2015 Legislative Summary

The 2015 session produced moderate successes in the area of Community and Economic Development. There was a lot of focus on economic development tools. The Strategic Investment Program (SIP), with the associated Gain Share, came under much scrutiny but survived after much negotiation leading to a cap on a county’s portion of Gain Share revenues and additional dollars going to education programs related to economic development. (See SB 129 below.) Additionally, changes were made to other incentive programs, such as Enterprise Zones, food processing machinery and equipment, and solar development. SB 611 regarding data centers and central assessment will be addressed in the Finance section of this report. Recapitalization of the Special Public Works Fund and the Brownfields Revitalization Fund as well as funding for levee infrastructure projects and Regional Solutions were positive accomplishments. The highlight may have been $40 million for low/very low income housing to begin to address the issue of homelessness in our state.

SB 129 SIP/Gain Share Changes
Effective date: July 21, 2015 Chapter: 757 (2015 Laws)
Calculation of Gain Share revenue changes from 50/50 share of total employment to 50/50 share of new job revenue and 80/20 (state/county) of retained job revenue. County’s share is capped at $16M per year. Sunset extended from 2019 to 2025. This will free up more than $53 million in revenue for statewide services. Although not written into legislation, OSU Statewides will receive an additional $14 million in the 15-17 base budget and Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs will receive an additional $35 million. Only Washington County SIP is currently impacted.

SB 131 Willamette Falls Locks Task Force
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 770 (2015 Laws)
Establishes a 17-member Task Force for the Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks to study issues relating to repair, reopening and operations of the locks. Oregon Solutions will staff the Task Force, which is charged with:
Compiling information relating to the Willamette Falls navigation canal and locks.
Considering means of facilitating the repair and reopening of the Willamette Falls navigation canal and locks.
Developing a plan for the sustainable operation of the canal and locks.
Considering governance models for the lease or transfer of the canal and locks to a local, regional, state or other entity.

SB 244 Low/Very Low Income Housing
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 608 (2015 Laws)
State Housing Council to adopt policy for distributing general housing money and investments statewide with concentration in areas with the greatest need for housing for low/very low income persons. Prior to the end of the session, an additional $40 million was authorized under HB 5006 for low income housing to address the homelessness issue throughout the state.

SB 306 Levee Infrastructure
Effective date: July 6, 2015 Chapter: 667 (2015 Laws)
Permits Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority to provide financial assistance for levee projects that contribute to improvement, expansion or repair of infrastructure systems and are essential for use or development of farm, industrial or commercial land. $5,000,000 in funding provided in HB 5030.

SB 482 Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Communities
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 22 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes Business Oregon to appoint Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership Advisory Council to advise regarding manufacturing in the Willamette Valley and Columbia River corridor. This will enable the recent federally designated Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership to function as a “New Manufacturing Community” under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Program. The designated Manufacturing Communities will receive coordinated support for their strategies from across eleven federal agencies and programs with more than $1 billion available in federal economic development assistance.

HB 2130 Holding Times for Low Income Housing Land
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 310 (2015 Laws)
Allows governing bodies to establish reasonable maximum holding times for land designated for low-income housing development and allows governing bodies to elect additional qualifying criteria, such as: the occupants of the housing have low income, as defined, lands being held must be designated for development as low-income housing, the housing must be rental housing, the developer must be a nonprofit or tax-exempt entity or, if not, the benefit of the property tax savings must be reflected in lower rent.

HB 2195 Foreclosure Proceeds for Low Income Housing
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 242 (2015 Laws)
Impacts only Multnomah County. Directs county of more than 650,000 people to use proceeds acquired by foreclosure of delinquent tax liens to provide low income housing, social services, or child care services.

HB 2459 Oregon State Marine Board Fee Increases
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 627 (2015 Laws)
Increases certain fees related to registering and titling boats, floating homes, and boathouses. The Oregon State Marine Board is funded by fees and shares a portion of these funds with 30 counties for facilities in parks and sheriff’s marine patrol.

HB 2629 One Year Notice to Rural Renters
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 182 (2015 Laws)
Requires owners of rental property subject to federal rural rental housing loans to provide one year’s notice of date of maturity of loans to tenants, Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, housing authorities and local governments. Failure to give notice entitles tenants to remain for one year without rent.

HB 2643 Ease in Designating Enterprise Zones
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 648 (2015 Laws)
Eliminates cap on number of enterprise zones that may be designated at any time. Authorizes designation of enterprise zone, electronic commerce zone, electronic commerce or reservation enterprise zone by zone sponsor or sponsors. Zone sponsor may be a city, county, port or tribal government. Designation of enterprise zone and boundary change of zone subject to determination by Business Oregon that certain statutory requirements are met. Requires submission of documentation to Oregon Business Development Department before designation, addition or change, and requires consultation with department.

HB 2690 “Habitat for Humanity” Property Tax Exemption
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 520 (2015 Laws)
Exempts from property tax land acquired and held by nonprofit for building residences, such as Habitat for Humanity, to be sold to individuals whose income is not greater than 80 percent of area median income.

HB 2728 Oregon Talent Council
Effective date: July 15, 2015 Chapter: 682 (2015 Laws)
Replaces the Engineering and Technology Industry Council with the Oregon Talent Council, a coalition of industry leaders from traded sector and high growth industries to work with education and workforce.

HB 2734 Land Banks for Brownfield Properties
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 631 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes local governments to organize land banks, which could take ownership of brownfields with immunity from legal liability for legacy contaminations. It also outlines the authority and duties of land bank authorities and composition of land bank authority boards.

HB 3082 Alternative Definition of Low Income
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 141 (2015 Laws)
Creates alternative definition of “low income” for purposes of property tax exemption for low income housing nonprofit corporation. Current definition is at 60 percent of area median income (AMI). May change definition to 60 percent of AMI during initial year of occupancy with subsequent years at 80 percent AMI.

HB 3125 Exemption for Food Processing Equipment
Effective date: October 10, 2015 Chapter: 827 (2015 Laws)
Expands a five-year property tax exemption on qualified machinery and equipment used to process foods to include grains, bakery products, milk, and eggs. The previous exemption included only fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seafood. Real market value of machinery and equipment must be at least $100,000. Defines “qualified processing activity” to include packing of food for human consumption, not including alcoholic beverages or marijuana/marijuana products.

HB 3148 Wildfire Damage Housing Relief
Effective date: July 20, 2015 Chapter: 737 (2015 Laws)
Creates Wildfire Damage Housing Relief Account within Oregon Housing Fund for low income (75 percent of federal poverty guidelines) person(s) who lose housing. Grants up to $5 thousand.

HB 3492 Fee in Lieu of Taxes for Solar Projects
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 571 (2015 Laws)
Allows county, upon request of the owner of a solar project, to enter into agreement, for period not to exceed 20 years, pursuant to which property constituting solar project is exempt from property taxation and owner pays fee in lieu of taxes. Provides that fee shall equal $7,000 per megawatt of nameplate capacity of solar project. Provides that fee shall be distributed using same distribution schedule as for property taxes.

HB 3526 Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 831 (2015 Laws)
Establishes Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program within Business Oregon to award grants to participants in Oregon Main Street Network and members to the National Main Street Center for purposes of preservation-based community revitalization and economic development. (Program funded with $2.5 million in Lottery Bonds in HB 5030.)

HB 5006 Capital Construction Projects
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 808 (2015 Laws)
Funds capital construction projects over $1 million including:
Low/Very Low Income Housing, $40,000,000
ODOT Highway Improvements, $35,000,000

HB 5021 2015-17 Governor’s Office Budget
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 810 (2015 Laws)
Funds Governor’s Office, including $2,730,536 for Regional Solutions.

HB 5024 2015-17 Higher Education Budget
Effective date: July 6, 2015 Chapter: 642 (2015 Laws)
Higher Ed budget includes the Public University State Programs and Statewide Public Services, both of which benefit Oregon’s counties. The Public University State Programs are largely operated by the three research universities (UO, OSU, and PSU) and focus on the economic development, industry, and public service needs of the State. $35M will fund 12 programs including Oregon Solutions, the Dispute Resolution Center, the Institute of Natural Resources, the Oregon Metals Initiative, and the Population Research Center (upon which our counties rely for demographic information). These programs are critical to the success of the State’s economic development interests. $118 M is for the Statewide Public Services: Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), OSU Extension Service (OSU-ES) and Forest Research Laboratory (FRL). This is a $14M increase in base budget due to agreement in SB 129 re: Gain Share.

HB 5029 2015-17 Lottery Revenue Funding
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 811 (2015 Laws)
Allocates Lottery Revenue Funds from Administrative Services Economic Development Fund to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services for distribution to:
Office of the Governor for Regional Solutions, $4,058,418
Counties for economic development activities as provided by ORS 461.547, $39,083,827
County Fair Account established in ORS 565.445 is $3,864,000
Business Oregon for
Shared services, $7,037,404
Business, innovation and trade, $50,866,257
Infrastructure Finance Authority, $3,025,181
Oregon Film and Video Office, $1,164,460

HB 5030 2015-17 Lottery Bond Funding
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 812 (2015 Laws)
Sets the total amount of Lottery Bonds at $306,226,252, including issuance of the following amounts:
Brownfields Revolving Loan Account, $7,000,000
Regional Solutions Projects, $12,005,000
Special Public Works Fund
Basic SPWF Recapitalization, $13,000,000
Levee Projects, $5,000,000
ConnectOregonVI, $45,000,000
Main Street Revitalization Grant Program, $2,5000,000
Willamette Falls Riverwalk, $7,500,000
Coos Bay Rail LIne Reconnect, $10,000,000

HB 5502 2015-17 Budget for Department of Administrative Services
Effective date: July 6, 2015 Chapter: 654 (2015 Laws)
DAS Budget which includes an allocation of $3,648,000 for State and County Fairs.

HB 5525 2015-17 Business Oregon Budget
Effective date: July 15, 2015 Chapter: 694 (2015 Laws)
Business Oregon Budget which includes $6,335,000 for Regional Solutions and $1,000,000 for Regional Solutions’ RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) project.

Bills That Did Not Pass
SB 938 Exemption for Newly constructed Industrial Improvement
What began as a permissive property tax exemption bill, which included retroactivity to 2014, ended the session as a three part bill that ultimately died in committee.
Authorize County to adopt exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements. Permissive retroactivity to 2014. County may establish criteria via ordinance.
Establish Task Force on the Taxation of the Property of Nonprofit Corps.
Exempt from property taxes real and personal property owned or leased by history museum or science museum if property is used to fulfill mission of museum and is used or occupied for certain purposes (Evergreen Exemption).

HB 2289 Brownfield Clean Up Tax Credit
The Brownfields Coalition worked tirelessly this session to find ways to encourage brownfield redevelopment. This bill would have provided a tax credit. HB 2734 initially provided for property tax abatement in addition to allowing for the creation of Land Bank Authority.

HB 2540 Prevailing Wages in Enterprize Zones
This bill would have required the payment of prevailing wages for construction projects in Enterprise Zones, offsetting the benefits of being located in the E Zone. Economic Development professionals flooded the Capitol with calls, e-mails, and letters protesting this bill, causing it to be pulled from the committee schedule.

