This week marks the end of week 12 of the Legislative Session as well as the passing of the first major bill deadline. All first chamber bills had to move out of their originating policy committees by Tuesday, April 18th to stay alive. Many of the more controversial bills were simply moved to another Committee where the deadlines don’t apply (Rules, Revenue or the Ways and Means Committee). This deadline helps narrow down the 2600+ bills that have been introduced to-date to only those with a genuine chance at advancing.
Also this week we saw the first hints at a more public discussion on reaching a budget package that includes PERS reforms, cost containment and possible tax increases. Two PERS reform bills were moved down to the Ways and Means Committee to keep the reform discussions alive. In addition, the Co-Chairs and Vice Co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee released a memo to Senate President Courtney and Speaker Kotek stating, “We propose the following list of actions to curb future growth in the budget, make our state government more efficient and stabilize investments in critical public services. We believe cost-containment efforts are a key step toward making sustainable, long-term investments in schools, services, and programs on which Oregonians rely.”
Below is a review of the week and attached is a calendar of relevant proceedings next week. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
House Bill (HB) 2012 – Creates Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region
The House Committee on Economic Development and Trade held a work session on HB 2012, which defines the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region. Speaker Kotek and Representative Bentz both testified in support of the -1 amendment as it clarifies geographic boundaries and expands the region.
ACTION: -1 amendment passed and the bill moved to Joint Committee on Ways and Means
HB 2968 – Brownfield Pilot Program
The House Committee on Economic Development and Trade held a work session on HB 2968 which as amended will require the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to study and propose legislation or regulatory actions necessary to develop a program for voluntary removal and remediation actions that, if completed, would release participants from liability under specified state and federal laws. The bill also requires DEQ to report their findings to the interim committees of the Legislature no later than September 15, 2018.
ACTION: The Committee adopted the – 1 amendment and passed the bill unanimously to a vote of the full House.
Senate Bill (SB) 333 –Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Program
The Senate Committee on Business and Transportation held a work session on SB 333. The -4 amendment removes loan forgiveness and reimbursement delays; modifies “whereas” clauses; modifies the definition of eligible employer to differentiate between urban and rural sites and to specify that the employer must already be a conductor of traded sector business; modifies the definition of estimated incremental tax revenues, adds definitions of rural and urban site; restores the definition of wage; restores references to estimated incremental income tax revenues; directs the Oregon Business Development Department to obtain employment and wage information from the Oregon Employment Department by 4/1 each tax year following the first tax year an employee of an eligible employer will be required to pay income taxes; and, delegates duties to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services regarding wage and hour data to the Oregon Business Development Department. At the request of the Senate President a referral to the Ways and Means Committee was added.
ACTION: The -4 amendment was adopted and the bill advanced to the Joint Ways and Means Committee.
View Clackamas County testimony in support: https://www.docdroid.net/Pk5jAyQ/clackcosb33.pdf.html
HB 2907 – Building Inspectors
Provides that specialized building inspector authorized by, but not employed by, municipality to administer and enforce parts of state building code specialty code is appointee of municipality for purpose of inspector certification statutes.
ACTION: Chair Holvey said this bill would not be moving forward and that they would be looking at an interim work group for this measure.
Both bills moved out of policy committees this week potentially setting up a face-off with competing policy concepts. SB 339 contains the requirement that small scale projects be ‘qualified renewable’ essentially the same requirement for other RPS projects and caps cogeneration projects. This is the version that is supported by the Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) and AOC. SB 339 will be carried by Senator Thomsen and was passed out 4-1 with the only NO vote being Senator Girod. HB 2133 which only contains the cap on cogeneration was also moved out of the House Energy & Environment Committee. Representative Johnson will carry this bill on the floor and the bill was moved out with the other three Republicans voting NO.
ACTION: SB 339A and HB 2133A moved to their respective chambers for a full vote of the House/Senate.
HB 2710 – Reduction of Energy Use in Buildings
The Committee on Energy and Environment held a work session on HB 2710. As amended, the bill would have required the Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to conduct a review once every three years of energy conservation standards, establish goals for increasing level of energy conservation, and adopt amendments to state building codes to increase energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings. Chair Helm has been working closely with the Governor’s Office, and the Governor is preparing to issue an executive order on this matter. The legislation was pulled without discussion or vote. If the Governor does not enact such a policy, Chair Helm intends to bring HB 2710 or similar legislation back during the 2018 session.
Action: Legislation was pulled.
Extends sunset of tax credit for construction or installation of residential alternative energy devices from 2018 to 2024. As amended, requires the Oregon Department of Energy to take steps to ensure that: use of tax credit addresses rising cost of fossil fuels, need for energy conservation and economic feasibility of alternative forms of energy; promotes energy savings or energy displacement; and transformation facilitates taxpayer actions that would not be taken if tax credit was not available; taxpayers applying are from varying demographics; and use coordinates with use of other available incentives.
Action: SB 177, as amended, was moved to the Joint Committee on Tax Credits, without recommendation.
SB 339 – Small-Scale Renewable Fix (CREA Bill)
The Committee on Business and Transportation held a work session on SB 339. The -2 amendments ensure that small scale projects are ‘qualified’ renewable and satisfy the RPS, in addition to capping the electricity from cogeneration facilities eligible for the mandate.
Action: The bill was moved to the Senate Floor as amended. Senator Thomsen will carry the bill.
SB 936 – Strategic Investment Program
The Committee on Business and Transportation held a work session on SB 936. SB 936-1 modifies property tax exemptions available under the Strategic Investment Program. The bill adjusts, in increments, the portions of eligible projects that are subject to taxation: $100 million for projects in non-rural areas or in rural areas, $25 million for projects with costs of up to $500 million, $50 million for projects with total cost up to $1 billion, or $100 million for projects with total cost exceeding $1 billion, fiscal impact statement and revenue light statement issued. -1 amendment adopted without discussion or opposition.
Action: The bill was unanimously supported and sent to the Finance and Revenue Committee.
HB 2019 – Corporate Disclosure
The Committee on Revenue held a work session/hearing on HB 2019 and the -4 Amendment. The -4 Amendment requires a business claiming greater than $500 in tax credits or subtractions to submit the following information to the Secretary of State by December 1 of each year: the name of the taxpayer as provided on their return; their Oregon sales; Oregon taxable income; total amount of business tax credits and subtractions they claimed; total Oregon tax liability as well as the amount of Oregon property taxes paid during the tax year. We expect a broader amendment to be introduced and the discussion to continue.
Action: No action. Additional amendments expected.
Contributed by: Amanda Dalton | AOC Consultant