Legislative Report - January 10th-17th
By Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek is moving quickly to address the state’s housing crisis. She signed three executive orders aimed at addressing the state’s lack of affordable and homeless housing.
Executive Order 23-02 declares a State of Emergency due to homelessness in parts of the state that have seen an increase in unsheltered homelessness of 50% or more over the last five years. The Department of Emergency Management will activate the state’s emergency operation plan to coordinate assistance necessary from all state agencies to assess, mitigate, and recover from this emergency.
Executive Order 23-03 directs state agencies to work not just in the designated emergency areas but across the state to expand shelters, rehouse people, and reduce and prevent homelessness.
Executive Order 23-04 will establish a statewide housing production goal of 36,000 new housing units a year, up from 22,000 for the next 10 years. Also, a new Governor’s Housing Production Advisory Council will recommend an action plan of executive actions, policies, and investments to meet the state’s housing production target.
Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan attended the Oregon Housing Alliance’s membership meeting to learn about proposed legislation under consideration for its 2023 legislative agenda. LWVOR is an alliance member. Below are some promising proposals intended to address the needs of the most vulnerable Oregonians.
Homelessness and Tenant Protections
Eviction reform and reduction (LC 1061 and 1911) This proposal would help keep renters in their homes by making the eviction process more reasonable. It would give renters more time to access rent assistance and other services in order to avoid eviction if possible. It also would streamline existing eviction expungement protections to make it easier to rent in the future.
People’s Housing Assistance Fund (LC 3255) This is a pilot program administered by the Department of Human Services. It would provide a $1,000 monthly cash subsidy to low-income households and to people experiencing homelessness. Portland State University will evaluate the results.
Allowing tenants to operate home-based childcare business (SB 599) This bill addresses two critical needs – stable rental housing and childcare. It would ensure that tenants can provide certified childcare in their homes, maintain the landlord’s control over building modifications and their right to require liability insurance.
Land Use, Development, and Preservation
Protections for renters with expiring affordability restrictions (LC 679) In the next eight years expiring affordability restrictions will affect 154 projects and 7,566 units. This proposal improves the chances the units will remain affordable and protects tenants from large rent increases for a three-year period.
Tax credit for preservation of regulated affordable housing (LC 801) This proposal would create a new tax credit to incentivize private owners of rent restricted properties to sell to an affordable housing provider willing to maintain affordability for 30 years. The credit would provide relief from capital gains taxes due on sale and help stabilize the affordable housing supply.
OHCS funding for affordable homes within mixed-income developments (LC 554) This proposal would allow Oregon Housing and Community Services to subsidize affordable units in market-rate developments. OHCS would continue to prioritize housing for people most in need and develop a methodology for allocating shared development costs attributable to the affordable units.
Homeownership and Asset Building
Fair Housing Investigation, enforcement and education would allocate $5 million from the state General Fund to the Bureau of Labor and Industry and the Department of Justice to support state fair housing enforcement and awareness.
Mortgage Interest Deduction Reform proposal would evaluate Oregon's MID for non-primary residences and phase out the deduction for principal residence for households with incomes $250,000 and above and disallow the deduction completely for households with incomes of $300,000 and above. All savings from the MID would fund homeownership and homelessness prevention programs.
Immigration/Refugees and other Basic Rights
By Claudia Keith
'We need more people,' says Fed's Powell. What does that mean for immigration reform? | Morningstar.
Rep Wilde: A Turning Point on Immigration Private Sponsorship of Refugees Makes a Positive Impact.
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Border Enforcement Actions | The White House.
Bills of Interest or likely League support: (Bills that have been posted to OLIS that may move forward via a committee public hearing. - Incomplete list)
SB627 Funding for universal (legal) fees for non-documented individuals (15M$) Sen Lieber.
SB185 Requires Department of Justice to study immigration in this state; may include recommendations for legislation, to the interim committees of the Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2024. requested by Attorney General Rosenblum
HB2957 financial assistance to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status recipients for specified purposes. (>7M$). Large portion of the Source funding is Federal ARPA funds. Rep Ruiz
SB613 creates Commission for Indigenous Communities
By Marge Easley
The implementation of Measure 114, the 2022 ballot measure that authorized a “permit-to-purchase” requirement for the transfer of firearms and a ban on high-capacity magazines, was scheduled to begin on December 8 but remains on hold, awaiting both state and federal court decisions. Supporters, including the League, are hopeful that at least the permitting portion of the measure will be allowed to go forward when a federal judge issues a ruling on March 7. Meanwhile, chief petitioners at Lift Every Voice Oregon are urging legislators to ensure that adequate funds are provided to local law enforcement agencies and to the Oregon State Police for the new permitting system.
By Marge Easley
Many of the bills introduced thus far in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees are placeholders, but it is clear that a restructuring of many aspects of the criminal justice system remains a legislative priority. Here’s a partial list of bill topics the League will be following this session: alleviating the defense attorney crisis, improving access to mental health treatment in rural and underserved areas, addressing the unlawful possession of firearms, providing alternatives to incarceration for juveniles, examining the availability of adult education programming within correctional institutions, studying the disparities and impacts of Oregon’s justice system, improving K-12 curriculum on the dangers of fentanyl and other drugs, and improving the training of law enforcement officers. Stay tuned for details on specific bills in the coming weeks.