revenue neutral; and renewing the earned income tax credit (EITC), plus several small renewals.

The -3 allows a county to remove the existing five-year property tax exemption for new farm machinery and equipment – and later re-impose it if desired. Even a rural Republican committee member spoke in favor, because it is a county’s option to opt out.

The -4 is a clean six-year renewal of the political contribution personal income tax credit, $50 for single filers, $100 for joint, if income is under $100,000 (single) or $200,000 (joint).

Recall that the original Ways and Means co-chair budget allowed only $40 million for all tax expenditures, not enough to renew the EITC, much less other existing credits. Ways and Means is now allowing $70 million for tax expenditures, and with new information on 2017 personal tax filings, LRO reduced the EITC forecast for next biennium. All the proposals in the three amendments add to $64.6 million, leaving at least $5.4 million in the committee’s budget. Should they increase the EITC by one percent of the federal credit, at about $6 million? Add those without Social Security numbers to the Oregon EITC? Add short line railroads? Increase individual development accounts? Other things?

Listen to the tax expenditure discussion here.

House Share

House Revenue heard the house share bill, SB 1045 A, which grants a property tax exemption to homeowners who share their home with non-relative housemates. The bill’s proponent, Portland developer Homer Williams, talked about it as a way to help strapped senior homeowners and people homeless or on the verge, and the fastest way to increase available housing. He also mentioned a roommate match making website that helps with background checks, leases, and mediation.

Both committee members and testifiers had serious interest in the idea of promoting home sharing, but also many questions and reservations, including: What about homeowners new to landlord-tenant responsibilities, including landlord insurance and problems evicting someone? Would the property tax exemption only be during occupancy, or for the whole year? How is property tax exemption the best way to incentivize homeowners?

Tax Fairness Oregon had talked with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, which operates a house share program, and said their cost is $2,000 or less per placement. Much of what’s needed by homeowners is guidance and consulting, not funding above the rent received. SB 1045 could cost $5,000 per year per homeowner in lost property tax, and inflicts un-compensated costs on non-profit housing authorities and local governments.

LWVOR proposed an alternative, both for administration and for funding. The mortgage interest deduction bill, HB 3349 A, would free up $150 million for affordable homeownership and homelessness prevention, administered by the state Housing and Community Services Department, with some funds already slated for “long term rental assistance vouchers and case management for the [voucher] recipients” which could include house sharing.

Likely the mortgage interest deduction bill is dead for this session, but perhaps that bill and house sharing can re-emerge together in the future.

Kicker

Oregon Center for Public Policy put out a useful issue brief on the kicker.

Sneak Preview: What We Know So Far about the Week of June 10

Joint Tax Expenditure will hold a public hearing and work session June 14 to pass out the combined omnibus tax expenditure and Student Success CAT tweak bill.

House Revenue will hold a work session on HB 3436, which prohibits mailing or shipping cigars or inhalant delivery system without meeting certain requirements, which might be the only tobacco bill to pass this session, and on HB 3062 A, extending the fuel tax exemption sunset date for diesel fuel blended with at least 20 percent biodiesel derived from used cooking oil.

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

What happened to those health care and human services bills that were still alive two weeks ago? House Health Care passed HB 1039 A that allows a developmentally disabled client to have a health care advocate apart from an agency worker. It also included nurses as health care practitioners.

SB 29 B, which changes the name of sexually transmitted disease to sexually transmitted infection, has passed both chambers, but the formerly passed SB 142 was repealed in the House B amendment, plus consent of a parent is not required for treatment. SB 134 B considered alcohol and substance abuse treatment and the inclusion of tribal practices, which passed with the support of Association of Oregon Counties and the Multnomah County Behavioral Health System. 

SB 665 A allows a school to stock Naloxone for emergency use. SB 910 A required pharmacies to post the availability of Naloxone. The bills passed the Senate and House. SB 770 for Universal Care has not appeared on any schedules. SB 994 A was originally about juvenile placements in shelter facilities, but it was amended for criminal background checks on non-custodial parents before placements.

