Thanks again to Matt Jaffe of the City's Government Relations team for the latest news from Salem.
Oregon Sustainability Center (Capital Construction Budget) – Legislative leadership and the Ways and Means Co-Chairs continue to negotiate a package of capital construction bond approvals, including continued approval for bonds in support of the Oregon Sustainability Center. The City is working closely with the Oregon University System, Portland State University, and private sector partners to urge support for the project.
Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) (HB 3672A, HB 3606B) – The Joint Tax Credit Committee approved an omnibus tax credit bill, HB 3672A, on Thursday, June 16th, that includes provisions to sunset and replace the BETC. The bill ends the BETC for projects not already pending, but extends until January 1, 2013 the deadline for pending projects, including the City’s purchase of a streetcar vehicle and spare parts, to receive final certification. HB 3672A creates new renewable energy, energy conservation, and transportation project tax credits that take effect July 1, 2011. The committee also unanimously approved HB 3606, which provides technical clarifications to the old BETC program. Both bills next head to the House for consideration.
HB 3672A provides $3 million per biennium for renewable energy tax credits and $28 million per biennium for commercial and public energy conservation projects. Both programs would sunset January 1, 2018. The new transportation project tax credit provides a total of $20 million in funding per biennium, with transit service eligible for funding until January 1, 2016 and alternative fuel vehicle fueling stations eligible until January 1, 2018. The new tax credit does not continue funding for a wide range of other transportation projects that have previously qualified for the BETC. Extension of the BETC has been a City priority.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the City, PPS, TriMet and the Oregon Transit Association, the tax credit package does not include allow student transit passes to qualify for a state tax credit moving forward. TrIMet’s already precertified BETC application to support YouthPass for the current calendar year will be honored, however.
Film and Television Production Incentives (HB 3672A) – The omnibus tax credit bill approved yesterday by the Joint Tax Credit Committee extends the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF) and Greenlight Labor Rebate incentives for film and video production until January 1, 2018. The bill funds the OPIF at $7.5 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, then at $6 million per year thereafter. Extension of both programs are City priorities.
Recreational Immunity (HB 2865A) – On Wednesday, June 15th, the House voted 53-6 to concur with amendments on this City initiative. The bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Domestic Violence Confidentiality (SB 347B, HB 2244B) – HB 2244B is awaiting concurrence in the House after passing the Senate unanimously last week. The bill was amended by the Senate to include the provision of SB 347B that is a City initiative, creating 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.
On Monday, June 13th, the House approved SB 347B by a vote of 46-12. The bill is now awaiting concurrence by the Senate on amendments added in the House that would exempt from public records laws the disclosure of concealed handgun permit information.
9-1-1 Funding Military Department Budget (HB 5037) – On Friday, June 17th the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capitol Construction amended the budget note and sent to the full Committee the Military Department Budget. The amendment the subcommittee adopted eliminates the requirement that the 2012 legislature approve the distribution of the last half of fiscal year 2013 funding. This protects approximately $3 million in funding that the Bureau of Emergency Communications receives. The bill now heads to the full Joint Ways and Means Committee.
Industrial Lands (SB 766B) – The House voted 51-9 on Thursday, June 16th 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. The bill next heads to the Governor for his signature.
Residential Energy Tax Credit (HB 3672A) – Extension of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) was included in the omnibus tax credit bill. HB 3672A would continue support for residential energy efficiency, alternative energy systems and equipment for fueling alternative fuel vehicles, but no longer provide a tax credit for the alternative fuel vehicles themselves or energy efficiency appliances purchased after the current calendar year. The bill also caps the amount of total potential tax credits for third-party alternative energy systems to $10 million per year.
Research and Development Tax Credit (HB 3672A) – 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 3672A) – 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 is now in the House awaiting concurrence on amendments after moving out of the Senate unanimously on Friday, June 10th. 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. HB 2154B is part the rural partnership portion of the City’s legislative agenda.
Primary Care Workforce Package (HB 2401A, HB 2397A) – On Thursday, June 9th, the Governor signed HB 2401A into law. 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. Another bill which is part of the primary care workforce package, HB 2397A moved out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Friday, June 10th, was approved by the House unanimously on Thursday, June 16th, and is now on its way to the Senate. The bill establishes a loan forgiveness program for primary care providers in rural parts of the state.
Redistricting (SB 989A) – The Governor signed the bipartisan plan for redrawing legislative district boundaries on Monday, June 13th. The plan, which could still be reviewed by the Oregon Supreme Court upon petition, will take effect January 1, 2013. The Co-Chairs of the Joint Redistricting Committee have not come to agreement on a plan for redrawing Congressional district boundaries.
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). More of SW Portland will be included in the House and Senate districts mostly in Lake Oswego, currently represented by Rep. Chris Garrett and Sen. Richard Devlin.
Human Sex Trafficking (SB 425A, SB 430A, HB 2714B) – On Tuesday, June 14th the Governor signed the package of bills relating to human sex trafficking. SB 425A makes knowledge of a victim’s age immaterial in prosecution for the crime of compelling a minor to engage in prostitution and expands the definition of “compelling prostitution.” SB 430A enables funds received from the forfeiture of items in human trafficking cases to be used for assistance of human trafficking victims. HB 2714B separates the crimes of purchasing sex and selling sex and establishes increased penalties for those convicted of purchasing sex from a minor. The City has supported all of these bills.
Internal Investigations of Public Safety Officers (HB 3251A) – The House voted unanimously to concur with the Senate amendments on Monday, June 13th and HB 3251A is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. This bill bars the release of recordings of police officers in internal investigations. The City worked successfully to amend the bill to ensure access to the recordings by Portland’s Independent Police Review and several other law enforcement entities.
Preserve Public Subsidy During Foreclosure (SB 519B) – 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 unanimously on Thursday, June 16th. The next stop for the bill is the Senate for concurrence with a technical amendment that was added in the House.
Access Management (SB 264A) – This bill was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday, June 14th. SB 264A establishes a more consistent system for permitting driveways and other entrances onto ODOT roads. The bill also allows ODOT to provide ongoing, rather than one-time funding for roads that they transfer to cities and counties. PBOT participated in a workgroup that developed this legislation.
Billboards (SB 639A) – This bill which modernizes the types of signs that are permitted by ODOT and allowed along state highways, is heading to the Governor after the Senate concurred with the House amendments by a vote of 18-12. The City was joined by the League of Oregon Cities and the City of Eugene in keeping amendments that preempted city authority from being adopted.
Police Reserve Officers (HB 3153A) – This bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk after the House concurred with Senate amendments on this bill on Thursday, June 16th. The bill includes reserve officers in the definition of peace officer so that crimes such as assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest and others, can be charged.
Evidence retention (SB 731A) – SB 731A was signed into law 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. As the bill contained an emergency clause, it took effect upon being signed by the Governor.
Criminal Fines and assessments (HB 2072) – On Friday, June 17th, an amendment was adopted by the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capitol Construction that removes the prioritization for the use of criminal fines and assessments for the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and victim’s assistance (including substantial funding for domestic violence and child abuse victims assistance). The City along with other law enforcement and local governments are working on an amendment to restore the prioritization.