2016 Legislative Summary 2016-12-21T20:10:14+00:00

2016 Legislative Session

The 2016 Regular Legislative Session was, as expected, contentious. Although not expressly provided by law, the short even-numbered year sessions created in 2010 by constitutional amendment (Oregon Constitution Article IV, Section 10) are understood by many to be for the purpose of fine-tuning the state biennial budget adopted during the preceding long odd-numbered year session, fixing unintended consequences of recently passed legislation, studying issues that may need action in the next long session, and exercising oversight of government generally. There is another view of the purpose of a short session, however: take action on matters seen as pressing, whether or not complicated or controversial.

The leadership of the majority Democrats approached this short session as they had the one in 2014, by pursuing policy matters major and minor that they found needed action during the compressed set of days and deadlines. The minority Republicans, in addition to disagreeing about the appropriate policy solutions, also opposed the rapid pace of decision-making.

A result of this disagreement provided an historical development interesting to those who study and watch the legislative process. Oregon Constitution Article IV, Section 19 requires that every bill on its final passage be read section by section “unless such requirement be suspended by a vote of two-thirds of the house where such bill may be pending.” Because of the time required to read a bill in its entirety when it is about to be voted on final passage, it has been a given that this requirement is suspended. Not this time. The Republicans refused to suspend the requirement as one of their effective means to slow the pace of legislative actions. They also refused to meet in the chamber during certain periods, denying that chamber a quorum for work.

President Peter Courtney, at session’s end, commented that:
“The short session is hard. In the end, its length is self-limiting. Issues that were carried over from 2015 and worked on in the interim fared well. Those that were sprung on us opening day or even later did not. Preparation is the key to success in life and in the February session.”

Nevertheless, there were major legislative actions taken in this short session, including the raising of the minimum wage on a regional basis, a particularly contentious transition from coal to more renewable energy, and funding and programs for badly needed affordable housing.

What you will find in this document are descriptions of these actions and more, and some bills that did not pass, all important from the county government viewpoint. Your AOC Policy Manager Team hopes this work will be and remain useful to you.

For a printable copy of the 2016 Legislative Summary click here.

2016 Legislative Summary

Housing was expected to be the main topic of the 2016 legislative session. Although numerous, broad-reaching bills were filed, the ultimate results will have a minimal impact on the growing problem across the state of affordable and/or available housing. It is anticipated that focus will continue on housing issues in the 2017 session. AOC’s newly created Housing Subcommittee of the Community & Economic Development Steering Committee will be pro-active on this issue and in the Legislature.

 


Housing

HB 4079 Affordable Housing Pilot Program
Effective date: March 15, 2016 Chapter: 52 (2016 Laws)
This bill directs the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to work with Housing and Community Services Department and local governments to establish and implement an affordable housing pilot program. The pilot project will establish two sites selected by LCDC, one from a city with a population of 25,000 or less and one with a population of 25,000 or greater. The cities will nominate themselves by submitting a concept plan that includes proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan and show that the landowner is a willing participant. The proposed sites must be adjacent to the existing urban growth boundary, near public facilities such as transportation and located on lands that will minimize adverse effects on natural resources.
AOC was neutral.

HB 4081 Property Tax Expenditures; Low-Income Housing[See COUNTY FINANCE; Property Taxation]

HB 4143 Tenants’ Rights
Effective date: March 15, 2016 Chapter: 53 (2016 Laws)
Requires landlords to give notice to tenants of any rent increases: for week-to-week tenancy, seven days written notice must be given; for month-to-month tenancy, no increase may be made during the first year, after which 90 days’ notice must be given.
AOC supported.

SB 1533 Affordable Housing; Inclusionary Zoning as Means
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 59 (2016 Laws)
Creates an exception to Oregon’s inclusionary zoning ban with the sale or rental of multifamily structures by permitting a local government to effectively set the sales or rental price of multifamily structures. A local government may require up to 20 percent of multifamily structures be made available at below-market value to people of low and moderate incomes. A local government that imposes such a requirement must also provide incentives to the developer, and/or payments in lieu of incentives. Incentives may include waiver or reduction of systems development charges, expedited permitting process, and density adjustments. Permits a local government to collect limited construction taxes on both residential and commercial/ industrial improvements. Requires the quarterly transfer of the collected taxes to be deposited in the local general fund and distributed as follows after recuperating capped costs: 85 percent toward developer incentives and 15 percent to Oregon Housing and Community Services for programs providing home ownership and down payment assistance, and the development of needed housing.
AOC supported.

SB 1582 Affordable Housing; Fast Track Program
Effective date: March 15, 2016 Chapter: 61 (2016 Laws)
Directs the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) Department to develop and implement a Local Innovation and Fast Track Housing Program to expand the state’s supply of affordable housing for low-income individuals or families. This will be done using the $40 million allocated in 2015. Directs OHCS to obtain advice and consent of Oregon Housing Stability Council on implementation and programmatic details, with the following goals:
• More affordable rental housing units available in rural communities with populations under 25,000.
• More affordable rental housing units available that serve communities of color.
• Stabilize vulnerable households.
• Innovative cost containment strategies that can be replicated.
• Homes available as quickly as possible.
• Build at least 1,250 affordable rental housing units.
AOC supported.

 


Community Development

HB 4084 Property Tax Incentive Programs; Brownfields[See COUNTY FINANCE; Property Taxation]

HB 4146 State Transient Lodging Tax; Increase of[See COUNTY FINANCE; Transient Lodging Tax]

 


Economic Development

SB 1506 Property Tax Expenditures; Certain Qualified Machinery[See COUNTY FINANCE; Property Taxation]

SB 1547 Clean Energy Plan
Effective date: March 8, 2016 Chapter: 28 (2016 Laws)
Contains the Clean Energy Plan, which was negotiated by PGE, PacifiCorp and environmental groups in an attempt to avoid a ballot measure headed for the November ballot. The legislation mandates that utilities eliminate imports of “coal-by-wire” by 2035, and requires them to meet 50 percent of their customers’ demand with renewable energy by 2040, double the current renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 25 percent renewables by 2025. Both standards include interim, stair-stepped mandates that increase over time.
Due to an amendment initiated by AOC and the Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA), the bill mandates that at least eight percent of Oregon’s retail electrical load come from the aggregate electrical capacity of all electric companies with sales of electricity to 25,000 or more retail consumers. The amendment requires that this electricity be generated by small-scale renewable energy projects with a generating capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) or less.
The legislation also removed language that limited the use of renewable energy certificates (REC) by biomass and municipal solid waste facilities operational before 1995. This provided a great benefit to the Marion County burner.
AOC supported with the AOC/CREA amendment.

