As controversial issues are taken up, the Legislature has trended in recent years toward hosting public forums and collecting testimony from diverse communities throughout the state through site visits. To illustrate that point, the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction recently visited several communities between February 22 and March 2 to receive public testimony on the massive Cap and Trade bill, HB 2020. Locations visited include:
- Baker City (via Video)
- Newport (via Video)
- The Dalles
Legislators have indicated that a version of a Cap and Trade will be passed this session, but that, in part due to the turnout and thoughtful testimony at each site visit, the final bill will likely not look like HB 2020 in its current form. An omnibus amendment is in the works. Complex changes have impeded legislators’ goal of passing this legislation on their initial target date of Earth Day (April 22).
After extensive work with legislators, the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) lobby team believes 50-50 (state-local government) split of transportation fuel tax disbursements may be back in play for the amended version of the bill. AOC will continue to work to ensure the continued sharing of fuels revenue, to maintain the integrity of the Highway Trust Fund and also preserve the recently passed transportation package, HB 2017.
AOC will continue to navigate this very thorny and divisive policy issue and ensure that if a bill is to move forward, it adheres to principles developed by our Cap and Trade workgroup last fall.
Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate