top of page

Legislative Report - Week of 2/26

Jump to a topic:

By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, and Team


By Peggy Lynch

SB 5701 is the omnibus budget bill for 2024. It is currently populated with the items approved during the November and January Legislative Days. Budget requests are being considered by the Co-Chairs and Legislative Leadership now that the Housing and Measure 110 “fix” bills have been funded. The major housing bills were funded at $376 million and HB 5204, the funding bill for HB 4002 includes about $211 million. The League has a number of requests that you can read about in various sections of this Legislative Report that we hope will “appear” in the final version of SB 5701.

There are still opportunities for some policy bills to be considered in the Ways and Means Capital Construction Subcommittee and then on to Full Ways and Means. Capital Construction met on Feb. 28 and March 1 and passed all of the bills considered to the Full Ways and Means Committee which met Feb. 28, March 1 and has a meeting scheduled on March 4.

HB 5201 and HB 5202 are the bonding bills. The public hearing on Feb. 16 in Ways and Means Capital Construction was instructive of the multiple requests to be considered. Like the budget bill, these bills will reflect changes and possible additions to the 2025 approved bonds. Bonding capacity remains the same: $65.8 million in remaining general obligation bond capacity and $27.4 million in remaining lottery bond capacity for the 2023-25 biennium.

SB 5702 will be populated with new or increased fees adopted by state agencies since the 2025 session. HB 5203 may be the “program change bill” to address miscellaneous changes to agency programs. 

SB 1562 passed the Senate with unanimous support and will have a Public Hearing and Work Session on March 5th in House Revenue. It raises the cap of money on Oregon’s Rainy Day Fund, allowing Oregon to better prepare for future economic uncertainty. However, this increase reduces the General Fund resources available until the new cap has been met. The Rainy Day Fund was created in the 2007 legislative session based on information from previous economic recessions. Since then, the General Fund revenue has tripled and the state has provided more services to Oregonians. 

The agency budget process for 2025-27 is beginning. Look for presentations to agency Boards and Commissions soon. Quarterly revenue forecasts will be provided on May 29 and August 28. Then the November 20th forecast will be the basis of the Governor’s Recommended Budget to be presented on December 1st


By Claudia Keith and Team

See the Climate Emergency section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.

Coastal Issues

By Christine Moffitt/Peggy Lynch

HB 4132, Marine Reserves, passed Full Ways and Means with a General Fund allocation of just under $900 million. It is now scheduled to go to the House floor and then the Senate floor for final votes. The League signed on to a letter in support early in the session.

HB 4080 A, providing for funding for the public engagement and staff at the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development and the Bureau of Labor and Industries related to the possibility of offshore wind energy projects off the Oregon South Coast passed Full Ways and Means and is scheduled for a vote first on the House and then Senate floors. The League provided comments on HB 4080-1 and is pleased with the funding provided.

Dept. of State Lands (DSL) 

By Peggy Lynch

DSL has a new website:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working with DSL to identify In Lieu lands (part of the 1,400 acres of land still owed Oregon on statehood). Click here to view the BLM Proposed Classification Decision, and a public notice that two forestland properties in Linn County that have been identified for some of those In Lieu lands. Learn more. Provide public comment through April 9th

Elliott State Research Forest (ESRF) 

By Peggy Lynch 

Work is continuing on eventual adoption of a Habitat Conservation Plan and a Forest Management Plan for ESRF. Visit DSL's Elliott webpage to learn more. A recommendation with structural governance may be before the State Land Board on April 9. If approved, look for appointments to the new ESRF Board at their June 11tth meeting. We hope to see the $4.1 million that had been allocated to the ESRF Authority will be transferred to DSL in the omnibus budget bill. 

Forestry (ODF)

The Board of Forestry will meet March 6 and 7. State Forester Cal Mukumoto has recommended staying the course on the Habitat Conservation Plan per pages 116-118 of the Board packet.

There are a number of bills this session around funding wildfire. For information on the various bills, see the Wildfire section of this report below.

