February 14, 2022 - Week 2
Gun Safety and Jaime Carleton (Marge Easley)
The League submitted testimony in support of HB 4045, which was heard in the House Health Care Committee on February 7 and was scheduled for a work session on February 14. The bill, which appears to be the only violence prevention bill to be considered this session, establishes grant programs, administered by the Oregon Health Authority, related to community violence prevention and intervention. The goal is to provide services through community hospitals to address risk factors and decrease social pressure to engage in community violence. These services would deal with issues such as substance abuse, educational attainment, conflict resolution, parent education, job assistance, gang intervention, and housing stability.
Equity (Shirley Weathers)
HB 4002 (Rep. Andrea Salinas), Overtime Pay for agricultural workers received a Public Hearing on 2/8 by the House Business and Labor Committee. LWVOR and around 1,000 others submitted testimony, ours in support. The hearing lasted for 3 ½ hours and ended with an unknown number still hoping to speak. Opponents charged that proponents refuse to negotiate; proponents outlined their compromises since the topic came up last year. Committee members indicated that they have made passage of the bill a priority for this session—they want something passed. A –1 Amendment (Boshart Davis) would follow MD, MN, and CO by avoiding alignment with the Fair Labor Standard Act’s trigger of 40 hours in a workweek for overtime pay. It would instead set it at 50 hours by 2025, except that an employer may designate up to a total of 22 weeks (not necessarily consecutive) per year as “peak labor periods,” during which overtime pay is not triggered until 60 hours in a workweek. Workers with jobs in dairying or production of livestock are not eligible for overtime provisions at all, nor are members of the employer’s immediate family. A –2 Amendment (Holvey) would modify HB 4002 by a) exempting workers who do primarily administrative, executive, or professional work; b) making the tax credit refundable; c) establishing separate percentages of excess wages for which an employer may apply for a tax credit for small (25 or fewer FTE) and large (over 25 FTE) employers, and d) for both groups, making more generous than the original bill the percentages of excess wages subject to the tax credit until phase-out by 2029, i.e., 75%, 60%, 45%, 30%, and 15% for small employers and 60%, 45%, 30%, and 15% for large employers. A Work Session was scheduled for Monday, 2/14. The Oregon Capitol Chronicle reported a threat of a walk-out over the bill by House Minority Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson. No impact statements are available.
HB 4052 (Shirley Weathers)
HB 4052 (Rep. Andrea Salinas), to address health equity, received a Public Hearing by the House Health Care Committee on 2/2, with all eight testifiers in support. The bill was scheduled for a 2/11 Work Session, but was carried over to Monday, 2/14 at 3:15 p.m. LWVOR supports.
HB 4083 (Christa Danielson and Shirley Weathers)
HB 4083 (Rep. Rachel Prusak), re: copay relief for primary care received a Public Hearing in the House Health Care Committee on 2/2. The sponsor has posted –2, –3, –4, and –5 Amendments. All make minor wording changes or technical clarifications, except the –4 makes clear that the bill does not apply to plans of public employees. The bill appears to have broad support in the health care community. It was scheduled for a Work Session on Friday, 2/11, but was carried over to Monday, 2/14 at 3:15.
Housing (Debbie Aiona, Nancy Donovan, and Penny York)
Governor’s housing budget
Governor Brown’s proposed $400 million housing budget places an emphasis on development and preservation of more affordable homes. There is a long road ahead to meet the needs described in Oregon’s Regional Housing Needs analysis. Over the next 20 years Oregon must build more than 580,000 homes. Of those,140,000 need to be affordable. It is also essential that the 8,000 affordable units at risk of converting to market rate be preserved.
The budget package allocates $339.5 million towards increasing the housing supply, much of that directed towards preservation. Money also will be spent on expanding cooling opportunities, land acquisition, and acquisition of manufactured home parks. The remaining resources will go towards homeowner support and homeless services and infrastructure. More details are available here.
The Legislature is considering many high priority affordable housing and homeless bills on the House and Senate floors. The next deadline for scheduling bills for a hearing and work session is Friday, February 18.