SB 1565 Property Tax Incentive Programs; Rural Industrial Improvements[See COUNTY FINANCE; Property Taxation]

 


Bills that did not pass

HB 4001 Housing; Omnibus Bill
This omnibus housing bill had a multitude of provisions related to eviction protections, rent increase protections, inclusionary zoning, and the waiver of state or local building and/or zoning codes. These proposals are expected to return in the 2017 session.
AOC watched; needed more information about impacts on landlords.

HB 4036 Clean Energy Plan
Became SB 1547, above.

HB 4043 Housing; Sale of Real Property to Housing Authority, Effect on Taxation; Recording Fee Increase to Fund Programs [See GOVERNANCE; Recording; Bills that did not pass]

HB 4064 Affordable Housing; Mortgage Loan Fund
Would have created the Affordable Housing Mortgage Loan Fund and continuously appropriated moneys in the fund to the Housing and Community Services Department for the purpose of making deferred loans to a qualified statewide nonprofit organization. Specified conditions under which a statewide nonprofit organization must repay the loan. Required the department by rule to specify qualifications of a statewide nonprofit organization that is eligible to receive a loan from the fund.
AOC supported.

SB 1575 Affordable Housing; Inclusionary Zoning, Income Tax Credit, Expedited Land Use Process as Means
Directed the Land Conservation and Development Commission to encourage local governments to dedicate land for affordable housing. Authorized the commission to establish a process to expedite inclusion within the urban growth boundary of land dedicated to affordable housing. Permitted a local government to require a developer to allocate up to 10 percent of housing units in a new multi-unit development for affordable housing. Allowed expedited land division for developers complying with inclusionary zoning requirements. Permitted Metro to designate up to five sub-regions for consideration for urban growth boundary expansion. Created an income tax credit for development of affordable housing. Ended the moratorium on local governments’ ability to impose construction taxes.
Although some of these proposals were addressed in SB 1533 (above), this bill provided greater benefits to developers. It is anticipated that a similar bill will return in 2017.
AOC supported.

HB 5201 Allocation of Lottery Revenue; Amendment to Adjust Allocation for County Economic Development Projects [See COUNTY FINANCE; Amendment that did not pass]

The Senate Finance and Revenue Committee lifted a trial balloon (SJR 201) that contained a potential portion of what may become comprehensive public finance reform, but standing alone the property tax reform idea looked inadequate and garnered no support.

 


Property Taxation

HB 4081 Property Tax Expenditures; Low-Income Housing
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 40 (2016 Laws)
Extends to 2022 the sunset of exemption from ad valorem property taxation for property of a non-profit corporation that, for tax year beginning on July 1, 2012, was actually offered, occupied, or used as low-income housing and granted an exemption by the county.
In the February 2013 Oregon Tax Court decision of Corvallis Neighborhood Housing Services Inc v. Linn County Assessor and Department of Revenue, the court upheld the assessor’s rejection of exemption under ORS 307.130 for plaintiff’s low income rental housing property. In the decision, the Tax Court acknowledged that the plaintiffs were a qualifying charitable nonprofit, however, because the property in question was leased to private individuals and used solely as personal residences, the property did not qualify for exemption under ORS 307.130. This decision of the Tax Court effectively removed the availability of exemption under ORS 307.130 for the properties in question along with all like properties throughout Oregon. Passed in 2014, HB 4039 provided an exemption under ORS 307.130 for charitable nonprofit property that was offered, occupied, or used as low-income housing and granted an exemption under ORS 307.130 by the county for the tax year beginning on July 1, 2012. HB 4039 effectively grandfathered the low-income housing property that was qualifying for exemption at the time, through property tax year 2017, when the sunset provision of HB 4039 took effect. Low-income property owned by charitable nonprofits that was not receiving exemption as of July 1, 2012, does not qualify for exemption under ORS 307.130. Parties to Corvallis Neighborhood Housing Services v. Linn County Assessor have since settled. The settlement vacated the Tax Court’s decision and provided exemption to plaintiffs under the same conditions of exemption made available in HB 4039.
Revenue impact to counties: $30,000 to $50,000 annually until sunset.
AOC was neutral.

HB 4084 Property Tax Incentive Programs; Brownfields
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 96 (2016 Laws)
Authorizes a city, county or port to adopt an ordinance or resolution providing property tax incentive programs that grant a special assessment to brownfields or an exemption to new and existing improvements and personal property on brownfields for period of up to 10 years, with additional period up to five years based on locally adopted criteria. Caps the dollar amount of benefits at specified eligible costs for property.
Revenue impact to counties: Indeterminate.
AOC supported this bill and other efforts to clean-up brownfields, returning property to productive use.

SB 1506 Property Tax Expenditures; Certain Qualified Machinery
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 105 (2016 Laws)
Changes minimum expenditure requirement for property tax exemption of qualified machinery and equipment used to process grains or bakery products from $100,000 of real market value when placed in service to $100,000 of total cost of initial investment to food processor.
Revenue impact to counties: Minimal.
AOC supported.

SB 1513 Property Tax Expenditures; Surviving Spouse of Fire, Police, or Reserve Officer; County Option
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 56 (2016 Laws)
Allows a county, by ordinance or resolution, to exempt the first $250,000 of assessed value of a homestead of a surviving spouse of a fire service professional, police officer, or reserve officer killed in the line of duty. Requires the surviving spouse to remain unmarried to qualify for the exemption. Applies the exemption to all ad valorem property taxes imposed by all taxing jurisdictions on the homestead. Defines homestead as real or personal property that is an owner-occupied primary residence and the tax lot upon which the dwelling is located.
Revenue impact to counties: Average loss between $540 to $780 annually.
AOC supported with concerns.

SB 1565 Property Tax Incentive Programs; Rural Industrial Improvements
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 112 (2016 Laws)
Authorizes a city or county to adopt an exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements at a location in a rural area that has a cost of initial investment of at least $1 million and not more than $25 million. Provides the exemption shall be granted as a 100 percent exemption for any three of five consecutive years unless the city or county adopts other terms. Provides that the ordinance or resolution granting the exemption may not take effect, unless the rates of taxation of taxing districts whose governing bodies agree to grant the exemption equal 75 percent or more of the total combined rate of taxation. Requires the exemption to be granted to all eligible industrial improvements on same terms in effect on the date the application is submitted. Prohibits stacking of exemptions or special assessments other than this exemption for commercial facilities under construction. If an application for exemption is otherwise eligible for approval, requires the city or county and applicant to agree to conditions related to hiring and employment and other reasonable conditions related to economic development established by the city or county.
Revenue impact to counties: Provisions are permissive.
AOC supported.

