Legislative Report - Week of 3/20
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By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, and Team
Usually we see lots of bills “die” after the Work Session scheduling deadline, but this session, many bills are still available to move by April 4. Some were scheduled to move to Revenue, Rules or a Joint Committee if they wanted to keep them alive. Now is the time to watch for amendments to bills before knowing for sure what the true purpose of the bill may be.
By Peggy Lynch
HB 3229-1 has a Work Session April 3. Under the Clean Air Act, funding must be by fees on permittees for this program. Per DEQ’s own testimony, without this funding, a critical part of their Air Quality program is in jeopardy. Consider contacting the House Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment members directly and ask for their support. Starting March 27, the DEQ Budget (HB 5018 and HB 5019) will be heard and support for POP 110 of their budget would also be helpful.
The W&Ms Co-Chairs Budget Framework has been provided to guide the Subcommittees as they consider all the agency budgets. That Framework provides the amount of money each Subcommittee should expect to spend for their assigned budgets and any policy bills that might be assigned to them. Of course, the May 17 Revenue Forecast will provide the final guide. A series of public meetings will provide Oregonians with an opportunity to share their priorities for the state budget. Plan on no more than 2 minutes each!
Separately, a subgroup of the semiconductor committee will work on the tax credit proposal, Senate Bill 669. In its current form, the proposal would restore a research and development tax credit that allowed corporate taxpayers to claim a credit of up to $1 million a year before it expired in 2017. However, it isn’t clear that the Legislature will approve a tax credit. The U.S. Commerce Department guidelines released last month put much less weight on tax credits than other incentives, indicating that states that build incentive packages based on tax credits may have to change their policies.
Besides SB 4, the committee considered an agency report and a number of agency grant applications.
The JW&Ms Subcommittee on Capital Construction met on March 24 to receive reports from the State Treasurer - Debt Capacity Overview and the Department of Administrative Services Capital Finance - 2023-25 Governor's Budget Capital Projects
The W&Ms Co-Chairs Budget Framework is to be provided soon to guide the Subcommittees as they consider all the agency budgets. That Framework will provide the amount of money each Subcommittee should expect to spend for their assigned budgets and any policy bills that might be assigned to them. Of course, the May 17 Revenue Forecast will provide the final guide. A series of public meetings will provide Oregonians with an opportunity to share their priorities for the state budget. Plan on no more than 2 minutes each!
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) budget (SB 5509) was heard March 20-21 with public testimony on March 22 . Dept. of Agriculture grant requests will be heard March 23. Dept. of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) (HB 5018 and HB 5019) budgets to be heard March 27-28 with public testimony on March 29. Here’s the DEQ one-pager. Tentative date for the Oregon Water Resources Dept. (OWRD) budget (HB 5043) is early April. Here is their one-pager. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) budget (SB 5539 & SB 5540) is tentatively scheduled the week of April 10. Legislators will need to assure that General Fund monies allocated in 2021-2022 drought and wildfire packages and awarded will be available for reimbursement if the projects go into 2023-25. That funding continuation was not included in the Governor’s budget for OWEB.
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.
By Christine Moffitt/Peggy Lynch
HB 3382, a bill that would provide certain Ports with an exception from our land use planning system to allow dredging and other activities around these Ports without the current public process and federal consistency requirements had a public hearing in the Joint Committee on Transportation on March 14. State agencies that administer permits that could be affected by the legislation provided information on their processes and the implications of the proposed legislation on certain state permits. The League provided testimony in opposition. This bill is a serious threat to our coastal planning and could reduce or remove the opportunity for coastal NOAA grants in the future.
The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) is considering the adoption of amendments to Part Three of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy. A draft of the proposed rules and fiscal statements is available on DLCD’s website. LCDC is scheduled to consider adoption of the new amendments during their April 20-21 meeting. Please contact Casaria Taylor, Casaria.firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Address written comments to the Chair LCDC, care of Casaria Taylor via email. If you have questions about the proposed rules, contact Andy Lanier at 503-206-2291, or email: Andy.Lanier@dlcd.oregon.gov. The agenda for LCDC’s April 20 meeting will be available on DLCD’s website. LWVOR has supported this work and may provide testimony to LCDC in April.