During the week of February 7, the House Committee on Housing held a public hearing on HB 4064, an omnibus bill that would require local governments to allow the siting of prefabricated structures in all residential zones, within the urban growth boundary. The bill limits landlords of manufactured home parks from requiring tenants to install excessive infrastructure improvements. The Committee held a work session on the bill and adopted -5 amendments. One amendment says that prefabricated structures need to meet the same energy standards as site built structures. The bill moves to the House floor for a vote. The League submitted a letter in support of this bill, LWVOR Testimony.
The House Committee on Revenue held a public hearing on HB 4043 an Oregon Housing Alliance bill to create a tax credit against income taxes to incentivize the purchase of affordable housing. This would apply to sales of housing completed in tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2023, and before January 1, 2029.
The Senate Committee on Housing and Development held a second public hearing to continue testimony on SB 1557. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) would administer a proposed affordable housing preservation rent assistance program for tenants living in expiring tax credit properties. The bill passed out of Committee, and now heads to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
In midweek the House Committee on Housing held public hearings on important bills to address the state’s homeless crisis:
HB 4123 is Senator Kropf’s bill that would create 8 pilot programs for cities and counties to create a coordinated homeless response system, including a central office and point of contact, representative advisory board, and plans for coordination with other housing and homeless service providers. The bill passed out of Committee, and now heads to the Joint Committee on Ways & Means.
HB 4037 would ask the State of Oregon to lease unused or underutilized state property to the city of Salem for temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The Department of Administrative Services would need to look for opportunities to site temporary shelters or safe sleeping sites within state government property. A work session will be held next week.
HB 4051 has -3 amendments, which include several important technical fixes, including one to SB 8, (2021), an extension of the Racial Disparities and Homelessness Task Force, and an extension of the shelter siting provisions passed in HB 2006 (2021). A work session is on February 14. HB 2100 is an extension of the HB 2100 Task Force, and of the shelter siting flexibility that passed in 2021. It is now a part of HB 4051.
The Senate Committee on Labor and Business held two public hearings and a work session on SB 1579, which directs the Oregon Business Development Department to implement the Economic Equity Investment Program to award grants to organizations that provide culturally responsive services to support economic stability, self-sufficiency, wealth building and economic equity among disadvantaged individuals, families, businesses and communities in Oregon.
The House Committee on Housing will hold work sessions on HB 4125, Representative Nathanson's bill to change residential screening criteria.
The Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will hear from OHCS on two matters: a report on co-locating affordable housing with early learning centers, and an update on the receipt of Community Development Block Grant funds to support wildfire recovery.
Behavioral Health and Human Services (Karen Nibler)
The Senate Human Services Committee has been assigned bills in the Human Services and Early Childhood Systems. SB 1547 covers the background check registry for employees and volunteers. SB 1548 covers direct support workers in group homes and SB 1556 covers homecare workers in private homes. SB 1591 proposed to allow a larger number of children in childcare but members expressed reservations on this change.
SB 1550 moves the Immigrant and Refugee Advancement Office from the Governor’s Office to the Department of Human Services, which has funding for immigrant support. SB 1580 creates a Task Force on Psilosybin Health Equity, which generated a conversation on the development of the use of psilosybin in mental health treatment.
The Early Learning Division will be transferred to the Department of Early Learning and Care in HB 4005 A. The bill stipulates the provision of subsidized care and persons providing that service. The Office of Child Care will rely on the Department of Human Services for back-ground checks. The Employment Related Day Care Program will also be transferred to the Department of Early Learning. HB 4033 adds a Tribal Advisory Council to the Department of Early Learning.
The House Behavioral Health Committee passed HB 4004 A which increases wages for behavioral health staff and referred it to Ways and Means. HB 4071 fixes HB 2949 (2021) to use ARPA funds for training and retention of staff. HB 4098 - 2
HB 4084 requires hospitals to evaluate patients who may be a danger to self or others and to refer them to community services. Community members reported incidents of hospital releases of patients on the same day without resources. The 988 on-call system was established for mental health crises but resources are not yet established for needed treatment.
