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Legislative Report, Volume 29, Number 26 – Interim – October 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

Global Climate Strike

Thousands of Oregonians including many League members participated in Sept 20 Global Climate Strike events in over 15 Oregon communities. (see highlights here and here.)

Climate/Carbon Cap and Invest

The League’s #1 Climate Change legislative priority continues to be Carbon Cap and Invest legislation. Look for a major announcement sent the first week of October from the Renew Oregon Coalition. I understand the announcement will reflect/address the recent commitment from the Governor related to using her toolkit to ensure meaningful Climate Policy is passed by the Legislature. The Governor is quoted; “I am willing to do whatever it takes to get this done,” (Governor Kate Brown, July 2, 2019). I understand from Renew Oregon the coalition is still 100% committed to these original policy outcomes. ReNew Oregon CEJ campaign will be posting their press release FB page and HERE.

During the September Legislative Days a number of policy committee hearings invited testimonies about climate change adaptation issues. (Healthcare, Fire Prevention, Water, infrastructure, etc)

Earlier this summer, Legislative Leadership announced the 2020 committee structure, which added House committee Water and Senate Committee Wild-Fire Prevention and Recovery and eliminated the Joint Committee On Carbon Reduction. Find House Rep. Marsh and Power’s recent “Opinion: Cutting through misinformation, rhetoric on Oregon climate legislation” HERE.

Renewable Energy Credits/Covanta

Expect the Legislature to revisit this topic of what constitutes clean renewable energy. The League will continue to support legislation that ensures burning garbage does not qualify to receive any renewable energy related tax credits.

Green New Deal

There could be another bill in the short session that addresses the Green New Deal and or a clear message in response to the youth led recent September 20-27 Global Climate Strikes in 15+ Oregon communities; see 2019 session Senate Joint Memorial SJM7: Green New Deal Resolution – Support.

Climate Authority – New State Agency

Expect the League to continue to support a new Climate Authority state agency which would address Climate/Carbon mitigation and adaptation policy coordination and share in the critical accountability process across all state agencies. See 2019 session League testimony: SB 928 Climate Authority state agency – Support.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

The League looks forward to working with our coalition partners and other interested parties to pass a new definition of Renewable Portfolio Standard. See 2019 Session bill: SB 508: Changes definition of Renewable Portfolio Standard 

JCEP & PCEP  

The Senate committee public hearing during interim included “Jordan Cove Energy Project – State Permitting Overview and Status

Four southern Leagues submit Letters / Testimony

Most recent: September 19, 2019: 73 page testimony to Department of Land Conservation and Development “Public Comment Requesting DLCD Objection to Jordan Cove Energy Project’s -Consistency Certification Application”.

July 2019: Letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: a technical comment on Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) — OPPOSE

August 2019: Letter to Governor Brown and Attorney General Rosenbaum: Allegations of law enforcement entities engaged in surveillance of citizens and groups opposing the Jordan Cove Energy Project

This is a comprehensive list of all Oregon agencies involved in the JCEP project.

Our Children’s Trust

Many OCT plaintiffs were in Washington D.C. in mid-September advocating for Carbon/Climate Policy to address the Climate Emergency. They spent part of the time with globally recognized Climate youth leader Greta Thunberg. The oral argument in State of Oregon lawsuit Chernaik v. Brown is scheduled for November 13, 2019 in Portland, Oregon at David Douglas High School. Find more details related to the Oregon lawsuit (HERE)

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

Previews of education legislation that may be considered in the 2020 session emerged in the interim session.

  • A comprehensive explanation of the Student Success Act has been issued to school districts to help in planning stakeholder input for the future of Oregon Schools and Student Success grants. Each school district is busy, getting ready for this funding opportunity.
  • The Quality Education Model Report anticipates and celebrates a disparity of less than 5% by the 1921-1923 biennial budget thanks to new funding implemented under the Student Success Act of 2019.
  • The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is setting the stage for a significant review of state funding, tuition, student debt, and transferability of college credits.

PK-12

Joint Interim Committee on Public Education Appropriation met, as required by law every two years, to receive The Quality Education Model (QEM) Report that has shown a large gap between “ideal and actual funding” needed to meet student needs since 1999. This has historically been a very sad report since 1999. However, slide 9 of 11 shows that, with the 2019 implemented Student Success legislation, for the first time since this was first tracked in 1999, the gap between “ideal” and “actual” funding will be less than 5% in the 1921-1923 budget biennium! From 1999 through 2019 that gap was at least 20% and as high as 38%. That means that schools were underfunded by as much as 38%! Past QEM reports show the abject funding gap. The 2018 QEM Report continues to reflect the sad funding for state education since property tax restrictions, however in future years we should see significant improvements in QEM reports. Doug Wilson, Principal Legislative Analyst, Legislative Fiscal Office reported on the current Education Budget – Doug Wilson (presentation). Slide five notes the State funds — $9.0 billion or 67.8% of Education while the “Local” share — $4.3 billion 32.2% comes primarily from property taxes. 

Senate Interim Committee on Education focused on the transferability of college credits earned within high school, community colleges and higher education, including reports on implementation of HB 2998 (2017) and what remains to be done. 45 percent of White community college students transfer and complete a degree in a total of six years at a 4-year college compared to only 31 percent of African American and Latinx students. In Oregon, many first-generation students have little knowledge of the transfer process, believe all credits will transfer, and expect colleges will accurately guide them in transferring to a four-year institution. Gaps in completion between first and continuing generation students (47% vs 57%) is wide. The lower bachelor’s degree completion rates for community college transfer students at 45% could be increased to 54% if credit loss were eliminated when transferred from community colleges to four-year colleges. Presently, about 20 community college credits do not transfer to four-year institutions, costing time and about $15,000 in tuition for classes not accepted for higher education graduation. Details can be found in verbal and written presentations: HECC Update – Patrick Crane and Veronica Dujon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Transferability – Gretchen Brunner Willamette Promise Coordinator, Willamette Education Service District, Gloria Crisp, Professor, College of Education, Oregon State University (presentation), Jason Taylor Assistant Professor, Dept. of Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah (presentation), and Susan Jeffords Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Portland State University (handout).

House Interim Committee on Education In 2017, the legislature passed HB 3289 which requires the HECC to report annually on Competency Based Education. CBE is broadly defined as, “a system, or systems, of instruction, assessment, grading and academic reporting where success is defined based on students demonstrating progress towards, or competence in, specific skills.” In the past, institutions measured progress only through student credit hours. The student credit hour is a long-standing measure of understanding or “learning” of a given subject. CBE tracks student progress through completions of competencies rather than measuring student credit. More information is provided at: Competency Based Education – Anthony Medina, Operations Policy Analyst, Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Competency Based Education – Jeanne Stallman, Southern Oregon University.  

Jessica Vega Pederson, Multnomah County Commissioner, Multnomah County; Megan Irwin, Pre-School for All Consultant, Brave Consulting Inc; and Côi Vu, Executive Director, Asian Family Center offered insights from an ongoing task force that may serve as a model in other parts of Oregon. More work on preschool options for three- and four-year-old children is anticipated in the 2020 session. Pre-School for All PowerPoint  Preschool for All Report & Press Release

Senate Interim Committee On Mental Health, and House Interim Subcommittee On Behavioral Health are new committees, span responsibilities in Judiciary, Human Services, Health and Education Committees. So, the League may report on this committee from various perspectives. Presentations setting the stage for future legislative action included: Oregon Health Authority – Patrick Allen and Steve Allen, Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission – Reginald Richardson, Department of Consumer and Business – Services Andrew Stolfi, and Oregon Department of Education – Jessica Ventura

Two stated purposes for funds under the Student Investment Account relating to this committee were to:

  1. Meet students’ mental or behavior health needs:
  • Suicide prevention in Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO’s)
  • OHP Enrollment
  • Oregon Healthy Teen Survey Increase academic achievement for students, including reducing academic disparities for students:
  1. Target students who are economically disadvantaged;
  • From racial or ethnic groups that have historically experienced academic disparities;
  • With disabilities;
  • Who are English language learners;
  • Who are foster children;
  • Who are homeless; and
  • others as determined by the State Board of Education.

