What’s Happening (OSCC Political Observations)
Coronavirus reared its head again at the Capitol this past week, with at least one legislator contracting the disease, forcing the Oregon House to cancel floor sessions Tuesday-Friday. Barring any new cases, the House is expected to return to the floor today.
The shutdown has not impacted the Senate, where lawmakers continued with business as usual last week. Last week also saw a natural slowdown in overall legislative activity following the passage of the first major bill deadline of the session. The focus in the Capitol, for the moment, has turned primarily toward considering budget bills, though consideration of policy bills will certainly increase next month as we enter the final weeks of the session.
The ARPA funding process has taken another turn you should be aware of. The $780 million of federal ARPA funds will be split into two buckets with every Senator being responsible for recommending allocation of $4 million per Senate district and every Representative responsible for allocation of $2 million per district. This represents an allocation of $240 million that will go directly into Senate Districts. The remaining $540 million will largely be allocated at the direction of Legislative Leadership. You can read more about this arrangement here. I wanted to make sure you all saw the article from OPB.
Bills, bills, bills….
Although the movement of bills right now is at a trickle, we would again like to re-emphasize those bills still remaining we are supporting and opposing:
Good Bills – Still Alive
HB 2343: Authorizes local government to adopt resolution suspending enterprise zone employment requirements otherwise imposed as a condition of receiving enterprise zone tax abatements.
HB 3055: Removes sunset on aviation fuel taxes to fund local airports.
HB 3389: Unemployment tax rate relief on employers, particularly those whose experience ratings were negatively impacted by pandemic.
SB 330: Establishes income tax credit for amount of unpaid rent forgiven by landlord and certified by Housing and Community Services Department. Amortizes tax credit over five years.
Bad Bills – Still Alive (These are bills OSCC will continue to engage on)
HB 2021: 100% Clean Energy bill; phases out electricity generation by natural gas.
HB 2238: Disallows compensation to property owners or businesses whose property or businesses are taken or ordered closed under emergency rules or orders.
HB 2814: Requires DEQ to study program and policy approaches to reducing diesel engine emissions attributable to “indirect sources” of air contamination including construction sites.
HB 2840: Suspends all tax abatement programs (Opportunity zones, Enterprise Zones, etc)
HB 3305: Bans the retail sale of diesel fuel in Oregon by January 2027.
SB 139: Eliminates Oregon’s “small business tax cut” and reinstates personal income tax rates for pass-through businesses.
SB 483: Creates presumption that any adverse employment action taken on an employee within 60 days of that employee lodging a “whistleblower” complaint is considered prohibited retaliatory conduct.
SB 582: Creates new $100 million recycling system in Oregon in which every store, restaurant, warehouse, office, publisher, manufacturer, or delivery service will be impacted and required to help pay for these new programs.
JL Wilson & Jenny Dresler