Legislative Report - Week of 2/13
By Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona
Governor Kotek has underscored the need to address the state’s housing emergency, and the legislature is coalescing around bills to serve communities around the state in sheltering the unhoused, providing low- and extremely low-income housing, and serving those experiencing economic inequality.
HB 2889 – Oregon Housing Needs Analysis in OHCS
This bill proposes to locate the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis (OHNA) within Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to advance comprehensive reforms to the state’s land use planning systems. The goal is to pave the way to increase housing production and enhance flexibility in housing choice and location. With state guidance, local communities must address disparities in housing outcomes with an emphasis on housing those most in need. This bill is moving forward in the Governor’s Recommended Budget for OHCS, as of February 6, 2023. LWVOR submitted testimony in support of this bill.
HB 3010 – Mortgage Interest Deduction
This bill would limit the mortgage interest deduction on personal income taxes available to high earners and on second homes. The resulting increase in state revenue would be deposited in a First-Time Home Buyer Account administered by Oregon Housing and Community Services. The bill calls for creation of a Task Force on First-Time Ownership that would report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by Sept. 2024.
The bill has been referred to the Housing and Homelessness subcommittee with a subsequent referral to Tax Expenditures.
SB 611 – Reasonable Rent
This bill would increase relocation assistance in landlord-based no fault evictions. In addition, it would limit annual rent increases to 3% plus consumer price index, or 8%, whichever is lower. It extends protections to tenants of all buildings more than 3 years-old. Buildings up to 15 years-old currently are exempt. SB 611 is a priority bill of the Housing Alliance, of which LWVOR is a member. On 1/15/2023, it was referred to Senate Housing and Development.
HB 2001 – Oregon Housing and Community Services Governor’s Budget
The House Committee on Housing and Homelessness has proposed an amendment to OHCS’s budget. Amendment-1 would require OHCS to study issues related to housing and report back to the Interim Committee of the Legislative Assembly related to housing by September 15, 2024. The amendment replaces the measure in six key areas summarized below.HB 2001-1 Proposed Amendment and Staff member document summary .
· Homelessness Emergency. Declares homelessness as a statewide emergency in Oregon, and applies provisions of Executive Order 23-02, issued by the Governor on January 10, 2023, to the entire state.
· Youth Homelessness. Expands the use of the Emergency Housing Account funds to include services and assistance to school-aged children or their families who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Allows the Housing and Community Services Department to award grants to organizations that provide evidence-based services for youth experiencing homelessness in underserved areas.
· Termination of Residential Tenancy for Nonpayment. Extends, for residential tenancies, a 72-hour timeline for issuance of notice of intention to terminate a rental agreement based on nonpayment to 10 days and extends the 144-hour timeline to 13 days.
· Modular Housing Funding. Allocates, for the biennium beginning July 1, 2023, $20 million in General Fund moneys to the Oregon Business Development Department to provide grants or loans to entities developing modular housing or related components, under advisement from a temporary advisory committee. Requires grant or loan recipients to prioritize, in order, disaster recovery, low-income, and middle- income housing construction.
· Affordable Housing Predevelopment Grants. Allocates beginning July 1, 2023, $3 million in General Fund moneys to the Oregon Facilities Authority to provide financing or refinancing support for local governments or housing developers for infrastructure development and predevelopment costs for moderate income projects. A public hearing was held on February 14 by the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness.
SB 599 - Child Care in Rental Homes
This bill requires landlords to allow tenants to use their units for childcare purposes as long as the home is certified or registered with the Office of Child Care, the tenant has notified the landlord, and the home does not violate zoning regulations or an association’s governing documents. The childcare provider must carry liability insurance or parents must sign a liability waiver.
Lack of access to childcare is a significant barrier for all parents, but particularly to women’s participation in the workforce. SB 599 removes one roadblock for tenants who provide childcare services in their homes. On 2/8/2023 the Housing and Development Committee recommended a do pass with amendments. On 2/14 it was carried over by unanimous consent.
By Marge Easley and Karen Nibler
HB 3035, which creates the crime of threatening a mass injury event, was heard in House Judiciary on February 13. The bill is the product of a work group convened by Rep. Courtney Neron in response to concerns about threats of violence in schools and other public settings. There is currently no law in Oregon that specifically addresses a threat of mass violence. If no loss of life occurs the crime would most likely be considered a lower-level Class B felony. This bill increases the penalty to a Class C felony, punishable by five years’ imprisonment, $125,000 fine, or both. The increased penalty allows for formal supervision and possible mental health treatment, firearm prohibition, and stricter release conditions. Juvenile offenders would be given special consideration and remain in the juvenile justice system.