In broad terms, county finance as a policy subject this session meant using local revenue, the property tax system, as the source for payments of incentives through expenditures to attract major and modest development. See, for example, central assessment reform (Senate Bill 611) and expansion of the machinery and equipment five-year exemption for food processors (House Bill 3125), which were added to the well-used Strategic Investment Program and now more flexible enterprise zones. You will find more about this in the Economic and Community Development section.

Although there was no attempt this session to reform the thoroughly dysfunctional public finance system, we saw some tip-toeing toward examining potential alternatives. There will be a study by legislative economists this interim on options for state and local revenue systems (House Bill 2171) and likely a study on the effectiveness and relative value of property tax breaks given to the wide array of nonprofit corporations.

This legislative session had other major matters to tend to, some successfully and some not. But sooner rather than later, there will need to be another attempt to conceive, gain public acceptance of, and adopt a public finance system that is fair, sustainable, and stable for state and local governments.

A note on House Bill 3542 and Senate Bill 800, which appear at the top of this report’s section. They both relate to the income tax, which is the state’s overwhelmingly primary source of revenues. AOC keeps an eye on the legislature’s activities in income tax policy, because without adequate receipts from that source the legislature has been known to “forget” long-standing county-state agreements on shared revenues and services. The typical consequence is for the legislature to “sweep” into the state general fund shared revenues that are not explicitly dedicated to counties.

These two laws are printed in this volume, because they are very positive steps toward a more stable state finance system. Requiring a statement of purpose for a new or expanded income tax credit keeps an accounting of that credit; i.e., is it paying for itself, living up to its purpose, and worth the investment. The revenue committees have begun to provide these kinds of statements in the revenue impact report of each bill granting a property tax expenditure. AOC would like to see this practice formalized and more detailed, as is done for income tax credits in HB 3542.

As for SB 800, reserve funds are the only tactic now available to attempt to stabilize an inherently unstable state finance system, which relies so heavily on the income tax. As a short term measure, these reserves need to be adequate and function properly.

HB 3542 Statement of Purpose for Income Tax Credit
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 641 (2015 Laws)
Requires the chief sponsor or proponent to submit the policy purpose for measures that create or expand income tax credits. Directs the Legislative Revenue Officer to identify and prepare an analysis on those existing tax credits in which the actual revenue impact has exceed the initial projected impact by 10% or more and include that information in the Tax Expenditure Report.

SB 800 State Task Force on Reserve Funds
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 797 (2015 Laws)
Establishes a task force on reserve funds. Directs the task force to review existing reserve funds in terms of performance and adequacy. Specifies task force membership, consisting exclusively of legislators. Directs the Legislative Fiscal Officer and Legislative Revenue Officer to provide support for the task force. Directs the task force to issue a report to the Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2016.
Property Tax Administration

HB 2083 Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 309 (2015 Laws)
Creates an exception to the five-year ownership requirement for the homestead of a claimant for deferral under the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program if: a) the claimant for deferral moved to a homestead from a homestead that met all the homestead requirements under the program; b) sells the existing qualified homestead within one year of purchasing the new home; c) satisfies the lien for deferral on the existing home; and d) owes no more than 80 percent of the purchase price of the new application homestead. Requires the new homestead to be insured for fire and other casualty. If the homestead meets all other requirements but is not insured, yet is insurable, the Department of Revenue (DOR) may purchase insurance for the uninsured homestead and add the cost of insurance coverage to the lien. Increases from 180 percent to 200 percent the county median real market value qualification limits for taxpayers that have continuously owned and lived in the homestead at least 21 years. Requires DOR to electronically notify an office of Aging and Disability Resource Connection or seniors and people with disabilities division of the Department of Human Services if recertification is not received with 35 days after sending notification to the taxpayer. Conforms new language with existing statutes. Applies changes to property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2016.
County revenue impact: None; this is a state-funded program.

HB 2127 Property of Taxable Owner Transferred to Exempt Owner
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 96 (2015 Laws)
A county clerk may not record a deed transferring property to a non-taxable entity under ORS 307.040 or 307.090, unless the deed is accompanied by a newly created certificate prescribed by the Department of Revenue and signed by the county assessor that states that all taxes, fees, and interest have been paid. An agent who is authorized to close and settle the conveyance is allowed to collect the property taxes, fees, and interest that have been or will be charged against the property before distribution of the transfer proceeds to the transferor. These amounts are to be held in trust and subsequently paid to the tax collector of the county.
Any amounts that are not paid and remain delinquent after the tranbsfer are considered a personal debt of the transferor and thus can be collected in the same manner as business personal property taxes.

HB 2128 Taxable Leaseholder of Non-taxable Property; Delinquent Taxes
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 52 (2015 Laws)
Establishes personal liability of lessee for property taxes related to property leased from a tax-exempt government owner. Allows the county to take legal action against the lessee’s real and personal property to collect property taxes that remain unpaid after the lease has expired.
Requires the county clerk to issue writs of attachment on application of the county tax collector or district attorney as plaintiff.

HB 2129 Correction of Maximum Assessed Value
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 97 (2015 Laws)
Allows a taxpayer-owner to petition the county assessor for correction in the maximum assessed value (MAV) of the property for the current tax year upon demonstrating that new property or improvement added to the tax roll in a prior tax year did not exist as of the assessment date of that prior tax year or any subsequent tax year. Requires the assessor to correct the MAV for the current tax year in a manner determined by the assessor. The correction must reflect removal of the non-existent new property or improvement.
If the assessor discovers that new property or improvements to property has existed in prior years but has not been assessed for those prior years or for the current year, the assessor must correct the roll and the MAV.

HB 2148 Taxation of Improvements on Tribal Trust Land
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 65 (2015 Laws)
A county may not tax real property improvements on Tribal trust land of Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes. The legislation is based on Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Thurston County Board of Equalization (U.S. Ninth Circuit 2013), which held that federal law (25 USC sec. 465) preempts state and local taxes on permanent improvements, without regard to ownership, located on Tribal lands held in trust by the United States.
The legislation is limited to permanent improvements on real property as defined by ORS 307.010. It does not address other taxes or property interests. Tribal fee lands and centrally assessed property are not affected by the legislation.

HB 2171 Public Finance Study; Property Tax Expenditure for Museums
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 701 (2015 Laws)
Directs the Legislative Revenue Officer to analyze options for reforming the state and local revenue system, including alternatives to restructure the property tax system and taxing consumption, business, and personal income. The analysis is to include the impact on the economy, revenue, distribution of the tax burden, and stability of the system. The Legislative Revenue Officer is to report to the legislature by December 1, 2015.
Expands the existing property tax exemption for museums under ORS 307.130. At last count there are 246 museums in 35 counties (Jefferson excepted) that will require reappraisal based on the new standards imposed to benefit the Evergreen property in Yamhill County. Two examples: i) unimproved land contiguous to the museum that is not specially assessed is exempt; and ii) a theater located in the museum building may show films, up to 25 percent of which are not related to the museum [note: there is no clarification as to the basis of compliance with this standard, e.g., revenue collected, number of showings, attendance totals?]. Applies to tax years on or after July 1, 2015. Sunsets for tax years on or after July 1, 2019. Extends sunsets on certain income and excise tax credits.
County revenue impact: Unknown, but likely not substantial.

HB 2482 Valuation of Industrial Properties
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 36 (2015 Laws)
Upon request of the county assessor, the Department of Revenue (DOR) may delegate assessment responsibility to the county assessor of industrial properties valued over $1 million. The request must be made before January 1 of the following assessment year and accompanied by information required by DOR. Upon delegation to the county assessor, the property shall remain county-appraised for five consecutive assessment years. The county responsibility shall continue after the five years until the assessor requests DOR to resume responsibility, at which time the property will revert to state appraisal the next following assessment year. For county-assessed industrial property, the owner must file an appeal with the county board of property tax appeals.

HB 2483 Party’s Right to Appeal Components or Entire Unit of Property Value
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 37 (2015 Laws)
When a party appeals the real market value of one or more components of a property tax account, any other party may appeal the value of any other of the components of the account or the entire unit of property, i.e., all contiguous property under common ownership within a single code area in the county.

HB 2485 Tax Collection Housekeeping
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 31 (2015 Laws)
Refunds are paid to the individual who paid the tax, although this may not be the current owner of the property. Prorated property tax refunds resulting from destroyed or damaged property are made to the person who requested the proration. Amounts less than $10 are not required to be refunded. Aligns the time limitation for property tax refunds with the time limitation for roll corrections, i.e., five years. If the tax collector receives a written request from a mortgagee who is authorized to pay property taxes on a floating home, the tax collector shall send to the mortgagee a copy of the property tax statement required to be mailed to the taxpayer. The request to the tax collector must be made on or before October 1. Refunds of property taxes relating to floating homes are treated the same as those to manufactured structures. A county governing body may cancel delinquent real or personal property taxes of $10 or less.

HB 2486 Measure 5 (1990); Categorization of Property Tax Revenue
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 368 (2015 Laws)
It is the use of revenues, not the source, which determines under what category (education or general government) Measure 5 (1990) limits are calculated. In Urhausen v. City of Eugene (2006), the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the judgment by the Tax Court that subsections (2) and (3) of ORS 310.155 are unconstitutional. This legislation deletes those subsections.

HB 2487 Correction of Maximum Assessed Value by Property Square Footage
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 39 (2015 Laws)
Requires that the formula to use to reduce the maximum assessed value, due to lesser actual square footage of the property than is on the tax roll, is the resulting reduction in market value of the property, rather than the proportionate difference in square footage.

HB 2690 Property Tax Exemption for Construction of Certain Low Income Housing
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 520 (2015 Laws)
Exempts from property taxation land acquired and held by a nonprofit corporation for the purpose of building on the land residences to be sold to individuals with income not greater than 80 percent of area median income as adjusted for family size. Requires the nonprofit corporation, within 10 years immediately preceding filing of the claim for exemption, to have sold at least one residence to individuals with income not greater than 80 percent of area median income as adjusted for family size. Requires the exemption to end at the time of title transfer. Absent title transfer, the exemption is required to end after seven consecutive years with the option for a three-year extension if a claim is filed and the filing fee paid. Requires additional taxes and penalties to be imposed on the nonprofit, if the nonprofit corporation has not transferred title to the residences on the land by end of seven or ten-year exemption period. Applies to property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2015.
County revenue impact: Likely less than $100,000 annually statewide.

HB 3001 Destroyed or Damaged Property
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 92 (2015 Laws)
Allows application for determination of real market value and assessed value of property destroyed or damaged between January 1 and July 1 to be filed on or before December 31.
Requires an application filed after the later of August 1 of the current year or the 60th day
following the date on which the property was damaged or destroyed, but still filed before December 31, to be accompanied by a late filing fee in an amount equal to the greater of $200 or one-tenth of one percent of the real market value of property to which the application relates. Applies to property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2014.
County revenue impact: Insignificant.

