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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 24 – July 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

“The Governor will invoke executive order if compromise on climate bill can’t be reached” “Inaction is not an option, she said. Cap-and-invest is the way to go.” Watch her July 1 press conference HERE which includes extensive Q&A.

HB 2020 B, Climate Action Program: After the Republicans walked out for the second time this session (with one Senator violently threatening state troopers), you can imagine why this situation created a state, national/international and social media legislative leadership nightmare. We understand no one expected this 2nd WALKOUT action, given a written agreement which Leadership signed in early May. Read a few news articles HERE, HERE and HERE. This session will likely become known as the most rewarding, productive and disastrous of all legislative sessions in Oregon history. Important: Specific campaign finance issues and analysis related to Climate Policy are HERE

The House Leadership should be very proud it delivered HB 2020 to the Senate June 18, after 6 hours of civil discourse. After the House delivered a comprehensive completely vetted bill, it failed to be voted on in the Senate. Peter Courtney President of the Senate presiding over the chamber, announced the morning of June 25, while the ‘11’ missing Republicans were still out of state, that the Climate Action Program Bill (Clean Energy Jobs) did not have enough votes in the Senate to pass this session. It’s still unclear if the Senate Caucus has recovered from this unexpected declaration. Some local news and analysis: Oregonian, Capital Press and Statesman Journal. June 27, “Ways in which HB 2020 is Good for Rural Oregon” was published by Senator Michael Dembrow, Co-Chair of the Oregon Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, and appeared in Senator Jeff Golden’s newsletter. On June 29, the Senate (Ayes, 17; Nays, 10) moved the bill back to the Senate Rules Committee where it died. Once that was completed, on a very positive note, >100 priority bills passed and are now on their way to the Governor. (You can watch this HB 2020 vote on OLIS at the 14:15 video mark, “Burdick moves that HB 2020 be taken from its place on today’s calendar and be referred to the Rules Committee.”)

Governor Brown’s July 1 Press Conference: Gov. Brown invokes executive order if compromise on climate bill can’t be reached. Renew Oregon “Clean Energy Jobs” Coalition posted on social media: We’re not done yet. @OregonGovBrown is ready to lead our state forward in the coming weeks in her signature way: collaboration but also strength. Inaction is not an option, she said. Cap-and-invest is the way to go.#ORpol (This may point to a possible special session later this year.)

HB 2209 A Oil Rail Safety passed.

SB 451 A Renewable Energy Credits/Covanta: As expected this bill died without a vote in the House. Find recent news HERE.

Jordan Cove Energy Project:  

Recent Jordan Cove News HERE. The FERC written public comment period ends on July 5. Contact Shirley Weathers if you have any questions.

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

It’s unclear when the Ninth Circuit of Appeals will rule on the Federal case. It’s also unclear when the Oregon State Supreme Court will rule on the State Lawsuit. On June 23 CBS reran with modifications the “Climate change: What 10 presidents have known. Evidence in the Juliana v. United States suit shows that U.S. presidents have been warned about the effects of fossil fuels for more than 50 years. National Geographic Coverage.” Kids suing governments about climate: It’s a global trend – Climate Liability News – Insight Into Diversity Environmental Law Students are Behind a Movement to Protect Underrepresented Communities.

Climate Emergency Resolution:

Now globally over 717 municipalities (representing 136M people in 16 countries) and four countries have declared a climate emergency including the Vatican. Many other governments have declared 100% Carbon Neutral or Net Zero GHGE goals before or by 2050. New York City was one of the recent large cities to join this effort. On June 30 the U.N. news; “U.N. secretary-general warns of  ‘grave climate emergency’ in Abu Dhabi meeting.

It would be great to have volunteers; YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, Energy (DOE), Transportation, Agriculture and or Forestry Climate Policy, OLCD Climate Adaptation 2010 Oregon Update, or new ODFW Climate Strategy, please contact Claudia Keith, ca.keith@comcast.net.


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Education Policy

By Chris Vogel, Education Policy Coordinator with Stephanie Feeney

In a whirlwind session on Saturday and Sunday, many of the remaining education policy and budget bills passed and are now headed to the Governor for signature. Our wrap-up report later in the summer will be a summary of early learning, K-12, community college, technical education and higher education bills.