The House Health Care Committee had an informational hearing on HB 2696 on a proposed Drug Cost Review Commission on May 30, but the bill was not considered for passage. HB 3253 on Health Care Access was the subject of another information hearing on June 4. The bill proposes a Primary Care Trust to fund universal access to care. The committee heard about proposals in Rhode Island and Vermont. The chair noted that federal funds covered 50% of Oregon’s health programs and further waivers would be unlikely. The trust fund bill did not pass in Vermont. This bill will not progress and two other bills, SB 765 and SB 934, on Health Care are dead. 

The House Rules Committee passed two Health Care bills. One was HB 2266 A, which asked the Oregon Health Policy Board to study the Affordable Care Act coverage and report to the Interim Committee by Jan. 1, 2021. House Rules passed the bill with 5 yes, 1 no and 1 excused. The bill waits for a House floor vote. HB 3076 B requires nonprofit hospitals to have financial assistance policies. The bill passed the House Rules committee by a 4-3 vote and the House floor passed the bill 38 – 21 no with 1 excused. The bill was sent to Senate Rules, which had a public hearing with a new amendment for changes in the community benefit model and scheduled a work session for June 5. The new amendment on social determinants of health is in process. SEIU, Providence Hospital, and the Oregon Law Center support the new amendment.

The Human Services Ways and Means Subcommittee has a full quiver of health care bills. SB 22 sets a cost for Behavioral Homes at $560,000, and SB 23 A oversees Ambulatory Surgical Centers for $150,000. SB 138 A on mental health drugs was passed, but the cost will be in the Oregon Health Authority Budget. SB 526 B funded home visits for new baby check-ups by community health nurses. The cost anticipated to be $1.6 million will also be in the OHA budget. The final OHA Budget SB 5525 has not been passed.

SB 872 on the Fair Pricing of Prescription Drugs will be under the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). SB 889 A sets a benchmark of cost control in medical insurance. The 3.4% cost containment was set early in the session, and next session the health care committees will check on compliance. The Budget was approved for new positions in the Oregon Health Policy agency. 

SB 491 A transferred funds from the Fairview Trust in the Department of Human Services to the Oregon Community Foundation. The $6.3 million in funds were intended for housing for the Developmental Disability clients. The fund will continue to be used for that purpose. SB 832 A about child fatalities in Child Welfare considered the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) workload on caseworkers. The Human Services Subcommittee has not yet passed the Department of Human Services Budget in HB 5026. What will happen next week?

Senate Child Welfare bills, SB 1 and SB 221, were passed to Ways and Means in April. SB 1 on specialized behavioral health needs of children was heard on June 5, but SB 221 on in-home services for children was not. SB 1 A establishes a System of Care Advisory Council, which was the result of a specialized needs workgroup appointed in January 2018 session. It covers behavioral needs assessments for children in the Oregon Health Authority, Department of Human Services, and Oregon Youth Authority. The A-4 amendment assigned funds to the OHA Budget for one administrative position and 5 teams to consult and evaluate contract proposals for services. $8.6 million was allocated. HB 3165 A on school based health centers has been scheduled and carried over a few times this week. The Oregon Health Authority Budget Bill SB 5525 has not been finalized yet.

The Public Safety Subcommittee met on June 3 and 6 when it heard SB 973 A, which will provide funds for grants from the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) to counties to provide mental health and substance abuse services in order to reduce jail, emergency department and Oregon State Hospital usage. The bill provides $10 million for grants and $639,000 to the CJC for 3 positions. The Subcommittee also passed HB 3064 A, which provides funds to the CJC for the continuation of the Justice Reinvestment Programs in county corrections programs. The bill aims to reduce prison use and pay for research continuation. The Department of Corrections Budget SB 5504 has not yet passed.