 


Transient Lodging Tax

HB 4146 State Transient Lodging Tax; Increase of
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 102 (2016 Laws)
Increases the state transient lodging tax rate from the current one percent to 1.8 percent until the end of June 2020, then reduces the rate to 1.5 percent from that date on. Changes the distribution of revenue from a discretionary amount with a ceiling of 15 percent to two categories for regional development. Allocates 20 percent of revenue to the first category for regional development, and 10 percent to the second category consisting of grants to regional tourism efforts. Requires reports and establishes a study group led by the Legislative Revenue Office.
Note: In 2003, the Legislative Assembly (HB 2267) decided to designate the Oregon Tourism Commission a stand-alone agency. The same legislative action established a statewide one percent transient lodging tax to help fund the tourism commission. Under the 2003 law the Legislature defined transient lodging in ORS chapter 320 as “hotel, motel and inn dwelling units that are designed for temporary overnight human occupancy, and [which] includes spaces designed for parking recreational vehicles during periods of human occupancy of those vehicles.” The law required the Oregon Tourism Commission to spend at least 80 percent of lodging tax net receipts on state tourism marketing programs and up to 15 percent of net receipts on regional tourism marketing programs. The 2005 Legislative Assembly (HB 2197) expanded the definition of transient lodging to include dwelling units used for temporary human occupancy. Temporary is defined as fewer than 30 days at a time. Most recently, the 2013 Legislative Assembly (HB 2656) clarified circumstances under which a transient lodging intermediary rather than a lodging provider would be the entity responsible for collecting and remitting transient lodging taxes. A transient lodging intermediary is defined as “a person other than a transient lodging provider that facilitates the retail sale of transient lodging and charges for occupancy of the transient lodging.” Transient lodging intermediaries include online travel companies, travel agents, and tour outfitter companies, among others. Eighty-four cities and fifteen counties in Oregon levy a locally administered transient lodging tax and are also included in that definition. Online Travel Companies (OTC) will have to collect the tax based on the final price that the consumer pays.
AOC was neutral.

 


Bills that did not pass

SJR 201 Property Tax; Requires Assessment at Real Market Value; Requires Exemption for Owner-occupied Principal Dwellings
Proposes amendment to the Oregon Constitution repealing ad valorem property tax assessment provisions created by House Joint Resolution 85 (1997) (Ballot Measure 50 (1997)), requiring ad valorem property taxes to be assessed on real market value of property and directing the Legislative Assembly to provide an exemption from ad valorem property taxes for owner-occupied principal dwellings and tax lots upon which dwellings are located. Referred the proposed amendment to the people at the next regular general election.
AOC opposed.

HB 4027 Review and Sunset of Tax Expenditures
Directs the Legislative Revenue Officer to submit a report addressing selected tax expenditures to the Legislative Assembly and to make recommendations for systematic review and sunset of certain tax expenditures.

SB 1545 Special Districts; Authorizes Formation of a Children’s Special District
Authorizes formation of a new type of special district called a “children’s special district.” The district may provide services outside of school hours to students in kindergarten to grade 12, and broadly defines these services to include education, civics, culture, arts, music, physical recreation, health, well-being, technology and development of skills. A five-member district board shall govern, including levying property taxes. The county counsel of the county in which the special district is located must give advice to the district board when asked. The county treasurer shall receive, keep in a fund, and pay out on written order of the district board the monies levied and otherwise received by the district board. Expenses for administering the fund may not exceed five percent of the taxes collected for the district.
AOC opposed.

 


Amendment that did not pass

HB 5201 Allocation of Lottery Revenue; Amendment to Adjust Allocation for County Economic Development Projects
Under ORS 461.547, counties receive 2.5 percent of net receipts (after payment of prizes) from video lottery games. Ninety percent of these funds are distributed to each county in proportion to gross receipts from video lottery games from each county. Ten percent are distributed in equal amounts to each county. These funds are dedicated for economic development projects. Beginning in the 2005-07 biennium, 50 percent of the costs of the Governor’s Office administration of the Economic Revitalization Team (ERT)/Regional Solutions in the state budget has been funded from this county share. For the current 2015-17 biennium, the 2015 Legislature (HB 5029A) decided to allocate a fixed dollar amount from this source to counties, rather than the percentage allocation under ORS 461.547. The fixed amount is $39,083,827, which equals 2.5 percent of video lottery proceeds projected in the May 2015 revenue forecast, minus one-half of funding for Regional Solutions. For allocation/budget adjustments in the 2016 session, the Legislature used the February 2016 forecast, released on February 10. Based on the February 2016 forecast of video lottery sales for the current biennium, 2.5 percent of net sales minus one-half of funding of administration of Regional Solutions ($42,865,957 minus $2,029,209), equals $40,836,748. The adjustment to the allocation for counties would have been plus $1,752,921. By amendment to the overall lottery adjustment bill, AOC requested that the state 2015-17 allocation to counties be adjusted based on the February 2016 revenue forecast to $40,836,748 for this current biennium. The Legislature refused, but Ways & Means Co-Chair Senator Richard Devlin stated that the adjustment to the true figure of 2.5 percent would be done at the close of the biennium. AOC supported.

Energy policy was dominated by the passage of the clean energy plan legislation, SB 1547. A provision mandating investment in community scale renewable energy was supported by AOC and included in the legislation. The big environmental bill of the session, the cap and invest program, failed to pass, but AOC helped develop a program for low income onsite septic loans. The land use arena saw a lot of action around housing and annexation and AOC worked to help Tillamook County with wetlands restoration siting.

 


Energy

HB 4037 Solar Incentive Program
Effective date: March 16, 2016 Chapter: 63 (2016 Laws)
Directs the Oregon Business Development Department to establish a program to incentivize the generation of electricity derived from solar energy. The legislation limits a single program enrollee to 35 megawatts (MW) and the overall program to 150 MW total. Each system must be in the state, have a capacity of 2-10 MW, and be first in operation after January 1, 2016. Solar operators in this program will receive monthly payments equal to one-half cent per kilowatt hour of electricity generated the previous month. The legislation included approximately $1 million in funding to carry out the program.
AOC was neutral.

SB 1547 Clean Energy Plan[See COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; Economic Development]

 


Environment

SB 1529 Residential Irrigation Requirements; Effect of Drought
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 86 (2016 Laws)
Prohibits a home owners association from irrigation requirements during a declared or impending drought. The prohibition ends when the drought ends.
AOC was neutral.

SB 1563 Low Income Onsite Septic Loan Program
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 86 (2016 Laws)
Establishes a $200,000 grant for a third-party lender chosen through a request for proposal to provide loans for repair, replacement or upgrades of septic systems.
A broad coalition of supporters, including AOC, encouraged the Legislature to pass the bill.