These bills are now ready for the governor’s signature following a busy weekend in the legislature.

  • HB 2024 regarding early childhood care
  • HB 2025 for early learning
  • SB 155 dealing with sexual misconduct by school employees toward students
  • HB 2910 extending the eligibility for the Oregon Promise Program to individuals under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and the Oregon Youth Authority
  • HB 5024 the budget bill for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission
  • HB 5015 detailing the elements of grant-in-aid that flow through the Oregon Department of Education to regional education service districts and local school districts
  • HB 2346 establishes Task Force on Access to Quality Affordable Child Care
  • HB 2018 moves the statewide longitudinal data system to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission as the Chief Education Office sunsets
  • HB 2164 establishes refundable credit against personal income taxes for contributions to higher education savings network account or ABLE account

A “Map” to Education Committees in the 2019 Session

The staff and elected committee members, chairs and co-chairs put in countess hours hearing testimony and fine-tuning bills with amendments. LWVOR wishes to say “thank you” to all those who made this an outstanding session for education policy and funding.

Following Education Advocacy

LWVOR works with many others in the interest of Oregon’s children and youth. We appreciate the collaborative efforts of others following education bills: 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. Children’s Institute leads the Early Childhood Coalition. The Chalkboard Project gains funding from six Oregon philanthropic foundations that support education initiatives. 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.

There is work to be done year-round with interim sessions, committees and coalition partners. We need your expertise and time (often from your own home computer screen) to follow early learning, K-12, higher education and community colleges; and policy issues for children and youth with high-risk factors and those historically underserved. Please email ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com to inquire how you may help.


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Governance

By Rebecca Gladstone, Governance Coordinator

Brief

Amid considerable drama eliciting national attention, our Legislature reconvened for the last weekend of the 2019 session, with more than 100 budget and policy bills pending in all of our League advocacy portfolios. We will have won some, lost some, and will file a Sine Die report after 30 days.

THESE BILLS JUST PASSED, were signed by the Governor, or are expected to be.

HB 2015 Enrolled: “Drivers’ licenses for all”, with our support and our testimony

HB 3348: Requires a financial impact disclosure for initiatives by the Financial Estimate Committee that “MEASURE SPENDS MONEY WITHOUT IDENTIFYING A FUNDING SOURCE,” if no source is provided. We supported with testimony and information. However, “dedicated funding source” is not defined.

SB 116 Enrolled requires a January 21, 2020 special election for HB 3427 Enrolled if a referendum petition campaign is successful to place it on the ballot. We strongly supported HB 3427 to establish the fund for student success.

SB 670 Enrolled: Prohibits concurrent voting material references to overseeing elections officials when they run as candidates. We filed testimony for the related HB 3049, with an internal reference to SB 670.

SB 761 A: limiting e-petition printing. We opposed the -3 amendment, our testimony. The partisan arguments had different concerns. Rural opponents fear that printing restrictions will limit their constituents’ initiative participation. Urban supporters experienced misleading petition circulation, lacking the required ballot measure information. Our concern was about requiring voters to print, sign, and mail in the full petition with its full text, which could be dozens of pages long. The bill is ambiguous on this point, and others have suggested that the Secretary of State could fix it by administrative rule. Stay tuned on this one.

SB 861 B: Prepaid ballot envelopes. Our testimony included both support and caution.

SB 944 Enrolled: Risk-limiting election audits, with our support and our testimony.

Campaign Finance, Norman Turrill

SJR 18 B to amend the Oregon constitution passed! It would enable the two other campaign finance bills below that passed this session. See Oregonian coverage, 30 June 2019. This does not require the Governor’s signature, and it will go directly to voters in the Nov. 2020 general election. If the voters then approve, it will be the most significant change in campaign finance laws in some 45 years!

HB 2716 Enrolled: campaign ad donor information, with our support and our testimony.

HB 2983 A, to disclose “dark money” organizations intending to influence Oregon elections, with our support and testimony.