HB 4085 permits a parent to admit a child without the child’s consent to an inpatient treatment facility. According to testimony that is currently possible but children do object to these placements. Both of these bills will not go forward as proposed but the service needs will continue to be discussed.
Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services heard from Steve Allen, the Director of Behavioral Health within the Oregon Health Authority on Feb. 7. Allen reported staff increases within the agency, but a loss in residential capacity within the system. The beds for children decreased by 156 when current need is at 280.
The civil commitment of adults to the Oregon State Hospital is delayed by 60 days and the admission of Guilty Except for Insanity is delayed by 21 days. The Junction City Hospital has opened two cottages for increased capacity. Aid and Assist funds to county mental health clinics have been released, but staff may not be on board yet.
BM 110 grants have recently been committed to community agencies that will provide services. Peer respite services are not developed yet but mobile crisis services will be coming soon.
The Department of Justice reported that drug company opiod settlements would provide $360 million over 18 years for state and local treatment funds. These funds won’t be available until April or July. The Alcohol and Drug Policy Comprehensive Plan, HB 4098 -2 was approved and sent to the House floor.
Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety heard proposals from the Department of Justice and Oregon Judicial Department on Feb. 7. A pilot program for legal services to state agencies was begun in 2019 for defense in litigation, general counsel and civil enforcement.
The Oregon Judicial Department in partnership with the Oregon State Bar proposed the Oregon Law Connect Project. This electronic civil legal help center could be built in 2022 and launched in 2023 and 2024. A federal grant could provide one time funds along with state and private funding. The Oregon State Bar recognizes that low income residents do not have help in landlord tenant and family law. The state courts see increasing numbers of unrepresented persons and are supportive of this resource.
The Subcommittee on Public Safety considered two funding requests from the Oregon Judicial Department on Feb. 9. SB 48 (2021) established a Work Group on Pre Trial Release Programs which recommended funding for 17 counties to hire court officers to make release decisions and alternative placements.
Funding of $10 million had been set aside earlier in a Special Purpose Appropriation for Family Treatment Courts. The Oregon Judicial Department and Criminal Justice Commission recommended release of the funds. The Family Court model was promoted by judges, child welfare workers, defense attorneys and Department of Justice.
Immigration/ Refugee/ Basic Human Rights/ Hate Crimes (Claudia Keith)
The League has prioritized the following bills which are still active. Some of the bills mentioned in this report can be found at the Legislature Bipoc Caucus Published Priorities press release and HERE in a graphic/social media format.
HB 4002 Farm Worker Overtime (see Social Policy / Equity LR)
SB 1536 Renters’ rights and access to cooling (see Climate Emergency LR)
HB 4077 Environmental Justice for All (See Climate Emergency LR)
HB 4052 Racism is a Public Health Crisis / Equity Issue (see Health Care LR)
These bills do not appear to be active but may have an informational meeting and or funding maybe included in the end of session J W&Ms budget bill.
These Bills are still alive and are being followed; the League may publicly advocate later in the session:
SB 1522 In-state tuition eligibility & other benefits for refugees (fiscal 1.1M$)
HB 4091 Dept of Educ plan for students who are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
HB 4099 New Racial Equity and Justice Youth collaborative
SB 1560 Updating Immigration terminology in Oregon Law
SB 1569 Addition of Race and Ethnicity to Oregon Income Tax Forms
HB 4122A Funding for DACA Oregonians (deferred action for childhood arrivals)
SB 1572-2 This bill is a gut and stuff, was related to campus sexual assault and other bias/hate crime reporting but replaced with a campus staff loan forgiveness amendment.
Judiciary and Public Safety (Karen Nibler)
The House Judiciary Committee sent unresolved bills to the Rules Committee on the last two days in that chamber. HB 4131 on crowd control measures drew conflicting opinions. HB 4073 proposed to disqualify judges and jury members for certain opinions. Listen to House Rules for further action.
HB 4007 A on funds for student loan debt for defense attorneys passed and was sent to Ways and Means. HB 4008 A on law enforcement standards passed as well as HB 4009 on a Criminal Justice Commission study of sentences and effects on recidivism.