 


Land Use

HB 4079 Affordable Housing Pilot Project[See ECONOMIC & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT; Housing]

SB 1517 Tillamook County Wetlands Bill
Effective date: January 1, 2017 Chapter: 84 (2016 Laws)
Creates a pilot program to give Tillamook County more oversight on the development of wetlands. A party interested in creating or reestablishing a wetland will need to go through a review by the county and provide public notice to adjacent land owners. Creates an alternative approval method where all interested parties can discuss the wetland project and decide on an outcome. Requires the county to create a wetland inventory in the county and find areas that are high priority for wetland restoration and high priority for protection of farmland. The pilot project will last 10 years and the county will report to the Legislature every two years.
AOC supported.

SB 1533 Affordable Housing; Inclusionary Zoning as Means[See COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; Housing]

SB 1573 Annexation
Effective date: March 15, 2016 Chapter: 51 (2016 Laws)
Requires a city, when it receives a petition proposing annexation of territory that is submitted by all land owners, to annex the territory without submitting the proposal to the voters. There are a few conditions: the territory has to be within the urban growth boundary, the territory is subject to the acknowledged comprehensive plan, and at least one lot or parcel within the territory is contiguous to the city limits.
AOC was neutral.

 


Bills that did not pass

HB 4101 Greenhouse Gas Emissions, State Policies and Programs for Reducing Impacts
The bill would have required the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt by rule a program that would have assessed the net impacts of the state policies and programs for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It would have determined the cost to the state per unit of carbon dioxide equivalent emission avoided, the estimated average annual cost incurred by each resident, the estimated total amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided and the expected time between when greenhouse gas emissions avoided and when the environmental benefits are due.
AOC supported.

SB 1507 Energy Incentive Program; Transfer Fix
Local governments, schools and nonprofits earned Business Energy Tax Credits through qualifying actions several years ago. These tax credits always need to transfer their energy credits as they have no tax liability. The statutory formula that set the rates for sale (transfer) has made some difficult to sell as the rate is set at the time of precertification. By simply changing the statute to set the rate at time of sale of the energy tax credit, rather than at the time of project application/precertification, the Legislature would get several counties off the hook for millions of dollars of potential lost value. This effort to amend SB 1507 died although AOC received assurances from both the Senate and the House, and from Democrats and Republicans, that they would work with us on a fix in 2017.
AOC supported.

The 2016 legislative session featured a litany of bills that had the potential to impact the governance of counties. This made for a packed agenda for the AOC Governance Steering Committee. Most of the bills did not pass, but a few made it through the session and onto the Governor’s desk. Generally, most of the bills reviewed by the AOC Governance Steering Committee were not helpful and posed problems for counties. The significant exception was marijuana, which featured a series of bills that were bipartisan, consensus driven, and in many cases crafted by AOC’s legal counsel.

 


Elections

SB 1501 Minor Party Status; Maintain
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 104 (2016 Laws)
Establishes that for purpose of maintaining status as minor political party for period up to and including November 2018 general election, the total number of registered electors in the state is deemed to be the total number of registered electors as of July 1, 2015, and total number of votes cast in the state or electoral district for Governor is deemed to be the total number of votes cast in the state or electoral district for Governor on November 4, 2014.
AOC was neutral.

SB 1586 Voter Registration Access at Universities and Community Colleges
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 114 (2016 Laws)
Directs public universities and community colleges to increase voter registration access and information.
AOC was neutral.

 


Geographic Information System (GIS) Data
Bills that did not pass

HB 4056 Requiring Sharing of GIS Data
Requires a public body to share geospatial framework data of which public body is custodian with other public bodies if the public body may do so using existing data and existing resources and without additional cost. Provides that the State Chief Information Officer is repository for shared geospatial framework data, and requires the Officer to provide secure electronic means by which public bodies may share geospatial framework data. Requires the Officer to determine how often public bodies must share geospatial framework data. Provides for certain exemptions from fees and liabilities in connection with sharing of geospatial framework data.
AOC opposed.

 


Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Bills that did not pass

HB 4041 Preemption of Local Government; Revision to Inhibiting or Preventing Production of Seed
Removes products of seed from the statute prohibiting local governments from inhibiting or preventing production of seed. Modifies the exemption to that statute.
AOC opposed, but recommended a task force to clean up language in SB 863 (2013).

 


Insurance
Bills that did not pass 

SB 1590 Insurer’s Duty to Defend
Provides that an insurer that has the duty to defend an insured against a claim has a fiduciary duty toward the insured if the insurer does defend against claim. Provides that if the insurer defends a claim under reservation of rights or if the insured has potential liability that exceeds policy limits, the insurer shall provide independent counsel that represents only the insured. Prevents the insurer from participating in the defense, controlling the settlement and contesting coverage if the insurer breaches the insurer’s duty to defend. Specifies the insurer’s liability for damages if the insurer breaches the duty to defend. Prohibits the insurer from taking a position in an action brought on the insurance policy that is inconsistent with a statement or representation the insurer made to the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services when seeking approval for language in the insurance policy. Requires the director to keep a record of the insurer’s statements and representations and make the record available as a public record. Includes tractor or equipment designed for and ordinarily used on a farm within uninsured motorist coverage unless the tractor or equipment is used on a public highway. Requires Department of Consumer and Business Services to make information available about complaints against an insurer for unfair claim settlement practices.
AOC opposed.

 


Labor and Employment

HB 4067 Public Employee Whistleblowers
Effective date: January 1, 2017 Chapter: 73 (2016 Laws)
Provides an affirmative defense to public employee and certain nonprofit employee whistleblowers who provide lawfully accessed information to a state or federal regulatory agency, law enforcement agency, manager employed by the employer or employee’s attorney. Bars affirmative defense if information is disclosed or redisclosed to another party. Bars affirmative defense if information disclosed is stated in a commercial exclusive negotiating agreement or commercial nondisclosure agreement involving a public or nonprofit employer. Denies affirmative defense if the information disclosed relates to an individual coworker or supervisor unless the information disclosed relates to coworker or supervisor’s scope of employment. Provides that an attorney or employee of an attorney may not assert an affirmative defense if the information disclosed relates to representation of a client. Subjects disclosures to rules of professional conduct. Requires public and nonprofit employers to establish policies for employee whistleblowers and notify employees of whistleblower rights under the Act. Allows attorneys who work for public employers to report violations of law to the Attorney General, subject to rules of professional conduct. Provides that information disclosed remains subject to attorney-client privilege and public records law. Acknowledges supremacy of federal law over state law. Extends public whistleblower protection to employees of nonprofit organizations that accept public funds. Makes certain violations subject to a maximum penalty of one year’s imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both. Provides the right to jury trial and punitive damages.
AOC was opposed to bill as originally crafted, but the bill was then significantly amended to address most of AOC’s concerns.