The problem with these last two bills is that they are just an outline of significant reform with high dollar thresholds, and they do not include any “drill down” to the actual source of the campaign contributions. Also, HB 2714 A to set actual contribution limits did not pass through the Senate. The same organizations that brought Measure 47 may want to try again with an initiative.

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

Nine of the Senate Republicans returned to the Senate on Saturday morning, allowing votes on a stack of bills, including many of the natural resource agency budgets. Look for a complete list of work we all did in the Sine Die Report due in early August. Here are last week’s final items related to natural resources.

Budgets

See last week’s legislative report. Those bills mentioned all passed both chambers and are on their way to the Governor. The natural resource agencies were slighted this session after having done well in 2017. However, we are hopeful that some of the policy bills passed help protect our air, land and water. The Governor does have line item veto authority so we will need to wait until the end of July to know the final content of these bills. Look for our Sine Die report in August.  

HB 2436 B, a bill that would allow the Dept. of State Lands to put together a program where Oregon would partially “assume” the responsibilities of the Army Corps of Engineers for some portion of Oregon’s removal/fill permit requests, was amended by the A 10 amendment last week. However, it was returned to Ways and Means on June 29 to remove that amendment and to return the bill to its original form with the addition of authorization of funding for the assumption work and then passed by both chambers. The League will be engaged during the interim as the discussion on “assumption” quickly moves toward a bill in 2020 to authorize a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Air Quality, Susan Mates

HB 2007, as amended by the A 12 amendment, passed both chambers and is on its way to the Governor. Although greatly narrowed, it begins to address diesel fumes in the Portland Metro area. We can hope that any data from this action can be shared in order to increase more statewide coverage in the future. Otherwise, Oregon will continue to be the dumping ground for old diesel engines, causing health hazards especially to our children and elderly.

HB 2017 and HB 2018, the budget and fee bills for the Dept. of Environmental Quality, provide increased resources to work on the Cleaner Air Oregon program.

From the U.S Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA proposed a rule to implement the clear language of the Clean Air Act that allows a “major source” of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) to reclassify as an “area source” after acting to limit emissions to below the levels that define major sources. The EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information see here. LWVUS and LWVOR are opposed to this roll-back of air quality rules and encourage members to share their objection with the EPA.

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

The Rocky Habitat Working Group will be meeting July 9 from 9-10:30 a.m. for a check-in call to continue work on site specific designation language and process criteria. No final decisions will be made during this meeting. View Meeting Agenda & remote connection information. Visit the working groups website for more information. This meeting is via remote connection only.

The Oregon Coastal and Information Network (OCOIN)’s first semi-annual newsletter (read the newsletter) is now available. OCOIN is a network dedicated to facilitating greater knowledge, information, and data sharing by scientists, policy makers, and other decision makers within Oregon’s coastal communities and environment. Over the next year, OCOIN hopes to expand user outreach and communication. This newsletter is a new initiative to help reach that goal. Learn more about OCOIN here.

The Oregon Legislative Coastal Caucus (CC) will hold their 8th Annual Coastal Caucus Economic Summit this August 21-22 at Three Rivers Casino Resort in Florence, Oregon. The topic of this gathering is “Infrastructure Investments: A Collaborative Approach.” The meeting is planned and supported in partnership with Coos Lower Umpqua Siuslaw Indian Tribes who have offered the Three Rivers Casino as a meeting place for the first day’s activities along with reduced room rates at the Resort. Second day activities on August 22 will be held at the Florence Event Center, close to the heart of Old Town Florence. League members will attend this event. You can, too. For further information contact: Sen.ArnieRoblan@oregonlegislature.gov

The Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) is pleased to announce the release of Oregon’s DRAFT Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Action Plan. This OAH Action Plan was developed in recognition of the OAH impacts that we see today, in the hopes of minimizing the impacts for tomorrow, and altering the trajectory of ocean changes for future generations. The Oregon’s OAH Council welcomes public comment on this DRAFT from June 10th – July 9th of 2019. Public comment may be made by contacting the Council’s staff and leadership:

Charlotte R. Whitefield Ph.D., OAH Council Staff, Charlotte.M.RegulaWhitefield@state.or.us

