State Legislative Update
February 17, 2012
The Legislature continues to work at a fast pace in order to move bills through the process and meet self-imposed deadlines. Tuesday, February 14th was the last day for policy committees to hold work sessions on bills in their chamber of origin. Bills that are still alive must be placed on a policy committee agenda in the second chamber by Tuesday, February 21st and must move out of committee by Thursday, February 23rd. These deadlines apply to all committees except the Revenue, Rules, andJoint Ways and Means Committees.
This week, Governor Kitzhaber proposed amendments to the framework agreement for rebalancing the 2011-13 biennium budget that had been announced by the Co-Chairs of theJoint Waysand Means Committee at the beginning of the session. The Governor proposes agency personnel reductions and vacancy savings other than the $25 million in specific reductions to middle management and public affairs staff positions that was included in the Co-Chairs’ framework. The Governor is also proposing using $13 million in reserve funds to avoid cuts including closure of a prison, curtailing second year Early Head Start Funding, and reductions to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.
Below are highlights of the City’s major legislative activity this week:
Senior Property Tax Deferral (HB 4039-B) – On Wednesday, February 15th, the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee voted unanimously to re-qualify individuals who were disqualified from the Senior Property Tax Deferral program because they have a reverse mortgage. The bill will now go before the full Senate. City Council has encouraged legislative approval of HB 4039-B.
Annexation and Urban Services to Unincorporated Areas (HB 4090-A) – On Tuesday, February 14th, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted to amend and approve HB 4090. The bill has two components: (1) it allows owners of unincorporated property within the Metro Urban Growth Boundary to force a provider of sewer or water service to extend service to the property if the owner pays the cost of the extension; and (2) it prevents a city from dissolving a portion of a service district within its boundaries if the city will not become the subsequent provider of the service to the area. The City is opposing the bill in coordination with several other local cities, counties and Metro. HB 4090-A had been scheduled for a House floor vote today, but was carried over to the House floor agenda for Monday.
Private Security Professionals at Bars and Clubs (SB 1524) – The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 1524 on Wednesday, February 15th. The bill allows servers at bars to occasionally check IDs at the door without being certified by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, while ensuring that private security staff responsible for regulating entrance to bars and clubs continue to obtain such certification. The City testified in both chambers to emphasize the public safety interest in maintaining certification for bouncers and to clarify the intent of the bill.
Direct pay to 9-1-1 Jurisdictions (SB 1559-A) – SB 1559-A proposes sending money directly to 9-1-1 jurisdictions instead of to municipalities, from whom the 9-1-1 jurisdictions must collect payment. As a 9-1-1 jurisdiction providing 9-1-1 service to much of the Metro Area, the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Communication (BOEC) currently collects payment from municipalities such as Wood Village and Gresham. SB 1559-A would eliminate this administrative step for BOEC and other 9-1-1 service providers. On Tuesday, February 14th, the bill was approved by the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, where the City submitted testimony in support. Today, the full Senate voted to refer SB 1559-A to the Senate Rules Committee.
Foreclosure Mitigation (SB 1552-A) – This bill would require banks to enter into mediation with homeowners for the purpose of renegotiation the terms of the homeowner’s mortgage in order to avoid foreclosure. On Monday, February 13th, the Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee adopted amendments and unanimously moved SB 1552-A to the Senate floor. The Senate approved the bill by a 26-4 vote on Thursday, February 16th. At an earlier hearing the City submitted testimony in support of the legislation.
Human Trafficking (HB 4146-A) – After passing the House unanimously on Thursday, February 16th, HB 4146-A is now on its way to the Senate. The bill allows for the expungement of criminal records related to prostitution if the criminal charges were incurred as a juvenile. City Council submitted testimony in support of HB 4146-A at a hearing on February 9th.
Concealed Handgun Permits (SB 1574) – This bill to establish reciprocity for concealed handgun licenses did not meet the Tuesday deadline for advancing from committee. SB 1574 would have allowed individuals licensed to carry concealed handguns in certain other states to carry legally inOregon without obtaining anOregon license. The City testified in opposition to the bill last week.
Ecosystem Services (SB 1511) – The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee moved SB 1511 to the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, February 14th. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability submitted testimony in support of the bill, which expands state policy in support of ecosystem services and directs the Institute for Natural Resources to provide information to local governments and other entities to assist in the development of integrated ecosystem services methodologies.
Court Fines (SB 4167) – This bill makes technical corrections to legislation passed during the 2011 session (HB 2712) that modified the fee structure for the collection of fines on various criminal offenses and violations. HB 4167 clarifies that parking violations collected through the circuit court are not subject to the $60 state fee that was prescribed in HB 2712. The bill moved out of theJoint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 15 and was passed Friday, February 17 by the fullJoint Ways and Means Committee. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote. The City has been supportive of this legislation.