Thanks to the City's Government Relations staff for much of the following:
As the session moves into its final month, the attention of legislators is increasingly focused on the budget. Following the release of the May revenue forecast which showed a minimal uptick in revenues for the 2011-13 biennium, K-12 education advocates have continued their push for an additional $100 million from state reserves.
The universe of bills still in play continues to narrow as policy committees begin the process of shutting down. For policy committees, Monday, May 23rd was the deadline for scheduling a work session on bills and next Wednesday, June 1st is the deadline for work sessions to be held. After June 1st, only the Joint Ways and Means and Tax Credit Committees and each chamber’s respective Revenue, Rules and Redistricting Committees will remain open. The Senate is now on one-hour notice for hearings and work sessions on bills, and the House is on one-hour notice for work sessions and 24-hour notice for public hearings.
Following the release of competing redistricting maps a couple weeks ago, the Redistricting Committees have been holding public hearings. Legislators later released an additional option for congressional districts that closely aligns with existing congressional boundaries in the Portland metro area. On Tuesday, May 24th, a letter from City Council was submitted to the Committees, urging legislators to adopt a congressional plan that displaces as few Portlanders as possible.
A summary of the City’s major legislative activity over the past two weeks:
Asset Forfeiture for Drug Treatment (HB 3151) – This City initiative is on its way to the Governor after passing the Senate on May 18th by a vote of 26-0. The bill will allow law enforcement agencies to use funds they receive from the civil forfeiture of drug assets for drug treatment.
Brownfield Redevelopment (HB 3325A) – On Thursday, May 26th, the full Senate voted 26-0 to approve the City’s joint initiative with the Port of Portland and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to promote brownfield redevelopment. On May 19th, the City Attorney’s Office testified in the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee, which approved the bill unanimously on the same day. HB 3325A strengthens the liability protections for innocent parties who sign a prospective purchaser agreement with DEQ when purchasing and voluntarily cleaning up brownfield sites. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Speed Limits (HB 3150A) – HB 3150A, which was introduced at the request of the City, allows cities to set a speed limit that is 5 MPH less than the existing state limit on bike boulevards. This bill is on its way to the Senate floor after moving out of the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee earlier this week.
Recreational Immunity (HB 2865A) – A work session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31st on this City of Portland initiative that will provide property owners who abut unimproved right-of-way with liability protections when trails are used for transportation. These are the same liability protections property owners enjoy when trails are used for recreation. On May 18th, the Mayor’s Office, PBOT, and the City Attorney’s Office provided testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. An amendment that will extend the immunity to volunteers, allow other cities and counties to opt-in and specify that the immunity does not extend to cases of gross negligence is expected to be adopted.
Multi-Unit Housing and Transportation-Oriented Development Tax Abatement (SB 322A) – Following a 58-2 vote in the House on May 25th, this City initiative is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The bill, which extends the sunset on the Multi-Unit Housing and Transportation-Oriented Development Tax Abatement program, passed unanimously out of the House Revenue Committee the previous week.
Industrial Lands (SB 766A) – The Joint Ways and Means Transportation and Economic Development Subcommittee voted yesterday to amend and then approve SB 766A. The bill allows consolidated state and local permitting for certain industrial development projects and creates a framework for state designation of Regionally Significant Industrial Areas (RSIAs), which would restrict local regulatory authority. The bill also provides that the Willamette River Greenway Plan area downriver from the Fremont Bridge and sites not planned and zoned for industrial use (including West Hayden Island unless it is rezoned) may not be designated as an RSIA.
Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) (HB 2523A, HB 3582) – On Thursday, May 26th, as part of two days of hearings in the Joint Tax Credit Committee, the City testified on HB 3582, urging support for extension of the BETC. On Tuesday, the committee adopted a technical amendment and then approved HB 2523A, which transfers administration of the manufacturing BETC from the Oregon Department of Energy to the Oregon Business Development Department.
Licensed Security at Establishments and Events serving Alcohol (SB 878A) – On May 26th, this bill that removes the training requirements for individuals controlling access to events of a licensee of the Oregon liquor Control Commission (OLCC) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. The City had testified in opposition. An amendment clarifying and narrowing the scope of the bill was adopted. The House floor is the next stop for this bill.
Primary Care Workforce Package (HB 2401A, HB 2397A, HB 2400A) – On Tuesday, May 24th, the Senate passed HB 2401A. Part of the Primary Care Workforce Package, the bill establishes the Family Medicine Residency Network and is part of the rural partnership section of the City’s legislative agenda. Two other bills which are part of the primary care workforce package, HB 2397A and HB 2400, remain in the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education, where they both received public hearings earlier in the month.
Tax abatement for low-income housing projects developed by non-profits (HB 2354) – Passing the Senate on a 26-1 vote on May 17th, this bill is now before the Governor. A part of the Oregon Housing Alliance’s legislative agenda, HB 2354 allows local government to provide tax abatements for housing projects that serve individuals with incomes below 60% of the median income.
Farmworker Housing Tax Credits (HB 2154B) – On Thursday, May 26th, the Joint Tax Credit Committee voted unanimously to adopt technical amendments and approve HB 2154B. The 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. The City has expressed support for HB 2154B as part the rural partnership portion of the City’s legislative agenda.
