Thanks to Martha Pellegrino, Director of the Office of Government Relations, and Matt Jaffe on her staff, for this final memo from the 2011 session.
The 76th Legislative Assembly adjourned on June 30. The legislature spent the week finalizing state agency budgets and bonding for capital construction projects, as well as moving the remaining policy bills through each respective chamber. Legislators also reached agreement on a Congressional redistricting plan.
Below is a summary of major legislative activity in the last week.
Oregon Sustainability Center (HB 5005A) – On Thursday, June 30th, the House voted 54-4 and the Senate voted 24-6 to approve HB 5005A, which authorizes issuance of bonds for capital construction projects. The votes followed approval of the bill on June 29th in the Way and Means Capital Construction subcommittee and full Ways and Means Committee. HB 5005 includes a budget note directing the Oregon University System (OUS) to report back to the legislature in February 2012 with additional information on the Oregon Sustainability Center in order to secure legislative approval of tenant-backed bonds that were originally authorized in 2009. The City, OUS, Portland State University, private sector companies have urged continued support for the Oregon Sustainability Center.
Redistricting (SB 990A) – On Thursday, June 30th, the Senate voted 24-6 and the House voted 58-2 to approve SB 990A, which establishes new boundaries for Congressional districts. The Joint Special Committee on Redistricting approved the plan on Wednesday, June 29th after weeks of negotiation. SB 990A now heads to the Governor for his consideration. The action follows legislative approval earlier this month of a plan for redrawing legislative district boundaries.
Maps of the Congressional and legislative redistricting plans are available at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/redistricting/. Changes to Congressional district boundaries in Portland include shifting downtown Portland from Congressional District 1 (represented by Rep. David Wu) to Congressional District 3 (represented by Rep. Earl Blumenauer) and moving Forest Park and Linnton from Congressional District 3 to Congressional District 1. The plan also shifts Johns Landing and parts of neighborhoods in Southwest Portland south of I-5 from Congressional District 5 (represented by Rep. Kurt Schrader) to Congressional District 1, and reassigns the Mt. Scott area from Congressional District 3 to Congressional District 5.
Domestic Violence Confidentiality (SB 347B, HB 2244B) – On Wednesday, June 29th, the House voted unanimously to concur on Senate amendments to HB 2244B. The Senate amendments included a provision of SB 347B, a City of Portland initiative that establishes an exemption from state public records laws for records maintained by domestic violence service centers that are operated by a public agency. This vote came after the House voted 31-28 to not concur on the amendments the day prior. HB 2244B is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
SB 347B, the original vehicle for the City’s legislative initiative which was amended with a provision that included an exemption of information on concealed handgun permits remained in the Senate upon adjournment.
Speed Limits (HB 3150A) – This City initiative is now on its way to the Governor’s desk after the House concurred with Senate amendments by a vote of 53-5 on Monday, June 6th. 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.
Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) (HB 2523B) – The Governor signed this bill on June 3rd to transfer administration of the manufacturing BETC from the Oregon Department of Energy to the Oregon Business Development Department.
Farmworker Housing Tax Credits (HB 2154B) – On June 3rd, the Governor signed this bill to 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 was part of the rural partnership portion of the City’s legislative agenda.
Brownfield Redevelopment (HB 3325A) – On June 23rd, the Governor signed the City’s joint initiative with the Port of Portland and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to promote brownfield redevelopment. HB 3325A strengthens the liability protections available for innocent parties who sign a prospective purchaser agreement with DEQ when purchasing and voluntarily cleaning up brownfield sites.
Oregon Education Investment Board (SB 909B) – On Tuesday, June 28th The Governor signed into law SB 909B a major element of his educational reform. The bill establishes the Oregon Educational Investment Board and Early Learning Council to create a unified approach for K-12 and post-secondary education was signed into law on June 28th.
Educational Stability Fund (SB 5055A) – Signed into law by the Governor on June 23rd, this bill transfers money from the Educational Stability fund to support a variety of programs including a $25 million increase in the $5.7 billion K-12 budget.
Transportation Planning Rule (SB 795A) – The Governor signed SB 795A on June 17th. Supported by the City, 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.
State Bonding Bill (HB 5005A) – Included in the Legislature’s end of session bonding bill was $40 million to continue the Connect Oregon Program. This program has funded multimodal projects and has been used by the City to fund the Streetcar Project.
Solar Installations in Commercial and Residential Zones (HB 3516B) – The Governor signed HB 3516B into law on June 21st. 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. HB 3516B 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.
Recreational Immunity (HB 2865A) – On Tuesday, June 28th, the Governor signed this City of Portland initiative into law. The bill provides property owners who abut unimproved right-of-way with liability protections when trails are used for transportation.
Criminal Fines and Assessments (HB 2712C) – This bill, which makes changes to the Criminal Fines and Assessments Account, was amended by the Capital Construction Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, June 29th. Prior to the amendments, the bill would have removed the priority of funding for the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) victims assistance, forensic labs, and the law enforcement data system. After passing the Senate on June 29th, the House concurred on the Senate amendments on June 30th. The City advocated on behalf of the amendments to the bill, which is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.