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Legislative Report - Week of 5/29

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By Debbie Aiona, Nancy Donovan, Debbie Wallace, Penny York

The continued Republican walkout has prevented 17 floor sessions from being held, with 150 bills waiting to be worked on by the Senate after significant effort and gaining bipartisan support. Unfortunately, due to the walkout, the Senate can recommend passage, but is unable to vote on key bills. It is unlikely that the bills will be voted on before the session ends. 

SB 892 A will amend housing statutes and laws of the Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Housing Stability Council to add federally recognized tribes as community development corporations to allow access, and to administer housing funds. The House held a third reading and the bill passed on May 25.


SB 225 will address a problem with how private activity bond resources are used to fund low-income housing. The bill addresses a barrier, which would allow Oregon Housing and Community Services to move forward on affordable housing developments to avoid construction delays and cost increases. The House passed the bill on May 25.


HB 2680 A would strengthen and clarify 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refund screening fees within 14 days if the apartment is filled before screening the applicant or if the application is withdrawn before the screening takes place. The Senate Committee on Housing and Development recommended a do pass on May 30. A second reading will be held May 31, and a third reading will be held on 6/1.


HB 3151 would limit improvements landlords of manufactured home parks can require of tenants. It also will extend the sunset date on a landlord/tenant dispute resolution program. Senate Housing and Development recommended a do pass on May 30. A second reading will be held on May 31, and a third reading on 6/1.


HB 3462 would ensure that individuals covered by federal, and state fair housing laws are eligible for emergency housing when an emergency declaration is made. This extends to people regardless of their immigration status. Senate Housing and Development recommended a do pass on May 30. A second reading will be held on May 31, and a third reading on 6/1.

SB 611 B would modify the maximum annual residential rent increase for affected units to the lesser of 10%, or 7% plus the consumer price index one-year change. It applies the rent increase limit to units from which a tenant was evicted. The bill is awaiting a second reading by the Senate on 5/31 and a third reading on June 1. 


Criminal Justice 

By Marge Easley and Karen Nibler

A May 31 press release issued by House and Senate Democrats announced a $4 Billion Public Safety and Accountability Budget Framework to emphasize strong support for Oregon’s crisis response network that includes the Oregon Department of Justice ($813 million), Oregon State Police ($611 million), Department of Corrections ($2.2 billion), Oregon Judicial Department ($750 million), Department of Public Safety and Safety Standards and Training ($83 million), and the State Fire Marshal ($73.9 million). Many of the framework’s details are contained in the following criminal justice bills passed by the J W&Ms in recent days.

On May 26, W&Ms passed SB 344 to continue Justice Reinvestment programs, SB 1034 to allocate federal funding for at risk youth, HB 5012 to fund district attorney expenses, HB 5022 to fund the  Governor’s Office administration, HB 5055 to fund the Criminal Justice Commission, SB 5513 relating to judicial conduct, SB 5514 on child support in the Department of Justice Budget, HB 5515 to fund the Bureau of Labor and Industries, HB 5535 to fund the Racing Commission, and HB 5541 to fund the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). The latter bill drew the most comments and 3 nays by Sen. Hansell, Rep. Lewis, and Rep. Breese-Iverson. OYA has a high number of staff positions (990) and behavioral residential beds (328) funded. There was a reduction in the number of beds with a higher rate per bed noted. Most discussion focused on Behavioral Residential Services and mental health needs for youth. The agency has scheduled an upgrade of the Juvenile Justice Information System, which is used by County Juvenile staff and OYA staff. 

The Subcommittee on Public Safety approved several bills on May 30, which will soon be voted on in full W&Ms: HB 5017 funds the Department of Emergency Management, SB 900 A establishes the Organized Retail Theft Grant Program, HB 2320 A establishes the Juvenile Justice Policy Commission, and HB 2772 A defines terms related to domestic terrorism.

On the May 31 docket for the full W&Ms are SB 5512 to fund the Judicial Department, HB 2225 to increase fees for court transcripts, HB 2316 A to expand the number of intoxicants included in the driving under the influence statute, and HB 2645 B to increase penalties for fentanyl possession.


Gun Safety

By Marge Easley

The Republican walkout continues to stall the passage of gun safety bills HB 2005 and SB 348. However, we will be closely monitoring the five-day federal trial on Measure 114 that starts June 5 with U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut presiding. According to a May 30th Oregonian article, The City of Portland recently submitted a court brief in support of the measure, particularly the ban on large capacity magazines, citing the city’s record number of 101 homicides and 1,306 shootings in 2022, on the heels of the 92 homicides and 1,315 shootings in 2021.

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