Thanks again to Matt Jaffe in the Office of Government Relations for this information:
As the Legislature moves closer to adjourning, budget and state redistricting issues have dominated conversations, as have negotiations on the remaining policy bills and items that must be completed before the session is brought to a close. For the most part, committees have concluded their work. The only committees that have not yet closed are the Revenue and Rules Committees in each chamber as well as the Joint Ways and Means, Tax Credit and Redistricting Committees. In order to work through bills, both the Senate and House have been holding longer floor sessions. The Joint Ways and Means Committee has been meeting and have begun to take up a number of the larger agency budgets.
Below is a summary of the City’s major legislative activity over the past week.
Multi-Unit Housing and Transportation-Oriented Development Tax Abatement (SB 322A) – On June 7th, Governor Kitzhaber signed this City initiative into law. The bill extends the sunset on the Multi-Unit Housing and Transportation-Oriented Development Tax Abatement program for ten years. The program was set to expire January 2012.
Asset Forfeiture for Drug Treatment (HB 3151) – This City initiative was signed by Governor Kitzhaber on June 2nd and is now Chapter 233 of the 2011 Oregon Revised Statutes. The bill contained an emergency clause allowing it to go into effect upon being signed by the Governor. Law enforcement agencies will now be able to use funds they receive from the forfeiture of drug assets for drug treatment.
Speed Limits (HB 3150A) – After the House concurred with Senate amendments by a vote of 53-5 on Monday, June 6th, this City initiative is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The bill allows cities to set a speed limit that is 5 MPH less than the existing state limit on bike boulevards. The Senate amendment struck the word “Greenways,” from the bill.
Domestic Violence Confidentiality (SB 347B, HB 2244B) – On Friday, June 10, the Senate passed HB 2244B unanimously. The bill was amended by the Senate to include the provision of SB 347B that is a City initiative to create an exemption from state public records laws for records maintained by domestic violence service centers that are operated by a public agency. The underlying bill, which comes from the Secretary of State, updates the definition of “public record” to include electronic communication via e-mail and social networking platforms, for the purposes of records retention and archiving. The bill will now heads to the House for concurrence on the Senate amendments.
SB 347B is scheduled to be on the House floor on Monday, June 13th. The House Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment that exempts from public records laws the disclosure of concealed handgun permit information. After passing the House, SB 347B must head back to the Senate for concurrence on amendments.
Recreational Immunity (HB 2865A) – This City initiative on trails in the right-of-way is expected to be voted on by the Senate early next week. Following Senate action, the bill will head back to the House for concurrence with Senate amendments.
Oregon Sustainability Center (Capital Construction Budget) – A newsletter published on June 3rd by Ways and Means Co-Chair Richardson questioned the wisdom of moving forward with state bonding in support of the Oregon Sustainability Center (OSC). The 2009 Legislative Assembly authorized the project and $75 million in state bonds, to be repaid by rent from building tenants. Since that time, the need for state bonds, which have not yet been issued, has been scaled down to $45 million. The City has been working with the Oregon University System, Portland State University, and private sector partners to urge legislators to carry forward the bonding authorization so that construction of the OSC moves forward.
Redistricting (SB 989) – The co-chairs of the respective House and Senate redistricting committees announced on June 7th, agreement on a plan for redrawing boundaries for legislative districts. A newly formed Joint Special Committee on Redistricting approved the plan in SB 989 June 9th. On Friday, June 10th, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 27-3 after which, the House voted 47-10 to approve to bill. The Governor is scheduled to sign the bill on Monday.
Maps of the legislative redistricting plan are available at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/redistricting/. Changes include redrawing three House and two Senate districts currently outside of Portland to include portions of the City. The House districts are represented by Rep. Greg Matthews (D-Gresham), Rep. Matt Wand (R-Troutdale), and Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie). The Senate districts are represented by Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham ) and Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose). The Redistricting Co-Chairs have not come to agreement on a plan for redrawing Congressional district boundaries.
Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) (HB 3671, HB 2523B) – The Joint Tax Credit Committee released an omnibus tax credit proposal on Thursday, June 9th, that included provisions that would sunset and replace the BETC. The draft amendments to HB 3671 would end the BETC for projects that did not receive precertification by May 12, 2011, and create new renewable energy, energy conservation, and transportation project tax credits that take effect July 1, 2011. The proposed amendments to HB 3671 include $3 million per biennium for a new tax credit for renewable energy projects and $40 million per biennium for a new energy conservation tax credit. Both programs would sunset January 1, 2018. The proposed transportation tax credit would provide funding that phases out by January 1, 2016 for transit service and funding for alternative fuel vehicle fueling stations until January 1, 2018.
The City testified to the committee urging funding to be included in the transportation project tax credit for other transportation projects currently eligible under the BETC, such as student transit passes. The committee plans to consider revised amendments to HB 3671 on Monday, June 13th. Extension of the BETC is a City priority.
Another bill to transfer administration of the manufacturing BETC from the Oregon Department of Energy to the Oregon Business Development Department, HB 2523B, passed the House 58-0 on June 6th and passed the Senate 25-5 on June 9th.
Film and Television Production Incentives (HB 3671) – The draft omnibus tax credit amendments to HB 3671 released yesterday by Joint Tax Credit Committee would extend the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF) and Greenlight Labor Rebate incentives for film and video production until 2018. The proposal would fund the OPIF at $6 million per year, which is $1.5 million less than current funding levels. The committee plans to consider revised amendments to HB 3671 early next week. Extension of both programs are priorities for the City.
