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  • March 23, 2020 12:43 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Governor Brown just issued an Executive Order on "shelter in place" - 
    Executive Order 20-12
    . Please note the guidance for professional offices, non profits, and which businesses are immediately ordered to be closed.  Also the guidance for government buildings. 
     

    About the order: 

    • All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.
       
    • It closes and prohibits shopping at specific categories of retail businesses, for which close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters, and yoga studios.
       
    • It requires businesses not closed by the order to implement social distancing policies in order to remain open, and requires workplaces to implement teleworking and work-at-home options when possible.
       
    • It directs Oregonians to stay home whenever possible, while permitting activities outside the home when social distance is maintained.
       
    • It closes playgrounds, sports courts, and skate parks, among other types of outdoor recreation facilities. Those that remain open are required to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines.
       
    • It outlines new guidelines for child care facilities, setting limits and rules on amounts of children allowed in care, and outlining that child care groups may not change participants.

    Retail businesses closed by Executive Order 20-12 include:

    • Shopping: Outdoor and indoor malls and retail complexes, although individual types of businesses not subject to the measures may stay open.
       
    • Fitness: Gyms, sports and fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise studios
       
    • Grooming: Barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and non-medical wellness spas
       
    • Entertainment: Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, and pool halls

    Other retail businesses will not be able to continue to operate unless they can implement strict social distancing measures and designate an employee or officer charged with ensuring compliance. Retail businesses able to adapt to take-out style shopping experiences can also remain open. If businesses can have employees work from home, then they must do so. Many of the businesses outlined in the order have voluntarily closed their doors already, to do their part to protect Oregon's communities.

    In addition, non-retail businesses like manufacturers and the construction industry must ensure that their employees are maintaining social distancing measures. Restaurants are still permitted to offer take out, and delivery.  They are required to maintain the social distancing guidelines. 


    These are extraordinary circumstances. We'll do our best to let you know of additional developments.


  • March 20, 2020 9:29 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Portland City Club is having a debate today LIVE on several different feeds. For those of you who didn't attend our meeting on the 11th, here's a chance to get information on the candidates so you can make an informed vote. For those of you who did attend the meeting, you may learn more about them.

    One of the many things emphasized by the current crisis is the importance of who is in elected office. That's why we are committed to bringing you important candidate debates and election-related information.

    Perhaps now more than ever: We are all in this together. That means providing substantive, truthful information from trusted sources.

    All of our events, including primary debates, will be LIVE in virtual spaces via KGW, our websiteTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    We encourage our audience to participate in real-time by asking questions via social media and email:

    #CITYCLUBDEBATE
    Questions@pdxcityclub.org 

    Democracy does not stand still.



  • March 19, 2020 10:54 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In an effort to prepare for the upcoming special session to address the coronavirus pandemic and ensure we’re communicating the needs of our constituents as efficiently as possible I wanted to reach out. I would like to ask each of you to work together with your respective jurisdictions to provide any requests for assistance, suggestions for policy changes, or any useful idea you have that could be implemented at the legislative level related to the coronavirus response.
     
    For example, we’ve shared with Governor Brown’s office some issues we’ve seen where certain funding formulas could incentivize the kind of in-person contact we now need to limit. After hearing from a number of legislators who were hearing similar concerns from their constituents there was a change in rule that provided some flexibility for local jurisdictions. Just off the top of my head; I can imagine there are issues you all might have related to conducting business using virtual channels that might need to be addressed and debated so that we might balance openness and public safety to provide needed policy changes.
     
    Since idea generation as well as efficient and effective use of resources are key to ensuring the best possible results please feel free to include any idea, no matter how far afield. I think it is encouraging for us all that leaders from every corner of the state are coming together to ask for and provide solutions.  I’m reaching out to each of you to ensure that my office is working with a similar sense of purpose and duty. Please, also feel free to call either my chief of staff, Jason, at 503-473-5633 or myself at 503-901-6052 on our mobile numbers should you have any more immediate questions are concerns. We’re in contact with the Governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority on daily conference calls to ensure we have the latest possible guidance.
     
    Thank you all for the work that you are doing to meet the needs of your community. Take care of yourselves as well, we need you!
     
    ~Chris
     
    State Representative Chris Gorsek
    503.986.1449 | District 49 - Troutdale
    Pronouns I respond to: he/him/his

  • March 17, 2020 4:44 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    OSCC is keeping chambers up to date on information that has an impact on the business community as a result of COVID-19. 

    • Yesterday, Governor Brown announced a new Executive Order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink, as well as gatherings of more than 25 people for the next four weeks. She also announced plans for a special session in relation to COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks.
       