Paid Family Leave, Debbie Runciman

Not much has changed with Paid Family Leave HB 2005, which still sits in the House Rules Committee; advocates are negotiating with leadership about amendments and timing. When it’s scheduled, it will move fast. LWVOR has our testimony in support ready to go, emphasizing 3 main points:

  • The lack of a paid leave program disproportionately affects women and people of color, who provide much of the caregiving services. It is a question of equity.
  • The benefit level for our lowest-wage workers must be great enough for them to actually utilize the leave. These workers are likely living paycheck to paycheck, without savings to carry them through loss of income.
  • By having a program run like unemployment insurance, individual employers are relieved of many of the administrative burdens commonly associated with a paid leave benefit. It becomes easier for both employers to manage and individual workers to access.

Hopefully, there’s still time to pass this important legislation.

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

Last Week at the Legislature

  • On Monday, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services held a work session on SB 491, which would move the Fairview Trust to Oregon Community Foundation so it could continue to be used to support creating housing opportunity for people experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill was moved unanimously out of the subcommittee, and the Joint Committee on Ways and Means held a work session and moved the bill unanimously to the Senate.
  • On Monday, the House passed SB 262, which extends a key property tax exemption used in Portland and Eugene for housing. The bill now heads to the Governor for her signature.
  • On Wednesday HB 2506, which involves technical changes to the Housing Development and Guarantee Account, received a work session and the bill passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development. It now heads to the full Committee on Ways and Means.
  • On Wednesday, there was a final house vote on HB 2916, which would make changes related to how cities can allow transitional housing campgrounds for people experiencing homelessness. The House approved some technical amendments adopted by the Senate, and the bill will go to the Governor for her signature.
  • Also on Wednesday, the House concurred with the Senate amendments on HB 2997. It clarifies that Continuing Care Retirement Communities are not subject to inclusionary zoning rules. The original bill would have applied only to the City of McMinnville and would have clarified that for a housing development that splits a housing development of twenty or more units across several buildings or lots, they would still be subject to inclusionary housing rules.
  • On Thursday, the House Revenue Committee held a work session on HB 2130. The bill includes several local option property tax exemptions including one for affordable housing. The provision for affordable housing is also included in SB 737, which is in the Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures.

Next Week at the Legislature

On Monday, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will hold a work session on several bills. 

  • HB 2006 A is the rental market resources proposal from OHCS and Governor Brown. It is anticipated that the bill will include $3 million for OHCS to issue by RFP initiatives, including housing navigators, tenant’s rights hotlines, training, and an expansion of Rent Well, and $3 million to the Department of Justice to support people experiencing domestic violence in accessing housing.
  • HB 2896 relates to four manufactured housing-related bills (HB 2893, HB 2894, HB 2895, and HB 2896). These are being combined into HB 2896, along with $3 million in funding for a new manufactured home park in Springfield (a current park is closing).
  • SB 1024 creates an OHCS working group, a $2.5 million pilot program to decommission and replace aging homes, and a $9.5 million loan fund to preserve manufactured home parks.
  • HB 2002 extends the right of first refusal for all affordable housing. Originally, this bill included $25 million to preserve existing affordable housing. Amendments removed this provision; however, any funds will be dedicated in a separate bill, the lottery bond bill.

Oregon Housing and Community Services Budget

On Tuesday, the Oregon Housing and Community Services budget, SB 5512, will be heard in the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development. 

Particular attention should be paid to these items. 

  • Funding available for the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP): current service level is $40 million, which is expected to be in the budget bill. A total of $10 million may be included in additional, one-time only money. Housing advocates are proposing $50 million in on-going funds.
  • Watch for whether funding will be available for counseling for homeowners facing foreclosure.
  • OHCS is requesting additional staffing authority to help hire more staff to meet demands and operate programs efficiently and effectively.
  • The budget is not expected to include any bonds for either LIFT or Preservation projects.

For housing bills related to land use, please see the Natural Resources Report.

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


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