Legislative Updates


Monday, February 24, 2020
With two weeks left, session hinges on next few days
The only thing certain about the Legislative Session last week was the amount of uncertainty. Tensions from the previous weeks and months remained strong as legislators worked at a lightning pace to move bills out of committee, while Republicans applied the brakes as the majority of the caucus skipped the House floor session Tuesday.

The specter of a Republican walkout still hangs over the Capitol, and with just two weeks remaining before Sine Die, it's likely this will be the week we find out if it will happen or not. Select Democrats may even join in opposition to the controversial cap and trade legislation. The strategy could kill a host of other bills, whether through negotiation or the session's time limit.

Whether a set of amendments are enough to keep legislators in the building is yet to be seen. As the cap and trade bill moves to the Ways and Means subcommittee Monday, negotiations continue behind the scenes.
Senate moves CCO bill to Rules for amendments

Senate Bill 1551 continues to be a complicated piece of legislation, and has moved off the Senate floor with only a single amendment. It now goes to the House Rules Committee, where legislators will have the opportunity to amend it in several ways, including: 

  • Creating a more complete and accessible arbitration process between CCOs and providers.
  • Clarifying that the Oregon Health Authority cannot require CCOs to carry more than 200% risk-based capital.
  • Deleting the member transfer language in the bill and replace it with language that requires OHA to consider whether a member has an established provider before transferring members.
  • Replacing the new trade secret language in the bill with a report back from OHA on the challenges they have, if any, in obtaining necessary information from CCOs under the current framework.
From the Rules Committee it will move to the House floor for a vote.

House Bill 4016 was a placeholder that simply “directs the Oregon Health Authority to study health care." Now, it includes several pages about estheticians (skin care professionals) and a dozen amendments, most of which are pieces of health care legislation that have already died or will fail to advance. The timeline is unclear, as is the final makeup of this bill.

HJR 202 had a public hearing Thursday, in which people flocked to the Capitol to testify on this referral to the ballot which would ask Oregonians if they think we should change the Constitution to add access to health care as a right in Oregon. This addition to the constitution is being called the Hope Amendment. A work session is scheduled for Feb 25, and will then go to the floor.

House Bill 4161, which requires the Oregon Health Authority to work with Regional Health Equity Coalitions and provide grants to further their work, passed the House and will be taken up in the Senate today. In the video below, Miranda Miller testifies in favor of the bill on Feb. 13 on behalf of Coalition for a Healthy Oregon.

Miranda Miller testifies in favor of House Bill 4161 on February 13.

Pac/West Health Care Team: Paul PhillipsRyan TribbettDan CushingMiranda MillerRachel Mann

Chlorphyrifos ban bill passes House

House Bill 4109, which bans the aerial application of pesticide chlorpyrifos, passed the House on Wednesday and was fast-tracked to a public hearing on Friday in Senate Environment & Natural Resources. Rep. Boshart Davis introduced a minority report in the House which sought to do everything in the bill without initiating an outright ban, giving the Oregon Department of Agriculture and their Rules Advisory Committee time to finish their work and report back to the legislature in 2021. It would have allowed restricted aerial spraying on crops that have currently have no alternatives and on a permitted basis. The report failed 32-24, with all Republicans and four rural Democrats voting for it.

If it passes the Senate, HB 4109 would ban the aerial application of chlorpyrifos; require 300 foot buffers around schools for the application of chlorpyrifos; increases the restricted entry interval for agricultural workers to 8 days after an application of chlorpyrifos and ban the sale or use of chlorpyrifos in Oregon in 2022.

The Senate hearing on Friday night brought growers and licensed pesticide applicators to the Capitol to testify against the bill. Because of the large number of people wanting to testify the hearing will be continued on Tuesday for those who were signed up and time did not permit their testimony. A possible work session could be as early as Tuesday as well which could move the bill to a Senate floor vote.

Testimony can be submitted at [email protected].

Labor & Industry
The Oregon State Building & Construction Trades Council held its annual advocacy day last week. More than 80 members representing 9 of the 30 unions attended to meet with legislators, watch a floor session, and put a face to the trades. We are proud to have been a part of this event and being able to promote the importance of family wage jobs. Having members share their stories was particularly powerful.

There was some bad news for the these kinds of jobs Thursday as the Department of Land Conservation and Development officially objected to the Jordan Cove Pipeline project. This represents a tangible loss in work for certain trades, but work continues to secure agreements on projects that provide a broad base of work.

In other news, Senate Bill 1525, the data reporting bill that came out of a months long work group with Senator Taylor, has moved out of House Committee and is scheduled for its second reading on the House. House Bill 4143, denying any state funding from going to Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, will not move this session. While the bill faced no opposition in committee, the Commissioner of Business and Industry in collaboration with the trades unions would like the federal language to be released before laws are created. House Bill 4068, the electrical vehicle charging infrastructure bill, passed the House on a 35-20 vote. It has moved to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
CAT fix bill headed to a floor vote

This week the House Rules committee moved House Bill 4009, the Corporate Activities Tax technical fix, to the floor. The committee adopted the -16 and -25 amendments.

The base bill from last session (HB 3427) created a commercial activities tax on in-state sales over one million and $250 plus 0.57% of in-state sales would be taxable so any commodity being sold and shipped out of state is exempt for the CAT and any commodity being sold in-state that is under the gross receipts of $1 million also would be exempted.

The Department of Revenue has been writing rules on how this tax will work for various businesses.Temporary rules can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/DOR/about/Pages/rules.aspx.

For the agriculture sector, the adopted -25 amendment will exempt crop insurance payments and certain dairy sales of milk. It will provide for an alternative cost of goods sold calculation for the 35% subtraction on expenses for certain farm businesses. 

Assuming a quorum remains, HB 4009 as amended will move off the House floor and on to the Senate.