Higher Education and Community College 2019 Highlights

Community Colleges and Higher Education Universities Post-Secondary Education – Ben Cannon (presentation) from Executive Director, Higher Education Coordinating Commission and slides 11-22 of the Education Budget – Doug Wilson (presentation) focused on the stressors of funding in higher education. Oregon ranks low in appropriations per student and has barely increased since the recession–Oregon continues to rank low (38th) for public appropriations per FTE student: $6,237 vs. $7,860 for the U.S. in FY 2018. Oregon lags nationally and in relation to state neighbors in funding for “Need-Based Student Aid.”

The next Legislative Committee Days 2019-2020 Interim will be November 18– 21, and January 13 – 16. About a week before each interim session, the calendar will populate with committee informational hearings.

We are already working in coalitions to consider and promote legislative concepts for 2020’s short session and the next long session in 2021. Our work in LWVOR Action is only as strong and as in-depth as our volunteers allow. We are seeking new LWV legislative action team members for early learning, PK-12, career and technical education, at-risk youth, community college, and higher education. If you are able to contribute a few hours (from your home computer) and have an interest in strengthening Oregon’s education system, please contact ChrisVogelVolunteerLWVOR@gmail.com We need you! Gratitude to Stephanie Feeney for following early learning this session. Please join us. 

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Governance

By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator

Elections

The House and Senate Rules committees did not meet during the interim legislative days, except that Senate Rules met to consider appointments.

Redistricting Reform

Redistricting was not formally discussed during the interim legislative days, but a coalition of organizations, led by the League, is preparing for an initiative petition campaign.

Campaign Finance

With the legislature’s referral of SJR 18 to the voters for the 2020 General Election, a coalition of organizations is now forming to support its passage.

The Senate Campaign Finance Committee held a hearing September 17 to discuss the current CFR situation and plans for the short legislative session in 2020. They appear to want to have another go at passing a campaign contribution limits bill that would be dependent on passage of SJR 18.

Cybersecurity & Privacy, Becky Gladstone

The LWVOR is studying Cybersecurity and Privacy Today and will follow progress closely in Salem. This last interim session, two meetings were important: The Joint Committee for Legislative Information Management and Technology (JCLIMT), where cybersecurity was the sole agenda item, video here, and the Attorney General’s Consumer Privacy Task Force, setting priorities for 2021 legislative concepts.

JCLIMT Co-Chairs emphasized cybersecurity gravity. Rep. Nathanson urged that it is as critical as other protected infrastructures, water supplies and the electrical grid. Sen. Riley said cybersecurity will be on every JCLIMT agenda into the foreseeable future. Katy Coba, Oregon’s Chief Operating Officer, spoke to a July audit, “Cybersecurity Controls Assessment,” showing serious vulnerability, underfunding, lacking necessary staff, and noting that funding had been requested. Terrence Woods, Oregon Chief Information Officer, and others spoke in detail about current status, shortcomings and needs.

The Consumer Privacy Task Force noted that technology is changing so quickly that work should be as “future-proofed” as possible, for example to address emerging biometrics. Current legislation is a crazy quilt with holes in it, for example, California privacy policy protects adults and children to age 13, with gaps for the teens in between.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! If any of these areas interest you, please contact Norman Turrill at n.turrill@lwvor.org.


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Natural Resources

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator

Reports on 2019 legislation, consideration of new legislation for 2020, the Jordan Cove Project, toxics in kids’ toys, the new Water Vision and Wildfire issues were a part of the interim meetings in September. League volunteers have attended other meetings over the summer and there are announcements on other natural resource issues about which you can comment. 

