Legislative Report - Week of 3/6
Immigration/Refugees and Other Basic Rights
By Marge Easley
SB 551, a bill that directs OHA to provide information on safe storage of firearms and prescription drugs to school districts for dissemination on their websites and social media, was heard in Senate Education on March 7. League testimony in support included data on child deaths related to access to harmful drugs and firearms and the alarming rise of suicide among children and teens.
There is talk of combining several gun safety bills into an omnibus bill that will appear later in the session, but no bill number has been assigned yet. Concepts include the banning of “ghost guns,” allowing gun sellers to require purchasers to be at least 21 years of age, expanding the number of public areas where firearms can be banned, and establishing a state income tax credit for buying a gun safe or lock.
Measure 114 Update: There have been three new case filings in the Harney County lawsuit against the State of Oregon that challenges the legality of Measure 114 (permit-to-purchase and ban on large capacity magazines). State attorneys are urging the courts to set May or June trial dates for both the state and federal cases in order to resolve the issue as promptly as possible so as not to create ongoing uncertainty for Oregonians.
By Marge Easley & Karen Nibler
Two League-supported bills that will have a positive impact on incarcerated individuals at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility were scheduled to have a work session on March 9 in House Judiciary. HB 2535 establishes a doula program for pregnant and postpartum individuals, while HB 2731 provides continuing funding for the Family Preservation Project.
Bills related to studies and data collection are plentiful this session. Heard in Senate Judiciary on March 8 were bills authorizing studies on organized retail theft (SB 318) and recidivism rates of persons convicted of felony property crimes (SB 340). That same day House Judiciary heard HB 2719, authorizing a study on services to crime victims, and SB 234, which allows the Chief Justice to make rules for gathering data on disparities and impacts in Oregon’s criminal justice system.
Senate Republicans are behind a series of bills related to increased penalties for sex crimes and are ramping up efforts to get them heard soon in Senate Judiciary. SB 986 raises the statute of limitations on rape from 12 years to 20 years. SB 1022 makes changes to Oregon’s sex-offender risk level assessment process and methodology. SB 1023 clarifies the term ‘victim’ when the Oregon State Police is required to release sex offender information. In a similar vein, Senate Democrats are having better luck with SB 745, which passed out of Senate Judiciary on March 8. It requires that youth taken into custody receive sex trafficking screenings.
W&Ms Public Safety has been reviewing the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) Budget and related bills this week. SB 5512, the budget bill for expenses for the Supreme Court, Tax Court, Court of Appeals, and 27 Judicial Districts, asks for an appropriation of $705 million. The budget covers the salaries of 197 judges and 1428 court staff, plus the court facilities in Salem and in the counties. The OJD did a county courthouse facilities assessment in 2016 and still uses that assessment in plans to repair or replace judicial facilities. Each biennium the OJD Budget process has included upgrades or new construction of courthouses. League testimony on the overall OJD budget is here.
Separate bills: SB 230 reviews the Interstate Compact, SB 233 covers judicial compensation, SB 234 concerns data gathering, SB 235 asks for new judicial positions, and SB 1029 supports family law training. HB 2224 asks for increases in juror compensation. HB 2467 offers student loans for public defense training, and HB 2497 covers rural courthouse assessments. The agency budget carries many policy option packages for pretrial diversion, protective proceedings, expunction, self-representative assistance, data expansion, technology positions, and equipment replacements. One major concern was judicial compensation due to high turnover and a recommended 10% salary increase in 2023 and 2024. Additional judges were recommended in Clackamas, Jackson, and Washington County Courts. Specialty Court Coordinators were recommended to facilitate specialty court programs through the Criminal Justice Commission grants. Each session the budget includes Capital Improvement Projects and Replacements and the bonds to finance them.
By Nancy Donovan and Debbie Aiona
Oregon lawmakers are closing in on two big housing priority bills of the 2023 session. Critically needed housing resources are being considered to support Oregonians who face a severe shortage of affordable housing and available shelter space.
HB 5019 - Governor’s Emergency to Reduce Unsheltered Homelessness
On Feb. 28, Gov. Tina Kotek testified before members of the Oregon House Committee on Housing and Homelessness at a hearing on HB 5019 to encourage lawmakers to pass a $200 million package to assist unsheltered Oregonians, build and preserve needed affordable housing, prevent evictions, and increase homeownership statewide.
The funding includes $85.2 million to support local plans to address homelessness in emergency areas through expanding shelter capacity and rapid rehousing initiatives. A targeted $33.6 million for eviction prevention is anticipated to avoid homelessness for 8,750 households statewide. $26.1 million will address homelessness through increased shelter capacity, rapid rehousing initiatives, and sanitation services in communities within the Balance of State Continuum of Care. $200,000 will support the development and design of a statewide, long-term rent assistance program for individuals who are rehoused with state investments. The League provided testimony in support on HB 5019.
A public hearing and work session was held on March 7 by the Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development. The housing package awaited consideration by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means at a 9:30 am work session on March 10.
HB 2001 A-14 - Oregon Housing Needs Analysis
Also, as part of the funding package is a related bill HB 2001 A -14, which establishes the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis (OHNA), within the Housing and Community Services Department (OHCS). The needs analysis will extend the notification requirement for the termination of residential rental agreements for nonpayment; provide funding for modular housing development, agriculture workforce housing, and moderate-income housing pre-development loans. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and OHCS will assist the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) in carrying out the requirements. All three agencies will receive funding to carry out specific components of the OHNA.
Also, DAS will conduct an annual statewide housing analysis to estimate the needed housing by region. The agency is to establish six-year housing production targets for cities with populations greater than 10,000 and unincorporated urbanized areas within Metro, and eight-year housing production targets for cities greater than 10,000 or unincorporated urbanized areas outside of Metro. DAS may adjust the allocation of needed housing to accommodate people experiencing homelessness and underproduction.
The Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development held a work session on the housing package on March 7. The Joint W&Ms was slated to hold a work session on the bill at 9:30 am on March 10.
Housing Production Advisory Council:
Governor Kotek announced the members of her new Housing Production Advisory Council. The council is charged with developing an action plan to meet the production target of 36,000 additional housing units at all affordability levels per year as set in the governor’s executive order (23-04). Members include a range of housing leaders, local government representatives, bipartisan legislators, a Tribal member, and relevant state agency directors
The Council held its first meeting on March 10, and is scheduled to provide a recommended framework for their action plan by April 1, 2023. More information is available on the website.
Immigration/Refugees and other Basic Rights
By Claudia Keith
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 was 2/22, League Testimony supports.
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 to JW&M. Public Hearing 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.
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. Public Hearing was 2/27. Legislative Summary
May partially replace the ‘Workers Relief Fund’. ‘Oregon Worker Relief measures impact in infrastructure’| Statesman Journal.
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 summary. Chief Sponsor: Senator Meek, Patterson, Hansell. Public Hearing 2/27
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: 2/27 Public Hearing with -1 amendment. 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 Public Hearing 2/28 with -1 amendment. Preliminary SMS
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.
SB 216 Passed out of SCHC 3/1, on Senate Presidents Desk - Awaiting Disposition. 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 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 Committee with Unanimous Vote
Floor Third Reading 3/13
SB 421 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 2/28 Staff Measure Summary
HB 2458: Prohibits conversion therapy.Public Hearing 2/24. No League testimony.