HB 3125 Exemption for Qualifying Food Processing Machinery and Equipment Expanded
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 827 (2015 Laws)
Expands the existing five-year property tax exemption for qualified machinery and equipment (M&E) used in food processing to include M&E used to process grains, bakery products, dairy products, and eggs, effective for property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2016. Beginning on or after property tax years July 1, 2015, excludes a person engaged in the business of producing any product that contains marijuana or a marijuana extract. Requires qualified M&E used to process grains and bakery products to have a real market value of at least $100,000 when placed in service. Excludes M&E used to process bakery products if proceeds from retail sales at the processing site amount to more than 10 percent of all proceeds from sales at the site. Beginning with tax years on or after July 1, 2015, allows the State Department of Agriculture (ODA) to fix, assess, and collect or cause to be collected fees on food processors in an amount necessary to cover costs of certification. Requires (ODA) to submit a report on the impact of the expanded exemption to the interim legislative revenue committees not later than September 15, 2018. Retains the June 30, 2020 sunset of the property tax expenditure. Does not change the role of the county assessor in the process.
County revenue impact: Anticipated to grow by 2018 to $2 million annually statewide.

HB 5005/5035/SB 5507 Department of Revenue Biennial Budget Related to Property Tax Administration
CAFFA funding shortfall. Appropriates $1,836,836 of general funds across 10 full-time positions to the Department of Revenue (DOR) to backfill a revenue shortfall in the County Assessment Function Funding Assistance Account (CAFFA). DOR forecasts lower revenue due to a decline in mortgage refinancing activities and lower recording fees. Provides no corresponding revenue backfill to counties’ 90 percent share of CAFFA, which equals $16,531,524. Also no provision to restart the state general fund contribution to CAFFA, which began in 1999 and ended in 2009 at $5.2 million-plus CPA/ biennium.
Property Valuation System. Funds the purchase of a commercial off-the-shelf computer assisted mass appraisal software system. This would ensure the continued ability to provide accurate property valuations and ensure timely information to the counties and taxpayers necessary for completion of the annual tax roll. Includes $1,880,000 for project costs and the establishment of one permanent full-time position (0.92 FTE), which is to be financed with revenue bonds.

SB 161 Collection of Business Personal Property Taxes
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 444 (2015 Laws)
Allows the county tax collector to electronically file warrants for delinquent property taxes on business personal property. Requires the Secretary of State (SOS) to mark, hold, and index filed warrants in accordance with provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code. Requires that the tax collector to electronically file release or cancellation of warrants to the SOS. Requires the SOS to maintain public access to notices and cancellations. Allows the SOS to charge a fee for accepting electronic notices and allows the county tax collector to add the SOS fee to the amount due on a warrant. A fee amount is not specified. Requires the tax collector continue to properly record the warrant. Provides that notice of the warrant expires 10 years from date of filing, unless extended for additional 10 years with a properly filed certificate of extension. Requires the seller of business personal property to provide the purchaser with notice that includes whether property taxes were assessed against the property; liens were filed against the property; other counties have assessed taxes against the property; others who have had possession, control, or ownership of property; and requirements of a bona fide purchaser of business personal property. Specifies that the bona fide business property purchaser is not liable for assessed taxes if the purchase was in good faith, for value, at arms-length, and without notice of delinquent taxes. Lists the criteria for the “without notice” standard. Allows the tax collector to accept equitable compromise payment on the property from the purchaser. Maintains the right to recovery against the former owner personally.

SB 611 Revision of Central Assessment
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 23 (2015 Laws)
Creates and makes available new property tax exemptions to a company subject to central assessment. The new exemptions relate to the value of franchises, satellites used to provide service directly to retail consumers, and an alternative exemption calculation based on a company’s historical or original cost of real property and tangible personal property multiplied by 130 percent.

For a company receiving an exemption related to a new qualified project, Oregon allocated value will be based upon the greater of $250 million or the real market value of real and tangible personal property located in Oregon as of the assessment date.

The exemptions apply to tax years beginning July 1, 2016.

If a centrally assessed communications company is approved for a property tax exemption by the Public Utility Commission, the PUC must notify the assessor of each county in which the project is approved.

On or before December 15 of each year, each assessor of a county in which is located centrally assessed property granted an exemption as a communications company shall submit to the Department of Revenue a report stating the amount of the exemption granted to the property of each company, the amount of property taxes imposed on the property and the amount of property taxes that were not imposed on the property because of the exemption for the current property tax year, and estimates of these amounts for the following property tax year.

Provides that qualifying data centers are to be locally assessed.

A company that is in the business of communication and is the owner or lessee of a data center is not centrally assessed if the historical or original cost of all real and tangible personal property, other than data centers, that is owned or leased by the company in Oregon, is in service and is used by the company in the business of communication, is less than or equal to 10 percent of the historical or original cost of the real and tangible personal property of all data centers owned, leased, or used by the company in Oregon and all additions to the data center property.

Property other than data centers used in the business of communication does not include property to the extent the property constitutes: (a) an office; (b) a warehouse; (c) a manufacturing plant; (d) a retail outlet; (e) property used in connection with a data center to generate electricity; or (f) electricity generated by the property described in (e).

A company is not a company in the business of communication solely because the company manufactures or holds out for sale property used by any person in communication.

The following real and tangible personal property used or held for future use by a company described in the next paragraph shall be locally assessed:
(a) Property constituting a data center or used in connection with the operation of data center property;
(b) Property used on the data center property to generate electricity; and
(c) Electricity generated by property described in (b).

The paragraph above applies to a company that is:
(a) Not a company that is centrally assessed under ORS 308.515 (1); or
(b) A company that is centrally assessed under ORS 308.515 (1) and the historical or original cost of the real and tangible personal property of all data centers owned, leased, or used by the company in Oregon and all additions to the data center property, excluding property described in (b) and (c) in the paragraph next above, is equal to or greater than $200 million.

Provisions related to data centers apply to property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2015.
County revenue impact: About $2 million annually statewide.

Bills That Did Not Pass

HB 2132 County collection of forest protection district assessments; recovery of costs.
Allows a county that collects a forest protection district assessment or surcharge to retain a percentage of the collected moneys for the purpose of paying county administrative costs.
If the State Forestry Department plans a project that may result in a county incurring uncommon administrative costs, including but not limited to a project resulting from work by a county forestland-urban interface classification committee, before the start of the project: (1) the department and the county shall identify the nature and scope of the project, the resources necessary to carry out the project and the cost of those resources; (2) the department and the county shall enter into an agreement that sets forth the responsibilities of the department and the county to ensure that project work is properly performed in a timely manner; (3) the department shall identify and pre-approve any uncommon administrative costs that the county might reasonably be expected to incur due to the project; and (4) the county shall bill the department for uncommon administrative costs incurred by the county due to the project, not to exceed the amount preapproved by the department.

HB 3034 Nonprofit health care facilities, clarification of property tax exemption for.
Clarifies the property-tax exempt status of nonprofit corporations that provide health services by removing them from ORS 307.130 and creating a new statute that addresses only these facilities. Grants a full property tax exemption to a facility if the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) finds that the property is used to provide diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment primarily for patients who are acutely ill or victims of accidents. The exemption would include property used for necessary administrative services. Grants a partial exemption to property if the OHA finds that the property is used to provide charity care and administrative services necessary to provide that care. The partial exemption is granted if charity care accounts for at least 15 percent of the gross annual patient revenue of the nonprofit corporation that provides health services. The percentage of the partial exemption shall equal twice the percentage of the gross annual patient revenue attributable to charity care bears to the total gross annual patient revenue of the nonprofit corporation. The partial exemption allowed may be equal to, but not greater than, 100 percent. Most health care facilities in Oregon are not-for-profit tax exempt institutions. Legally these hospitals and other health care facilities, either related or unrelated to a hospital, are deemed to be charities and are exempt from federal, state and local taxes, raise money through tax exempt bond offerings and receive charitable contributions that are tax deductible to the donors. Oregon law has historically exempted property taxes for nonprofit hospital enterprises, citing the beneficial work they provide a community. In recent years the charity care provided by many nonprofit health care facilities is so paltry that to continue to permit these nonprofits to qualify for a property tax exemption is in question. Moreover, the property tax exemption statute used by these facilities (ORS 307.130) is antiquated, frequently amended, vague, difficult to interpret, and applies to art museums, volunteer fire departments, and literary, benevolent, charitable, and scientific institutions. It has been so difficult to administer, assessors either throw up their hands or end up in litigation. There has been no clear direction from the courts. Consequently these health care facilities are treated differently across the state and the exemptions are huge.
Note: The Chairs of the two revenue committees and the Legislative Revenue Officer are seriously contemplating an interim study of statutes that grant exemptions from taxation of property owned, leased, or used by nonprofit corporations, including clear definitions of the criteria for qualification, expected public benefits of granting the exemptions, and consistent interpretation and application statewide. The study is spurred by inconsistent judicial interpretations and thus inconsistent applications by county assessors of ORS 307.130. County assessors will need to participate for this study to succeed. A result would be proposed legislation for the 2017 session.

SB 903 Construction excise taxes imposed by schools, sunset repealed; preemption on construction excise taxes by local governments made permanent.
Repeals the January 2, 2018 sunset on imposition by a school district of an excise tax on new construction in the district. This taxing authority for schools was enacted by SB 1036 (2007), which also preempted that existing authority of a local government to impose the same type of tax. Repeal of the January 2, 2018 sunset would have made the preemption on local government authority permanent. The tax rate for schools was initially limited to a maximum of $1 per square foot for residential use and $0.50 for nonresidential use. The tax on nonresidential use was also set at a maximum of $25,000 per structure or building permit, whichever was less. The maximum rates were indexed beginning in 2009. The legislation exempted certain properties from this tax. In the school year 2012-13, 56 school districts used this option, raising a total of $15.5 million, much of which is collected by counties for schools for an administrative fee of four percent of collections (HB 2014 (2009)). School districts are to use revenues from this tax only for capital

HJR 21 Adjustment of permanent property tax rates for certain counties.
With voter approval, amends the Oregon Constitution to:
Require each county to have a permanent property tax rate limit of at least $2.00 per thousand of assessed value (AV) as determined by law (i.e., under Measure 50 [1997]).
Require each county for each property tax year to impose operating taxes in the amount necessary to bring the total tax rate imposed to at least $2.00 per thousand. The rate includes the permanent property tax rate and any local option levy. As the local option levy expires, and the result is a total property tax rate imposed below $2.00, the county’s permanent rate will rise to keep taxes imposed at no less than $2.00 per thousand AV.
Except the $2.00 per thousand minimum county tax rate from compression under Measure 5 (1990). That is, $2.00 of the county tax rate is outside the calculation of compression. Compression would operate on all other local taxing districts, plus the amount of total tax imposed by the county above the $2.00 rate. Compression examples:
County A has a permanent property tax rate (PPTR) of $1.50 and a local option levy tax rate (LOLTR) of $1.00. The county need not increase its PPTR, because its total property tax rate (TPTR) imposed is at least $2.00. The PPTR plus $0.50 of the LOLTR are outside of the calculation of compression; $0.50 of the LOLTR is compressed.
County B has a PPTR of $2.50 and an LOLTR of $0.50. $2.00 of the PPTR is outside of compression; $0.50 of the PPTR and the $0.50 LOLTR are compressed as under current law (i.e., the LOLTR is compressed to zero before compression begins on the $0.50 of PPTR).
County C has a PPTR of $0.50 and a LOLTR of $0.50. The county must impose an additional $1.00 rate as the PPTR, bringing the PPTR to $1.50 and the TPTR imposed to $2.00 and thus outside of compression.
Refer the proposed amendment to the next primary election.
Applies the provisions to property tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2016.

