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Legislative Report - Week of 4/10

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By Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan

Governor Kotek recently announced funding amounts to address the state’s homelessness state of emergency tied to HB 2001 A. The bill requires specific goals to rehouse more than 1,200 households and create over 600 new shelter beds in emergency areas to reduce unsheltered homelessness by January 10, 2024. 

Each region submitted local plans for the Governor's Office to review and how they will meet specific goals to reduce unsheltered homelessness in their local area. The state is expected to provide technical assistance and partner with them to help them succeed.

Listed below are funding amounts the state will award to regions within designated areas of Oregon's homelessness state of emergency. She also announced outcome measures each region is expected to achieve with this funding. 

  • Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County: $18.2 million to rehouse 275 households and create 138 shelter beds

  • Eugene/Springfield/Lane County: $15.5 million to rehouse 247 households and create 230 shelter beds

  • Central Oregon: $13.9 million to rehouse 161 households and create 111 shelter beds

  • Salem/Marion, Polk Counties: $10.4 million to rehouse 158 households and create 79 shelter beds

  • Medford, Ashland/Jackson County: $8.8 million to rehouse 133 households and create 67 shelter beds

  • Hillsboro/Beaverton/Washington County: $8.0 million to rehouse 121 households and create 61 shelter beds

  • Clackamas County: $4.4 million to rehouse 130 households.

 It also was announced that the funds appropriated for this companion bill in HB 5019 will be appropriated as indicated below.

A total of $85.2 million will be allocated for local homelessness emergency plans. OHCS will reserve $3 million to ensure the goals of the emergency order are achieved. An additional $3 million will be used for a statewide landlord incentive, available to landlords participating in local rehousing efforts. However, the requests from all regions within the emergency order total $98.8 million, which is not enough funding to provide each region its full funding request. In addition, the early funding package included $33.6 million to help prevent homelessness for an estimated 8,750 households. This funding will be distributed statewide through existing eviction prevention programs. Recognizing that unsheltered homelessness impacts communities in every part of Oregon, the legislature also approved $26 million to address homelessness in counties that do not meet the emergency order threshold. OHCS is sending each region an announcement of its funding amount and will include an updated timeline for finalizing grant agreements with the goal of funding being available to communities by April 28, 2023. The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the state housing agency (OHCS) have supported establishment of Multi-Agency Coordinating (MAC) groups to oversee the money in each region and deliver emergency care. They are made up of a wide range of individuals, from people who are part of public housing authorities, local homelessness agencies, shelter developers, and landlords associations.

The Governor, after several meetings with city of Portland and Multnomah County officials, said she has a lot of questions. Despite her concerns, she tentatively approved state funding to the city of Portland and Multnomah County and promised to provide state help to address some of her questions and concerns. However, the Governor wasn’t convinced that Clackamas County had the ability to increase shelter beds, so the funding was denied.

SB 976: Mortgage Interest Deduction Reform: There is a lot of interest in this bill because if passed; the state’s largest housing subsidy would see some of the savings redirected away from higher earning homeowners and would instead benefit low- and moderate-income home purchasers. In addition, resources resulting from reducing the subsidy would be used for homelessness prevention. The League submitted testimony in support of the reform. Senate Finance and Revenue held a hearing on this bill on April 12.

HB 3151: Manufactured home parks are one of the largest sources of unsubsidized housing in the country and make up 16% of the state’s affordable housing stock. HB 3151 would institute several provisions related to manufactured home parks. It would limit the types of improvements or repairs a landlord could require in a rental contract and extend the sunset for the Manufactured and Marina Communities Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee and legal assistance grants for low-income facility tenants addressing disputes to January 2, 2027. It would also allow manufactured home park loan funds to be used for development of new parks and require local governments to allow siting of those parks in certain non-residential zones. A HB 3151 hearing took place in Senate Housing and Development on April 12.

SB 702: Appraiser Certification and Licensure Training: This bill would require training to be adopted by the Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board for real estate appraisers and appraiser assistants to comply with state and federal fair housing laws. At the present time, appraiser education requirements do not include provisions specifically covering racial bias or appraiser responsibilities under state or federal fair housing laws. Appraisal training can be completed online or in person. National studies have identified race-based disparities in appraisals. In 2022, the Legislature appointed the Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership and proposed to amend ORS 674.310 to add language including these topics in appraiser education requirements. A Public Hearing on SB 702 was held in House Housing and Homelessness on April 13. 