Air Quality, Susan Mates

We continue to follow the Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO) process.

The Cleaner Air Oregon Fiscal Advisory Committee for the Hazard Index rulemaking held a meeting on Sept. 23, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Cleaner Air Oregon Hazard Index Rulemaking Website.

The Portland League has joined local neighborhood associations seeking good neighbor agreements with polluters within their boundaries and asking for relocation of the fossil fuel tanks in the Linton area. The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources received reports on this critical energy infrastructure hub.   

Coastal Issues, Peggy Joyce

The Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) met on Sept. 11. It was a do or die meeting insofar as the funding promised during the 2019 legislative session didn’t make it through the Ways and Means process. OOST has been without an Executive Director for several years and in need of a full Board membership but, in spite of the gloomy outlook, Dr. Caren Braby (ODFW) was optimistic that research partners could be found, as well as grant money to move forward on much needed studies of rocky shore habitats and near shore environments. The economic impact of continued temperature rise in ocean waters will decimate the local fishing, crabbing and oyster businesses unless solutions are found to mitigate the continued degradation of sea shore habitats. A short meeting was set for Sept. 25 to recommend a new member to the OOST to fill a vacancy. 

Rocky Habitat Management Strategy Update: New Phase 2 working group materials are now available on www.OregonOcean.info. They include an early draft of work being done by the Rocky Habitat Working Group (see here)

Goal 18 Update: Meeting notes, agendas, and presentation materials, as well as meeting schedule and membership roster can be found on the DLCD website. All meetings were open to the public and were well attended. OCMP staff is now working on a final report from the group. This final report was shared with the DLCD Policy Team in mid-September for a discussion about next steps for DLCD.

The Ocean Policy Advisory Council met October 21 at the Best Western – Agate Beach, in Newport and will meet again on January 9, 2020. The agendas for these meetings will be published on www.OregonOcean.info/OPAC once finalized. 

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission considered regulations related to Harmful Algal Bloom biotoxin management (particularly domoic acid) in the crab fishery and the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery season-opening process. ODFW hosted a series of public meetings for the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery on possible future regulatory measures to reduce whale entanglements in October. Meetings were held in Coos Bay (Oct. 17), Brookings (Oct. 18), Astoria (Oct. 22) and Newport (Oct. 23). 

DOGAMI

The Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries has two divisions. Here is the Mineral Land Regulation and Reclamation (MLRR) division fall newsletter. See the responsibilities of mine operators as the fall/winter season is upon us. 

Drinking Water Advosiory Committee, Amelia Nestler

The League continues to attend this meeting and is following emerging chemicals of concern that are, or should be, considered by our drinking water authority. 

Forestry

The Governor’s Wildfire Council was scheduled to provide a report to the legislature by the end of September. However, 2020 legislation may be recommended by the November legislative deadline, including bills on funding and building codes. Their work has been intense and on-going with the last meeting Sept. 16. The new Senate Interim Committee on Wildfire Prevention and Recovery heard that there may be new mapping information to address fire risks. We know that climate change effects on our forests include more heat, more insect infestations and change in precipitation, but did you know that things are now getting windier? I recommend you check out the presentation by Tonya Graham, City Councilor of the City of Ashland. They have taken the threat of wildfires on their community head on. Did you know that Oregon has 310 fire districts with 13,000 firefighters—80% of which are volunteers? 

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF) 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. They met Oct 15. Sign up for updates on the ODF website. Cindy Kolomechuk, HCP Project Manager, cindy.kolomechuk@oregon.gov

Land Use/Housing

The League continues to participate in Land Conservation and Development Commission meetings and recently provided testimony on their 2019-21 policy agenda, which was adopted at their Sept. 26 meeting at Tigard City Hall. Staff reports on HB 2001/2003 and the Policy Agenda are available online.

