Legislative Report - Week of 3/13
By Marge Easley
Two firearm bills have appeared on committee agendas, marking a possible turning point in a relatively calm session. HB 2005 defines undetectable firearms (“ghost guns”) and sets penalties for possessions, selling, and transferring firearms without a serial number. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on March 22 and a work session on March 28 in House Judiciary. SB 527 allows gun dealers or others transferring firearms to set a minimum age of 21 for purchases, repairs, or services. The hearing is on March 27 and the work session on March 30 in Senate Judiciary.
By Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona
Governor Kotek’s $200 million Funding Package
“Unprecedented” is frequently quoted if the Legislature passes Governor Kotek’s comprehensive $200 million funding request. Last week the Joint W&Ms passed HB 2001 B and its companion bill HB 5019 A, with strong bipartisan support. On March 15, the House overwhelmingly passed both bills, now headed to the Senate. They are on a fast-track to be signed by the Governor before the end of the month.
If signed into law these bills would substantially increase funding for programs to keep Oregonians experiencing housing instability in their homes, move unsheltered people into safe shelter and stable housing and get on a path towards increasing affordable housing production.
HB 2001 B addresses the policy side of the package. It will help keep people housed and sheltered, streamline the process of building new homes and housing units, set goals for new housing in cities around the state, provide accountability for the funds, address youth homelessness, and inadequate housing for agricultural workers.
It also establishes the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis within the Housing and Community Services Department (OHCS). The Department of Land Conservation and Development and OHCS will assist the Department of Administrative Services in carrying out the requirements. Details on the many aspects of this bill can be found here.
HB 5019 A spells out the funding aspects of the appropriation to support the state’s response to the homelessness to provide services to the balance of state in the 2023-25 biennium; to address youth homelessness; and to repurpose $30.6 million in funds from the Housing and Community Services Department 2021-23 budget towards these efforts. Details on these expenditures are here. The League provided testimony on HB 5019.
Housing Accountability and Production Office
HB 3414 would direct the Department of Land Conservation and Development and the Department of Consumer and Business Services to jointly establish and administer the Housing Accountability and Production Office. The new office would assist local governments in complying with laws related to housing development and reduce barriers to housing production. The office would also serve as a resource for housing developers experiencing barriers to development. The bill also limits conditions under which local governments may deny variance for housing developments within the jurisdiction’s urban growth boundary.