Land Use & Housing

By Peggy Lynch 

SB 1537, the Governor’s housing bill, and SB 1530, the Housing Chairs’ housing bill, were amended, passed Ways and Means and the Senate. They await a final vote in the House and then on to the Governor’s desk to be signed. A news release by the Senate President explains the elements of both bills. HB 4134 was amended, also passed Ways and Means and is awaiting a vote on the House floor and then will move to the Senate floor. The League supported HB 4134, and we worked for months with others on SB 1537 and SB 1530.

As is usual, land use issues bring out interesting “one-off” bills or amendments. HB 4040 relates to economic development, but the “relating clause” (relating to economic development) provided Sen. David Brock Smith with an opportunity to recommend the A6 amendment to bypass the land use system to permit the expansion of Bandon Dunes golf course. The amendment, although heard, was not adopted. But it is another learning experience to be sure and review amendments filed on bills and watch for the use of a relating clause for items such as this “one off” proposal. 

We also provided testimony on HB 4026 with the -1 amendment “relating to elections”. The City of North Plains has approved a major Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion. Residents gathered signatures to force a vote on the expansion at the May election. The League is concerned that “the amendment would take away voters’ rights to the referendum process. Furthermore, changing the constitutional referendum process and making the amendment retroactive are likely to be unconstitutional and invite a lawsuit.“ We understand that legislative Counsel determined that the matter was “administrative” and not subject to referendum. The amended bill has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate. 

The Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee is recruiting for a new member from Oregon’s Third Congressional District. Applications are due by March 18, 9 a.m.

Follow the work of the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis (OHNA) Rulemaking Committee on the department’s Housing Rulemaking webpage. And watch their meetings on the department’s YouTube channel. 

See also the Housing Report in the Social Policy section of this Legislative Report.


By Camille Freitag

The League weighed in again this year on a Right to Repair bill, SB 1596. We also joined others in support of the bill. The bill passed the Senate Chamber, the House Committee and is awaiting a vote in the House Chamber. 

DEQ is conducting rulemaking to clarify and implement HB 3220 (2023), which updates and makes necessary changes to the statewide electronics recycling program, Oregon E-Cycles. DEQ is holding its first meeting for the Oregon E-Cycles Rulemaking Advisory Committee on March 7 at 9 a.m. – noon. To attend this virtual meeting, please pre-register via the Zoom online platform. To learn more about this rulemaking and the advisory committee please visit the Oregon E-Cycles rulemaking web page.

The meeting agenda and materials for the sixth Recycling Modernization Act Rulemaking Advisory Committee have been posted on the Recycling 2024 website. The meeting will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 14 on Zoom. To attend, please Register via Zoom. DEQ staff will be providing updates about previously presented rule concepts and will be introducing new topics about: defining limited sort facilities, commingled materials and reload facilities, outbound contamination rates and certification for out-of-state commingled recycling processing facilities.


By Peggy Lynch 

Proposed new Groundwater Rules are being considered. The Oregon Water Resources Dept. (OWRD) is providing multiple opportunities to engage. OWRD will be hosting informational sessions before each public hearing where staff will review the proposed rules. Public comments will not be accepted at the information sessions but will be accepted at the public hearings following each session. For more context, please see the background information, informational flyer, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Many items in the amended HB 4128 were folded into SB 1530, so the bill is dead. However, we are hopeful that the omnibus budget bill, SB 5701, will include an allocation of $3 million to be added to the Water Well Abandonment, Repair and Replacement Fund. The League was engaged in helping create this fund in 2021 and supports this allocation. 

The League has continued to report on the Lower Umatilla groundwater issue where many domestic wells are contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrates. Some residents have filed a lawsuit to recover damages from some businesses and farms, a source of the nitrates.

OWRD anticipates releasing a draft of the updated Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS) for public review and comment starting March 5th. An updated draft is then anticipated to be available for a second public comment opportunity in May. The Oregon Water Resources Commission will hear public testimony and consider adoption of the 2024 IWRS at their September meeting. For more information about this process, please visit the IWRS page on their website. The League hopes members will participate since we were actively engaged in the original legislation and in the first two IWRS documents. We understand that this new draft takes an entirely new slant from the current IWRS. It will be important that the original documents not be invalidated but instead enhanced by this proposal. 