The League is also monitoring SB 763, heard on February 14 in Senate Judiciary, which prohibits an employer, state agency, or licensing board to deny consideration to those who commit crimes as a juvenile.
Senate Judiciary discussed SB 763 on access to juvenile records on February 14 and SB 519 on expunction of juvenile records on February 16. Both bills are in the revision process. SB 470 asks that the Oregon Health Authority request coverage of medical assistance to persons under 19 in juvenile detention facilities. The counties are responsible for medical care in county facilities, which can be very expensive. The Legislature passed SB 588 in 2017 to cover all kids below 300% of the federal poverty level, but there is an age gap under consideration.
House Judiciary focused on crime victims and child advocacy centers last week. The Criminal Justice Commission and Department of Community Corrections were on this week. DOC reported a 28% decrease in law violations among the 21,000 adults on supervision in the community after the pandemic. HB 3194 granted short term transitional leave, 120 day early release, which has shown an improvement in recidivism rates. More information is available on the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission website.
Public Safety W&Ms heard CJC reports on the Family Preservation Project at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. The CJC staff were optimistic about the positive effects on the women’s families.
By Marge Easley
A precedent-setting court ruling on February 15 regarding the status of two “Second Amendment Sanctuary” ordinances in Columbia County is receiving nationwide attention. The Oregon Appeals Court struck down the 2018 and 2020 ordinances, which had declared all state gun laws to be violations of the Second Amendment and would not be enforced. The ruling states that such ordinances are illegal, given that state law gives the Legislature the sole authority to regulate firearms. The League, along with many gun safety groups, have long awaited a ruling on the issue, which is sure to have repercussions across the country where these ordinances have been passed, including 16 Oregon counties.
According to The Center Square, “as of June 2021 there were 1,930 counties protected by Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation at either the state or county level, representing 61% of 3,141 counties and county equivalents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
Immigration/Refugees and other Basic Rights
By Claudia Keith
Support – Public Hearing Scheduled
HB 2957: Financial assistance to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status recipients for specified purposes. (>7M$). A large portion of the source funding is Federal ARPA funds. Rep Ruiz, House EC&HS Public Hearing is 2/22
HB 3176 Requires Dept HS and Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement, to award contracts to organizations to provide support services to immigrants and refugees. Appropriates moneys from the General Fund. Directs Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement to convene representatives from state agencies, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to coordinate policy recommendations. Representative Reynolds, Senator Jama, House ECHS then JW&M. Public Hearing 2/22
Bills moved from Policy Committee to JW&Ms:
SB 627: Funding for universal (legal) fees for non-documented individuals (15M$) Sen Lieber. Passed out of Sen Judiciary, DO Pass, Feb 7, sent to JW&Ms. The League has supported this policy / funding category in the past.
Bills of Interest or possible League support: (Bills that have been posted to OLIS that may move forward via a committee public hearing. – an Incomplete list)
SB 610: Establishes Food for All Oregonians Program within Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (snap), unclear what the funding ask may be. Chief sponsors: Senator Campos, Representative Ruiz, Senator Manning Jr, Gorsek, Representative Bowman, Dexter, Gamba. Sen Human Services then to JW&M.
SB 856 Establishes COFA Food Assistance Program to provide nutrition assistance to COFA citizens who would qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits but for their immigration status and who have incomes at or below federal poverty guidelines. Legislative Counsel has not adopted standards for drafting measures that establish exemptions from disclosure of public records. Chief Sponsor: Senator Meek, Patterson, Hansell. Posted to OLIS 2/7/23
SB 185 Requires the Department of Justice to study immigration in this state; may include legislation recommendations to the interim committees of the Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2024. Requested by Attorney General Rosenblum. In Sen Judiciary. Sunsets January 2, 2025.
SB 603: Establishes People's Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program, administered by Dept Human Services, to provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of homelessness, are severely rent burdened or earn at or below 60% of area median income. (Includes immigrant, and refugee status.) Starts with a PSU $250K study. A potential $500M program. Rep Pham K and Senator Campos, Sen Cmt on Housing and Dev, then JW&M.
SB 849 requires professional licensing boards to provide culturally responsive training to specified staff members, publish guidance on pathways to professional authorization for internationally educated individuals and waive requirement for English proficiency examination for specified internationally educated individuals…. Sen L&B. Senator Jama, Dembrow, Frederick, Campos, Manning Jr, Woods, Representative Chaichi, Nguyen H .
SB 613: Creates Commission for Indigenous Communities.
SB 216 Related to data collected by OHA. (Request of Governor Kate Brown for OHA).The Oregon Health Authority set a goal of eliminating health disparities by 2030 including those based on race, ethnicity, language, or disability (REALD) and sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). Sen HC, 2/8 Work Session carried over. No fiscal impact identified. 2/15 with amendment carried over.