Northwest Energy Coalition

Robin Tokmakian was approved by the LWVOR Board to be our representative to the Northwest Energy Coalition (NWEC) nwenergy.org. The League has been a longtime member of this multi-state organization. We thank Theresa Gibney for her service on our behalf and thank Robin for agreeing to represent us as we work with others on climate and energy issues. Robin is the LWVUS UN Observer for Climate and a member of the Portland League. 

Oregon Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-3 to change rules related to the hunting and trapping of Coastal martens. The new rules prohibit any marten harvest west of I-5 and also ban all trapping in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area as well as suspending traps or snares in trees in the Siskiyou and Siuslaw National Forests. The rules are in response to a petition for rulemaking from several environmental groups last year. Coastal martens are a subspecies of Pacific marten with a historical range located west of I-5 and more specifically from Lincoln and Benton counties south to Curry County.

ODFW’S draft conservation plan for lampreys is now available for public review and comment. Find the Coastal, Columbia and Snake Conservation Plan for Lampreys in Oregon at Draft Conservation Plan for Lampreys. To find out more about the plan and provide comments, attend one of the following public meetings: Comments can be sent to Benjamin.J.Clemens@state.or.us or mailed to Conservation Plan for Lampreys, ODFW, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem OR 97302 through Oct. 16. The Commission will be asked to adopt this conservation plan at its Dec. 6 meeting in Salem.

Solar

HB 2618 (2019) created a new Solar + Storage Rebate Program at the Oregon Department of Energy. ODOE staff will be working to stand up the program this fall, with an anticipated launch date of January 1, 2020.

Toxics, Amelia Nestler

There will be a draft report to follow up on Oregon’s Toxic-Free Kids Act (SB 478 2015). Washington State has a similar program while Vermont has a brand name registry of toys and other covered products. The League shared a concern regarding company waivers to this program and we are following the current rulemaking. 

Water

The League continues to work with others to advance a “water vision” for Oregon to continue our work on the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. We encourage you to take the survey and sign up for email notices at www.oregonwatervision.org

The new House Interim Committee on Water met to receive an overview of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy, a presentation on Western Water Law and the new water vision. Lastly, they received a presentation on irrigation districts, including the condition of their aging infrastructure and latest efficiencies that would save water over time. Rep. Helm shared that he expects to work with the Governor on the water vision while also addressing on-going water policy and needs in Oregon. 

The League supported HB 2085, to update our dam safety policies and increase regulation of non-federal public and private dams in Oregon. We will work with others on rulemaking to implement the bill. Washington County League members are following discussions on possible repair/replacement of Scoggins Dam at Hagg Lake due to both safety and increased water demand. 

We have been asked to support a request in 2020 to fund the on-site septic program which we have done in the past. SB 760 (2019) did not pass, but the need exists for low cost loans to repair failing septic systems.

The most recent update (Sept. 9) to the US Drought Monitor showed a slight improvement in conditions over the past two weeks. The latest report indicates that just under 32% of the state is listed as D0 (Abnormally Dry), with almost 11 percent listed as D1 (Moderate Drought). It takes years to get out of a severe drought as we experienced in 2015.

DEQ released the Draft Willamette Basin Mercury Multiple Discharger Variance for public comment on September 16. The announcement went out via Gov Delivery to the water quality standards list. The comment period will run until November 4. A public hearing was held simultaneously at DEQ offices in Portland and Eugene at 4 p.m. on October 22. Comments can be submitted to mercury2019@deq.state.or.us. DEQ anticipates bringing the variance to the EQC in January for approval. The variance will then go to EPA for their 60-day review and action.

Feasibility Study Grants through the Water Resources Dept. reimburse up to 50 percent of the costs of studies to evaluate the feasibility of developing water conservation, reuse, and storage projects. This competitive funding opportunity helps individuals and communities investigate whether a project idea is feasible and worth pursuing. Next deadline for applications is Nov. 13, 2019. Submit applications electronically to: WRD_DL_feasibilitystudygrants@oregon.gov.