SB 1544 Unemployment Insurance for Apprenticeship Program Participants
Effective date: March 3, 2016 Chapter: 18 (2016 Laws)
Increases maximum number of weeks for which an unemployed individual participating in an apprenticeship program may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Makes additional nonsubstantive form and style changes to statutory language.
AOC was neutral.

SB 1587 Paystub Itemization and Wage Theft Compliance
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 115 (2016 Laws)
Modifies information that must be included in an itemized statement provided to an employee each pay period. Requires the employer to maintain time and pay records of a terminated employee for not less than the period required by federal law and regulations from date of termination and to the provide records to the employee if requested. Authorizes the Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries to expend certain moneys in the Wage Security Fund to administer and enforce provisions of wage and hour and minimum wage law. Prohibits a contractor or subcontractor, or contractor’s or subcontractor’s agent, from intentionally failing to pay the prevailing rate of wage; reducing the rate of wage for work that is not subject to prevailing wage in order to recoup prevailing wages that the contractor, subcontractor or agent paid; withholding, deducting or diverting an employee’s wages other than as provided by law; entering into an agreement under terms of which the employee receives less than the prevailing rate of wage for work that is subject to prevailing rate of wage; or otherwise permanently or indefinitely depriving an employee of amount of prevailing wages employee is due. Punishes violation by maximum of five years’ imprisonment, $125,000 fine, or both. Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules.
AOC was neutral.

Bills that did not pass

HB 4029 “Cadillac Tax” Fix
Modifies funding mechanism for public employees’ health care benefit to avoid excise tax under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Requires local governments and school districts to participate in modified health care benefit plan. Permits public employees to redirect funds from health care premiums to other benefits. Dedicates a portion of health care benefit costs to future health care costs and to critical services. Requires the Public Employees’ Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board to assist employees in selecting benefit options. Excludes collective bargaining for specified health insurance benefits. Prohibits Public Employees’ Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board from self-insuring. Establishes the Task Force on Flexible Benefits for Public Employees to monitor implementation of new benefit plans.
AOC opposed.

HB 4052 Injured Workers
Prohibits employer or insurer from requiring an injured worker to obtain nonemergency medical services from a specific provider. Exempts an employer or insurer that has a managed care organization contract. Requires an employer to provide an injured worker with written notice of medical treatment rights in a workers’ compensation claim. Requires the Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules and form.
AOC opposed.

HB 4088 Discrimination Based on Familial Status
Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of familial status of the employee.
AOC opposed.

SB 1508 Workers’ Compensation Management-Labor Advisory Committee; Longer Terms
Increases the term of Workers’ Compensation Management-Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC) members from two years to three years.
AOC supported.

SB 1521 Mass Transit District Employee Tax
Authorizes a mass transit district to impose a tax on employees of employers within the district if the district imposes an excise tax on those employers. Restricts the use of employee tax revenue to enhancing frequency of bus service, acquisition of buses, bus service expansion or maintenance and operations of buses.
AOC opposed.

SB 1555 Preemployment Polygraph Tests for Law Enforcement
Allows polygraph test as a condition of employment for preemployment screening of law enforcement officers, subject to the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Exempts the polygraph test from disclosure under public records law.
AOC supported.

SB 1568 State Medical Assistance Program Discrimination
Prohibits discrimination based on age, expected length of life, present or predicted disability, degree of medical dependency or quality of life in determination of medical services covered by state medical assistance program, in coverage under medical retainer practice and in issuance of health benefit plans.
AOC supported.

 


Labor and Employment – Minimum Wage

SB 1532 Minimum Wage
Effective date: March 2, 2016 Chapter: 12 (2016 Laws)
Establishes tiered system for determination of minimum wage based on size and geographic location of the employer. Suspends annual inflation adjustment for minimum wage rate until 2020. Establishes Wage Enforcement Fund. Creates Minimum Wage Advisory Committee. Repeals state preemption of local minimum wage requirements.
AOC opposed.

 


Liquor
Bills that did not pass

HB 4026 Privatization of Liquor Sales
Phases out the role of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in purchasing, importing, warehousing and retailing of distilled liquors. Creates wholesale distilled liquor license system. Authorizes distilled liquor wholesaler to import, store, transport, export, sell at wholesale and distribute distilled liquor. Imposes a privilege tax on engaging in the business as distilled liquor wholesaler of 71.7 percent of the price paid by the wholesaler for distilled liquor. Creates liquor store license system. Authorizes the holder of a license to sell factory-sealed containers of distilled liquor at retail for off-premises consumption. Becomes operative on the effective date of the ballot measure that terminates authority of Oregon Liquor Control Commission or any successor state agency to sell distilled liquor at retail and set retail prices for distilled liquor.
AOC opposed.

 


Marijuana and Hemp

HB 4014 The “Base Bill”
Effective date: March 3, 2016 Chapter: 24 (2016 Laws)
Removes residency requirement for Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) licensees. Directs OLCC to consider viability of small producers in rulemaking. Clarifies limits on OLCC license fees to program costs. Permits medical-processor transfers only to other processors and dispensaries. Requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to issue a receipt for cardholder application, and provides that the receipt constitutes a temporary card for purposes of criminal immunity. Clarifies that OHA must act upon a cardholder application within 30 days. Clarifies that canopy limits apply only to mature plants. Requires applicant, rather than OLCC, to ask for a land use compatibility statement (LUCS). Clarifies that a LUCS need not be processed pending an opt-out election. Clarifies that a LUCS is not a land use decision by the city. Clarifies the ability of an OLCC research licensee to receive marijuana. Provides work permit ineligibility for those convicted of marijuana misdemeanors. Clarifies that OLCC can delegate authority to the OLCC Director. Clarifies OLCC authority to obtain fingerprints for licensees. Clarifies the power and authority of OLCC regulatory specialists. Exempts some OLCC applicant and licensee information from public disclosure. Allows growers at the same grow site to collectively produce cumulative limit. Directs OLCC to adopt rules for OHA registrants transitioning to OLCC licensees. Clarifies responsibilities and limits relating to administering the retail tax on marijuana items. Clarifies deductibility of marijuana business expenses from state income tax. Clarifies authority to repeal local opt-out ordinances. Clarifies the effective date of opt-in following a failed opt-out election. Clarifies the Department of Revenue authority to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for collection of local marijuana taxes. Clarifies that a local government may not opt out of the decriminalization of personal use and possession. Clarifies the authority of the Governor to enter into a compact with a Tribe for integration of tribal-authorized marijuana production with the state marijuana licensed system. Clarifies decriminalized personal use and possession of recreational marijuana. Clarifies and modifies many marijuana offenses. Provides that parole, probation, pre-trial, and diversion conditions are to be like prescription drug conditions for medical program cardholders. Creates a youth marijuana-use prevention pilot project (NOTE: SB 1597 § 17 provides $3,974,842 to fund this pilot project). Provides for a clinical guidelines work group for medical marijuana.
AOC supported.