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 at 877-290-6767 to learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body.

League members may want to check the U. S. Drought Monitor, a map that is updated every Thursday. Governor Kotek has signed drought declarations under ORS 536 for the counties of Crook, Jefferson, Grant, Deschutes, Wasco, Harney, Sherman, Lake, Jackson, Gilliam, Douglas, Lincoln and Morrow counties.


By Carolyn Mayers

Movement continued on some of the wildfire bills the League is following this session, which is now beginning to enter the home stretch. 

Regarding the remaining funding bills, the House Committee on Revenue held a work session on Representative Marsh/Senator Steiner’s HB 4133-A, on February 26. After expressions of concern from Chair Nathanson and other members about the bill, the committee voted 4 - 2 to send it to Ways and Means. This bill would require a 3/5ths vote to pass because it deals with an increase in the Forest Products Harvest Tax. The Governor has weighed in on this bill, asking Leadership to support it as a first step in reducing wildfire funding complications. There is an expectation of a Budget Note on the bill directing the Dept of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshal, “…working in collaboration with the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council and broader stakeholder interests from local fire service entities and others…” to convene a Work Group to provide recommendations for the 2025 legislative session.

On February 28, the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue held an Informational Meeting on HB 4133-A and then held a Public Hearing on Senator Golden’s funding bill, SB 1593, where the League provided testimony in support. No future meetings are scheduled for SB 1593. It is dead for the session.

On February 26, the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue held a Work Session on HB 1545-A, which relates to property tax breaks on rebuilds of homes destroyed by the 2020 wildfires. The bill, with the -1 Amendment, passed the Senate on March 1. 

An Informational Meeting was held on February 27 before the House Committee on Revenue on HB 4007-2 where this bill and SB 1520-2, and their nearly identical provisions, were discussed at length. This one-pager succinctly outlines the details of the most current versions of these bills and their Federal counterpart. SB 1520-2 has passed the Senate and is scheduled for a Public Hearing and Work Session in House Revenue on March 4. OPB provided an explanation of the relief this bill may provide to wildfire victims. 

At the same meeting, HB 4007-2 will have a Work Session where a number of amendments have been proposed. Discussions were ongoing between interested parties to determine the best path forward. There was a clear determination to get one of these bills passed, which would provide significant tax relief to victims of wildfires who wish to rebuild their homes using monies from a settlement or judgment. The posted amendments on HB 4007 may address different issues related to taxation on these wildfire victims. 

On February 27, a Public Hearing was held on Representative Marsh’s omnibus wildfire bill, HB 4016-A, before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire. At a subsequent Work Session on February 29, it was moved to the Floor with a do-pass recommendation. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) gave an update on progress made on the new draft of the State Wildfire Hazard Map to the House Committee on Climate, Energy and the Environment on February 28. Officials described the enhanced public involvement process required by SB 80, the 2023 wildfire legislation, as well as a list of modifications to the map to be made based on public input, and a general overview of the science and future intended use of the map. An article in the Oregon Capital Chronicle discusses the soaring premiums and lack of property insurance options for Oregonians in Central, Southern and Eastern Oregon. 

Finally, in another blow to electric utilities and their liability relating to wildfire damages, this OBP article describes the prospect of possible lawsuits by the Federal Government and Oregon against PacifiCorp, the parent company of Pacific Power. Damages that may be sought include firefighting and cleanup costs, and structure losses, due to the power company’s negligence during the windstorm that led to the devastating Archie Creek and Susan Creek fires of Labor Day, 2020, which damaged thousands of homes. 

Volunteers Needed

What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. Volunteers are needed. The long legislative session begins in January of 2025. Natural Resource Agency Boards and Commissions meet regularly year-round and need monitoring. If any area of natural resources is of interest to you, please contact Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, at Training will be offered. 

bottom of page