The Oregon Ocean Science Trust (OOST) has scheduled its next meeting for April 5 in-person only but open to the public at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Library Seminar Room – Guin Library, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport. The meeting will focus exclusively on Strategic Planning. Oregon Ocean Science Trust/Oregon Department of State Lands webpage and Oregon Ocean Science Trust website.
Two years ago, the Oregon Legislature made a $1.9 million investment to fund research to help understand our changing ocean. Now, you can hear research progress and findings funded by HB 3114 at a free event in Newport on Friday, April 14.
The first Oregon Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) Symposium runs 8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. at the Hatfield Marine Science Center auditorium, 2030 SE Marine Science Dr. Space is limited and registration is required. ODFW's Jenny Koester says scientists and researchers will report on shellfish and estuary habitat surveys and mapping, and OAH monitoring in Oregon's Marine Reserves and in Yaquina Bay. Attendees also will learn about best management practices and outreach and education funded by the bill. Oregon is an epicenter for OAH and was one of the first places in the world to observe direct impacts of ocean change when oyster hatchery production collapsed in 2007 from ocean acidification. OAH are two forms of ocean climate change that Oregon continues to experience. The passage of HB 3114 was an historic Oregon first in the fight against OAH and showed Oregon leaders' awareness of the importance of healthy oceans. LWVOR supported HB 3114 (2021) and have requested that monies not yet spent in this biennium be rolled over for 2023-25.
Dept. of Environmental Quality
By Peggy Lynch
SB 835 with the -1 amendment passed out of committee on March 20 and goes to the Senate floor for a vote. LWVOR provided testimony with concerns that are now addressed by the amended bill. SB 1013 had a work session and was passed by the committee to the Senate floor. The bill requires counties to allow rvs to be sited on certain rural properties. The League engaged with the sponsor and Sen. Hayden and was assured that appropriate sewer and water connections would be required for these special cases so we did not provide written testimony.
HB 3208 A passed out of committee to the floor March 16 in a partisan vote even though some who voted no agreed that having regular updates of fees made more sense than waiting until a significant fee increase was needed.
Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
By Peggy Lynch
The League provided testimony on a suite of bills: SB 220, SB 221 and SB 222. All three passed out of committee on March 20. SB 222 will allow DOGAMI to accept credit cards as payment, but the payer must pay the additional charge for use of the card. The bill goes to the Senate chamber for a vote. SB 221, establishing an e-permitting program, passed and went to W&Ms for funding. SB 220 passed without recommendation and with a party line vote to W&Ms because it would require additional permit fees to pay for the e-permitting system. The Governor has put General Fund money in her budget to pay for the system. W&Ms will need to decide how to fund the new system. You can find our testimony on the bills’ websites.
Elliott State Research Forest (ESRF)
By Peggy Lynch
SB 161 with the -1 amendment had a public hearing on March 20 and a Work Session on March 22. It provides some additional time to complete work assigned. Questions by the committee were centered around gaining assurance that there would be some harvest in the forest. (The answer is yes.) The committee sent the bill to the Senate floor with a do pass recommendation. The ESRF website notes a next prospective Board meeting on April 10.
By Josie Koehne
HB 2087, the Forest Products Harvest Tax bill had a hearing in House Revenue. LWVOR provided comments expressing concerns but supporting if this bill is all that is available for helping fund forestry programs. See below for information on wildfire bills.
By Peggy Lynch
The League provided testimony in opposition to SB 1051 with the -2 amendment, to allow a property owner to request an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion of up to 200 acres outside of the current UGB process. The bill, brought by the realtors and homebuilders and sponsored by Sens. Anderson and Meek, had an incredible amount of testimony filed, both pro and