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Update from Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 20:30

These action items were sent from The Dalles Chamber of Commerce from the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) and a message from Senator Cliff Bentz to Chamber members. (Thank you Sandy Haechrel for sharing this.) Interesting reading from the Chamber perspective on these bills. Please read and make your comments/testimony or contact our representatives to recommend approval or opposition.

Cap and Trade

Partnership for Oregon Communities information (organization doing the Town Halls)

Workplace Marijuana Accomodation

2019 Legislative Report Week 4

Dear OSCC members and colleagues -

We have now completed four weeks of the 2019 legislative session. No deadlines are imminent. Committees have a full two months to work on current legislation. New bills continue to dribble out at a very slow pace - about 1,800 pieces of legislation have been introduced so far.

What's Happening (OSCC Political Observations)

Our observations are largely unchanged from last week.

The two major bills that are moving quickly - rent control (SB 608) and the first Medicaid funding bill (HB 2010) - will likely get very close to final passage this week.

The other major bill now in full swing - cap and trade (HB 2020) - will get a public hearing in the Capitol on Monday night, a public hearing in Springfield on Friday, and a public hearing in Medford on Saturday.

Additionally, as we noted last week, the legislative conversations are now underway on a major business tax to fund K-12 education. This discussion is happening in the Joint Student Success Committee on Tuesday evenings. Already, it appears there are major hurdles to passing additional tax revenues for schools - namely the potential cumulative effect of all the tax and regulatory bills that Legislative Democratic leadership wants to pass before considering a new business tax for schools.

Activity on Major Issues

This week will be a very busy week of new policy discussions which will impact the local business communities across Oregon:
Medicaid Funding will likely pass the House and maybe even the Senate. (HB 2010) This is the bill that will implement the first stages of Medicaid funding proposed by the Governor - the Hospital provider tax ($98 million) and the insurance/provider tax ($410 million). OSCC has ascertained that $291.6 million of this package will be a direct tax on small business health insurance premiums. This is the first direct tax on local business in the 2019 legislative session.
Rent Control will get a Senate vote this week. (SB 608) After passing the Senate last week on a party-line vote of 17-11, we expect this bill to pass quickly out of the House Human Services Committee on Wednesday this week. SB 608 has two key features: (1) it limits rent increases to 7% plus CPI in all buildings over 15 years old, and (2) disallows no-cause evictions after one year.
Cap & Trade public hearings now in full swing. (HB 2020 ... click here for details) There will be three hearings on Cap & Trade this week. Monday evening at 5pm in the Capitol. Friday at noon at the Springfield City Hall. Saturday at 9am at Central Medford High School. OSCC participation will be needed. OSCC has issued an ACTION ALERT with messaging points.
Small business tax cut repeal. (SB 211) OSCC is disappointed, but not surprised, to see the Senate Finance & Revenue Committee taking up the issue of repealing Oregon's lower tax rates for pass-through businesses on Tuesday. Oregon's 'small business tax cut' law currently imposes lower tax rates on the first $5 million of business income. SB 211 would apply lower tax rates to only the first $415,000 of business income and then would completely repeal the 'small business tax cut' altogether starting in 2026. We do not yet know how this issue will develop.

Other Key Issues Coming up This Week
Unemployment Insurance for Federal Employees. (SB 722) We will be watching this issue closely as legislators are looking to extend unemployment benefits to federal workers (who do not pay into the state system) in the event of a federal government shutdown. It appears the financial impacts of the legislation are negligible, but it does represent an additional demand on the state unemployment system which is neither paid for nor accounted for.
Property taxes. The Senate Finance and Revenue committee will take testimony on proposals to repeal property tax limits (Measure 50). We do not believe this issue will get traction in 2019, but we do believe that momentum is gradually growing for property tax reform that would loosen current limits or re-establish market value as the basis for tax assessments.
Transient Lodging Taxes for workforce housing. (SB 595) Interesting proposal in Senate Housing Committee this week that would allow local governments to use previously dedicated TLT funds and apply them to local workforce housing development. This represents yet another potential fight for TLT funds, which to date, are 70% dedicated to tourism and tourism promotion.
Broadband Deployment / Cell Phone Taxes. (HB 2173, HB 2184) An interesting debate is taking shape on the issue of broadband deployment and fully capitalizing the Oregon Universal Service Fund (OUSF) which finances broadband infrastructure. Currently, landline carriers must pay into the OUSF (this money is collected in a tax on customers) while wireless carriers are exempted. HB 2184 would eliminate the exemption on wireless carriers, which would translate effectively into a 'cell phone' tax. This issue pits the landline carriers versus the wireless carriers. In the meantime, traditionally conservative rural groups (ie The Oregon Farm Bureau) are supporting the tax. The House Economic Development Committee is hosting this debate. OSCC does not yet know the direction of this issue.
Bans on single-use checkout bags, polystyrene containers. The House Environment and Energy Committee will host a public hearing on legislation to ban the use of single-use plastic checkout bags and polystyrene containers that are popular for take-out food. The plastic bag ban is HB 2509, and the polystyrene container ban is HB 2883.
Health care data. (SB 703) The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation this week that would ban the HIPAA -compliant transfer of de-identified data without individual consent. SB 703 could have significant impacts on medical research, observational analyses and the development of genetic-based medicine. The bill was introduced at the request of, a company seeking profit from sale of its blockchain technology platform.


