Session Collage February 2016

A Day in Salem: From left, OBA’s Joel Fischer and DJ Vogt with Rep. John Huffman; OBA member Varner Seaman of PGE; and Dan Jarman of CFM Strategic Communications, Inc.

DJ Vogt, VP Government Affairs and Joel Fischer, Senior Policy Analyst are always happy to answer questions, take comments, or discuss any of these bills or others that should be on the list.
General OBA phone #: 503-641-0990
Email: Joel Fischer — and DJ Vogt –

OBA Legislative Agenda Priorities

In the spirit of 35-day 2016 legislative session that began Feb. 1, Oregon Business Association’s Board of Directors approved an agenda that fits the time constraints and state budget focus of interim sessions without letting go of our important priorities, vision and strategic imperatives. You can expect a weekly report every Friday as we move through the session with updates on legislation reflecting our policy priorities. We’re also tracking bills at here:
Questions/Concerns? Please email OBA staff at or give us a call at 503-641-0990.

Priority Tiers

The latest from Salem

Legislative Activity the week of Feb. 15, 2016


Criminal justice reform
Bill: N/A
Summary: Department of Corrections budget request for $10M to build prison beds at Deer Ridge.
Status: No bill to report.
Notes: OBA win. OBA supports maintaining ALL funding in Justice Reinvestment grants ($42M) and not using those funds to build any prison beds, and no funds will be used for such purpose.


University Venture Development Fund tax credit
Bill: HB 4072
Summary: Extends sunset for tax credit for university venture development fund contributions.
Status: Public hearing held in House Revenue on February 4. OBA testified in support along with university partners. Still in House Revenue.
Notes: OBA is working with partners to lobby House members, with hopes it can move from House Revenue Committee next week.

Tracktown lodging tax
Bill: HB 4146
Summary: Increases state transient lodging tax rate to 2% from the current 1%. Requires Oregon Tourism Commission to spend 15 percent of state transient lodging tax revenues rather than current “as much as 15 percent” to implement regional cooperative tourism program. Broadens type of programs for which appropriated state transient lodging tax moneys may be spent from “tourism marketing programs” to “tourism programs.”
Status: Moved from House Revenue with a 5-3-1 vote. Republicans voted no. Set for House floor vote on February 19.
Notes: OBA supports the bill. Prospects look good that will pass the House.

Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan
Bill: HB 4036
Summary: Doubles Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard from 25% to 50% by 2050. Requires utilities to transition off of coal by 2035.
Status: Passed the House floor last week with bipartisan support. Now being heard in the Senate Business and Transportation Committee. Recent news articles have created a buzz in the building and set this bill on a rocky path. Senate Republicans are locking down, so there won’t be the same kind of bipartisan support we saw in the House. Still, we expect the bill to pass.
Notes: OBA supports, Joel Fischer provided testimony in support.

Healthy Climate Act, Cap and Invest
Bill: HB 1574
Summary: Cap and Invest approach. Capping GHG emissions through the auction of allowances by the state to emitting entities. The proceeds from the sale of the allowances will be invested in utility bill rate relief, GHG reduction, and community and economic adaptation and resilience measures.
Status: Passed out of committee and sent to Ways and Means this week. This bill is considered dead, there is more momentum for HB 4036, the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan.
Notes: Sen. Edwards bill. OBA does not have a position on this bill.

Water Storage and Delivery
Bill: HB 4012
Summary:  Authorizes issuance of lottery bonds to finance water storage and distribution projects.
Status: Passed out of committee last week, in Ways and Means.


Chronic Absenteeism
Bill: HB 4002
Summary: Directs Department of Education to develop and implement statewide education plan to address chronic absences of students in public schools.
Status: Passed out of committee last week, now sits in Ways and Means, small fiscal, expected to pass once the Ways and Means process starts moving.
Notes: Rep. Gallegos’ bill. OBA supports, Joel Fischer provided testimony in support.

Chronic Absenteeism
Bill: HB 4031
Summary: Directs Chief Education office to design and implement pilot program to decrease rates of school absenteeism.
Status: Passed out of committee last week, now sits in Ways and Means, in search of $5 million for pilot projects. Uncertain whether funding for this bill will be allocated.
Notes: Rep. Margaret Doherty’s bill. OBA monitoring. Support in concept, but comes with a large fiscal.  Proponents are hoping for $5 million to start pilot programs.

Oregon Promise Support Program
Bill: HB 4076
Summary: Directs Office of Student Access and Completion to provide support services to enable students to be successful in Oregon Promise program (better known as Free Community College).
Status: Passed out of the House Higher Education Innovation and Workforce Committee two weeks ago. Scheduled for a work session in the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee on February 24th. Expected to pass.
Notes: Rep. Mark Johnson and Sen. Mark Hass’ bill. OBA supports, Joel provided testimony in support.

Bill: HB 4057
Summary: Directs Department of Education to prepare report related to educational performance of students from families in poverty.
Status: Passed the House two weeks ago, passed the Senate Education committee this week, now goes to the Senate floor and expected to pass.
Notes: Rep. Gene Whistnant’s bill. Joel provided testimony in support. This bill was created using the recommendations of the Poverty Workgroup that was convened last session to address achievement gaps for students living in poverty.

Bill: SB 1541
Summary: Directs Department of Education to conduct evaluation related to financial accountability of school districts
Status: Passed the Senate floor last week and now sits in the House Rules committee.
Notes: Sen. Mark Hass’ bill. Joel Fischer provided testimony in support. The reporting required by this bill will help policymakers make better decisions with education funding and programs.


Minimum wage
Bill: SB 1532 A
Summary: Creates three region minimum wage in Oregon, Portland metro and two others, where wage will be lower.
Status: Passed House 32-26 on February 18. All Republicans voted no and two Democrats — John Lively and Caddy McKeown also voted no. Now it heads to Governor’s desk. Passed Senate 16-12, where all Republicans and Senator Johnson voted no.
Notes: OBA worked with coalition partners and key elected officials (primarily in January – pre-session) to develop a proposal that would be acceptable to OBA members and our Board of Directors. See coverage here.


Corporate disclosure
Bill: HB 4035
Summary: Requires Department of Revenue to submit to Legislative Revenue Officer information from Oregon tax returns about certain corporations doing business in Oregon.
Status: Public hearing held 8 February in House Revenue Committee.
Notes: OBA opposing, along with all business groups. Not likely to move anywhere. Two House Democrats are reporting as NO votes on committee.

Cost of performance
Bill: HB 4026-3
Summary: Changes the method of apportioning corporation income from the sale of intangibles and services. Replaces the Cost-of-Performance method with a market-based method. Applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017.
Status: Public hearing held on February 11 in House Revenue Committee.
Notes: The bill is not likely to move. OBA/OBC cautioned committee members that such large, substantive changes to tax law should not be rushed through in a February session

**See OBA’s 2015 legislative session Sin Die report HERE.


twitter_logo_flatFollow us on Twitter, @oregonbizassoc for important policy updates throughout the session