Residential Energy Tax Credit (HB 3671) – The proposed amendments to HB 3671 include an extension of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) until January 1, 2018. The amendments would no longer allow energy efficiency appliances to qualify for a tax credit if purchased after the current calendar year, but would continue support for residential alternative energy systems.
Research and Development Tax Credit (HB 3671) - An extension of the Research and Development Tax Credit was yet another component of the Omnibus Tax Credit bill. This credit allows businesses to receive a tax credit for qualified research expenses. The amendment, while retaining the program, reduces the maximum amount of the credit from $2 million, to $1 million.
Electronic Commerce Enterprise Zones (HB 3671,) – Also included in the Omnibus Tax Credit bill is an extension of the Electronic Enterprise Zone program till 2018. This program provides an income tax credit for firms that are investing in capital assets for conducting business over the internet. The company has to be located in a designated E-Commerce zone. Currently three Portland companies have qualified for the program. The program was set to expire at the end of this year.
Farmworker Housing Tax Credits (HB 2154B) – This bill would revise the definition of farmworker housing so that more Oregonians involved in agricultural and aquacultural work can benefit from affordable housing tax credits. On June 10th, the Senate approved the bill 27-0. The bill now heads back to the House for concurrence on amendments. The City has expressed support for HB 2154B as part the rural partnership portion of the City’s legislative agenda.
9-1-1 Funding Military Department Budget (HB 5037) – As initially passed from the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety, this bill eliminated the funding for the last half year for 9-1-1 call centers. After lobbying by the City, other local governments and public safety association’s, the bill was returned to the Committee where it was amended and $20 million in funding was restored. Work continues to eliminate the requirement that the 2012 legislature approve the distribution of the last half years funding.
Industrial Lands (SB 766B) – The Senate voted yesterday 27-3 to approve SB 766B. The bill authorizes consolidated state and local permitting for certain industrial development projects and state designation of Regionally Significant Industrial Areas (RSIAs), where local regulatory authority would be curtailed. At the request of the City, floor discussion clarified the legislative intent of provisions related to a city’s ability to apply new regulations within an RSIA. The bill next heads to the House floor for consideration.
Plastics Toxin Bisphenol A (HB 3689) – A bill introduced last week to ban BPA from children’s sippy cups and reusable water bottles, HB 3689, is being co-sponsored by 31 representatives and has been referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill has not yet been scheduled for committee consideration, however. Commissioner Saltzman previously testified in support of an identical bill, SB 695.
Internal Investigations of Public Safety Officers (HB 3251A) – After passing the Senate by a 30-0 vote on Thursday, June 9th, this bill now heads to the House for concurrence on amendments added by the Senate. The amendments ensure access to the tapes by Portland’s Independent Police Review and several other law enforcement entities.
Evidence retention (SB 731A) – This bill is now law, after being signed by the Governor on June 7th. The bill requires the retention of DNA evidence for up to 60 years in murders, rapes and other major crimes and was the result of work done by an interim workgroup in which the Police Bureau participated.
Preserve Public Subsidy During Foreclosure (SB 519A) – This bill which provides that the covenant holder has a first right of refusal to purchase a foreclosed unit that is under an affordable housing covenant passed the House on June 10th. The next stop for the bill is the Senate for concurrence with a technical amendment that was added in the House.
Transportation Funding (SB 128B) – The Senate must now concur on amendments after this bill passed the House by a 53-3 vote on Wednesday, June 8th. The bill The bill requires ODOT to consult with legislative committees before it expends funds from any new federal economic stimulus laws and requires legislative approval for the expenditure of any funds remaining from the earmarked projects from the Transportation Funding Bill passed in the 2009 legislative session (HB 2001). The bill also eliminates the Congestion Pricing Pilot that was included in HB 2001, and would have funded a parking inventory study in Northwest Portland.
Transportation Planning Rule (SB 795A) – The House approved SB 795A by a vote of 59-0 on June 7th. The bill, supported by the City, directs State staff to amend the Transportation Planning Rule and Oregon Highway Plan consistent with issues identified by a joint subcommittee of the Land Conservation and Development Department and the Oregon Transportation Commission.
Bottle Bill (HB 3145B) – The Governor signed HB 3145, which updates and expands the Bottle Bill, into law on Thursday, June 9th. Supported by the City, the bill expands the type of beverage containers that require a deposit, raises the deposit to ten cents if statewide return rates fall below 80% in two consecutive years, and enacts a pilot to shift from in-store bottle redemption to off-site redemption centers.
Solar Installations in Commercial and Residential Zones (HB 3516B) – The Senate voted 27-2 on June 7th to approve HB 3516B, followed by 55-4 passage in the House on June 9th. The bill makes solar installations an outright allowed use in commercial and residential zones, and specifies that solar installations are not subject to land use review if mounted parallel to a roofline and not in excess of the roof height. The bill specifies that solar installations in historic districts and on historic or conservation landmarks remain subject to local land use review, however. The bill also ensures that solar systems in designated scenic resource areas either use low-reflectivity or anti-reflective materials, or be subject to local land use review.
Affordable Housing Tax Credit (HB 2527) –This bill which extends the Affordable Housing Tax Credit program, is now on its way to the Governor after passing the Senate 28-0 on June 10th. This follows House passage on June 7th. The program enables below market interest rates for low income housing development and rehabilitation. The City has provided testimony on this bill and it is a priority of the Oregon Housing Alliance.