Immigration & Refugee

By Claudia Keith

Bills we are supporting or following:

HB 2957 A the -4 amendment Work Session was held 3/29. It passed out of committee unanimously to JW&Ms, -4 Staff Measure Summary. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Fiscal. League Testimony.

HB 3176 A -3 : ‘Welcome and Reception’ program for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Work Session was 4/3. Passed out to JW&Ms with 9/1 vote. Staff Measure Summary .Public Hearing was March 8. Fiscal .

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 with partisan vote. The League has supported this policy/funding category in the past. Fiscal Analysis.

Bills of Interest or possible League support:

SB 849 A Public Hearing 2/28 with -1 amendment. Preliminary SMS -1: 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.

Basic Needs

SB 610-5: Work Session 4/3. Moved to JW&Ms. Establishes Food for All Oregonians Program within Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Fiscal, Staff Measure Summary.

HB 2990A: Work session 3/27. Moved to JW&Ms. Resilience Hubs. Directs Oregon Health Authority to develop and implement grant programs to support resilience hubs and networks in Oregon. Fiscal Statement

Other Bills

SB 216 Passed out of SCHC 3/1, Now in House Behavioral Health and Health Care. PH 4/16 and WS 4/18 scheduled. Related to data collected by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), request of Governor Kate Brown. OHA 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).

HB 2905: Now in Senate Education, expands the 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 House Committee by Unanimous Vote. Public Hearing SCE 4/25

SB 421 A Work session 3/30 moved to JW&Ms with 6/1 vote, establishes a youth advisory council. Prescribes youth standards advisory council membership and duties. ODE to establish a work group to establish member selection process. Staff Measure Summary, Fiscal

 SB 613: Creates Commission for Indigenous Communities. In Senate Rules. 

SB 612 Establishes Indigenous Language Justice Fund. Requires nonprofit organization in this state to serve as fiscal agent to receive disbursement of moneys for purposes related to supporting Indigenous languages interpretation in this state. In Senate RULES, WS 4/13 was cancelled.

SB 911 Creates Commission for Original Peoples from South America, Central America and Mexico. In Senate Rules, WS was 3/28.

Gun Safety 

By Marge Easley

HB 2005 B, the omnibus bill that included a ban on undetectable firearms, an age restriction of 21 and over for purchase, and an expansion of public jurisdictions that can create gun-free zones, was scheduled for a House floor vote on April 12. However, the vote was postponed until May 2 and made a Special Order of Business, most likely to allow time for lengthy pro-con statements from members. 

Another firearms bill that has attracted attention is SB 393 A, which passed Senate Judiciary in a work session on April 4 and is headed to the Senate floor. A placeholder bill was amended to add clarity to the process by which a gun dealer completes a firearm transfer under the new permit-to-purchase regulations. After verifying that the purchaser has a valid permit, the gun dealer must receive a unique background check approval number from the Oregon State Police and allow 72 hours to elapse between receipt of the approval number and the transfer of the firearm. This amounts to a waiting period, which is strongly opposed by gun supporters.

Criminal Justice 

By Marge Easley

Senate criminal justice bills are now making their way to committee hearings in the House. The League is monitoring these bills that appear on upcoming agendas:

SB 339 A had a public hearing on April 18. It adds harassment to the crimes that may require sex offender treatment and polygraph tests as a condition of probation, if recommended by the probation officer and if harassment involved touching of sexual or intimate parts of another person.

On April 19, House Judiciary has a work session on SB 234, which allows the Chief Justice to make rules for gathering non-identifying demographic information to evaluate disparities and impacts in the justice system. Also on the agenda is SB 306 A, which modifies statutes to allow for non-attorney associate members of the Oregon State Bar to practice law within a defined scope of practice. This is one of several bills this session to alleviate the shortage of public defenders in Oregon.

On April 20, the following bills dealing with juvenile offenders will be heard: 

SB 902 permits those over 20 who are resentenced for a crime they committed when under 18 to continue temporary assignment to a youth correctional facility.

SB 903 directs the Oregon Youth Authority to maintain demographic data, including race, ethnicity, and gender, of youth authority employees in order to evaluate how demographic disparities between youth and employees may affect the cultural appropriateness of programs. 

SB 904 A modifies the criteria for determining maximum allowable population levels for youth correction facilities. 

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