Legislative Report - Week of 1/23
By Peggy Lynch
Everyone is awaiting Governor Kotek’s first biennial budget. Ways and Means Subcommittees can’t begin hearing agency budgets since agencies have to follow the Governor’s requests. Her budget needs to be “balanced” with the revenues forecasted back on November 16 unless she proposes additional revenue.
Want to know how the legislative budget process works? The Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) provided a document to help legislators and the public understand.
By Claudia Keith and Team
See Climate Report in the Climate Emergency section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.
By Christine Moffitt
Coos County, City of Coos Bay, and City of North Bend have been working on updates to the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan (CBEMP). The County file number assigned to this project is AM-22-005. Here is a link to the LWV Coos Study and meetings and a link to a memo by League member Moffitt.
At this time, LWV Coos is asking stakeholder agencies to review the Draft Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan (Parts 1 and 2) and the Coos Estuary Map Atlas for concurrence with the agency’s requirements and interests.
Comments submitted by February 20, 2023 will be addressed as possible in the document draft submitted for the post-acknowledgement plan amendment process to DLCD on March 1. Comments outside of the current work scope, including comments associated with a Full Plan revision, are welcome. These comments will be included in the packet provided to staff as part of the final draft. Please send comments to: Amanda Ferguson, IPRE, (541) 409-2522, email@example.com AND/OR Jill Rolfe, Coos County Community Development Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) hosted a virtual meeting on January 27. Agenda.
ELLIOTT STATE RESEARCH FOREST
By Peggy Lynch
On Jan. 20, the Oregon State University (OSU) Board of Trustees received a presentation on the projectstatus and OSU’s work. The Board will need to formally approve OSU’s participation in the next few months. The Forest will become a separate public entity on July 1 with its own Board of Directors.
By Peggy Lynch
On Jan. 23 Senate Housing and Development received a presentation on System Development Charges—used to pay for infrastructure needed for new development. LWVOR supports state help for these charges for low-income and even middle income (up to 80% AMI) developments.
Duncan Wyse, Oregon Business Council, shared with the Joint Committee on Semiconductors that Oregon needs to set aside two parcels of land that are at least 500 acres and ready for development by a semiconductor manufacturer, as well as several smaller plots of land for similar purposes. A legislator pointed out the need for land for more housing if new manufacturing plants are built. KGW provided good meeting coverage. The League wants to remind legislators that Washington County’s prime agricultural land is also an industrial land usage and cannot be replaced!
HB 2899: Building on wetlands is cost prohibitive—and from the League’s view should not be allowed. This bill removes certain lands from definitions of buildable lands for purposes of urbanization, including floodways, wetlands, and special flood hazard areas. This ensures that the state has a more accurate calculation of buildable lands. The League will be watching this bill. We support the concept, but have concerns about implementation.
HB 2203: Allows RVs used to provide security of farm use to be sited on lands zoned for EFU. Public Hearing was held on 1/19. LWVOR has concerns around waste disposal, drinking water availability and other services. However, the testimony focused on the ability of forestry to use this provision in law so the agricultural industry should be able to do the same.
HB 2889: Establishes Oregon Housing Needs Analysis within the Housing and Community Services Department. LWVOR supports. You can watch a presentation of this concept in the Jan. 17 House Housing Committee.
See also the Housing Report in the Social Policy section of this Legislative Report.
By Paula Grisafi
HB 3043 LWVOR joined others in support of the Toxic Free Kids Act Modernization bill. Thousands of chemicals lurk in products our kids use every day, and children are far more vulnerable to toxic chemicals than adults. And parents should not have to be expert chemists or have to shop in specialty stores in order to obtain safer products. Read LWVOR testimony.
By Peggy Lynch
According to the US Drought Monitor, nearly 64% of Oregon is experiencing moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought conditions. Changes over recent weeks include a number of improvements and degradations. Reservoir storage contents in most U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (including Klamath) projects are measuring well below average, with many showing similarities to the past couple water years.
The League is reviewing HB 3100, a bill that updates requirements for the Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS). Section 1 of the bill has many positive additions, but Section 2 requires yet another standing Advisory Committee. Committees take staff time and resources and the Water Resources Commission provides adequate oversight. We’ll listen to others as we consider testimony on this bill, but we wholeheartedly support the guidance of the IWRS as it links multiple water agencies towards “abundant clean water for all”.
We all need to pay attention to the potential for harmful algal blooms. “When in doubt, stay out.” Visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line, 877-290-6767, to learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body.
We have an on-going drought throughout Oregon and League members may want to check the U.S. Drought Monitor, a map that is updated every Thursday.
By Carolyn Mayers
The League monitored the Senate Committee on Natural Resources January 18th meeting with an update on SB 762 (2021). Meeting summary can be found here. Meeting materials, including detailed reports may be found here. “We no longer have a fire season. We have a fire year.” Mark Bennett, Chair, Wildfire Programs Advisory Council. An update on the progress of the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council was presented by Chair Bennett. Highlights included a summary of work completed in 2022, and a statement that future work will include increased emphasis on Community Wildfire Risk Reduction.
Homeowners’ cultural traits should be considered when promoting wildfire mitigation efforts, OSU study finds: About one-third of housing in the lower 48 states of the U.S. now lies in the wildland-urban interface, where they are more susceptible to wildfires, prior research has found.
A survey answers: Should Oregonians be allowed to build homes in areas of high and extreme risk?
Jan. 25th News Update on the Wildfire Exposure (Risk) Map—a postponement.
HB 2898: A wildfire recovery bill that continues the allowance that recreational vehicles may remain on a lot with a single-family dwelling that was damaged by natural disaster. It extends this allowance until December 30, 2030 for dwellings destroyed in 2020 wildfires. The League has concerns about wastewater and other services that are needed and that this bill might perpetuate these vehicles where long term housing should exist.
Above you can see the names of League volunteers who covered one or more issues. Volunteers are needed. What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. Carolyn Mayers/Wildfire and Paula Grisafi/Toxics have joined the team. Thanks! The 2023 Legislative Session is at hand with over 2,000 bills already filed. Help! Natural Resource Agency Boards and Commissions meet regularly and need monitoring. If any area of natural resources is of interest to you, please contact Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, at email@example.com. Training will be offered.