Bike Signals (SB 130A) – Last Tuesday, May 17th, the Senate concurred on amendments that the House added to this bill, and it is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The bill changes the state vehicle code to recognize electronically powered bike signals. The House amendments added a provision to clarify that a driver may move into an intersection and wait for an opening to make a turn when there is a flashing green arrow.
Bar Licensing (SB 36A) – After passing the House by a vote of 58-0 on May 17th, SB 36A is now before the Governor. This bill allows the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), when reviewing a liquor license application, to consider crimes committed in another state by the applicant. The bill would also establish an assumption that local records were truthful when being considered by the OLCC.
Confidentiality Exemption for Business Recruitment (SB 437) – On Wednesday, May 25th, the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee moved this bill to the House floor with a favorable recommendation. The bill will keep information related to initial business recruitment efforts confidential. The Portland Development Commission had submitted testimony in support of this bill.
Truck Idling (HB 2081A) – The Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee moved this bill to the Senate floor with a favorable “do pass” recommendation last week. The bill sets limits on truck idling but includes a preemption of local regulation. Several local governments have joined Portland in voicing their opposition to the preemption. A welcome provision in the bill allows citations for violations to be written by police officers rather than just by Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff. The bill is being advanced by the trucking industry and has been opposed by some environmental groups, who claim that it is too weak.
Vehicle Sharing (HB 3149A) – By prohibiting insurers from being able to cancel or reclassify a personal vehicle as a commercial vehicle due to participation in a car share program, this bill would lay the groundwork for personal car sharing programs. The program would be a “Zip Car” type program allowing for the use of personal vehicles rather than those owned by a business so car sharing could be used in areas with less density. On Thursday the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee moved this bill to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation.
Access Management (SB 264A) – On Wednesday, May 25th, the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee advanced this bill to the House floor. The City provided testimony on the bill, which establishes a framework for ODOT policy on access to state highways. The bill also grants authorization for ODOT to be able to provide ongoing, rather than one-time funding for roads that they transfer to cities and counties. PBOT has provided testimony and participated in the interim workgroup that developed this legislation.
Billboards (SB 639) – Portland was joined by the City of Eugene and the League of Oregon Cities, testifying in opposition to amendments to SB 639. The proposed amendment would grant property owners that host billboards and signs that do not conform to the City’s sign code, the ability to replace and rebuild them in the non-conforming sizes. As written, the bill modernizes the signs that are allowed along state highways that are permitted by ODOT but does not preempt city regulation. A work session is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1st.
Local Purchasing (HB 3000A) – On May 26th, the Senate sent HB 3000A to the Governor’s desk on a 16-14 vote. The bill allows state and local government to give up to a 10% preference to goods that are fabricated or processed entirely within the state.
Architects and Engineers Quality-Based Selection (HB 3316A) – This bill would require all public entities to use a selection process for architects and engineers that requires the initial selection be done without cost information. After the most qualified firm is selected, the contracting agency can then begin to negotiate price. This process is used by the state and is required on projects that use State Highway Funds. At a hearing last week in the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee, the City testified in opposition. The bill is now on its way to the Senate floor after moving out of the committee with a favorable recommendation.
Human Trafficking (SB 425A) – The House Judiciary Committee, On Thursday, May 19th, moved this bill to the floor with a favorable “do pass” recommendation. The bill makes it such that knowledge of a victim’s age would be immaterial in the prosecution for the crime of compelling a minor to engage in prostitution. Amendments added in the Senate also expand the definition of “compelling prostitution” to include “aids and facilitates.” The bill is expected to be on the House floor for a vote early next week.
Police Reserve Officers (HB 3153A) – This bill would include reserve officers in the definition of peace officer so that crimes such as assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest and others can be charged. On Wednesday, May 25th the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the bill. The Police Bureau’s Reserve Captain testified before the committee and a letter from Police Chief Reese in support of the bill was submitted. The bill is scheduled for a work session next week.
Enterprise Zone Sunset Extension (HB 3017A) – After moving out of the House with unanimous support, this bill which extends the Enterprise Zone program through 2025 was referred to the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. The City expressed support for the bill at a public hearing last week. Having moved out of committee, the bill is now expected to be on the Senate floor for a vote early next week.
Bottle Bill (HB 3145B) – This week the Oregon Senate voted 19-11 to approve legislation updating and increasing the scope of the Bottle Bill. HB 3145B 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 program to shift from in-store bottle redemption to off-site redemption centers. The bill next heads to the Governor’s desk. The City previously submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Transportation Planning Rule (SB 795A) – The House Transportation and Economic Development Committee approved SB 795A, moving it to the full House. The bill 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. The City previously submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Plastics Toxin Bisphenol-A (SB 695A) – The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee did not schedule SB 695A for a work session before the deadline for doing so on Monday. Proponents are seeking to identify another bill to move the policy forward, which would ban BPA from children’s beverage containers and reusable water bottles.
Biodiesel Additives (HB 2827) – The Senate voted 30-0 on Monday, May 23rd to approve this bill, which extends the statutory sunset for allowing additives to biodiesel to prevent congealing of fuel in cold temperatures. Supported by the City, HB 2827 now heads to the Governor for consideration.
9-1-1 Caller Confidentiality (SB 346) which would have required caller consent before journalists make tapes of 9-1-1 calls public, is not expected to move further. It advanced further than it had in previous attempts. We will plan to work with partners statewide to refine the proposal, and hopefully re-introduce it in a future session.