In the lightning fast 2018 legislative session, county governance issues were in play from beginning to end, with no rest for the wicked or weary. Overall, things worked out well in this AOC policy arena. A full tracking report is posted on the AOC Governance Steering Committee’s web page.

Below are some of the highlights, listed in alphabetical order by topic.

 1. Building Code Programs

Even before session started, the State Building Codes Division and the Oregon Department of Justice had rung alarm bells regarding local governments that contract out building code or inspection services to third-party contractors. A disagreement between the State and AOC/LOC arose regarding when, and under what circumstances, the use of such third-party contractors becomes an unlawful delegation of government power.  House Bill 4086 was introduced to address that issue, but the legal disagreement continued, with a written opinion from Legislative Counsel and another written opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice laying out the position of the State. The bill was amended to require that the municipal building official and head inspector for each local program be government employees, purportedly to follow the advice of the written opinions mentioned above. As amended, the bill was opposed by both AOC and LOC. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate. It is therefore likely that the legal disagreement will need to be resolved in court.

 2. Drugs

 A. Cannabis

The Legislature passed an important omnibus marijuana bill in this short session. Largely crafted by AOC’s Legal Counsel, Senate Bill 1544 cleans up a few glitches from prior legislation, as well as addressing a number of significant concerns expressed by federal authorities. A one-page summary of the bill can be found in the floor letter used by the carrier of the bill on the Senate floor. Here are a few important provisions in the bill that have already received some media attention, as they address current federal concerns:

  • The bill creates the Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program with the Criminal Justice Commission to assist local governments with costs incurred by local law enforcement ag