SB 1511 The “Expanded Access Bill”
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 83 (2016 Laws)
Directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to register qualified OLCC licensed producers, processors wholesalers and retailers to produce, process and sell medical marijuana. Directs OLCC and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to adopt rules to implement this expanded access to medical marijuana items. Expands “early start” retail sales through dispensaries to edibles, topicals and extracts (local opt out is preserved; “early start” expires 12/31/16). Provides a temporary stay on medical grower plant limits while a producer license application and local opt out election is pending. Provides for a temporary stay on medical grower plant limits to April 1, 2016, and a temporary stay on medical grower grandfathering under House Bill 3400 (2015) pending OHA action, until May 1, 2016. Allows a local government to permit dispensaries and retailers within 500 feet of a school if there is a geographic barrier. Clarifies that marijuana abuse prevention programs are supplemental to the current substance abuse prevention programs.
AOC supported.

SB 1598 The “Marijuana Christmas Tree Bill”
Effective date: March 3, 2016 Chapter: 23 (2016 Laws)
Exempts certain small canopy medical growers from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) land use compatibility statement (LUCS) requirement. Makes designated medical marijuana grows and research grows a “farm crop.” Clarifies that local time, place and manner (TPM) ordinances are not overridden by the right to farm act. Grandfathers certain agricultural buildings used to grow medical marijuana from new setback requirements applicable to retail operations. Clarifies the authority and procedure for fingerprint processing by OLCC. Expands scope of worker permits to other license categories. Permits a medical processor to return products to a patient. Provides for medical grower reporting through a single designated person at the grow site. Clarifies that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) may not inspect medical home grows. Provides for non-profit medical dispensaries. Requires OHA to use a request for proposals (RFP) process for research projects. Provides for expungement of marijuana offenses committed prior to HB 4014 (2016) as if they were committed after HB 4014 (2016).
AOC supported.

SB 1601 Tax Provisions from HB 4014 and SB 1511
Effective date: June 2, 2016 Chapter: 91 (2016 Laws)
Provides that an Oregon Liquor Control Commission-licensed marijuana retailer may not collect marijuana taxes from a medical cardholder, and clarifies that a local option sales tax does not apply to medical marijuana. Clarifies responsibilities and limits relating to administering the retail marijuana tax.
AOC supported.

HB 4060 The Hemp Bill
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 71 (2016 Laws)
Clarifies provisions related to regulation of industrial hemp. Provides that hemp products for human consumption are to be tested under Oregon Health Authority rules.
AOC supported.

HB 4094 The Banking Bill
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 97 (2016 Laws)
Removes state law barriers to banks serving marijuana businesses.
AOC supported.

 


Opiate Abuse

HB 4124 Prescription Monitoring Program; Expanded Use of Naloxone
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 100 (2016 Laws)
Requires the Oregon Health Authority to disclose prescription monitoring information to a practitioner or pharmacist or member of practitioner’s or pharmacist’s staff for use in certain health information technology systems. Permits a pharmacist to prescribe and to distribute unit-of-use packages of naloxone. Permits certain employees of social service agencies to administer naloxone under specified conditions.
AOC supported.

 


Public Employees Retirement System
Bills that did not pass

SB 1519 Reform of the PERS System
Modifies provisions relating to employee contributions of members of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Excludes certain unused leave and amounts from definition of salary for purposes of calculation of benefits under PERS. Directs the Public Employees Retirement Board (PERB) to use assumed interest rate published by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in formulating actuarial equivalency factor tables for the purpose of computing payments to members of PERS. Establishes the Fair Retirement Plan for persons hired on or after January 1, 2017, who have not established membership in PERS before January 1, 2017. Continuously appropriates funds to PERB collected pursuant to a charge on employees for costs of administration of the Fair Retirement Plan. Directs PERB to recalculate employer contribution rates to reflect savings attributable to the Act. Provides for expedited review of the Act by the Supreme Court upon petition by an adversely affected party.
AOC opposed.

 


Public Contracting

HB 4093 Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 78 (2016 Laws)
Authorizes the presiding judge of a judicial district for a county that meets certain criteria and has received funds, or has authorization to receive funds, for construction or capital improvements to the courthouse to impose a surcharge on certain fines for deposit in the county account dedicated for payment of costs related to the courthouse project.
AOC supported.

 


Public Records

HB 4135 Public Records Requests; Fulfillment by State Executive Agencies
Effective date: March 14, 2016 Chapter: 48 (2016 Laws)
Directs the State Chief Information Officer to develop standards, protocols and procedures for specified executive department agencies to use in fulfilling public records requests that seek records in electronic form. Directs the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to coordinate efforts of certain executive department agencies in fulfilling public records requests for records in electronic form and to provide technical assistance to other specified executive department agencies in fulfilling public records requests for records in electronic form.
AOC was neutral.

Bills that did not pass

HB 4130 Public Record Requests; Timelines
Requires public bodies to provide standardized acknowledgment of receipt of requests for public records within five business days of receipt of request. Requires public bodies to provide records, or to assert exemption from required disclosure, within 30 days of receipt of a request. Provides exceptions where five-day and 30-day time periods do not apply. Permits a public body to exceed the 30-day deadline if the public body provides the requester with an estimated time that records will be disclosed or exemptions claimed. Permits a requester to petition for administrative or judicial review if a public body fails to meet the 30-day deadline.
AOC was opposed to bill as originally crafted, but bill was then significantly amended to address most of AOC’s concerns.

 


Recording
Bills that did not pass

HB 4043 Housing; Sale of Real Property to Housing Authority; Effect on Taxation; Recording Fee Increase to Fund Programs.
Exempts from taxation amounts received from sale of real property to a housing authority at a price below fair market value. Increases the amount of fees charged and collected by county clerks to record or file certain real property documents, for the benefit of housing programs.
AOC supported, but only if amended to repeal ORS 205.320(2)(e), which exempts the fee from the usual five percent administrative fee retained by the county clerk; otherwise opposed as a continuing unfunded mandate since 2009. If enacted without repeal of ORS 205.320(2)(e), AOC authorized its legal counsel to file a declaratory judgment action seeking a court judgment that the entire fee constitutes an unfunded mandate in violation of Article XI, Section 15, of the Oregon Constitution, and declaring that county clerks no longer need to collect the fee.