There were fewer bills that survived than failed in the Energy, Environment and Land Use policy fields during the 2015 legislative session. The environmental field was dominated by the Clean Fuels legislation; the early passage of SB 324 impacted environmental and transportation bills throughout the session and created a great deal of tension. Other important non-controversial bills passed through; the juniper business development bills and the two DEQ materials management bills should be positive for the counties.

The energy policy legislation was dominated by three tax credit bills that struggled throughout the session. The one that AOC put the most effort into getting passed, HB 2449, the biomass collector tax credit bill, failed to get out of committee.

There were a number of bills that made minor changes to the land use system passed in 2015. These bills typically addressed very specific issues. AOC supported a broad look at the land use system in rural counties with no population growth but the bill died after a single public hearing. The most disappointing development of 2015 was the cut to the DLCD local government grants, AOC will be advocating for increased funding in the future. A number of the failed bills are expected to be resurrected for the 2017 session.

Bills That Passed

HB 2448 Energy Conservation Tax Credit Recertification
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 545 (2015 Laws)
The bill states that Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) may require recertification of eligibility for tax credits for energy conservation projects with a total cost of $1M or more after January 1, 2015. Additionally, the bill requires project owners to enter into performance agreements with ODOE.

HB 3068 Woodstove Smoke Reduction Study
Effective date: June 18, 2015 Chapter: 476 (2015 Laws)
Directs Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a study and develop recommendations for legislation to encourage the transition to cleaner burning woodstoves or other cleaner home heating options.

SB 259 Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) Cost Recovery
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 488 (2015 Laws)
This bill states that EFSC may compensate a local government for expenses directly related to evaluation brought on by notice of intent, site certificate application or request for an expedited review.

ODOE Budget
The budget includes a 21.6 percent decrease in expenditure limitation from the 13-15 budget. The budget includes increased fees on biomass collector tax credit program in order to cover program costs.

Energy Bills that Did Not Pass

HB 2447 Tax Credit for Alternative Energy Device
Would have modified tax credit limits for each type of Category One alternative energy device. I would have also authorized ODOE to adopt rules that would further limit the amount of credit based upon market conditions if necessary. Finally, it would have removed obsolete provisions related to tax credits that previously allowed for alternative fuel vehicles and related equipment and fueling stations.

HB 2449 Biomass Collection or Production Tax Credit
Would have changed the biomass collection tax credits. These changes prompted some push back from organizations that had invested in infrastructure that was dependent on the credits. The bill would have also shifted some of the credits to biomass heat or electricity generation. The principle was that actual energy production should get incentivized, rather than the collection of materials.

HB 2833 1.5 Percent Biomass Bill
Would have added woody biomass to the types of green building technology for which a contracting agency must set aside 1.5 percent of the contract price when building public buildings. Already agencies (counties and cities included) must invest 1.5 percent of the total budget on solar or geothermal power; this bill would have added woody biomass.

Environment Bills that Passed

HB 2987 Green Technology Reserves
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 424 (2015 Laws)
Removed the requirement that an agency (counties and cities included) that is contracting for the construction of a public building reserve 1.5 percent of the total budget when solar or geothermal investments were not appropriate. Before this bill a county would have had to put this money into an account and use it for green technology on its next construction project.

HB 2997 Juniper Alliance Funding Bill
Effective date: July 1, 2015 Chapter: 635 (2015 Laws)
$250,000 for cooperative efforts between businesses, agencies, and NGOs to improve the Juniper supply chain and conduct market development to grow the industry. This will introduce larger volumes of Juniper in green building markets and agricultural operations.

HB 2998 Juniper Business Development Bill
Effective date: July 1, 2015 Chapter: 636 (2015 Laws)
Working capital in the form of loans and grants for Juniper sawmills and entrepreneurs to strengthen and expand their businesses and maintain and create jobs in rural communities. ($500,000)
Technical and business assistance to Juniper businesses to improve their financial viability, create strong operating plans, and maintain a durable and efficient presence in the marketplace. ($200,000)
Training programs for workforce development to ensure that jobs in the Juniper industry benefit rural communities suffering from high unemployment and poverty. ($100,000)
Funds for mapping analysis to make sure we have an identified and sustainable supply of Juniper that balances industry needs and environmental benefit, as well as inform future public and private land management needs. ($100,000)

HB 3549 Update to Pesticide Regulations
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 833 (2015 Laws)
Makes a number of changes to the pesticide application program including:
Establishing qualifications for obtaining and maintaining an aerial pesticide applicator certificate which will be required to do aerial application of pesticides.
Authorizes Department of Agriculture (ODA) to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a license or certificate if a civil penalty is not paid in a timely manner.
Creates a pesticide-related complaint phone line.
Requires ODA to post pesticide information on their web page.
Permits ODA to require retaking of pesticide exam if an individual violates pesticide laws and rules.
Creates buffer zones around homes and schools from forestry aerial application of pesticides.

SB 133 E permitting Expansion
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 170 (2015 Laws)
Expands the use of the state offered E-Permitting system to include construction-related activities. The E-Permitting system is available to public bodies that provide electronic access to building codes information. Several counties statewide use the system but the bill explicitly states that the use is completely voluntary. The bill also adds a 4% surcharge on permit fees to defray the cost of the system.

SB 245 DEQ Materials Management Fee Bill
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 662 (2015 Laws)
SB 245 allows for an increase in state solid waste disposal fees (tip fee), which will fund several new services and the restoration of services recently lost during the recession (including grants). It also affirms DEQ’s authority to implement the 2050 Vision and Framework for Action.

SB 249 Oregon Removal-Fill Mitigation Fund
Effective date: June 10, 2015 Chapter: 343 (2015 Laws)
Allows the state to sell DSL-developed mitigation credits until the state recovers its expenses for a project. DSL funds mitigation projects in areas of the state where there are no private-sector mitigation banks. This change does not affect established private-sector mitigation banks, and would apply only in areas with no approved private banks available at the time when the first Department-developed credit was sold.
Action Item: Public works departments should be informed of these changes

SB 263 DEQ Materials Management Opportunity to Recycle Bill
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 534 (2015 Laws)
Changes recycling and waste prevention program elements required of larger cities and their counties, and updates state and local goals.

SB 324—Clean Fuels
Effective date: March 12, 2015 Chapter: 4 (2015 Laws)
Removes the sunset on the Clean Fuels program established in 2009. According to DEQ: The Clean Fuels Program complements other transportation-related strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as clean car standards, renewable fuels blending mandates and commitments to reduce the amount that Oregonians drive. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, the program has many co-benefits including reductions in other air pollutants, improvements to public health and increased energy security. Opponents to the Clean Fuels program are concerned that the proposed Clean Fuels Program will only expose Oregonians to volatile price increases at the pump, additional government regulations of small businesses, and increase our already aggressive blending requirements for ethanol and other forms of bio diesel.

SB 705 Asbestos Survey Before Demolition
Effective date: June 25, 2015 Chapter: 583 (2015 Laws)
States that the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) will adopt rules that prohibit the demolition of a residence or residential building unless an asbestos survey has been conducted by an accredited inspector. The EQC will develop rules that state how to determine when asbestos is present.

ODFW Budget
The Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) receives its budget from General Fund, Federal Funds, Lottery Funds, but primarily from licensing and tag fees (approximately 52 percent). Revenue from licensing and tag fees have been dropping and the department will implement fee adjustments across the board during the 2015-17 biennium, most fees will rise, and a few fees will go down or be unchanged. The General Fund is 70.4 percent higher than the 2013-15 Legislatively Approved Budget because of a significant shift from licensing and tag fees to General Fund. The fees being replaced are from hunters and fishers and that had been used to fund programs and activities that benefit the general public rather than directly benefiting the fee payers. The increase in Federal Funds reflects substantial increases in revenues tied to federal excise taxes on hunting equipment (Pittman-Robertson funds).

ODF Budget
The Oregon Department of Forestry included the following packages:
Supporting ongoing wildfire protection: $6 million in General Fund dollars provided to the Emergency Board for fire season severity resources and anticipated fire insurance premium costs.Completing the Gilchrist State Forest acquisition: carried over from FY 2013-15, the 2015-17 budget re-establishes $3 million for purchasing the final tracts of land.Supporting federal forest restoration and collaboration: $5 million in lottery funds for evolving the Federal Forest Health program, continuing work already underway.Supporting rangeland protection associations and rural community viability:contribution of $1.66 million of General Fund dollars for developing and supporting rangeland protection associations (RPAs), and contracting with other organizations and agencies to address wildfire issues on unprotected or under-protected lands, and contributing to sage grouse protection and rural community viability. This includes new position capacity to maintain and support the RPAs. Implementing electronic reporting tools: one-time funding for the implementation of two incremental enhancements to the Forestry Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System and ongoing funding for maintenance and support of the system within the Private Forests Division. Supporting position classifications and technology enhancements for the Administrative Services Division: dollars provided for the ODF Administrative Services Division helps support technical position adjustments, ensuring positions are in the right class, and for technology enhancements.

Environment Bills That Did Not Pass

HB 2401 Wildlife Bird Seed tax
Would have created an excise tax on wild bird feed. 50 Percent of the revenue would have been dedicated to voluntary actions identified in the State’s collaboratively-developed Sage Grouse Action Plan as part of Oregon’s effort to avert the need for an ESA-listing in fall 2015. The other 50 percent would have been dedicated to voluntary actions benefitting other wild bird species and Oregon Conservation Strategy habitats in urban and rural landscapes statewide, as well as engaging new and underserved communities’ conservation, outdoor education and recreation.

HB 3008 Attorney Fees in Environmental Actions
Would have awarded reasonable attorney fees to a state agency to be paid by a party asserting an environmental claim in any civil action in which the party asserts a claim relating to the environment against a state agency and the state agency is a prevailing party. The hope was to avoid frivolous lawsuits.

HB 3310/SB 824 Clean Diesel
Would have created four provisions:
One Percent for Clean Diesel in Public Contracts
Nonroad Diesel Engine Registration Requirement
Emission Requirements for Diesel Engines
Repeal of State Preemption of Local Regulation of Idling by Primary Engines in Commercial Vehicles
SB 824 was amended to create a task force that AOC would have participated in, however, even that did not pass. An informal task force is being organized to prepare legislation for 2017.

SB 30 Paint stewardship
Would have reimbursed counties for costs associated with the collection of PaintCare program materials. The bill helped leverage further participation from PaintCare in county collection activities.

SB 204 Working Farms and Forest Task Force
Establishes the Task Force on Working Farms and Forests to study multiple economic, social and environmental issues affecting continuing use of land as working farm and forests. Also establishes the Clean Water Fund in order to fund purchasing agreements regarding riparian areas on working farms and forests and for funding capital improvements in association with riparian area agreements to preserve the ability to carry out operations on the land.

SB 246 Onsite Loan Program
Established the Onsite Septic System Loan Fund and authorized DEQ to provide grants or loans to implement the program at the state, local or regional level. The program would have been structured as a revolving loan fund to maximize the use of limited start-up funds and ensure this resource was available for the long term: as loans are repaid, they are immediately available for lending to other homeowners. AOC is working with DEQ to create grassroots interest in this bill for 2017.

Land Use Bills that Passed

HB 2830 Land Use Appeal Time
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 522 (2015 Laws)
Changes the time a county has to respond to a LUBA remand from 90-days to 120-days. This time period does not begin until the applicant requests in writing that the county, but if the county does not receive the request within 180 days of the effective date of the final order, the application is terminated. The bill allows that the 120-day period may be extended for up to an additional 365 days if the parties enter into mediation prior to the expiration of the initial 120-day period. The application is terminated if the matter is not resolved through mediation prior to the expiration of the 365-day extension.

HB 2831 Property line adjustments
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 423 (2015 Laws)
Prohibits counties from approving property line adjustments in Exclusive Farm Use or Forest Land that would create a unit of land large enough to permit a new residence when the existing unit of land was smaller than the minimum lot size before the adjustment.

HB 3089 Mining Potential
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 826 (2015 Laws)
Requires State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries to conduct a study of mineral resource potential of eastern and southern Oregon counties and present a report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to environment and natural resources on or before September 15, 2016.

HB 3186 Outdoor Mass Gathering Advertising
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 428 (2015 Laws)
Allows year round advertising for outdoor mass gatherings. For example, a music festival that is held yearly can maintain a web page advertising the event for the following year before they hold the event permit.

HB 3214 Rezoning Bill
Effective date: June 18, 2015 Chapter: 477 (2015 Laws)
Directs Land Conservation and Development Commission to adopt or amend rules related to statewide planning goals in order to allow local government to rezone land in order to maintain its current use. The rezoned use will maintain the land as rural land as described by commission rule, and in a manner consistent with other statewide planning goal requirements. The rezoning cannot impact nearby resource land and cannot be in an area designated as a rural or urban reserve.

SB 341 Agritourism liability Bill
Effective date: June 22, 2015 Chapter: 535 (2015 Laws)
Provides that agri-tourism professional is not liable for injury or death of a participant arising out of inherent risks of agri-tourism if agri-tourism professional posts a specific notice and does not act negligently.

SB 361 Mining Permit Bill
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 492 (2015 Laws)
When the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries receives an application for an operating permit they must provide notice to the local give them 30 days to request that the department delay a decision. If the local jurisdiction does not request that the delay DOGAMI will give the local jurisdiction notice and an opportunity to provide comments prior to issuing the operating permit. DOGAMI will also provide information about any applicable local land use regulations, whether the site described in the proposed plan is included on a local government inventory required by any open spaces, scenic and historic areas and natural resources land use planning goal and other information. Thelocal jurisdiction has to respond within 35 days after the date of the notice.

DLCD Budget
The Department of Land Conservation and Development saw a 0.7% decrease in their total budget from the 13-15 legislatively approved budget. Two areas that were particularly hard hit were the local government grants which were cut from a proposed $2.0M to $1.5M and the elimination of the technical assistance to address natural hazard planning positions.

Land Use Bills That Did Not Pass

HB 2564 Inclusionary Zoning (Support)
Would have permitted local governments to impose conditions on approved permits that effectively establish sales price for up to 30 percent of residential for living wage earning purchasers in exchange for one or more developer incentives.

HB 2633/SB 94 Natural Hazards and Tsunami Planning
Two ambitious bills that would have required local governments to plan for Tsunamis and other natural disasters. While AOC supports planning for natural disasters and believe that counties are already planning for these potential disasters, neither bill came with funds for further planning. AOC will continue to work closely with legislators and DLCD to ensure that counties are fully prepared to face any natural disasters.

HB 2666 Mining Use Application
An attempt to establish a process for counties to evaluate proposed mining use for impacts on neighboring land owners when federal or state agencies have not authorized the mining use. The mining community is attempting to find a process to streamline the application process when the proposed mining use does not force “significant change in accepted farm or forest practice of significantly increase cost of accepted farm or forest practices.” AOC plans to engage with stakeholders to continue to find a compromise.

HB 2668 Industrial Hemp
An attempt to keep industrial help grows away from legal marijuana grows. The hemp interferes with the marijuana’s ability to produce useable product. This bill attempted to limit the number of industrial hemp sites and keep buffer zones between the hemp and marijuana.

HB 2894 Water District Zoning
The Water Resource Congress’ bill attempting to legislate better coordination between water districts and county and city planners. Their concerns arise when new developments interfere with the activities of the water district. Most counties felt strongly that there was already sufficient coordination but AOC will work with the Water Resource Congress during the interim to find an acceptable compromise.

HB 3212 Measure 49 claims for agricultural practices
Would have added any law enacted, or rule adopted, by state or local government solely for the purpose of regulating a farming practice that was allowed immediately prior to enactment of the law or adoption of the rule to the eligibility of Measure 49 claims. The bill would have been in effect on January 1, 2016 and would have excluded marijuana laws or rules.

HB 3367 Trails through EFU
Would have made the establishment of recreational trails on land zoned for exclusive farm use (EFU) a conditional use rather than an outright use. DLCD review determined that recreational trails are subject to either a conditional use or need to be part of the transportation system plan. When a trail is added to an existing right of way for roads or highway in EFU no review is necessary; however, a trail on a railroad or some other right of way through EFU land will require a conditional use review.

HB 3368 Events on EFU
An attempt to modify the conditional land use approval in order to allow a home occupation on EFU land to be conducted in an outdoor setting. The purpose was to clarify that a wedding held on EFU land could be considered a home occupation in the conditional use process; however, it was determined that a Land Use Board of Appeals ruling already approved these uses.

SB 25 Rural Economic Bill
Would have given counties with stagnant population growth the option for more control and flexibility to set their own land use goals and standards in an effort to spur economic growth. The bill mirrors Washington State’s current land use system. While the bill received a public hearing there seems to be a concern over undermining any part of Oregon’s current system.

SB 349/HB 3379 Land Use Appeal Fee limits
Would have put limits on the amount of an appeal fee that a county or city could charge for a quasi-judicial review of county decisions on land use applications. The limits would have been capped at $1000 or 10 percent of the original application fee, whichever was less. Proponents feel like appeal fees block access to justice while counties and cities pointed out that these are fee-based programs that need to be funded and this limit would just shift costs elsewhere.

SB 778 DOGAMI/Natural Disaster Bills
Would have allowed the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) to require entities that are building new structures in tsunami inundation zones to use a specific methodology to determine risk of danger. If DOGAMI determined that there was unreasonable danger to the occupant they would have been able to force the builders to comply with their recommendations.

SB 808 Emergency Resilience Planning
Would have established a task force to review established state and local plans and make recommendations to prepare for and respond to catastrophic consequences and mass displacement that may result from naturally occurring seismic events.

SB 873 Transmission lines on High Value EFU
An attempt to ensure that transmission lines were sited through the least productive farmland when possible. The concern arose from transmission lines that cut through irrigated farm lands and interfere with farming practices. The bill called for an analysis that included other factors than cost to utilities putting in the transmission lines.

The 2015 Oregon legislative session focused on a wide range of issues directly affecting the operation of county government.  As a result, the AOC Governance Steering Committee evaluated and recommended positions on bills impacting public employment, public contracting, elections, marijuana, and much more. Below is a summary of the key pieces of legislation that passed in the governance arena. Following that is a section which summarizes legislation that had traction, but did not pass. It is very likely that these pieces of legislation will be reintroduced, in some form, in future legislative sessions.

Animal Control

SB 4 Fixing Issues Created by 2013 Senate Bill 6
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 267 (2015 Laws)
Modifies definition of “animal rescue entity” to provide that legal custody of 10 or more animals includes animals located off-site.
NOTE: This was a Marion County bill necessary to fix issues with 2013 Senate Bill 6.

County Property

SB 548 Transfer to Indian Tribe
Effective date: June 10, 2015 Chapter: 354 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes county to sell or donate real property to certain federally recognized Indian tribes.


HB 2177 New Motor Voter
Effective Date: March 16, 2015 Chapter: 8 (2015 Laws)
Directs the Oregon Department of Transportation to provide the Secretary of State (SOS) with electronic records containing legal name, age, residence and citizenship information and electronic signature of each person who may qualify as elector as prescribed by SOS rule. Directs SOS to register as elector each nonregistered person who is qualified to vote and to notify persons how to decline registration and how to adopt political party affiliation.
NOTE: This creates a new mandate on county election services by significantly increasing the voter registration rolls (about 20 percent). However, through HB 5036, Sections 1(3) and 4, the Legislature funded the new mandate at its estimated cost to counties.

HB 2957 Limiting Election Dates for Local Initiatives to May and November
Effective date: April 22, 2015 Chapter: 44 (2015 Laws)
Establishes specific dates for elections on county measures, city measures and district measures that are not referred to people by county governing body, city governing body or district elections authority.


SB 454 Mandatory Sick Leave
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 537 (2015 Laws)
Requires all employers to implement sick time for employees. Creates exceptions. Specifies purposes for which sick time may be taken and rate at which sick time accrues. Requires advance notice of request to use sick time under certain circumstances. Prohibits discrimination against employee for inquiring about or using sick time. Makes violation unlawful practice subject to jurisdiction of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Authorizes civil action for violation. Preempts authority of local governments to set sick leave requirements.
Action Needed: Determine if your personnel rules and policies are in compliance.
NOTE: This bill may affect local governments’ service levels or shared revenues sufficient to trigger Section 15, Article XI of the Oregon Constitution (unfunded mandates).

HB 3015 “Ban the Box”
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 425 (2015 Laws)
Establishes unlawful practice of inquiring into or considering applicant’s conviction history on application form or prior to interview or, if no interview is conducted, prior to conditional offer of employment. Creates exceptions. Authorizes the Bureau of Labor and Industries to enforce.
Action Needed: Likely revision of application forms and personnel rules.
NOTE: The exceptions are as follows:
(a) If federal, state or local law, including corresponding rules and regulations, requires the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history.
(b) An employer that is a law enforcement agency.
(c) An employer in the criminal justice system.
(d) An employer seeking a nonemployee volunteer.


NOTE: See important note at the end of this MARIJUANA section.

HB 3400 Omnibus Marijuana Legislation
Effective date: June 30, 2015 Chapter: 614 (2015 Laws)
Revises laws relating to recreational and medical marijuana. Provides two paths for local opt out of any one or more category of marijuana businesses. Clarifies local authority to impose reasonable time, place and manner regulations on marijuana businesses. Clarifies land use status of state licensed recreational marijuana production. Requires land use compatibility statement (LUCS) prior to issuance of any recreational marijuana business license. Allows local tax on sale of retail marijuana items, if approved by local voters at a general election, not to exceed three percent, but prohibits local option tax if city or county prohibit any category of marijuana business. Expands powers and duties of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) related to OLCC licensed marijuana businesses. Requires a seed-to-sale tracking system for the recreational marijuana supply system. Provides for testing, packaging, labeling and dosage standards. Requires registration and tracking of all medical marijuana grow sites, processing sites and dispensaries in an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) database. Permits law enforcement, and city and county regulatory agencies, to access database, except for transaction information, which requires a subpoena. Requires registration of designated medical marijuana grow sites and processing sites. Limits the number of medical marijuana plants that may be grown at a single address. Reduces certain marijuana offense Levels.
Possible Action Needed:
Opt out ordinance, if opt out of any one or more category of state licensed or registered marijuana businesses is desired.
Time, place and manner regulatory ordinance, if local time, place or manner regulations related to any one or more category of state licensed or registered marijuana businesses is desired.
Amendments to land use planning code.

