Legislative Report - Week of 5/8
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By Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator, and Team
The League is scrambling to address good bills we want to pass and bad bills we hope will die. And some bills we want to amend to make them better or not worse! Deadlines are near—as is the end of session! We continue to wait for the May 17 Revenue Forecast. There are, of course, a slew of bills waiting for funding decisions in Ways and Means.
LWVOR joined with others in support of HB 3229. The bill would modify federal air quality (Title V) operating permit program fees. The bill sits in Ways and Means without recommendation.
SB 488 A, relating to the Covanta medical waste incinerator, sits in Ways and Means.
On May 10, the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) budget, SB 5510, was moved to FullW&Ms. The LFO recommendation includes two Budget Notes on the new e-permitting system being funded. The League provided comments on the DOGAMI budget.
The League also provided testimony on SB 220, a bill that would have required permittees to pay for the e-permitting system. But the budget provides $2 million of General Funds for the system. Also moved to Full Ways and Means was SB 221, to require permittees to pay for the on-going upkeep of the new e-permitting system, as was recommended by LFO. The League had provided testimony in support.
Missing is SB 222, a policy bill to allow use of a credit card to pay fees. The League provided testimony in support. For now, the bill sits on the Senate floor where Sen. Prozanski provided a no vote on April 5 to allow it to be reconsidered since the vote would have failed. A separate bill, SB 538 A, would allow DOGAMI and other agencies the same opportunity. It sits in House Emergency Management, General Government, and Veterans with a Work Session held on May 11.
Last week’s budgets were considered in Full Ways and Means on May 12.
We await the May 17 Revenue Forecast that will guide for the final 2023-25 balanced budgets.
By Claudia Keith and Team
The Climate Emergency section overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.
By Christine Moffitt/Peggy Lynch
We continue to await a new proposed amendment for HB 3382. A possible Work Session was scheduled for May 11, but no new amendment was available so the Committee asked for an update from the state agencies working with proponents on the bill. If an amendment is available, look for a Work Session on May 16. We believe this bill is a serious threat to our coastal planning and could reduce or remove the opportunity for future coastal NOAA grants. If an amendment is provided, we expect that it will not “blow up” the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) within the land use program--just a minor new change related to a new narrow “exception” on deep port dredging to Goal 16, that NOAA must unofficially sign off on the idea and the other state agencies (DLCD, DSL & ODFW--and maybe DEQ) are accepting of the concept. We understand that the local tribe wants "no net loss of eelgrass". We need your voices to tell your legislators to Just Say NO if these factors are not part of any amendment.
The local LWV Coos County has been doing an update and study of their local Port: The International Port of Coos Bay. You might want to watch a 44-minute video of a recent history of activities around the Port: Study of International Port of Coos Bay | MyLO (lwv.org).
HB 2903 A, funding continuing work on marine reserves, is in W&M. LWVOR supports.
Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
The Environmental Quality Commission will meet May 18 and 19, meeting agenda.
SB 835 A as amended would require DEQ to adopt rules to clarify when a single septic system can be used for both a primary residence and an ADU. It sits in W&Ms. LWVOR provided testimony with concerns addressed by the amendment.
Dept. of State Lands
HB 2238, originally to provide permission for robust rulemaking to increase fees for the removal/fill program is back! The bill was amended in the House to remove the fee increase and instead allows the Dept. of State Lands to get rid of personal property collected during cleanup of DSL-owned property after 30 days. A new amendment has been filed to bring back the bill’s original purpose. The League continues to support. A Work Session in Senate Natural Resources is scheduled for May 17.
Elliott State Research Forest (ESRF)
By Peggy Lynch
SB 161 was amended and passed out of the House Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water Committee. The amendment increased a deadline for work being done on the transfer of the Elliott to the new Authority to Dec. 31, 2023. The bill adjusts some timelines as provided by the Dept. of State Lands’ April 25 testimony.
By Peggy Lynch
A new land use “expand into farmland” bill, SB 1096, has been referred to Senate Rules. The bill, similar to SB 1051 which the League vigorously opposed and has died, is a topic of discussion. We are concerned that it could be used as a bargaining chip in the conflict between the parties happening with the Senate Republican walkout. The bill continues the false narrative that simply adding land to urban growth boundaries will solve Oregon's housing crises. Many surveys and studies have shown we have enough land zoned for residential use inside our UGBs - including thousands of acres recently added to UGBs - that are sitting empty because they need infrastructure investment. The bill puts at risk urban reserve planning and wildlife protections, increases the potential for development in high wildfire risk areas, exacerbates climate change through creating more impervious surfaces and housing farther away from core areas, and more.
HB 3620 is an equally concerning bill. It authorizes certain cities with a demonstrated need for housing to add land to their urban growth boundary upon certain conditions. It also amends principles that the Land Conservation and Development Commission must consider in adopting rules regulating urban reserves. The Speaker assigned it to House Housing where it died
And another one: HB 3616 would allow the owner of property outside an urban growth boundary to site additional dwelling on property for occupancy by a relative of the owner. Just another way to add more housing outside of areas intended for housing and breaking our land use planning program. The Speaker assigned it to House Housing where it died.
