Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues -
So much for big deadlines. The first major deadline produced almost no changes to OSCC's outlook for the week.
All bills needed to be scheduled for a vote in their original committee by Friday, April 7th. Nearly every single bad bill was scheduled. Almost nothing fell off of our radar. Committee chairs just couldn't bring themselves to tell anyone "NO," and consequently, nearly every bill was kept alive until April 18th.
We will be working feverishly until the 18th, when all bills must pass their original committee. Our hope is to neutralize many of the bad bills (and hopefully pass a few good ones) between now and the 18th. See the links below for bills and amendments, hearing schedules, and recorded testimony.
Here's what we know from the past week:
It was an interesting week on the tax/revenue front. The week started with a press conference from the government employee unions imploring the legislature to pass a "game changing" tax increase on Oregon businesses. By Wednesday, TV ads were running in opposition to the legislature's consideration of a new gross receipts tax. And by this weekend, Senator Mark Hass, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was blasting those TV ads as 'amateur' and 'lazy.' The OSCC assessment is still the same. We are skeptical that the legislature will embark on a corporate tax increase. We believe that increased tax revenues from a growing economy will take enough pressure out of this budget cycle to allow legislators to cobble together a budget without a general tax hike.
Here are the bills that are still alive as of the Friday, April 7th deadline:
SB 301 would effectively preclude employers from enforcing zero tolerance drug policies. We are deeply disappointed this bill has been kept alive in Senate Judiciary.
SB 828 / HB 2193 would implement predictive scheduling. We were disappointed to see both the House and the Senate bill kept alive. SB 828 has been modified with amendments that are still unacceptable to OSCC and we will continue to strongly oppose.
HB 3087 - paid family leave - was kept alive.
SB 292 - unlawful employment action for "workplace bullying," was mysteriously kept alive in Senate Judiciary.
SB 1040 would implement local union security agreements and prevent local right to work measures.
SB 997 was kept alive. The bill would levy fines on all employers with 50 or more employees if any employees working 20 hours or more are not privately covered with employer-sponsored health insurance.
On the good side, both SB 984 (fixes BOLI's bad interpretation on daily/weekly overtime pay) and SB 329 (preempt local employment law mandates) were kept alive.
Energy & Environment:
The key 'cap and trade' bills were all kept alive - SB 557 and HB 2135.
SB 1008 - a costly mandate for both on-road and off-road diesel engine retrofits and replacements - was kept alive.
On the good side, 'Community Right to Know' that would have increased regulatory programs on chemical storage reporting - HB 2669 was killed.
The big bill here - HB 2269 - which would increase Title V and ACDP fees to fund the new DEQ 'Cleaner Air Oregon' regulatory scheme was kept alive.
HB 2236 - requiring the DEQ to conduct a study and develop recommendations relating to emissions of air contaminants from industrial sources was also kept alive.
SB 197 - allowing for the DEQ to adopt a program for regulating air contaminant emissions from dairy confined animal feeding operations - a disaster for the dairy industry - was kept alive.
Tourism and TRT Funding: Both HB 2744 and HB 2768 were kept alive in the House Economic Development and Trade Committee. These bills would allow local government much more latitude to spend state TRT money on 'tourism-related' projects not related directly to tourism promotion.
Liability: SB 737 (replacing SB 487), which would eliminate the $500k cap on non-economic damages in civil lawsuits, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote. It is expected to be the first real showdown of the session in the Senate in which a close vote is expected.
Transportation: The much anticipated transportations funding package is not affected by session deadlines.
SB 115 - the bill that would prohibit leaded aviation fuel - died.
Taxes & Budget: All tax and budget issues are still alive. Any tax bill residing in the Revenue Committees, or budget bill residing in Ways & Means, is not subject to deadlines. OSCC will monitor these bills until the very end of session.
OSCC will keep you informed on how these bills unfold over the next ten days. It will easily be the most active ten days of the session. However, after April 18th, OSCC will have a very solid understanding of all the bills in play for 2017 and will be able to focus efforts appropriately.
This is where the rubber hits the road. We will most likely be reaching out for testimony from Chambers and their members during this time. Please be prepared to act quickly.
Alison Hart, Executive Director
JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel