Legislative Report - Week of 4/17
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By Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan
April is Fair Housing Month. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Fair housing includes the rights of all people to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination based on "protected class status.” Three of the bills below focus on issues related to equality of opportunity. Regardless of race, sex, national origin, religion, family situation, or level of ability, everyone has the right to a safe and stable place to call home.
SB 702: 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. The League submitted testimony in support of the bill. A Public Hearing was held by the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness on April 18.
SB 893 A: In 2021, the Legislature passed HB 2021 that directed Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to form a Task Force on Homelessness and Racial Disparities. There are significant disparities in the homeless population in Oregon. The share of homeless Native Oregonians in 2020 was four times higher than their share of the general population. The rate of homelessness among Black Oregonians is three times higher than their share of the population at-large.
In its January 2022 report, task force recommendations included identifying needs of housing-insecure individuals, understanding agency capacity issues, adjusting funding structures, and modifying contracting processes. SB 893 A requires OHCS to modify the state’s homeless programs and funding structure so that they are more culturally responsive. It allows OHCS to create committees to work on rules and a policy framework that accomplishes that goal. The bill passed out of the Senate on April 11 and there will be a public hearing on April 20 in House Housing and Homelessness.
HB 3443: Prohibits any landlord from terminating lease or taking other specified actions due to the status of a tenant as a victim of a bias crime. The bill would make changes to the bias crime laws and aspects of the Oregon Department of Justice's (DOJ) Bias Response Hotline. The measure expands the confidentiality of reports. It would make victims of bias crimes and incidents eligible for the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Address Confidentiality Program, which would allow victims to break a lease without penalty and have protected leave from work. The measure mandates automatic issuance of a no contact order against the defendant at the time of booking, release officer decision, or arraignment to a defendant accused of a bias crime. A work session is scheduled on April 24 in Senate Housing and Development.
SB 976: Mortgage Interest Deduction Reform bill has received a lot of interest 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 will hold a work session, April 19 at 3:00 PM.
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. It also would allow manufactured home park loan funds to be used for development of new parks and require local governments to allow siting those parks in certain non-residential zones. Senate Housing and Development will hold a work session, April 26.
By Christa Danielson
SB 420: Directs Department of Human Services to provide resource management services to Brain injury individuals and to Convene Brain Injury Advisory Committee. Testimony submitted in favor on 1/23/2023. Referred to W&Ms
HB 2395 A Allows wider distribution, education and administering of short acting opioid antagonists. Passed through the house on 3/6/2023. Referred to Senate Health Care. Testimony submitted in favor for public hearing on 4/24/2023.
SB 1089 Establishes a Universal Health Plan Governance Board. This is a path forward for Oregon Measure 111-right to healthcare amendment. Testimony submitted in favor to Senate Rules for 4/20/2023.
HB 3012 Requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers to annually report costs and rebates of prescription drugs to enrollees to the Department of Consumer and Business Services. No hearing set as yet. Referred to Rules.
HB 3157 Establishes Health Insurance Mandate Review Board. Passed the house, referred to W&Ms. No hearing set as yet.
By Marge Easley
The slowdown on the movement of bills has necessitated hard decisions as to which ones are priorities for passage this year and which can be put off until a future session. Here are some criminal justice bills that were scheduled for public hearings or work sessions in House Judiciary on April 19 and 20:
SB 234 authorizes the Chief Justice to establish rules for gathering data to identify disparities and impacts in the justice system.
SB 306 A allows non-attorney associate members of the Oregon State Bar to practice law within a certain scope of practice.
Four bills relate to the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA):
SB 212 A assures confidentiality of communications during peer support check-in sessions.
SB 902 allows those 20 or older who are resentenced to continue temporary assignment to youth corrections.
SB 903 allows collection of OYA demographic data in order to see disparities between youths and employees.
SB 904 A modifies criteria for the maximum allowable population of youth correctional facilities.