HB 3414 would create a new Housing Accountability and Production Office in DLCD and also includes a Section 2 related to processing of variances under certain circumstances. Variances are used to address exceptions to a code’s “clear and objective standards”. It is unclear how this provision will change a community’s control over residential development. The bill had a public hearing in House Rules where the Governor advocated for the -6 amendment while a number of cities advocated for the -5 amendment, but it was clear that more negotiations will occur, so we should look for yet another amendment. The League has concerns about the burden being placed on cities under the -6 amendment. Local governments need to provide findings to explain why they might want to deny the variance instead of the applicant proving the need for the variance. Your Oregon News has a good article on the cities’ concerns. Of note was mention of a -7 amendment that would deal with land supply advocated by the Homebuilders Association and the Oregon Realtors.
No new news on SB 1087, filed on behalf of a farm in Lane County where they want to add a “café” (with seating for 250-300 people) on their Exclusive Farm Use (EFU)-zoned property. The League opposes this overreach of our land use program. The bill is in Senate Rules and could be scheduled for a Work Session at any time, but not as of May 10.
A public hearing was held in House Housing and Homelessness on SB 1013. The League has worked with the sponsor and Sen. Hayden to assure that, should a recreational vehicle be allowed on a rural property, issues of sewage and clean drinking water would be addressed by the counties. A -2 amendment is being offered to change that counties “may” adopt this law vs. “shall”. A possible Work Session was scheduled for May 11.
HB 3442 A, a bill to allow coastal communities to develop in hazard areas under certain conditions, passed to the Senate floor from Senate Housing and Development on May 10. The amended bill responded to League concerns on the original bill.
SB 70 A would allow housing on acreage in Malheur County. The League provided testimony in opposition on Feb. 8. On April 3, the bill was moved without recommendation as to passage to Senate Rules. LWVOR still opposes it.
HB 2983 A, to help with manufactured housing and housing parks, is in W&Ms. LWVOR supports.
See also the Housing Report in the Social Policy section of this Legislative Report.
By Kathy Moyd/Greg Martin
On April 25, the Senate voted 26-3 to refer SB 542 A (Right to Repair) to the Rules Committee. There it will sit until more amendments are made or until there are enough votes to pass it in the full Senate. The League providedtestimony in support on Feb. 14.
By Paula Grisafi
HB 3043 A was amended by the A3 amendment and passed out of Senate Energy and Environment to the Senate floor. The bill revises provisions relating to chemicals in children’s products.
SB 546 A (toxic free cosmetics) was sent to W&Ms although there was NO fiscal for the 2023-25 session because, although the measure takes effect January 1, 2024, all substantive portions of the bill are not operative until January 1, 2027. SB 426 A (toxic free schools) was sent to W&Ms without clarity on the fiscal impact. The bill’s advocates are working to assure that the fiscal impact statement is not over inflated by agency staff.
By Peggy Lynch
It’s time to engage in the Integrated Water Resources Strategy 2023 update. See the survey link on the webpage and meetings around the state, including a new May 31 virtual meeting opportunity.
A major water bill, HB 3124, was moved to House Rules without recommendation as to passage. The bill is a $250 million Drought Relief and Water Scarcity package and includes some other bills we’ve seen this session. The League provided comments on the bill, including a list of our priorities, using our participation in the HB 5006 Work Group as our guide.
A priority of the League is HB 3163A, to renew the Place-Based Planning program with a Fund to help groups participate in this program was sent to W&Ms. The League participated in a Work Group last year to help develop program sideboards and provided testimony in support.
HB 3100 A, a bill addressing the Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS), is in Ways and Means. The League provided testimony when the bill had its public hearing. Then we worked behind the scenes to provide guidance as the IWRS is updated and we support the bill.
HB 3207 A, related to domestic well testing and data collection, is in W&Ms. LWVOR supports.
HB 2813 A creates a grant program to protect drinking water sources, in W&Ms. LWVOR supports.
HB 3125 would create a Ratepayer Assistance Fund to help low income people pay for sewer and water bills. It is in Ways and Means. LWVOR supports.
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. The League supports HB 2647 A to continue to address this public health issue. It sits in Ways and Means.
Thanks to a substantial snowpack, our drought in many parts of Oregon has lessened. 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 and Harney counties. Lake County has now requested a drought declaration. In addition, many counties in eastern and southern Oregon have received Secretarial Disaster Designations from the US Department of Agriculture due to continuing drought conditions.
By Carolyn Mayers
The League provided testimony in support of funding for the Oregon Conservation Corps in HB 5025, the omnibus Higher Education Coordinating Commission budget bill. The bill is in W&Ms.
SB 80 A, the omnibus Wildfire Programs bill, is in Ways and Means as is SB 509 A, which aims to scale out neighborhood collaboratives in order to help whole neighborhoods reduce risk. LWVOR provided support for SB 509 A.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: What is your passion related to Natural Resources? You can help. Volunteers are needed. The 2023 legislative session is halfway over. 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 email@example.com. Training will be offered.