OSCC has issued an ACTION ALERT for HB 2020 (Cap & Trade) for all legislators. PLEASE RESPOND THIS WEEK WITH YOUR MESSAGE.

OSCC has issued an ACTION ALERT for SB 379 (Workplace Marijuana Accommodation) in the Senate. PLEASE RESPOND THIS WEEK WITH YOUR MESSAGE TO SENATORS. (Senators only)

OSCC asks for your assistance to shine a light on the negative impacts of cap-and-trade. Individual chambers can start by joining the Partnership for Oregon Communities. The Partnership will coordinate grassroots voices with concerns about the rising costs of fuel and energy. Email to join the coalition. OSCC will follow up as we learn of opportunities for public testimony and engagement with the legislature.

Best regards,

JL Wilson & Jenny Dresler
Legislative Counsel

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301

Legislative Bulletin Week 4

Oregon Farm Bureau

Feb 17, 2019, 2:19 PM

Informational Update
Legislative Bulletin

Week 4 – Cap and Trade Hearings in Full Swing
Week 4 saw the kick off of public hearings on cap and trade, with hearings announced around the state in the coming weeks. OFB is continuing to have conversations with legislators about how to limit the impact of the bills on farmers and ranchers, but legislators need to hear from their constituents on the potential effects of the proposal! The total number of bills introduced topped 1,950 this week, with OFB tracking new bills around water rights, soil and water conservation districts, good neighbor authority, and taxation. As the legislative session is now in full swing, we are starting to see policy bills move to their second chamber, and negotiations on remaining proposals ramping up. Please continue to watch your legislative bulletin and action alerts to engage on issues that could impact your operation!
What Happened This Week?
Cap and Trade
Week 4 was a big week for carbon pricing in the Capitol. On Monday, Marion County’s Brenda Frketich testified on behalf of Oregon Farm Bureau about the negative impacts of HB 2020, as drafted, on Oregon’s farmers and ranchers. She raised concerns about the bill’s impact on fuel costs, natural gas rates, and uncertainty in agricultural markets. You can find our agriculture coalition’s written testimony here.

We need your help to get out the word that HB 2020 harms farm and ranch families! If you haven’t had time to respond to the action alert, please send a PERSONALIZED email to legislators and the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction through March 2. Often Oregon farmers feel like their voices are not heard, but this is our opportunity to get agriculture’s voice heard and on the record.
As OFB’s alert detailed, hearings are ongoing in Salem and around the state over the next two weeks. February 15 was the first public hearing in Salem. We thank Katie Glaser from Linn County Farm Bureau for coming to testify! Testimony went for over 4 hours, and the Committee heard from all sides on the issue. The second public hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 18 at 5:00 PM. Please contact Jonathan at if you can come to Salem to testify.
For those who can’t make it to Salem, legislators are providing “remote” opportunities to testify in different areas of the state. OFB is happy to help members draft testimony for any of the following locations:Springfield: Friday, February 22 – Springfield City Hall, Council Chamber (12-3 pm)
Medford: Saturday, February 23 – City Council Chambers, Medford City Hall (9 am-12 pm)
Remote: Monday, February 25 – Remote testimony (live video feed from various rural locations), Oregon State Capitol (TBD)
The Dalles: Friday, March 1 – The Dalles Civic Auditorium, Community Room (12-3 pm)
Bend: Saturday, March 2 – Central Oregon Community College, Cascade Hall, Room 246-248 (9 am-12 pm)

Rural Broadband
On Monday, the House Economic Development Committee heard from the public on two rural broadband bills, HB 2173 and HB 2184, which between the two would expand the Oregon Universal Service Fund (USF) to cell phone carriers and establish a Broadband Office in Business Oregon. These bills would enhance access and stability of cell phone and broadband service to rural Oregon. Thank you to Barb Iverson OFB’s 1st Vice President for providing testimony! OFB’s testimony can be found here.

Estate Tax
Wednesday in Senate Finance and Revenue a suite of bills concerning Oregon’s estate tax was heard: SB 188, SB 304, SB 319, SB 701. OFB has a strong policy favoring removal of the estate tax, and OFB’s written testimony can be found here.

Pass-Through Income
Last week in our bulletin highlighted that the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee would hear SB 211, which proposes changes to Oregon’s pass-through entity (PTE) rate policy. SB 211 was carried over and rescheduled for this week Tuesday at 3:00 PM. This bill would disqualify higher-income earners from the reduced PTE rates that were adopted in 2013. It also connects Oregon’s reduced PTE tax rates to the ability to qualify for the federal 199A deductions, which sunset in future years. OFB is concerned that farmers and ranchers could be disqualified from the reduced tax rates for organized pass-through businesses and will be watching this bill closely.

Discrimination and Harassment
On Tuesday morning, the Senate Workforce Committee held a public hearing on SB 726. SB 726 is aimed at changing workplace culture on sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault. The bill would limit an employer’s ability to enter into confidentiality agreements or agreements that contain “no-rehire” clauses, which are vitally important for small businesses in settlement negotiations. Additionally, the bill would extend the statute of limitations on these types of claims to seven years. OFB’s Tim Bernasek joined a panel of practitioners at Tuesday’s hearing to explain the challenges with preserving data for seven years as well as concerns with how the individual liability provisions could apply to members of a family run business, including partners or owners in a family farm. OFB continues to engage in conversations with proponents of the bill and has raised concerns regarding the practical effect of SB 726 as written.

What’s Coming Next Week?
Fish and Wildlife Commission Makeup
On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hear HB 2747, which would change the composition of the State Fish and Wildlife Commission from a commission based on Congressional Districts to one based on industry sector. For the past five years, OFB and other partners have been working to get agricultural, or forestry interests represented on the Fish and Wildlife Commission. This bill would ensure that agriculture and forestry would have a seat at the table in essential wildlife decisions that can impact operations.

Well Testing Requirements for Landlords
On Thursday, the House Energy and Environment Committee will hear HB 2860, which would create new water quality testing requirements for landlords who own residential rental properties served by a domestic well. OFB worked over the previous two sessions to ensure that the bill would be implementable by landlords and is in the process of reviewing the current draft to make sure it includes all of the previously negotiated provisions.

Hay Hauling
On Monday at 8:30 am, the Senate Committee on Judiciary will hear SB 509, OFB’s proactive bill that would remove regulations around the purchase of sale documentation for hay hauling from the books. Currently, anyone hauling 20 or more bales is required to carry proof of purchase, though many farmers are not aware of this requirement. This law originated in the 1970s when smaller bales were often stolen from fields. Today, theft is less of an issue due to larger bales. This bill does not decriminalize the theft of bales but removes the requirement that haulers must carry proof of purchase to enable farmers to transport bales without running afoul of this little-known requirement.

Ag Workforce Housing Tax Credits
On Tuesday at 8 am, the Senate Committee On Workforce will hear SB 114, the renewal of the Ag Workforce Housing Tax Credit, which assists farmers in the construction of new workforce housing. OFB is supporting the continuation of this credit and has joined a coalition that is working create a second tax credit that would assist in maintenance and operations of existing housing to enable farmers to update their farmworker housing. If you would like to testify, email Jonathan at or submit written testimony Legislators have been supportive of this renewal, but OFB needs your help in highlighting the importance and need.

DEQ Budget
Next week, the Joint Ways and Means Natural Resources Subcommittee will hear a presentation and take public testimony on the Department of Environmental Quality’s budget. OFB will be working with other stakeholders to ensure that DEQ’s budget priorities are focused on their core programs, and not seeking to fund priorities around agricultural water quality that are better performed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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