 


Tort Claims
Bills that did not pass

HB 4136 Increase of Limit on Noneconomic Damage Awards
Increases the $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages recoverable in wrongful death actions and other statutorily created causes of action to $1.5 million. Directs the state court administrator to annually adjust the limit on noneconomic damages, beginning in 2017. Specifies the method by which the administrator must make the adjustment.
AOC opposed.

As with most areas, there were a number of substantive policy bills in the health and human services portfolio this session. While only a few had a direct impact on counties, a handful are discussed below as they may be of interest to commissioners and judges and/or county staff. Further, many of the issues we tracked did not move and were intended to be conversation starters leading into 2017.

 


Health & Human Services

HB 4075 School Safety Tip Line
Effective Date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 74 (2016 Laws)
Transfers existing school safety tip line from the Department of Justice to the Oregon State Police with a $1 million appropriation and adds the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs to the task force.
AOC had no position.

SB 1515 Child-Caring Agencies; Regulation Strengthened
Effective date: April 4, 2016 Chapter: 106 (2016 Laws)
Strengthens the Department of Human Services authority to license, regulate and take enforcement action against child-caring agencies, including non-foster shelter homes. Makes the department’s authority to condition, suspend and revoke licenses explicit. Requires the department to take immediate steps to suspend or revoke a license upon certain findings of abuse or mistreatment. Requires the Department to issue an interim emergency order to correct a situation that risks a child’s health, safety, or welfare.
AOC had no position.

HB 4107 OHA Contracting With CCOs
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 79 (2016 Laws)
Prohibits the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) from retroactively changing terms of a contract with a coordinated care organization (CCO), unless the amendment does not result in a claim by OHA for recovery of amounts paid by OHA to the CCO before the date of the amendment or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notifies the OHA in writing that the amendment is a condition for approval of the contract.
AOC had no position.

HB 4141 CCO Geographic Area; Change of Size
Effective date: March 14, 2016 Chapter: 49 (2016 Laws)
Authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to change the size of a geographic area served by a coordinated care organization (CCO) if the CCO already serving the area withdraws from all or a portion of the geographic area and other CCOs operating in the same geographic area do not have adequate capacity to enroll the members affected by the original CCO’s withdrawal. Repealed on December 31, 2018.
AOC had no position.

Bills that did not pass

HB 4026 E-Cigarette Tax
Would have established a 50 percent point-of-sale tax on inhalant-delivery systems (e-cigarettes and vape pens) and inhalant-form nicotine.
AOC supported.

SB 1515 Tobacco Retail Licensure
Would have established a statewide licensure program for tobacco retailers. Would have preempted local licensure programs. Would have preempted counties’ ability to restrict location of retail facilities 5,000 square feet or larger.
AOC was neutral.

This short session did not focus on natural resources issues. It did address the on-going drought in the state and two wildlife issues, the one ratifying the gray wolf delisting being far and away the most controversial.

 


Public Lands & Natural Resources

HB 4007 Rangeland Protection Associations
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 69 (2016 Laws)
Includes in the definition of a rangeland protective association an entity formed to protect rangeland from fire and is: (1) organized by rangeland owners located within the rangeland protection system but lies wholly outside any forest protection district; or (2) approved by a county governing body to be a cost-neutral part of the emergency management program in a county having 200,000 or more acres of rangeland that are outside any forest protection district and are not protected by an association formed under (1) above. The state forester may assist with organizing, training, acquiring firefighting equipment, and other administrative expenses. Insurance and administrative expense assistance may not exceed 50 percent of the total budgeted operating costs and cash-equivalent in-kind services of the association in any fiscal year.
AOC supported.

HB 4040 Delisting Gray Wolf from State Endangered Species List
Effective date: March 14, 2016 Chapter: 36 (2016 Laws)
Ratifies the November 9, 2015 decision of the State Fish & Wildlife Commission to remove the gray wolf from the state list of endangered species. The Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, adopted in 2005 and amended in 2013, provides protections for the wolf. On the eastside, wolves are managed under Phase 2, which directs management actions to achieve seven breeding pairs. The objective of Phase 1 is four breeding pairs for three consecutive years. Westside wolves are under Phase 1 management, which provides ESA-like protections until the objective is met.
AOC supported.

HB 4046 Unlawful Taking or Killing of Wildlife
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 37 (2016 Laws)
Increases penalties for unlawful taking or killing of certain wildlife. Requires the State Fish and Wildlife Commission (commission) to revoke all licenses, tags and permits issued pursuant to wildlife laws for certain offenses. Prohibits a person from applying for or obtaining license, tag or permit if such license, tag or permit is revoked for a second time in a ten-year period. Requires a court to order seizure or forfeiture of all guns, boats, vehicles, traps and other implements used in committing offense upon third conviction within a ten-year period for violation of a provision of wildlife statutes or rule adopted pursuant to wildlife statutes. Specifies that each taking or killing of single animal constitutes separate unlawful taking or killing. Prohibits a person from removing and utilizing only paws, gallbladder, sex organs or bones from the carcass of a black bear or cougar, or eggs from a carcass of a sturgeon, salmon or steelhead unless engaged in lawful trapping activities or utilizing game mammals or game birds declared by commission rule to be inedible. Precludes violation if taking or killing occurred unintentionally when engaged in otherwise lawful activity. Adds gray wolf to list of gamemammals for which commission may institute a suit for recovery of damages for unlawful taking or killing of wildlife.
AOC had no position.

HB 4113 Task Force on Drought Emergency Response
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 80 (2016 Laws)
Establishes the Task Force on Drought Emergency Response. The task force will have 11 to 15 members who are charged with researching and evaluating potential tools and data to prepare for and respond to drought emergencies. The task force must submit a report to a legislative interim committee related to natural resources no later than November 1, 2016, and provide a copy to the Water Resources Commission. The report is to include recommendations for improvements in information sharing that will enable the public, water users and recreational in-stream users to understand drought conditions and to assist in efforts to mitigate or adapt to drought. The Water Resources Department (WRD) will staff the task force. The Legislature appropriates $25,000 general funds to WRD to address the expenses of the task force members and to defer a portion of the estimated additional costs of staff support to the task force.
AOC supported.

SB 5701 Groundwater Study of Greater Harney Basin
Effective date: March 29, 2016 Chapter: 82 (2016 Laws)
Within the broad budget adjustment bill, the Legislature approved an increase in general funds of $705,288 to the Water Resources Department to facilitate a groundwater study for the greater Harney Valley in coordination with the U.S. Geological Survey. The funding will support the establishment of a permanent Natural Resource Specialist position ($130,288), one-time funding of $400,000 for the drilling and construction of ten observation wells for data collection, and one-time funding of $175,000 for the cost-sharing provisions of the groundwater study.
AOC supported.

