Legislative Report - Week of 2/20
By Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona
The Legislature is introducing bold and innovative bills to address critical issues facing our state, including homelessness, evictions, social inequities, and a severe affordable housing shortage. Both chambers are working responsively to advance bills that address the Governor’s housing emergency in order to provide for Oregonians most in need.
SB 702 - Appraiser Certification - Passed!
This bill proposes new educational requirements for appraisers and appraiser assistants, to comply with state and federal fair housing laws and implicit bias, including racial bias. National studies have identified race-based disparities in appraisals. In Oregon, appraisers are covered by Oregon’s fair housing statutes and the federal Fair Housing Act (1968), however, current appraiser education requirements do not specifically cover racial bias or appraiser responsibilities under state or federal fair housing laws. In 2022, the legislature appointed a Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership. The Task Force proposed amending ORS 674.310 to insert language to include these new appraiser education requirements. Senate Housing and Development passed the measure on 2/20 with 24 voting yes, and 6 voting no.
SB 799 - Eviction Reform and Reduction
This bill would prevent a landlord from delivering a notice to terminate a tenant for nonpayment of rent for 60 days, while a rental assistance application is pending. Landlords would be required to deliver a notice specifying the tenant’s rights and available resources. It would extend the 72-hour timeline for issuance of notice of nonpayment and intention to terminate a rental agreement to 10 days and extend the 144-hour timeline to 13 days. Senate bill 799 has been incorporated into HB 2001-1, Oregon Housing and Community Services Governor’s spending package.
HB 2456 - Support for At-Risk or Homeless Youth
This bill would allow the Housing and Community Services Department to award grants to organizations that provide evidence-based services for youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Under the bill, the agency’s housing assistance programs would provide services and assistance to school-aged children experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It also modifies eligibility requirements for applicants for grants from homeless youth services enhancement program and host home project program. This bill has been incorporated into HB 2001-1, Oregon Housing and Community Services Governor’s spending package. A public hearing was held on 2/23.
SB 599-A - Child Care in Rental Homes - Passed!
Senate Housing and Development passed this bill on 2/15, with 27 voting yes and 3 voting no. It requires landlords to allow tenants to use their units for childcare if 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. Lack of access to childcare is a significant barrier for all parents, but particularly to women’s participation in the workforce.
By Karen Nibler
The House Judiciary heard HB 2405 on fitness to proceed evaluations this week. The bill stipulates that those committed to the Oregon State Hospital for an Aid and Assist evaluation be returned to the committing county for court disposition on these cases. The Marion County Commissioners and the Association of Oregon Counties supported this bill since these patients are frequently released in the Salem community.
The Criminal Defense Attorney Association supported this request to return patients to the county of commitment where their legal cases can be resolved. Disability Rights Oregon was opposed and requested return back to their home county where services may be available for discharged patients. The home county may not be the county where criminal charges and commitment were ordered. The criminal charges may not be dismissed until the defendant is returned to the county of jurisdiction, and or the criminal charges are prosecuted if found able to aid and assist.
The Public Safety Ways and Means Subcommittee reviewed the Oregon Youth Authority Budget SB 5541 over 3 days this week. The agency director reported that fewer youth were committed in the past 4 years. Residential facilities also closed, losing 70 beds for youth residents. The Governor’s Budget for the agency was decreased for the lower numbers of residents.
The Juvenile Justice Information System, operated by the Oregon Youth Authority and used by the County Juvenile Departments, was built in 1997 and is due for modernization. This project is estimated to cost $3.4 million.