Legislative Report - Week of 3/20
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By Marge Easley
Three key gun safety bills were heard together in a combined informational and public testimony hearing in House Judiciary on March 22. The concepts of HB 2005, HB 2006, and HB 2007 will be incorporated into HB 2005 and make these changes to Oregon firearms laws:
Ban undetectable, unserialized firearms (known as “ghost guns”). Sponsored by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, this is the fourth attempt to pass this legislation.
Limit ability to purchase or transfer a firearm to those 21 and older, with the exception of hunting rifles and shotguns.
Expand the number of jurisdictions that have the authority to create gun-free zones to include cities, counties, districts, or any other entities that fall within the definition of “municipal corporations.” This is an add-on to SB 554 (2021), in which guns were banned from the Oregon Capitol, PDX Airport, and those school districts, community colleges, and universities that chose to do so.
A number of amendments will be introduced in the next few days to clarify the processes and exemptions detailed in the bill. A work session on SB 2005 is scheduled for March 28. Here is the League’s supportive testimony on HB 2005, HB 2006, and HB 2007.
Another bill placing a limitation on the age of gun owners is SB 527, sponsored by Senator Michael Dembrow. It allows gun owners, if they so wish, to establish a minimum age of 21 for the purchase, repair, or service of a firearm. A public hearing is scheduled for March 27 in Senate Judiciary and a work session on March 30.
We are awaiting the gutting and stuffing of SB 348, which is the placeholder bill providing specifics on the implementation of Measure 114 (permit-to-purchase and ban on large-capacity magazines). I accompanied members of LEVO at the Capitol on March 21 as they lobbied legislators to honor the will of the voters and keep the provisions of the measure intact with no substantive changes. Another goal is to have the permitting process fully in place as soon as the hold is lifted by the courts.
By Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan
The Senate passed Governor Kotek’s two major emergency housing and homeless bills as part of a $200 million funding package on March 21. These bills will substantially increase funding for programs to keep Oregonians experiencing housing instability in their homes, move unsheltered people into safe shelters and stable housing, and increase affordable housing production. The bills are HB 2001 B, the policy bill, and HB 5019 A, the budget bill. Details on these expenditures are here. The League provided testimony on HB 5019. We also added our logo to House and Senate floor letters along with a number of other supportive organizations. The bills are headed to the Governor’s office for consideration and signature.
These measures are an initial step towards addressing the state’s homelessness crisis and housing shortage. At least 18,000 Oregonians are homeless, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and many more are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments. Oregon needs to build more than half a million homes in the next two decades to meet expected demand, according to an Oregon Housing Needs Analysis. Cities with more than 10,000 people would be required to set building targets for specific income levels.
SB 611 would make adjustments to the 2019 legislation (SB 608) limiting rent increases. If passed, SB 611 would limit residential rent increases to the lesser of 8% or 3% plus the consumer price index one-year change. It would further increase the amount of rent owed to the tenant from one month to three months in certain eviction cases and reduce the exemption on rent increases allowed on new construction from 15 years to three. A public hearing is scheduled before Senate Housing and Development on March 27; a work session is scheduled for March 29.
HB 3488 would appropriate $73 million in general fund money to support homeownership programs, particularly among communities of color. The money would be used for down payment assistance grants to culturally responsive, culturally specific, or tribal organizations; flexible home loans provided by the Home Ownership Assistance Account; support for low-income home purchasers through the nine federally recognized tribes; and grants to culturally responsive or specific organizations to expand homeownership services.
The bill would further appropriate resources to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to fund the Fair Housing Council of Oregon’s fair housing work, BOLI’s housing discrimination investigations, education, and outreach efforts. The Department of Justice would receive $500,000 to enforce fair housing laws. There is a work session scheduled before the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness on March 30.
HB 3042 applies to publicly supported housing after the landlord withdraws the property from a government contract. It would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants from their homes for three years after the contract ends. Rent increases would be allowed no more than once a year during that period and would be limited by state limits on rent increases. A work session before the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness took place on March 23.
HB 2653 seeks to prevent the loss of affordable rental housing with expiring affordability restrictions by providing an income tax credit to the seller if the units will remain affordable to households earning up to 80 percent AMI for at least 30 more years. According to OHCS, approximately 7,500 units have affordability restrictions that will expire over the next 10 years. Given Oregon’s shortage of low-income housing, losing these units will compound the problem. The House Committee on Housing and Homelessness held a work session on March 21.
SB 1076 would require licensed hospitals to include in their discharge policy specific procedures for when they discharge homeless patients. Hospital staff would work with patients and supportive services to discharge patients safely, regardless of their housing status. Unfortunately, homeless patients have been discharged with no real destination and left with no resources outside on the street. A public hearing was held before the Senate Committee on Health Care on March 23, and a work session will be held on March 27.
By Marge Easley & Karen Nibler
This is the critical time in the session when bills either die or must be scheduled for a hearing and subsequent work session in the originating chamber. Here are viable Criminal Justice bills that are supported by the League:
Senate Judiciary Committee
SB 1070, sentence reduction for domestic abuse survivors, has a hearing March 28 and a work session April 4. Testimony not yet posted.
Senate Education Committee
House Judiciary Committee
Other bills the League is monitoring:
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve the extension of the Justice Reinvestment Program through the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (OCJC) until July 1, 2033. The program was initiated in 2013 to reduce recidivism and prevent the costs for new prisons. OCJC distributes funding to the state Department of Corrections Community Programs for program coordinators and services for housing, substance abuse treatment and victim services. SB 344 -1 provides funding to continue these Oregon services to reduce recidivism and the need to construct additional prisons. The League testified its approval for the original HB 3194 (2013) which started this program.
SB 339 -1, also from OCJC, added conditions of probation on property offenses that required tests for substance abuse, evaluations and treatment. Property thefts often fund substance purchases.
SB 519 on Juvenile records expunction passed after hearings on the current process initiated in County Juvenile Departments but required actions through Oregon Youth Authority and Oregon Judicial Department records.
SB 1065 requested the expunction of adult records on possession of a controlled substance. Although there was objection from district attorneys, it is scheduled for a work session.
Immigration/Refugees and other Basic Rights
By Claudia Keith
Bills we are supporting or following:
HB 2957: Work Session 3/27 .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 was 2/22, League Testimony supports.
HB 3176 Work Session 4/3. 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 to JW&M. Public Hearing was 3/8
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. Fiscal Analysis
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: Work Session 3/27 .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. Public Hearing was 2/27. Legislative Summary
SB 185 Work Session 4/3: 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 849 Public Hearing 2/28 with -1 amendment. Preliminary SMS: Work session was 3/14. Now in JW&Ms. Fiscal $20M grant fund. 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 Labor & Business. Senator Jama, Dembrow, Frederick, Campos, Manning Jr, Woods, Representative Chaichi, Nguyen H.
SB 613: Creates Commission for Indigenous Communities. In Senate Rules.
SB 216 Passed out of SCHC 3/1, Now in House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee. 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).
HB2905: Now in Senate Education. Expands list of individuals whose histories, contributions and perspectives are required to be included in social studies academic content standards and in related textbooks and instructional materials. Passed out of House Committee with Unanimous Vote.
SB 421 Work session is 3/30. establishes a youth advisory council. Prescribes membership and duties of youth advisory council. DOE to establish a work group to establish standards for the selection process of members of the youth advisory council. PH was 2/28 Staff Measure Summary