SB 460 “Early Start” of Recreational Sales through Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 784 (2015 Laws)
Allows medical marijuana dispensaries to sell limited marijuana retail products, beginning October 1, 2015, namely seeds, dried leaves and flowers, and plants that are not flowering. Limits amount that can be sold to each customer. Allows cities and counties to prohibit these retail sales by ordinance.
Possible Action Needed: Opt out ordinance, if opt out of sales of recreational marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries is desired.

HB 2041 Taxation of Retail Marijuana
Effective date: October 5, 2015 Chapter: 699 (2015 Laws)
Imposes state tax on sale of retail products, in lieu of Measure 91 tax on grower products, at a 17 percent tax rate. Retains net distribution formula from Measure 91 (including 10 percent to cities, and 10 percent to counties, to assist with enforcing Measure 91). Disqualifies a city or county from receiving any distribution if the city or county prohibits any one or more of the six categories of marijuana business licensees. Provides special “Early Start” tax rate of 25 percent, beginning January 4, 2016.

SB 844 Miscellaneous Marijuana Amendments
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 844 (2015 Laws)
Provides for research task force. Reduces expunction waiting period from three years to one year for person adjudicated or convicted of marijuana offenses when they were under 21. Changes Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) “agitation incident to Alzheimer’s disease” qualifying condition to “a degenerative or pervasive neurological condition.” Allows certain medical organizations to be a designated OMMA caregiver. Prohibits transplant hospitals from discriminating against OMMA cardholders.
Important Note regarding marijuana legislation: AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett has recently generated a number of materials related to this topic, which are continuously being updated and supplemented. As of July 16, 2015, the following materials are available to AOC members upon request, and have been made available to members of the Oregon County Counsels Association (OCCA):
Regulation of Marijuana in Oregon PowerPoint (history, medical, retail, legislation, offenses)
PDF (7.4mb, 152 slides, 7/15/15) (too large to email, for some)
PPT (15.4mb, 152 slides, 7/15/15) (too large to email)
Brief Summary of 2015 Oregon Marijuana Legislation (PDF, 315k, 2 pages, 7/12/15)
Selected Provisions of 2015 Oregon Marijuana Legislation (PDF, 267k, 6 pages, 7/12/15)
Local opt out of marijuana businesses
Sample ordinances (PDF, 346k, 3 pages, 7/6/15)
Sample order calling for election (PDF, 97k, 2 pages, 7/12/15)
Sample ballot title (PDF, 217k, 1 page, 7/12/15)
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New and revised marijuana offenses – training for law enforcement
Booklet (PDF, 403k, 12 pages, last updated 7/1/15(
PowerPoint (PDF, 1.5mb, 34 slides, last updated 7/1/15)
Video (WMV, 703mb, 30 minutes, 6/30/15)


HB 3495 Fixing the OPSRP Contribution Start Date
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 326 (2015 Laws)
Provides for employer and employee contributions to pension program and individual account program of Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan to first be made for new members for wages that are attributable to services performed during first full pay period following six-month probationary period, without regard to when wages are considered earned for other purposes.

Public Contracting and Procurement

HB 2716 Continued Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Emerging Small Business Enterprise Status as Material Condition
Effective date: June 10, 2015 Chapter: 325 (2015 Laws)
Requires public contracting agencies to provide, as material condition of public contract, that contractor remain certified as disadvantaged, minority, women or emerging small business enterprise during entire term of public contract if contracting agency awarded public contract, in whole or in part, on basis of contractor’s certification. Requires public contracting agency to provide that contractors include similar provision in subcontracts. Permits affected public contracting agency or Oregon Business Development Department to impose civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for violation of prohibition against fraudulently obtaining or retaining or assisting other person to fraudulently obtain or retain certification as disadvantaged, minority, women or emerging small business enterprise. Requires public contracting agency to verify that contractor retains certification during entire term of public contract.
Action Needed: Updating public contracting forms.

HB 2987 Discretion to Not Include Green Energy Technology Where Not Appropriate
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 424 (2015 Laws)
Removes requirement for contracting agency to hold in account or otherwise reserve moneys for including green energy technology in constructing, reconstructing or performing major renovation on public building if contracting agency determines that including green energy technology is not appropriate. Requires contracting agency to report to State Department of Energy amount that contracting agency would have spent to include green energy technology in constructing, reconstructing or performing major renovation of public building had contracting agency determined that doing so was appropriate. Requires department to report to Legislative Assembly contracting agency compliance with reporting mandates and other mandates.

HB 3248 Contracting with Qualified Nonprofit Agency for Individuals with Disabilities
Effective date: June 22, 2015 Chapter: 526 (2015 Laws)
Requires public agency that terminates contract with qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities to provide in new contract with second qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities that second qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities must, for period of 90 days after date of new contract, offer employment to individuals with disabilities who performed work under contract that public agency terminated. Permits public agency to procure products and services from source other than qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities under specified circumstances. Permits public agency that may choose to procure products and services from more than one qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities to grant preference to that qualified nonprofit agency for individuals with disabilities that best demonstrates compliance with local ordinances and resolutions that govern labor standards and provides certain other benefits.

HB 3303 Service-Disabled Veterans Preference; Continued Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Emerging Small Business Enterprise Status as Material Condition
Effective date: June 25, 2015 Chapter: 565 (2015 Laws)
Permits Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity to certify business that service-disabled veteran owns as business enterprise that is eligible for certain preferences in public contracting. Changes name of Advocate for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business to Governor’s Policy Advisor for Economic and Business Equity. Changes name of Office for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business to Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity. Directs contracting agency to suspend right of certified disadvantaged business enterprise, minority-owned business, woman-owned business, business that service-disabled veteran owns or emerging small business to bid on or participate in public contract if enterprise or business exhibits pattern of failing to perform commercially useful function in public contract. Requires public contracting agency to provide as material condition of public contract that contractor remain certified as disadvantaged business enterprise, minority-owned business, woman-owned business, business that service-disabled veteran owns or emerging small business during entire term of public contract if contracting agency awarded public contract, in whole or in part, on basis of contractor’s certification. Requires contracting agency to provide that contractors include similar provision in subcontracts. Requires contracting agency to verify that contractor retains certification during entire term of public contract. Permits affected contracting agency or Oregon Business Development Department to impose civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for violation of prohibition against fraudulently obtaining or retaining or assisting other person to fraudulently obtain or retain certification as disadvantaged business enterprise, minority-owned business, woman-owned business, business that service-disabled veteran owns or emerging small business.
Action Needed: Updating public contracting forms.

SB 137 Closing Prevailing Wage Rate Loophole Relating to Private-Public Projects
Effective date: June 18, 2015 Chapter: 482 (2015 Laws)
Changes definition of public works for purpose of applying prevailing rate of wage to include project that uses $750,000 or more of funds of public agency for constructing, reconstructing, painting or performing major renovation on road, highway, building, structure or improvement of any type.

SB 491 Contractor Training and Certification Regarding Wage Discrimination
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 454 (2015 Laws)
Directs Oregon Department of Administrative Services to establish training program and specifies elements that program must include. Permits department to conduct training or to enter into interagency agreement or contract to provide training. Requires bidder or proposer to possess unexpired certificate that department issues for completion of training as part of bidder’s or proposer’s demonstration of responsibility. Requires all public contracts to provide that contractors must comply with prohibitions against discrimination in wage payments and compensation and that contractors may not prohibit employees from discussing with others employees’ rate of wage, salary or other compensation or retaliate against employees who discuss employees’ rate of wage, salary or other compensation.
Action Needed: Updating public contracting forms.

SB 584 Suspension of Sham Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Emerging Small Business Enterprise Contractors
Effective date: May 21, 2015 Chapter: 148 (2015 Laws)
Directs public contracting agency to suspend right of certified disadvantaged, minority, women or emerging small business enterprise to bid on or participate in public contract if certified disadvantaged, minority, women or emerging small business enterprise exhibits pattern of failing to perform commercially useful function in public contract.

SB 675 Certification of Tax Compliance by Means Other than Affidavit
Effective date: June 22, 2015 Chapter: 539 (2015 Laws)
Requires bidder or proposer for public contract to demonstrate responsibility by attesting in any way contracting agency deems credible and convenient that bidder or proposer complied with tax laws of this state. Requires public contract to include representation and warranty from contractor that contractor has complied with tax laws of this state and that contracting agency may terminate public contract if contractor fails to comply during term of public contract.
Action Needed: Updating public contracting forms.

Public Meetings

SB 294 Ethics Commission Rulemaking for Executive Sessions
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 666 (2015 Laws)
Grants Oregon Government Ethics Commission administrative rulemaking authority to assist in commission’s enforcement of executive session provisions of public meeting laws. Prohibits commission from using rulemaking authority to establish what entities are considered representatives of news media that are entitled to attend executive sessions.

Public Records

HB 2208 Exemption of Personal Information: Code Enforcement Officers; DPSST Records
Effective date: June 10, 2015 Chapter: 313 (2015 Laws)
Adds civil code enforcement officers to public officials who may request exemption from required disclosure under public records law of specified personal information. Defines “civil code enforcement officer.” Exempts specified personal information of individuals currently or previously certified or licensed by Department of Public Safety Standards and Training from required disclosure under public records law.

HB 3037 Exemption of Personal Information: Public Employees and Volunteers
Effective Date: April 9, 2015 Chapter: 26 (2015 Laws)
Modifies public records law exemption from required disclosure of certain personal information of public employees and public body volunteers to remove mandated disclosure upon showing that public interest would require disclosure in particular instance. Requires that certain personal information submitted in confidence and not otherwise required to be disclosed be maintained confidentially and not disclosed pursuant to a public records request.
NOTE: See also House Bill 3557 immediately below.

HB 3557 Release of Personal Information: Public Employees and Volunteers
Effective date: July 28, 2015 Chapter: 805 (2015 Laws)
Requires public bodies that receive requests for disclosure of specified personal contact information of public employees or certain other persons to forward copy of request to affected persons whose information is subject of request or their representatives. Requires public body to delay responding to request for seven days. Grants immunity to public bodies from any liability that arises from disclosure of information. Permits public bodies to recover costs incurred in responding to requests.

Bills That Did Not Pass


SB 29 Reforming Precinct Committee Person (PCP) Elections
Establishes procedures for electing precinct committeepersons. Requires one committeeperson for every 250 electors, rather than for every 500 electors, who are registered in precinct. Provides that write-in candidate may be eligible for election to precinct committeeperson position if no other candidate for position exists. Requires write-in candidate to signify acceptance of successful write-in candidacy before primary election, rather than after election.
NOTE: This was a County Clerks (OACC) bill. It passed both chambers, but in different forms. The Senate refused to concur in the House amendments. OACC plans to introduce one or more variations of this bill in the 2016 legislative session.