John (Jack) Barth Ph.D., OAH Council Co-Chair
Jack.Barth@oregonstate.edu

Dr. Caren Braby Ph.D., OAH Council Co-Chair
Caren.E.Braby@state.or.us

Energy

On June 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule – replacing the prior administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) with a new, less restrictive rule. The ACE rule establishes emissions guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) at their coal-fired power plants. Specifically, ACE identifies heat rate improvements as the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for CO2 from coal-fired power plants, and these improvements can be made at individual facilities. States will have 3 years to submit plans, which is in line with other planning timelines under the Clean Air Act. More information, including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice and fact sheets, are available here. The League believes that HB 2250 may govern Oregon’s rules on this issue. Thank you, Governor Brown and the Legislature!

Forestry

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry is working with state and federal partner agencies to pursue a Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). They are currently in Phase 2, which includes developing conservation and timber management strategies as well as a public engagement process. Since April, the Steering Committee has approved final drafts of the species list, plan area, stakeholder engagement plan, and Mission, Vision and Goals. These were discussed at the June 12 meeting, as well as existing conditions and potential forest management activities to be covered in an HCP. The June 12 public meeting presentation can be found here. Feel free to contact them if you want to be engaged.

Land Use/Housing

See the Social Policy Legislative Report on HB 2001, 2003 and other housing bills. SB 88, the rural accessory dwelling unit bill, did not pass.

Water

The League was disappointed that more was not done to address implementation of Oregon’s Water Vision. We are hopeful that the Governor and legislators will continue the work during the interim. HB 2017 and HB 2018 authorized increased fees for water quality permits and provided increased staff to process permits. The League participated in meetings over multiple years and advocated for these steps. There was increased funding authorized for multiple grant and loan programs to help local jurisdictions address their water needs.

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.

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

Enough Senate Republicans returned to the Capitol June 29 to spend two long days finishing the session. The revenue bills up this weekend passed.

Passed and Headed to the Governor

HB 2270 sends the tobacco tax increases and new vaping tax to voters on the November 2020 ballot.

HB 2164 amends changes to the Student Success funding mechanism, the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT), renews a number of tax expenditures, and (slightly) raises the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

SB 116 creates a January 21, 2020 special election date if all or part of the Student Success Act is put on the ballot.

SB 212, non-severability, provides that if the Student Success Act funding mechanism, the corporate activity tax, fails at the ballot, most of the rest of the act, including spending for P-12 education improvements and cuts to personal income tax rates, also do not take effect.

HB 2128 requires the Legislative Revenue Office to study the statutory definition of tax expenditures and automatic sunset provisions.

HB 2449 raises the tax for 911 services from 75 cents per phone line to $1.25 over two years.

HB 2130 renews property tax exemptions for cargo containers, and creates sunsets for land on which a nonprofit intends to build low-income housing and for the partial property tax exemption for surviving spouses of some public safety officers killed in the line of duty.

Sneak Preview

The next Legislative Report will be our Sine Die edition, summarizing all revenue bills for the full 2019 legislative session, including information on any vetoes by the governor.

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

Ways and Means Outcomes: The most important outcome of the end of session was the passage of agency budget bills, which will enable the continuation of state services through the next biennium. SB 5525 A, the Oregon Health Authority Budget, and HB 5011 A, the Department of Consumer and Business Services were passed on the Senate Floor on 6-29 and the House Floor on 6-30. HB 2257 B on Project Nurture for mothers with substance abuse issues also passed the Senate with 27 votes supporting this program. HB 3165 B gives School Based Health Centers a boost with funds for 10 school districts, which passed at the end of session.

SB 770 B on a Task Force on Universal Health Care came through the end of session blitz on the Senate and House floor votes on June 30, the last day of the session. The Senate passed the bill by 18 ayes, 9 nays, 2 absent and 1 excused. The House vote was 37 ayes, 18 nays and 4 excused. The amount allocated for the Task Force work was $1,174,816, corrected from the last report. The Task Force will consider resources and expenses for a system that provides health care access for additional residents.

The Department of Human Services Budget, HB 5026 A, was approved at $3.8 billion of General Funds but had a few no votes. HB 2032 B, a DHS pilot program for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, passed during the last few days. HB 3183 B on expanded TANF benefits passed the Senate unanimously on June 29. Many other bills made it through the gauntlet, but it will take us time to review the results. Check the Sine Die reports.

Department of Justice Budget, SB 5515 A, and Oregon Judicial Department Budget, SB 5513 A, passed the final leap on the House floor on 6-29. HB 3447 A on court fees for technology services passed with only one no vote. The Public Defense Services Commission Budget passed earlier, but HB 3165 on additional agency adjustments failed miserably during June 29 floor sessions. HB 3064 B passed with funding Criminal Justice Reinvestment Projects in the Department of Corrections Community programs.

Housing, Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona

In the final flurry of voting, the 2019 legislature passed a number of housing bills that will generate more resources for low-income housing development, assistance for homeless Oregonians, solutions for residents of manufactured home parks, permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing mental and physical health challenges, and new policies to address housing affordability in our state.

  • SB 5512: The Oregon Housing and Community Services budget includes $50 million for emergency housing assistance and shelter through Emergency Housing Assistance and State Housing Assistance Programs; $1.5 million for foreclosure funding; $5 million for the greater Oregon Housing Accelerator; as well as increased staffing authority. You can read the full Legislative Fiscal Office report on the OHCS budget to see all the details.
  • HB 5005: Includes $150 million in general obligation, Article XI-Q bonds for the Local Innovation and Fast Track program that funds low-income housing development, and $50 million in general obligation, Article XI-Q bonds for permanent supportive housing (PSH). The PSH resources will support the development of affordable rental housing available to people facing complex medical, mental health, and behavioral health needs. Providing funds for desperately needed permanent supportive housing development would be a first for the Legislature.
  • HB 5030: This bill includes $25 million in Lottery bonds for maintaining and preserving affordable housing and $15 million for acquisition of low-cost market rate housing.
  • HB 2164: The tax credit expenditure bill includes sunset extensions for the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit, a local option property tax exemption for affordable housing, a manufactured home park capital gains exemption, and a tax credit for residents of manufactured home parks facing closure.
  • HB 2002: Would extend the right of first refusal to OHCS and local governments for all affordable housing to help maintain and preserve this critical resource.
  • HB 2006: Provides $3 million to OHCS to fund tenant education and hotline services, an expansion of the rent well program, housing navigator assistance for Housing Choice voucher (Section 8) holders, and other proposals. Provides $3 million to the Department of Justice for housing assistance for domestic violence survivors.
  • HB 2032: Provides $10.5 million for up to four pilot programs to provide housing to families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • HB 2896: Would invest a total of $15 million in manufactured housing, including $9.5 million for manufactured home park preservation, $2.5 million for home replacements, and $3 million for the development of a new manufactured home park in Springfield.
  • SB 586: Manufactured Home Park Landlord Tenant Coalition bill.
  • HB 2001: Requires cities with over 10,000 and counties with over 15,000 in population to allow missing middle housing in lands zoned for single family dwellings within the urban growth boundary.
  • HB 2003: Requires Department of Administrative Services to develop methodology to conduct regional housing needs analysis and, to inventory existing housing stock and to establish housing shortage analysis.

Housing Affordability in Oregon

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its Out of Reach Report. The data shows that in Oregon, someone earning minimum wage must work 67 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and still have money left over for other basics like food and medicine. In the Portland metro area, people earning minimum wage would need to work 84 hours a week to afford an average one-bedroom apartment.

Paid Family Leave, Debbie Runciman

HB 2005, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, PASSED on the last day of the session with overwhelming bipartisan support!!! This is big news. Oregon will have the one of the most inclusive, most comprehensive paid leave program in the nation. In 2023, it’s estimated that 1.5 million Oregonians will have access to paid family and medical leave. Thank you to the large coalition of advocates working on this measure and to the leadership of Senator Kathleen Taylor, Rep. Jennifer Williamson, and many others who made this legislation possible.

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


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