Legislative Report - Week of 4/3
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By Debbie Aiona and Nancy Donovan
Governor Kotek recently signed into law the emergency $200 million Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response Package to address the state’s housing and homelessness crisis, and now the work begins.
This week saw a flurry of activity as the Legislature worked to meet the first-chamber April 4 deadline. If a bill does not make it out of committee by then, it will not go forward in this session.
Housing bills passed on April 3: Senate Housing and Development and House Housing and Homelessness.
SB 861 will allocate $10 million from the General Fund to Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), in coordination with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). The funds will be used to provide grants to promote the development of innovative and cost-effective housing types. The bill also requires establishment of a Volunteer Task Force on Innovative and Cost-Effective Housing to evaluate and develop, structure, and recommend housing finance programs to promote affordable, mixed, and middle-income housing construction; develop programs to maximize benefits of existing federal funds and programs, evaluate innovative housing finance programs in other jurisdictions; and identify best practices. The bill passed with referral to JW&Ms.
SB 1069 allows the electronic delivery of landlord and tenant notices, including notice of disposal, sale, or storage of tenant’s personal property, and electronic refunds and returns of security deposits and rent. The bill passed with amendments and referral to W&Ms.
SB 611 will limit residential rent increases to the lesser of 1% or 3%, plus the consumer price index one-year change. It further would 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. The bill passed with amendments.
SB 918 directs OHCS to establish the Oregon Housing Justice Program to provide grants to culturally specific and responsive organizations. Funding from the General Fund will support homelessness and housing stability-related purposes and to extend current agreements when feasible including: $100,000 in grants to culturally specific and culturally responsive organizations; $14 million to Oregon Worker Relief; $10.5 million to the Urban League of Portland; $1.5 million to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization; and $9.5 million to community action agencies. The bill passed with amendments and referral to W&Ms.
Housing bills passed on April 4 by the by House Housing and Homelessness
HB 2889 will establish the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis within OHCS. It also will amend land use requirements for local governments related to urbanization, including requiring Metro to adopt a housing coordination strategy, as well allow cities outside of Metro to adopt rural reserves. The Land Conservation and Development Commission is to implement rules by January 1, 2026. The committee passed the bill with amendments and referral to W&Ms.
HB 3488 A provides funding for: down payment assistance grants to culturally specific and tribal organizations, flexible loans for home purchasers, and for tribes serving low-income home buyers and homeowners. It also allocates funding to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, and the Department of Justice to support fair housing education, investigations, and enforcement. These efforts are intended to address significant disparities in home ownership for communities of color. The bill passed with amendments, referred to W&Ms.
HB 2680 strengthens and clarifies legislation passed in 2019 related to screening fees charged for rental applications. The bill requires the landlord to refund screening fees within 14 days if the apartment is filled before screening the applicant or if the application is withdrawn before the screening takes place. If the landlord fails to return the fee, damages the applicant may recover increases from $150 to $250. The bill passed with amendments.
HB 3309 requires a minimum percentage of accessible units in multifamily housing developed by OHCS programs. It will require the department to include accessible units and accessibility considerations in the programs and plans. The bill passed with amendments.
HB 3462 Department of Emergency Management, during certain emergencies, to prioritize immediate provision of housing to displaced individuals. The bill passed with amendments.
HB 2980 directs OHCS to develop an affordable housing revolving loan program under which participating cities and counties may award grants to housing developers for certain eligible costs and repay loans from tax increment financing revenues, which are derived from housing property value increases. The bill passed with amendments with referral to W&Ms.
By Marge Easley
The Senate and House Judiciary Committees made their way through their backload of bills in work sessions on April 3 and 4. Here are several criminal justice bills of interest to the League that passed their respective committee.
SB 337 A establishes the Public Defense Services Commission in the judicial branch of state government to oversee and correct the deficiencies in Oregon’s public defense system. Nine voting members and four non-voting members are to be appointed by the Chief Justice. After passage the bill was referred to W&Ms. HB 2365 is a related placeholder bill that directs the Public Defense Services Commission to study ways to improve the provision of public defense services within the state. The bill passed without recommendation, referred to House Rules.
SB 554 A creates a process for filing post-conviction relief petitions due to currently available forensic evidence at any time after conviction. The bill passed in Senate Judiciary and was referred to W&Ms.
SB 974 creates the crime of sexual assault by fraudulent representation. This bill was crafted to tighten Oregon criminal statutes after a West Linn doctor failed to be indicted for the sexual assault of over 120 patients in his office. The bill is headed to the Senate floor.
By Marge Easley
The League is happy to report that gun safety legislation is on the move this session! HB 2005 A, a combination of HB 2005, HB 2006, and HB 2007, now includes a ban on undetectable and unserialized firearms (“ghost guns”), an age restriction of 21 to purchase a firearm, and an expansion of the number of jurisdictions that can establish gun-free zones. The bill passed House Judiciary on March 30 and W&Ms Subcommittee on Public Safety on April 4. A work session is scheduled for April 7 in full W&Ms.
SB 348 A, the implementation bill for Measure 114, passed Senate Judiciary on April 4 with a do-pass recommendation and a request for referral to W&Ms. The -3 amendment was adopted and contains some technical fixes, but the intent of the measure’s sponsors was kept largely intact: establishing a permit-to-purchase requirement and a ban on large-capacity magazines. Although Measure 114 is tied up in both state and federal courts, the bill enables agency process work to proceed. The federal district court case will be heard June 5-9, while the Harney County Court case is scheduled for September 18-22.
SB 527 A, to give gun dealers the option of setting an age limit of 21 for gun purchases, passed Senate Judiciary on April 3. An amendment was adopted to require the Department of Education to develop and implement a firearm safety education curriculum for students in grades 7 to 9.
By Karen Nibler
HB 2327 A proposed that County Juvenile departments work with youth under 12 to prevent further harmful and illegal behaviors. Funding for this expansion of services will come through the Youth Development Division. This bill did not pass the House Judiciary Committee but the following bill did pass.
HB 2372 A gives further direction to the Youth Development Division under the Department of Education on the distribution of funds for high-risk prevention plans including the tribes. HB 2371 which required the Oregon Youth Authority to study issues on juveniles was sent to Rules. HB 2365 which covered ways to improve Public Defense Services also was sent to Rules on April 4.
Senate bills sent to Rules included SB 697 on Guilty Except for Insanity but SB 698 was sent back to the Senate Chair for reassignment to another committee. HB 1070 which asks for consideration of victims of domestic abuse or violence in sentencing was also sent to Rules.
Behavioral Health bills that passed in the last few days were HB 2235 A which set up a workgroup to study barriers to behavioral health workforce recruitment; and HB 2513 A which allocated funds for first-year grants for services to be effective on July 1, 2026. Two more bills HB 2445 A authorized behavioral health certification for peer support specialists and HB 2455 A imposed audit requirements on claims for reimbursement by behavioral health treatment providers. Both bills will go to Human Services Ways and Means.
Immigration & Refugee
By Claudia Keith
Bills we are supporting or following:
HB 3176 -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 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.
SB 185: 4/3 Public Hearing and WS cancelled. The bill is now dead: would have required the DoJ to study immigration in this state; may include legislation recommendations. Requested by Attorney General Rosenblum.
HB 2990 -1: 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
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).
HB2905: 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.
SB 421 -1 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 the youth advisory council member selection process. Staff Measure Summary, Fiscal
SB 613: Creates Commission for Indigenous Communities. In Senate Rules.