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2018 Government & Economic Affairs Blog

  • January 16, 2018 2:56 PM | Shelley Shirley (Administrator)


    Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

    OSCC is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has approved the 2018 Legislative Agenda. View agenda

    For 2018, OSCC requests that the Oregon legislature stay true to the intent of the short session by keeping focused on limited policy discussions and budget/policy adjustments stemming from the 2017 legislative session.

    "OSCC's Legislative Agenda gives a voice to the business community," said Colene Martin, 2018 OSCC Board Chair. "These priorities will help ensure a healthy business climate and allow Oregon's economy to grow."

    The 2018 Legislative Session convenes on February 5, 2018. This is a fast-moving session with quick deadlines. We will be updating you in the coming weeks on legislation as it is introduced.

    Chambers are encouraged to adopt these priorities as part of their own legislative agenda. OSCC's positions are strengthened as local chambers adopt the agenda, which allows for greater effectiveness during the 2018 Session. Please contact Jessica Chambers if your chamber adopts these priorities.

    Best regards,

    JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel

    jlwilson@pacounsel.org


  • January 12, 2018 6:14 PM | Shelley Shirley (Administrator)


    Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

    There is currently an effort to bring high-speed internet access to rural communities across Oregon and the country, including an effort to develop new broadband technologies that would increase access to and the affordability of high speed internet. One of these technologies is the utilization of TV white space spectrum for broadband deployment. We understand that the Connect Americans Now coalition is reaching out to organizations asking for support.

    OSCC is evaluating this issue and would like to receive feedback from members. If your chamber has been contacted about this issue, please let us know. We would like to better understand how this would impact communities across Oregon. Feedback can be emailed to Jessica Chambers.

    Best regards,

    JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel

    jlwilson@pacounsel.org


  • January 09, 2018 6:12 PM | Shelley Shirley (Administrator)


    Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

    We have had several inquiries from OSCC members who have been contacted by proponents/opponents for Measure 101. Chambers need to understand the tension surrounding this issue as individual chamber members will likely have strong feelings on both sides of the debate.
     
    Measure 101 will be the subject of a special election on January 23rd. A "Yes" vote will preserve a 1.5% provider and health care insurance premium tax passed by the legislature during the 2017 session. A "No" vote will repeal the tax. At stake is between $222 and $333 million of state funding that is directed toward the state's Medicaid program - also known as the Oregon Health Plan - which funds health services for low income Oregonians. Please be aware that about $145 million of this is a direct tax on health insurance premiums paid by businesses with commercial health insurance plans for their employees. As of today, nearly 25% of all Oregonians are now on the Oregon Health Plan as Oregon's uninsured rate has plummeted under the Medicaid expansion authorized by the federal Affordable Care Act. 

    You can expect your local hospitals and physicians groups to be in strong support of Measure 101. Preserving the 1.5% tax on providers and health insurance premiums keeps funding intact for the Oregon Health Plan. Proponents claim that as many as 350,000 low income Oregonians risk losing their health insurance if the tax is not preserved. In addition, keeping the tax intact will reduce uncompensated care and therefore reduce the costs that are shifted onto commercial and private ratepayers. Finally, proponents argue that eliminating the 1.5% provider and premium taxes will simply force the legislature to find $300 million elsewhere - perhaps in the form of other, less acceptable taxes on individuals and businesses.

    Opponents of Measure 101 will come from small business owners and people with individual health insurance policies who don't appreciate a 1.5% tax ($145 million) on their already expensive insurance premiums. They observe the mismanagement of the Oregon Health Plan - including over 55,000 ineligible recipients being allowed to collect benefits and more recently, that the state overpaid $74 million for Medicaid services - and oppose higher taxes to fund a health care program that lacks integrity. Opponents argue that there is more than enough money in state government to account for the $222 - $333 million without requiring small employers to pay $145 million in additional taxes to keep the Medicaid program whole. They also argue that taxing something (health care/health insurance) does not make it more affordable.

    As always, please feel free to revise this message and use it to communicate with your membership.

    Best regards,

    JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel

    jlwilson@pacounsel.org

  • January 05, 2018 6:11 PM | Shelley Shirley (Administrator)


    Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

    As we prepare for the upcoming 2018 session, you need to be aware of the key dates and timelines over the next two months.

    January 8 - LC drafts returned. All legislation that will be introduced in the 2018 session must be drafted and returned to legislators for review by Monday.

    January 10, 11, 12 - Legislative Days. This will be the final set of committee hearings that will be held prior to the 2018 session. This will be our first opportunity to see some of the bills that will be introduced by various committees.

    January 16 - Bill filing deadline. All legislation that will be introduced in the 2018 session must be officially filed by this date. In short, every House member gets to introduce 2 bills. Every senator gets to introduce 1 bill. Every committee gets to introduce 3 bills. We are anticipating about 300 bills total.

    Late January - We are expecting that all bills will be made public some time in late January. Furthermore, we expect to see 'advisory referrals' which will tell us which committees these bills will be assigned to.

    February 5 - Session convenes. First day of the 2018 session. 35-day sprint.

    February 9 - First Chamber deadline to post work sessions. First major deadline of the session is just 5 days into the session. If a bill isn't posted for a work session in committee by this time, it's dead.

    February 15 - First Chamber deadline to hold work sessions. Next major deadline. If a bill hasn't been approved by the original committee by this time, it's dead.

    February 22 - Second Chamber deadline to post work sessions. If a bill isn't posted for a work session in it's second chamber committee by this time, it's dead.

    February 27 - Second Chamber deadline to hold work sessions. If a bill hasn't passed out of its second chamber committee by this time, it's dead.

    March 11 - Constitutional end date to session.

    As you can see, it's a very fast-moving session with quick deadlines. We'll be updating you in the coming weeks on legislation as we see it introduced.

    Click here to view full calendar

    Best regards,

    JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel

    jlwilson@pacounsel.org


  • January 05, 2018 5:50 PM | Shelley Shirley (Administrator)


    Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

    As OSCC prepares for the upcoming 2018 Legislative Session, here are a few items to be aware of and ways you and your members can get involved.

    2018 Legislative Priorities

    The Government Affairs Council approved the OSCC 2018 Legislative Priorities at their December 15th meeting. This will now go before the Board of Directors for final consideration and approval. 

    Cleaner Air Oregon

    We can't stress enough how important it is for your chamber, and your members, to provide comment to DEQ on the new 'Cleaner Air Oregon' regulations. In almost 20 years of advocacy, we haven't seen regulations that threaten business operations to the extent that these do.

    The deadline for comments is Monday, January 22nd.

    You can view a list of potentially impacted companies here.

    Comments may be submitted here or to cleanerair@deq.state.or.us

    We want to make it as turn-key as possible for your chamber and your members to submit comment to DEQ.

    Attached, please find:

    1. Talking points that can help you draft brief comments. - Download here

    2. Sample turnkey comments that you can personalize and submit on your letterhead. - Download here

    3. OSCC's formal written comments (which may provide you some additional material for your comments). - Download here

    Again, please take a few minutes to engage as a Chamber and get your members engaged.

    Best regards,

    JL Wilson, Legislative Counsel

    jlwilson@pacounsel.org

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