    • The Governor also announced the formation of a Coronavirus Economic Council to discuss workforce and small business needs during this crisis. OSCC is part of that conversation and has provided feedback about the need for certainty and cash flow during this disaster, particularly to help local communities and families recover from the recession.
       
    • The Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will be meeting tomorrow at 10 am to discuss needed supports for working families and local businesses as a result of COVID-19. The business community put forward an initial letter of requests. OSCC members are encouraged to listen to the legislative conversation through this link:
       
      https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019I1/Committees/JSCVR/Overview

    OSCC is keeping chambers up to date on information that has an impact on the business community as a result of COVID-19. 

    • Yesterday, Governor Brown announced a new Executive Order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink, as well as gatherings of more than 25 people for the next four weeks. She also announced plans for a special session in relation to COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks.
       
    • The Governor also announced the formation of a Coronavirus Economic Council to discuss workforce and small business needs during this crisis. OSCC is part of that conversation and has provided feedback about the need for certainty and cash flow during this disaster, particularly to help local communities and families recover from the recession.
       
    • The Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will be meeting tomorrow at 10 am to discuss needed supports for working families and local businesses as a result of COVID-19. The business community put forward an initial letter of requests. OSCC members are encouraged to listen to the legislative conversation through this link:
    • If you want to submit local testimony before the hearing to be posted online, you can at  https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019I1/Committees/JSCVR/Overview 
    • We also encourage you to follow up directly with your legislators about needed support for local businesses.


  • March 16, 2020 2:04 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In our Chamber's efforts to keep you informed be aware that Sunshine Division is available to those who need food:

    • We remain open at both of our locations for clients to continue receiving emergency food. Food boxes are served near the entrances (outside) in a manner that ensures the safety and necessary precautions to thoughtfully care for our clients, volunteers, and staff.
    • Clients are able to receive a food box 1x per week with this current method of distribution. These do not count toward their regular visit allotment as this is a unique situation.


  • March 14, 2020 10:06 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)
    • Based on the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oregon Health Authority, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and local public health officials, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is closing all of its community centers and pools, and canceling all indoor PP&R activities, programs, and rentals. The tentative reopening date for the bureau’s indoor facilities is April 1, 2020.

      Portland Parks & Recreation has monitored the COVID-19 situation since it began. We continue to be in communication with, and to follow the guidance of, the Oregon Health AuthorityMultnomah County Health Department, and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management regarding the situation.

      For more of the bureau’s COVID-19 information, please visit

      portlandoregon.gov/parks/covid-19

      CLOSED/CANCELED THROUGH March 31st:

      ·          All Portland Parks & Recreation facilities: All community and arts centers, swimming pools, and sports facilities are closed through March 31st, 2020.

      ·          All Portland Parks & Recreation indoor programs: All indoor recreation and athletic programs are canceled through March 31st, 2020.

      ·          PP&R facility rentals and permitted events in PP&R community centers: All indoor permitted events are canceled.

      CURRENTLY OPEN OR PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE:

      • All Portland Parks & Recreation parks, playgrounds, golf courses, trails, and natural areas are currently open. Park visitors are encouraged to follow direction from public health agencies and elected officials around social distancing. 
      • PP&R outdoor activities and events with less than 250 people can go on as planned.
      • PP&R will encourage participants at outdoor offerings and events to follow social distancing guidance. 

    # # #

    Mark Ross - Public Information Officer

    Portland Parks & Recreation

    503-823-6634

  • March 05, 2020 3:46 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The 2020 short session has concluded.

    House Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney will not convene additional floor sessions for the remainder of the session.

    Republican leaders issued press releases this morning that their caucuses would come back to the Capitol on Sunday, the last day of session, to pass budgets. It was expected that Democrat leadership would decline, and they formally did this afternoon. The session is now effectively adjourned.

    What's next...

    1. The Emergency Board will meet to fund various critical needs such as Coronavirus response and Umatilla flooding response.
       
    2. The Governor is preparing an Executive Order to implement the aspects of the Cap-and-Trade bill that she can direct her agencies to administer.
       
    3. A special session will likely be called in the next month to address and pass some of the legislation that died during the short session.

    This is what we know as of now.

    Candidate Filing Deadline Day is next Tuesday, which will present the next opportunity for legislators to co-mingle. It'll be an interesting day.


  • February 24, 2020 2:06 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    We believe the Senate Republican "walkout" will commence this week as the Ways & Means Committee will approve SB 1530 - Cap and Trade - on Monday morning and send it to the Senate floor. Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) will need to be temporarily replaced in order to facilitate this, as she remains a strong opponent of Cap and Trade, and her vote would kill the bill in committee.

    The question at this point is whether House Republicans may follow suit.

    The effect of the walkout is that the Senate cannot conduct business with fewer than 20 members. By boycotting the session, Republicans will leave the Senate with only 19 senators (we expect Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) to stay in Salem). All committees will continue to pass bills, but the full Senate would not be able to pass them. Because the session is constitutionally mandated to end at 12 AM, Sunday, March 8th, all bills not passed by the Senate would be dead at that time.

    It remains to be seen how the Governor and Democrat leadership will deal with the walkout, but it will likely get intense over the next two weeks in terms of the messaging, the threats, and the looming possibility that there may be some executive action to call special sessions or invoke "emergency powers" to conduct votes with less than a constitutional quorum.

    Things are about to get very interesting.

    In the meantime, OSCC continues to be busy with its priorities. You can see the OSCC Legislative Priorities here. 

    Other than SB 1530, we continue to believe our biggest threat is House Bill 4010, which would effectively eliminate 50% of the state tax incentives for Opportunity Zones. The House Revenue Committee passed a version of HB 4010 on Thursday night which disconnects from the federal capital gains tax incentives to invest in OZ's and effectively levies a 4.95% state tax on any investment gains made in an OZ. You can view the one-pager here. 

    Bottom line: If you care about Opportunity Zones, Chambers need to speak up! We expect the House to vote on this bill as soon as early as Wednesday, so contact your State Representative now. Our message is simple: NO on HB 4010. You can go to our Voter Voice and send your messages here.

    Here's a rundown of key OSCC Issues:

    • Cap-and-Trade (SB 1530). Although the bill was delayed last week, we expect the full Ways & Means Committee to approve the bill on Monday morning. This will likely trigger a Senate Republican 'walkout' to deny a quorum in the Senate to prevent passage of the bill. 
    • CAT Tax "Technical" Fixes (HB 4009). This bill is supported by OSCC as it will lower penalties on underpayment of taxes, particularly in the first year, as businesses grapple with this new gross receipts tax. This bill was not an attempt to re-visit the policy, and OSCC cautioned members not to expect too much with this bill. OSCC's objectives here were to lower penalty provisions, which the bill does. This bill will likely be impacted by the Senate Republican walkout. 
    • Statewide Lodging Tax legislation (HB 4047) will make permanent the 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate that was passed in 2016. OSCC assisted ORLA in passing this bill through a tough House vote, 37-18. You can see the joint ORLA/OSCC floor letter in support of the bill. This bill will likely be impacted by the Senate Republican walkout. 
    • Interfering with Non-Competes (SB 1527). This issue was negotiated as both business and labor landed on a 12-month enforceability for non-compete agreements. Under the new law, non-competes can now only apply to employees making more than $97,300 per year and are only effective for 12 months. OSCC considers this issue settled. We expect the bill to pass the House Committee this week and ultimately pass. This will not be impacted by the Senate walkout. 
    • New Requirements for projects in Economic Development Zones (SB 1525). Last week, we reported that this bill may have been a vehicle for mischief - to amend HB 4045 into it. OSCC opposed HB 4045, which imposed prevailing wage requirements on projects within enterprise zones, strategic investment zones, and renewable energy investment zones; specifically, the requirement to pay prevailing wages.

      We are pleased to report there was no mischief in the passage of SB 1525, which was a very minor consensus bill dealing with new reporting requirements for enterprise zone projects. One more small victory. 
    • Aviation fuel taxes / Public Airport Investments (HB 4036). We believe the Joint Transportation Committee will likely pass HB 4036 on Tuesday night. The bill would increase the aviation fuel tax by 2 cent-per-gallon to increase funding for public airports by $4 million per year. The tax increase will be a point of contention. Many Republicans, and some Democrats, prefer a scaled down version that would continue the current 2-cent tax but not increase taxes. Others support the additional 2-cent tax. We believe the House has the votes to pass this bill, but its future is in doubt in the Senate.


  • February 24, 2020 2:02 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    After 75 minutes of debate and motions, the full Ways & Means Committee has just passed SB 1530, the Cap-and-Trade bill.

    Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted with Republicans on all amendments and in opposition to the bill. Ordinarily, this would result in the failure of the bill due to a 6-6 tie from the Senate committee members. Senate President Peter Courtney was added to the Committee roster today and broke the tie on the bill, allowing it to pass.

    Senate Republicans moved several amendments, including an amendment to refer SB 1530 to the voters for the November 2020 election. All amendments failed.

    Today's committee vote will trigger a 'walkout' from Senate Republicans, who have made it clear their intention to deny quorum to defeat the legislation. House Republicans are also indicating they may follow suit.

    Despite the walkout, legislative committees will continue to meet and pass legislation. However, the Senate will not be able to vote on legislation due to lack of quorum. The same would hold true for the House if House Republicans also denied quorum.

    By Constitution, the short session must be completed by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 8th. Legislation not passed by that time is considered dead and must start again, either in a special session or in the 2021 long session.


  • February 17, 2020 9:34 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    We are now done with the first two weeks of the 2020 session.  There are three weeks to go before the constitutional end date of March 8th. It was an extraordinarily busy week as most bills were scheduled for hearing or some sort of consideration. As of right now, most of the 250 bills that were introduced in the 2020 session are still alive. By our count, only 50 bills are formally dead.

    Some good news: The quarterly revenue forecast was released on Wednesday. State revenues are expected to increase yet another $183 million. Revenues have increased an astounding $675 million since the 2019 Close-of-Session forecast which was the basis for the final 2019-2021 budget.

    Now for the reality check: The 2020 session could very well come to a grinding halt this week. Democrat leadership will push Cap-and-Trade (SB 1530) out of the Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday, which means it could be on the Senate floor as soon as Thursday. At this point, we have every reason to believe that Senate Republicans will leave the capitol to deny quorum. Things could get very interesting by the end of the week as many possibilities could unfold, including (1) 11th hour dealmaking to lower the temperature and keep the session on track, although it's hard to see how this would include Republicans providing a quorum to vote on Cap-and-Trade, (2) House Republicans may also elect to leave the capitol in a show of solidarity, and (3) the Governor exploring "emergency" powers to pass Cap-and-Trade without a quorum.

    It should also be noted that the politics of Cap-and-Trade are already baked. There is no business group or interest group that is going to alter the outcome - or negotiate a truce - except for the environmental lobby or Timber Unity.

    Other than SB 1530, we continue to believe our biggest threat is House Bill 4010, which would effectively eliminate all state tax incentives for Opportunity Zones. The Oregon Education Association is imploring House Democrats to eliminate them. Bottom line: If you care about Opportunity Zones, Chambers need to say something! Either put your testimony on the record at lro.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov or let your Representative and Senator know that local communities oppose this bill!

    Here's a rundown of key OSCC Issues:

    • Cap-and-Trade (SB 1530). This bill passed the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee on Thursday afternoon on a 3-2. Senator Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), a previous opponent of the bill, is now supporting the new bill, allowing it to pass to the Ways & Means Committee. OSCC is anticipating that SB 1530 will pass the Ways & Means Committee at 11:00 am on Tuesday, setting up the pivotal conflict of the session. 
    • Statewide Lodging Tax legislation (HB 4047) will make permanent the 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate that was passed in 2016. The rate was scheduled to be reduced to 1.5% this year, but in order to lock in the higher rate for statewide tourism promotion instead of other unrelated objectives, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association agreed to keep the rate at 1.8% so long as the money is dedicated to tourism promotion. OSCC testified in support of this bill, but its fate is uncertain.
    • Unemployment Benefits for Striking Employees (HB 4007). On Wednesday, the House Committee on Business & Labor closed the door on this bill. HB 4007 upended Oregon law by ensuring that striking employees are not disqualified from receiving unemployment. OSCC strongly opposed the bill and was pleased to see it die. 
    • Real Estate Transfer Taxes (HJR 203). Other than a public hearing, we've seen no activity on this measure which would repeal Oregon's ban on real estate transfer taxes. 
    • Interfering with Non-Competes (SB 1527). Last week, this issue was negotiated as both business and labor landed on a 12-month enforceability for non-compete agreements. Under the new law, non-competes can now only apply to employees making more than $97,300 per year and are only effective for 12 months. OSCC considers this issue settled. 
    • Eliminating Opportunity Zones (HB 4010). OSCC joined cities and other economic development proponents on Wednesday night to testify in opposition to HB 4010, which would disconnect Oregon from the federal Opportunity Zone tax incentive that included in the federal 'Tax Cut and Jobs Act' passed by Congress in 2017. We've heard from many of our local chambers about the importance of maintaining Opportunity Zones as a tool to support local economic development. We view this as our biggest threat to date. If you want to preserve Opportunity Zones in your community, you need to speak up and send your testimony to: lro.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov

    Bill of the Week - SB 1525:

    • New Requirements for projects in Economic Development Zones
      (SB 1525).
       Last week, we reported that HB 4045 died in committee. OSCC opposed HB 4045, which imposed prevailing wage requirements on projects within enterprise zones, strategic investment zones, and renewable energy investment zones; specifically, the requirement to pay prevailing wages. 

      But now there is opportunity for mischief in SB 1525, which is a very minor consensus bill dealing with new reporting requirements for enterprise zone projects. There is a possibility that HB 4045 may get stuffed into SB 1525 in the House Business & Labor Committee. We need to make sure this does not happen! Please submit your testimony to hbl.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov. The Committee needs to know that your chamber does not support adding HB 4045 into SB 1525! OSCC will be watching this issue closely. The public hearing for SB 1525 is Monday morning.


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