Bills that did not pass

SB 1520 Various Forestry Provisions
Requires the Governor, with assistance of the State Forestry Department (ODF), to attempt state entry into federal Good Neighbor Authority agreement with United States Forest Service.
Requires the secretary of state to conduct an audit of ODF expenditures or obligations of certain lottery money allocations for the federal forestlands restoration initiative. Requires that the audit include certain information concerning projects or parts of projects for which ODF expended or obligated moneys. Establishes a deadline of March 1, 2017, for reporting audit results and information to Legislative Assembly. Establishes a tax credit for reforestation of commercial forestland following loss from a catastrophic fire event. Makes the tax credit applicable for losses from catastrophic fire events occurring in whole or in part on or afterNovember 1, 2015, and on or before October 31, 2021. Makes tax credit available up to three tax years after the year in which the state forester issues preliminary certificate for loss.
Adds woody biomass to types of appropriate green energy technology for which a contracting agency must set aside 1.5 percent of contract price for public building construction, reconstruction, or renovation.
AOC supported.

The February session was successful for public safety stakeholders seeking additional funding and protecting current funding for programs. AOC’s main objective entering the session was to protect the $40 million in funding for justice reinvestment programs that the 2015 legislative session allocated to counties for reentry and recidivism reduction programs. Recent forecasts on the prison usage exceeding previous forecasts had fueled rumors that the Legislature might need to divert funding from justice reinvestment to help open additional prison beds. Fortunately, the Legislature kept its commitment to counties with the justice reinvestment program.

In addition to the protection of justice reinvestment, additional funding for public safety was provided to various programs. A $3 million allocation to the public safety academy will allow the Department of Public Safety Standards to create four additional basic police academies and two additional basic corrections academies, which will alleviate the backlog of deputies across the state waiting to go to academy. The Oregon State Police was also given an additional $3.5 million to expand its background check capacity for firearms, reduce its backlog for testing sexual assault kits sent by local agencies, and establish a statewide school safety tip line.

 


Public Safety

SB 1513 Property Tax Expenditures; Surviving Spouse of Fire, Police, or Reserve Officer; County Option

[COUNTY FINANCE; Property Taxation]

 

Bills that did not pass

HB 4116 Healthcare of Pre-Trial Jail Inmates
Would have created a task force on healthcare for pre-trial jail inmates. AOC supported this bill, but the bill did not pass out of committee.
AOC supported.

SB 1550 Recording of Grand Jury Proceedings
Would have required grand jury proceedings to be recorded. This bill continued from the 2015 session with the Oregon District Attorneys Association opposed to the bill unless it was amended. The bill received a hearing and passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee but did not receive a hearing or pass out of the Joint Ways & Means Committee.
AOC opposed.

There was no notable work done on transportation in the 2016 legislative session. We anticipate a full load in 2017.
While the 2016 Legislative Session was very limited in terms of the quantity of veterans-related bills, it may prove to be one of the most significant in decades. Only three veterans-related bills were seriously evaluated by the 2016 Legislature, two of which passed. In addition, the 2016 Legislature passed seven concurrent resolutions that recognize and honor veterans for service to their country:

 


Veterans

House Concurrent Resolution 201
Recognizes and honors Army Private First Class Anthony T. Justesen (1988-2010).

House Concurrent Resolution 202
Recognizes and honors Sergeant Travis A. Moothart (1980-2004).

House Concurrent Resolution 203
Recognizes and honors Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson (1974-2003).

House Concurrent Resolution 205
Recognizes and honors Specialist Cody James Patterson (1989-2013).

House Concurrent Resolution 205
Recognizes and honors Specialist Cody James Patterson (1989-2013).

House Concurrent Resolution 207
Recognizes and honors Sergeant Donald R. Walters (1969-2003).

Senate Concurrent Resolution 205
Recognizes Aleksander Reed Skarlatos for his heroism and service. On August 21, 2015, Aleksander Reed Skarlatos’ brave actions and heroism saved the lives of innocent fellow passengers aboard a train from Amsterdam to Paris, France.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 206
Recognizes and honors Private George Nathan Wright (1945-1967) and Specialist Four James Alfred Wright (1948-1969) for their service to their country.

SB 1524 Disabled Veteran; Exemption from Annual Requirement to Obtain Documentation from Physician to Renew a Medical Marijuana Card
Effective Date: January 1, 2017 Chapter 107 (2016 Laws)
Applies to a service-connected disabled veteran who either: (1) has been assigned a total and permanent disability rating for compensation that rates the veteran as unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities as described in 38 C.F.R. 4.16; or (2) has a United States Department of Veterans Affairs total disability rating of 100 percent as a result of an injury or illness that the veteran incurred, or that was aggravated, during active military service and who received a discharge or release under other than dishonorable conditions. If at least one of these two requirements is met, the veteran is exempt from the annual requirement of obtaining documentation from a physician regarding continuing debilitating condition to renew the card.
AOC supported.

HJR 202 Lottery Proceeds for Benefit of Veterans; Proposed Amendment to Oregon
Constitution to Require Expenditure of 1.5 Percent of Receipts
Passed unanimously by the House and the Senate. Refers an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in the 2016 general election to require 1.5 percent of lottery revenues be expended for the benefit of veterans. If passed by the voters, HJR 202 would take effect on July 1, 2017, and is estimated to raise about $18.8 million for veterans’ services in the 2017-19 biennium. The specific details for how these funds would be allocated are to be determined by the 2017 Legislature as part of the Ways and Means budgeting process. For reference, the current Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) general funds budget for the 2015-17 biennium for veterans services is less than $11 million.
Historical Notes: At the time of creation of the state lottery, lottery proceeds were limited to the purpose of creating jobs and furthering economic development. This was expanded by Measure 21 (1995) to include financing public education, and by Measure 66 (1998) to include restoring and protecting Oregon’s parks, beaches, watersheds, and critical fish and wildlife habitats. Measure 21 dedicated 15 percent of net proceeds to the Education Endowment Fund. Measure 66 dedicated 15 percent of net proceeds to the Parks and Natural Resources Fund. Measure 19 (2002) converted the Education Endowment Fund to an Education Stability Fund and increased the lottery dedication for this Fund from 15 percent to 18 percent. If HJR 202 is adopted by the voters, the lottery will have an additional 1.5 percent dedicated to veterans, which will bring the total constitutionally dedicated lottery revenues to 34.5 percent.
AOC supported.

Bills that did not pass.

HB 4096 Employment; Veterans Preference; Public Employers
Renewed attempt to update and improve Oregon’s public employers’ veterans preference statute. SB 87 (2015), a similar bill, also narrowly failed.
AOC opposed.