Wetlands

HB 2436, 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, passed. 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.

Regional Solutions, Peggy Joyce

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 Regional Solutions Advisory Committees have been reviewing their “priorities”, which are used to have agency staff help or spending state money on behalf of projects in these regions based on these identified “priorities”. Are they your priorities? Peggy Joyce attended the Mid Valley meeting in Independence on September 20 where they adopted “The Mid-Valley will be a thriving center of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Manufacturing innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.” Peggy also attended the South Valley/Mid Coast meeting at the Albany campus of Linn Benton Community College on September 26. League members called in to the North Central meeting on September 23 in The Dalles and the North Coast meeting on Oct. 3 in Astoria. We encourage other members to call in or attend. 

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED YEAR ROUND! League members are engaged in rulemaking, work groups and task forces as we prepare for the next session. If you are interested in natural resource 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

Senate Finance and Revenue and House Revenue met during September Legislative Days, hearing what the Legislative Revenue Office will work on before the long 2021 session, including technical fixes to the 2019 Student Success Act, HB 3427, and tax expenditures.

Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) Work Plan

As the Department of Revenue (DOR) crafts regulations and hears from stakeholders, the list of needed technical fixes to the 2019 Student Success Act Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) will grow for the 2020 short session. LRO plans to report on the CAT in 2020.

HB 2128 requires LRO and DOR to study the definition of tax expenditures, looking at what pieces of tax code have implicit six-year sunsets. The full report is due in 2021, and LRO hopes to have a progress report for the 2020 session.

Each revenue committee said the other was interested in property tax, possibly in improving equity.

As usual, LRO will report on tax expenditures scheduled to sunset in the biennium following the next long session, in this case, during the 2021-23 biennium. They will report on expenditures whose two-year costs add up to over $100 million. More than half the cost goes to Working Family Household and Dependent Care, a refundable tax credit for child care for dependent children under 13 in low-income households. 

One committee chair asked what would happen if that expenditure was shifted to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); LRO said they serve similar but not identical populations. The EITC is available for those without dependent children, and whether or not the family pays for child care, though its rate drops for those without children under three.  

The other committee head asked for LRO’s report to include what other grants, programs, and tax breaks exist in a particular realm aside from the one scheduled for sunset, using the example of the several programs and tax expenditures aimed at affordable housing. This was just an example; affordable housing tax expenditures are not up for sunset in the 2021-23 biennium.

LRO discussed how the 134 property tax expenditures could be reviewed: a deep dive on a few, or looking at expenditures one area at a time such as housing, agriculture, economic development, etc. In the past, bills that would add sunsets to most property tax expenditures received much attention. LRO may have a workload issue this interim.

LRO may also follow up on the original version of HB 2053, which tried to simplify Business Oregon’s myriad program requirements. LWVOR and others noticed that the bill as introduced would have lightened many of the requirements to receive economic development tax breaks, sometimes reducing the number of employees hired, and/or how high their wages need to be for employers to receive tax expenditures.

Each session the state reconnects to the federal tax code at of the end of the calendar year. The 2020 session will see a bill updating the connect from December 31, 2018 to the end of 2019. So far, there have been no real federal tax changes this year, though that could change.

Sports Betting

The Oregon Lottery briefed Senate Finance and Revenue on sports betting. Betting will roll out first to mobile devices this fall, the quickest way to start the program, then next year to kiosks in places like sports bars that allow only those over 21, then to places that currently participate in the Oregon Lottery. They’re using an off-the-shelf product. By the third year they expect $722 million in bets (handle), almost all paid out to winning betters. Most of the remainder, $66 million, will go to the off-the-shelf product provider, and other third parties that will verify that the player is over 21 and physically in Oregon but not on a reservation. Lottery staff are currently testing those fences. Only about $20 million will be left as lottery revenue.

The Lottery is also putting in some problem gambling safeguards, including requiring players to identify a binding personal deposit limit when setting up their account, and having no high velocity games on the mobile app. The Lottery’s vendor call center staff, used to dealing with lottery retailer issues, will get trained on helping individual players and recognizing when players should be gently steered toward gambling addiction help.

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

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees met jointly during the interim days. The agenda covered body worn cameras by local police, which Beaverton and Portland Police are trying now. The Eugene Police did a trial in 2012. The basic equipment is expensive and more time is involved to learn and review tapes. The recordings are shared with city and district attorneys and policies are still being developed by law enforcement agencies.

The most critical discussion was on the Department of Corrections Budget SB 5504. The final budget decisions revealed a decrease in funding Community Corrections. The Justice Reinvestment Projects had given added responsibilities to County Parole and Probation Departments to provide services to those on diversions from prison or early releases from prison. However, the Legislative Fiscal calculations resulted in lowered estimates for populations and case management, but they were not reviewed in hearings. The final budgets were pushed through in the last two days of the session due to the Senate member absences.

The Community Corrections County administrators appealed for a budget reconsideration because the shortage of funds caused them to lay off staff in jails or in parole/probation supervision, which will impact their JRI programs. This will be discussed in the November interim meetings and will certainly be an issue in the February short session when budget reconsideration could be scheduled. 

The federal 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act was reviewed by Oregon tribal members who told of personal experiences in and out of family placements. The Department of Human Services has a Tribal Affairs Unit which was audited in 2018. Indian children in DHS custody are disproportionally higher than the Indian population. Department of Justice staff commented on lack of Oregon law and inconsistent application of federal law. The Oregon Judicial Department has worked on a Juvenile Court Improvement Project which included a Memorandum of Understanding with the tribes to participate in Oregon Juvenile Courts.

Federal courts recognize Special Immigrant Juvenile Status by including young immigrants between the ages of 18 to 21 in federal protection in cases of family abuse or neglect. The court can appoint legal guardianship and eligibility for green card status. Colorado and Washington State passed related laws. The Oregon legislature may entertain discussion of compatible laws.

Developmental Disabilities are another consideration for accommodation in the criminal justice system. Representatives from the ARC (Association of Retarded Citizens) of Benton County presented this argument. The Police Training Academy could include education on these accommodations.

Updates on Health and Human Services

The Senate Human Services Committee heard from administrators in Health and Human Services about federal law changes and the denial of eligibility for immigrants applying for federally funded programs. Refugees are exempt from this exclusion. Children and emergency medical care will continue to be covered under federal Medicaid funds, but preventive care for immigrants is not covered. 

Child Welfare has a Governor-appointed oversight board as of July 2019. Two new staff were added to monitor out of state placements. Oregon has a limited number of providers for foster care and treatment programs, which led to out of state placements. The development of in state resources is a priority with 15 treatment beds needed and 7 coming online now. Intensive in-home behavioral health services are needed to prevent out of home placements. Federal funds pay for preventive services under the most recent federal Family First legislation. 

Updates on SB 171 training for staff in child welfare and financial assistance programs will be ongoing in the November and February interim legislative committee meetings. SB171 was passed at the end of session. The bill covers residential placement rules for the Department of Human Services and allows for 60-day placements in runaway youth shelters or juvenile department placements. DHS and OHA are working together on the development of new behavioral health placements for youth. Assessments, placements in integrated settings, and transition to lower levels of care are considered in this process.

The Interim Senate and House Committees heard from Steve Allen, the Behavioral Health Director for Oregon Health Authority, and the House has formed a new Subcommittee on Behavioral Health. OHA is responsible for providing treatment resources for Seriously Emotionally Disturbed children, whereas DHS provides placement and treatment for behavior disordered children in state custody.

The new committee also discussed the disparity in payment between physical health and mental health providers. SB 860 (2017) ordered the Department of Consumer and Business Services to gather Information. However, DCBS has only received information from insurance companies so additional data is needed. We assume the new committee will continue in the February Short Session. 

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


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