Increasing the Minimum Wage
Quite a number of minimum wage bills were introduced, but none passed. It is likely this issue will be on the November 2016 general election by initiative, unless addressed by the 2016 legislative session, which does not seem likely at present.

HB 2544 Mandatory Arbitration for Interim Bargaining
Requires issue subject to collective bargaining during term of collective bargaining agreement that is not resolved through negotiation or mediation to be resolved through binding arbitration. Prohibits public employees from striking when issue subject to collective bargaining during term of collective bargaining agreement is subject to binding arbitration.

HB 2978 Adding More Police Supervisors to Collective Bargaining Units
Excludes certain police officers from meaning of supervisory employee for purposes of public employment.

Public Contracting

SB 414 Additional Burdens, and Judicial Review, for Contracting Out Services
Permits employee of contracting agency that conducts cost analysis or determines feasibility of procurement, or exclusive representative of employee’s bargaining unit, to seek judicial review of cost analysis or determination. Specifies conditions under which review may occur. Requires contracting agency to take certain steps to obtain information necessary to conduct cost analysis before advertising or soliciting procurement. Requires contracting agency under certain circumstances to update cost analysis and to reconsider determination of feasibility of agency performing services that are subject to procurement. Requires contracting agency to consider contractor’s profit in cost analysis. Prohibits contracting agency from considering proceeds from selling or costs of replacing long-term assets in cost analysis.

SB 809 Requiring Certain Levels of Journeyman Work
Requires bidder that submits bid for contract for public works with estimated contract price of $1 million or more to demonstrate responsibility by belonging to local joint committee whose training agents, in aggregate, employed apprentices for 10 percent or more of hours that training agents’ employees worked on contracts in previous calendar year or by showing that bidder employed apprentices for 10 percent or more of hours that bidder’s employees worked on contracts during previous calendar year. Provides that Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries may set percentage at which public agency may determine responsibility of bidder for contract for public works. Requires contracting agency to base determination of bidder’s responsibility in contracts for public works with estimated contract price of $1 million or more on training agents approved by local joint committee of which bidder is part employing apprentices for 10 percent or more of hours training agents’ employees worked during previous calendar year or on bidder’s status as approved training agent and on bidder’s record of employing apprentices for 10 percent or more of hours that bidder’s employees worked during previous calendar year. Requires contractors and subcontractors performing work on public works to submit statements to public agency that show hours that apprentices work during each week. Permits commissioner to verify compliance with requirement. Appropriates moneys to Bureau of Labor and Industries to establish verification program and for other purposes. Requires local joint training committee to report to bureau hours that apprentices and journeyworkers worked during previous calendar year and requires bureau to publish information on bureau’s website.

HB 2617 New Burdens with Regard to Subcontractors
Provides that contractor may award subcontract only to responsible subcontractor. Requires contractor to check list that Construction Contractors Board maintains of persons that are not eligible for award of public improvement contract and to require prospective subcontractor to submit affidavit that demonstrates prospective subcontractor’s responsibility. Requires contractor to provide contracting agency with copy of affidavit. Provides that contractor need not inquire into or verify truth of prospective subcontractor’s affidavit. Requires bidder to submit affidavit to show compliance with tax laws of state. Permits contracting agency or board to bar contractor or subcontractor from award of public improvement contract if contractor or subcontractor knowingly or intentionally makes false statement on affidavit.

HB 3321 New Burdens on Procurement #1
Requires contracting agencies to provide to Oregon Department of Administrative Services, and department to post on Oregon transparency website, certain information about public contracts. Requires public contract to provide that contractor provide information to contracting agency and that contracting agency treat information as public record subject to disclosure under state’s public records laws. Requires meetings between contractor and contracting agency head or local contract review board to comply with state’s public meetings laws. Prohibits contracting agency from awarding public contract unless contracting agency first determines that contracting agency has necessary personnel and expertise to properly administer, oversee and monitor public contract and contractor’s performance under public contract. Specifies criteria for contracting agency’s determination. Specifies required provisions and allowable contents of public contract for goods or services, including personal services. Prohibits certain provisions in public contract for goods or services, including personal services. Requires bidder or proposer to demonstrate responsibility by submitting affidavit that certifies that contractor has complied with applicable local, state and federal laws, rules, regulations, ordinances and resolutions.

HB 3322 New Burdens on Procurement #2
Requires contracting agency before conducting procurement to conduct study concerning how procurement will affect local area in which work in connection with procurement will occur and to post results of study to contracting agency’s website and to Oregon transparency website. Requires contracting agency to provide results of cost analysis to employees of contracting agency or certified exclusive representative of employees, provide opportunity to employees or exclusive representative to provide alternative cost analysis and consider alternative cost analysis on same basis as contracting agency’s cost analysis. Requires contracting agency to demonstrate that procurement will result in contracting agency incurring at least 10 percent less in costs than contracting agency would incur in performing services with contracting agency’s own personnel and resources. Requires contractor on public contract to pay contractor’s employees wages and benefits that are equivalent to wages and benefits that public employee would receive.

Public Meetings

HB 3417 Advance Notice and Opportunity to Comment for Regional Solutions Advisory Committees
Requires minimum of 30 days’ public notice and opportunity to comment period prior to meeting dates of regional solutions advisory committees.

Public Records

HB 3505 Deadlines and Sanctions for Responding to Public Records Requests
Requires public bodies to establish public records retention schedules that require minimum three-year retention of public records. Modifies definition of “state agency” for public records law purposes. Requires public bodies to respond to public records request within seven days of request and at seven-day intervals thereafter until complete disposition of request. Waives fees public body would have received if complete disposition of request has not been made within three weeks of request and treats request as denied if complete disposition has not been made within six weeks of request. Establishes alternative method for determining fees public bodies may charge public records requesters. Requires public body to charge lesser of fee determined under existing law or under alternative method. Requires public body that creates or retains public records on social media, that sends public record through text messaging or that sends public records using electronic mail addresses, domain of which is not owned by public body, to store copies of records on storage equipment owned or operated by public body within 30 days of creation or retention of record. Authorizes Attorney General to impose civil penalties for violation of storage requirements.

Municipal Bankruptcy

HB 3518 Insolvent Local Government or Special Government Body
Requires governing body of local government or special government body to notify Governor when local government or special government body is insolvent. Authorizes Governor in certain circumstances to take certain actions to resolve state of fiscal emergency in insolvent local government or special government body. Authorizes Governor to establish Fiscal Emergency Oversight Board for local government or special government body in state of fiscal emergency. Authorizes board, on behalf of local government or special government body in state of fiscal emergency, to file petition and seek all relief available to municipality under federal bankruptcy law. Provides circumstances in which Governor may terminate board’s oversight of local government or special government body.

Property Taxation

HJR 21 Minimum County Permanent Tax Rate
Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution that provides that rate of ad valorem property taxes imposed by county for any property tax year may not be less than $2.00 per thousand dollars of assessed value and excepts $2.00 per thousand dollars minimum from compression under Ballot Measure 5 (1990).


SB 333 Designates March 22 as Tom McCall Day
Designates March 22 of each year as Tom McCall Day to commemorate Governor McCall and encourage school districts to educate children about Governor McCall’s legacy.

This session saw a big focus on mental and public health. While CCOs and Early Learning Hubs continued to have new legislation introduced, things on those fronts have calmed down quite substantially from previous years. This session also saw some important investments in health and human services.

While AOC started out the session with a plan for a bill to expand partnerships between public safety and mental health, at the request of President Courtney’s office, we ended up working primarily through the budget process. While the $50 million figure initially discussed internally for sequential intercept, an additional $28 million was allocated for community mental health programs, in addition to the roll up of funds from 13-15 biennium. The funds are allocated as follows: $7.0 million for crisis service, including mobile crisis services; $6.5 million for jail diversion; $7.0 million for supported housing (rental assistance) and peer-delivered services; and $1.5 million to expand the Oregon Psychiatric Access Line for Kids (OPAL-K); and $6.0 million for addictions treatment and recovery support, including increased capacity for detoxification/withdrawal management, sobering facilities and peer delivered services.

Public health was the other hot human services topic this session, with the Public Health Modernization bill that came out of the Task Force on the Future of Public Health. With Commissioner Tammy Baney (Deschutes County) chairing the Task Force, AOC and CLHO (Coalition of Local Health Officials) closely followed the development of the group’s recommendations and worked to ensure the bill was as closely aligned as possible with said recommendations. In the interim there will be a great deal of planning work between the agency and counties to determine how local public health authorities will be structured (i.e. what services will be shared between which counties) moving forward.

We also saw some powerful progress in the area of tobacco use/prevention, with a large focus on electronic cigarettes. CLHO successfully led the campaign to ban sales to minors and to include e-cigarettes in the Indoor Clean Air Act. Efforts were also made to tax e-cigs and to require licenses for tobacco retailers, neither of which passed. Both of these remain options for local governments however.

Addictions & Mental Health

Bills That Passed

HB 2307 Conversion Therapy
Effective date: May 18, 2015 Chapter 79 (2015 Laws)
Prohibits mental health care professionals and social health professionals from practicing conversion therapy if recipient of conversion therapy is under 18 years of age.

HB 2023 Discharge Planning
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 466 (2015 Laws)
Specifies requirements for hospital policies for discharge planning involving patient who is
hospitalized for mental health treatment.

HB 2306 Prescription Drug Access
Effective date: June 18, 2015 Chapter: 467 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes Oregon Health Authority to limit providers from which medical assistance recipient may obtain prescription drugs if recipient meets specified criteria.

HB 2368 Conflicts of Health Care Instructions
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 82 (2015 Laws)
Provides that if person has both valid health care instruction, or valid power of attorney for health care, and declaration for mental health treatment, that inconsistencies in documents are governed by declaration for mental health treatment.

HB 2420 Consultation with Community Mental Health Prior to Referral to State
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 130 (2015 Laws)
Before referring an individual to the State Hospital, a court shall order that a community mental health program director or the director’s designee consult with the defendant to determine whether services and supervision necessary to safely restore the defendant’s fitness to proceed are available in the community. After the consultation, the program director or the director’s designee shall provide to the court a copy of the findings resulting from the consultation. The Oregon Health Authority shall establish by rule standards for the consultation

HB 2936 Sobering Centers
Effective date: July 20, 2015 Chapter: 730 (2015 Laws)
Extends criminal and civil immunity to sobering facility and staff, registered with Oregon Health Authority (OHA) before January 1, 2016 for acting on probable cause in good faith without malice. Extends criminal and civil immunity to sobering facility and staff registered with OHA on or after January 1, 2016 for acting on probable cause in good faith without gross negligence. Defines sobering facility as one that: provides acutely intoxicated persons with safe, clean, supervised environment until sobriety improves; affiliates with OHA-approved addictions treatment program or provider; adopts comprehensive written policies and procedures incorporating best practices for safety of intoxicated persons, employees and volunteers; and is registered with OHA. Requires OHA to establish registry of sobering facilities. Permits OHA to register only facilities in operation when Act becomes effective and has submitted written request to OHA by December 31, 2015. Permits OHA to accept written requests from new sobering facilities after January 1, 2016, but prohibits registering more than three. Requires OHA to report on sobering facilities each regular legislative session beginning with 2017. Requires affiliated providers to enter into written agreement to consult, train. advise and make referrals. Allows for discharge of person who is danger to self or others within first 24 hours of admission. Prohibits disclosure of records without consent. Allows law enforcement to transport intoxicated person to sobering facility.

HB 3132 Conduit Bonding
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 220 (2015 Laws)
Expands definition of “hospital facility” to include behavioral treatment facilities and family safety facilities in regard to local public authorities created to finance hospital facilities. Allows the county to issue tax-exempt bonds for an organization seeking to build a mental health treatment facility as long as the facility has a residential component of 72-hour minimum stay to a 12-month maximum. Bill came from Multnomah County.

HB 3168 Waiving of Criminal Fines
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter 186 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes court to waive unpaid portion of previously imposed criminal fine if defendant demonstrates financial hardship that prevents completion of alcohol or drug treatment program.

HB 3347 Civil Commitment Definitions
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 433 (2015 Laws)
Modifies definition of “person with mental illness” as used in civil commitment statutes. Expands person with mental illness definition to include “unable to provide for basic personal needs that are necessary to avoid serious physical harm in the near future, and is not receiving such care as is necessary to avoid such harm” language.

SB 227 Brain Trauma Registry
Effective date: January 1, 2016. Chapter: 286 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes establishment, from information maintained in Oregon Trauma Registry, of registry of information related to brain injury trauma.

SB 229 Compensation for Advisory Council Members
Effective date: June 8, 2015 Chapter: 287 (2015 Laws)
Requires members of Consumer Advisory Council who advise Director of Oregon Health Authority on provision of mental health services to be compensated by Oregon Health Authority for performing duties of council.

SB 465 Local Authority for Civil Commitments
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 785 (2015 Laws)
Replaces “county” with “community mental health program” and “community mental health program director” throughout statutes governing process to initiate commitment of persons with mental illness to align responsibility for payment of associated costs. Accounts for possibility of public or private entity under contract with Oregon Health Authority to provide mental health programs. Establishes that community mental health program is responsible for cost when state funds provided to community mental health program are exhausted. This bill came from Douglas County to address their situation.

SB 561 Youth suicide reporting – Chapter 296, 2015 Laws.
Effective date: June 8, 2015 Chapter: 296 (2015 Laws)
Directs Oregon Health Authority to develop plan for communication among local mental health authorities and systems to improve notifications and information-sharing when death suspected to be suicide involves individual 24 years of age or younger.

SB 832 Integration of Care
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 798 (2015 Laws)
Establishes behavioral health homes to be used by coordinated care organizations (CCOs). Requires Oregon Health Authority (OHA) set standards for achieving integration of behavioral and physical health services in patient-centered primary care homes and behavioral health homes via rulemaking. Permits use of applicable billing codes by providers in patient-centered primary care homes and behavioral health homes. Creates necessary definitions, including “integrated behavioral health care” and “behavioral health home.”

SB 840 “Hold” Authority
Effective date: June 16, 2015 Chapter: 461 (2015 Laws)
Authorizes licensed independent practitioner to initiate or approve prehearing detention in hospital or nonhospital facility of person who is subject of civil commitment proceedings.

SB 951 Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 405 (2015 Laws)
Modifies charge, size, composition, and duties of Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission. Makes composition discretionary. Removes ex officio members. Permits Commission to appoint nonmembers to subcommittees. Removes requirement and functions of budget advisory committee. Requires Commission make specific recommendations as part of its long-term strategic plan.

SJM 4 42 C. F.R. Part 2
Urges Congress to enact legislation to update 42 C.F.R. part 2 to allow health care providers for same patient to share treatment information while maintaining appropriate levels of confidentiality and protections against disclosure.

Bills That Did Not Pass

HB 2135 & SB 12 Alcohol Tax Preemption
Would have removed prohibition against local government enactment of taxes on alcoholic beverages.

HB 2022 Provider Case Management Requirement
Would have required hospital or provider of residential treatment that discharges individual
with mental illness to provide case management services to assist individual in transitioning to outpatient mental health treatment.

HB 2297 Children’s Behavioral Health Task Force
Would have established Task Force to Build a More Effective System for Preventing Children’s Behavioral, Psychological and Health Problems. Rep. Greenlick’s bill. AOCMHP and AOC both wanted to see amendments. AOCMHP was going to work with requester of the bill and OHA to see necessary changes during rulemaking should the bill have passed.

HB 2421 Mental Health Drugs
Would have made mental health drugs subject to Practitioner-Managed Prescription Drug Plan.

HB 2825 Housing Funds
Would have allowed Oregon Health Authority to seek out and apply for funding for, and appropriates moneys from General Fund to pay for, residential care for individuals with mental illness, addictions or co-occurring disorders. AOC supported, but did not work.

HB 3249 Court Civil Commitment Authority
Would have authorized court to initiate civil commitment proceedings if person is unable or refuses to comply with order of assisted outpatient treatment.

HB 3502 Outpatient Placement
Would have made various changes to statutes related to treatment of individuals who are found by court to have mental illness and to be in need of treatment. Would have required placement in the least restrictive setting within seven days. Would have required reporting to hospitals on number of patients deemed to have mental illness and information about vacancies at state hospital.

HB 3477 CCO Mental Health Contract Pilots
Would have required the Oregon Health Authority to operate pilot projects in no fewer than six counties to test effectiveness of having coordinated care organizations contract with mental health providers to provide mental health services.

SB 661 Opioid Drug Coverage
Would have required health benefit plan that covers opioid analgesic drug products to cover abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drug products, at no greater cost to insured than other preferred drugs under plan, and specifies other requirements regarding coverage.

SB 736 Juvenile Mental Health Status Report
Would have directed Department of Human Services to submit report to interim legislative committees regarding status of juvenile mental health treatment in Oregon no later than July 1, 2016.

SB 739 Department of Corrections Mental Health Care
Would have established standards of care for Department of Corrections inmates with serious mental illness.

SB 758 Task Force on Students with Intensive Behavioral Needs
Would have established Task Force on Students with Intensive Behavioral Needs.

SB 780 Department of Corrections Pilot Project for Veterans With PTSD
Would have directed Department of Corrections to establish pilot program for mental health treatment for inmates engaged in intensive alternative incarceration addiction program who are service members and who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

SB 787 Behavioral Health Task Force
Would have established a Task Force on Mental Health Care and Treatment to develop detailed changes to statewide system of mental health care and treatment.

SB 831 CCO Mental Health Contracts
Would have required coordinated care organization to employ or contract with clinical mental health professionals to provide mental health care and treatment to members of organization.

SB 834 Behavioral Health Task Force
Would have established Task Force on Effective Mental Health Treatment for purpose of studying effectiveness of mental health treatment available in Oregon.

Public Health

Bills That Passed

HB 5039 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Funds
Effective date: August 12, 2015 Chapter: 816 (2015 Laws)
The Subcommittee approved the following allocations from the Tobacco Settlement Funds Account:
$30,909,888 is allocated to the DAS, Oregon Health and Science University Bond Fund to pay debt service and administrative fees on the Oregon Opportunity Bonds
$4,120,000 is allocated to the Department of Education for physical education related grants authorized by ORS 329.501
$4,120,000 is allocated to the Oregon Health Authority for tobacco prevention and cessation programs
$16,000,000 is allocated to the Oregon Health Authority for community mental health programs
$101,760,000 is allocated to the Oregon Health Authority for the Oregon Health Plan
Funds were initially pulled from tobacco prevention to back-fill Medicaid. AOC and CLHO advocated for funds to be restored.

HB 2546 E-cigarette Regulation
Effective date: May 26, 2015 Chapter: 158 (2015 Laws)
Defines “inhalant delivery system.” Amends laws concerning sale of tobacco products to, and use of tobacco products by, minors so those laws equally apply to inhalant delivery systems.
Provides for further regulation of inhalant delivery systems. Expands scope of offense of endangering welfare of a minor from knowingly causing sale of tobacco products to minors to knowingly allowing sale of tobacco products to minors and adds distribution and sale of inhalant delivery systems. For purposes of Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, defines “inhalant.” Makes prohibitions of Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act apply to inhalants. Makes certain other changes to Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act. Makes amendments to Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act operative on January 1, 2016. Repeals laws related to smoking in public that are duplicative or inconsistent with provisions of Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act.

HB 2837 Seatbelt Exemptions
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 109 (2015 Laws)
Directs Director of Transportation to issue certificate of exemption from requirement to use child safety system, safety belt or safety harness if statement is submitted by nurse practitioner or physician assistant on behalf of person requesting exemption.

HB 2879 Pharmacists Prescribing Power
Effective date: July 6, 2015 Chapter: 649 (2015 Laws)
Permits pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptive patches and self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives.

HB 2934 Exploration of Basic Health Plan – Chapter 256, 2015 Laws.
Effective date: June 4, 2015 Chapter: 256 (2015 Laws)
Directs Oregon Health Authority to convene a stakeholder workgroup to provide recommendations on operation of a basic health program. Specifies workgroup membership, when the first meeting shall occur and to develop recommendations to be reported to the interim health care committees no later than December 1, 2015. Section 1331 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the option to operate a Basic Health Program (BHP) to cover certain consumers with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) through state contracting “standard health plans,” rather than Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

HB 2969 Food Consumption at Smoke Shops
Effective date: May 12, 2015 Chapter: 51 (2015 Laws)
Allows on-premises consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages at certified smoke shops as long as food and beverages are not sold or offered by the shop. Fix to regulations that technically made it illegal for employees to consume meals on the premises.

HB 3100 Public Health Modernization
Effective date: July 20, 2015 Chapter: 736 (2015 Laws)
Changes governmental framework for conducting public health activities in this state. Modifies responsibilities of local public health authorities. Determines process by which state shall establish foundational capabilities and programs for public health services. Result of Task Force on Future of Public Health, stemming from 2013 legislative session. Commissioner Baney chaired the Task Force. AOC and CLHO worked this bill extensively. Includes $500,000 for initial planning.

HB 3464 Dental Services for Pregnant Medicaid Recipients
Effective date: July 21, 2015 Chapter: 750 (2015 Laws)
Requires Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules prescribing time frames within which pregnant medical assistance recipient receives dental services.

SB 225 WIC Notifications – Chapter 269, 2015 Laws.
Effective date: June 4, 2015 Chapter: 269 (2015 Laws)
Removes requirement for agency to send individual notice to each affected recipient of supplemental nutrition assistance or Women, Infants and Children Program when suspension or closure of grant of assistance is caused by change in benefit or standard by federal government and change affects all or significant portion of recipients.

SB 478 Toxics Bill
Effective date: July 27, 2015 Chapter: 786 (2015 Laws)
Requires Oregon Health Authority to establish and maintain list of designated high priority chemicals of concern for children’s health used in children’s products and to periodically review and revise list.

SB 505 Flu vaccine for seniors
Effective date: January 1, 2016 Chapter: 496 (2015 Laws)
Requires, from October 1 through March 1 of each year, each hospital in this state to make offer to each patient of hospital who is 65 years of age or older to immunize patient against influenza virus.

SB 520 Vaccines by pharmacists
Effective date: June 8, 2015 Chapter: 295 (2015 Laws)
Permits pharmacists to administer vaccines to individuals at least seven years of age.

SB 660 De