We are going to take a pause this week and let things settle.
Monday and Tuesday are going to be the single busiest set of days for committees as they rush to pass bills to beat the Tuesday deadline (all bills must pass out of their original committee by Tuesday at 11:59 pm). At this point we are all mostly spectators.
We have never seen anything like we’re witnessing now. The unprecedented logjam of bills waiting for passage on the final day will undoubtedly be a spectacle – and there will be casualties. There’s just too many bills and too little time. In some cases, committees are scheduling 40-50 bills for a committee vote in their final 2-hour committee.
Next week’s report will be more definitive, but let’s recap what we do know.
Here’s what we know from the past week:
It was another interesting week on the tax/revenue front. OSCC has reason to believe that the emerging strategy of the legislative leadership is to pass an “all cuts” budget and then refer a tax increase measure to the ballot in order to add back programs that will be cut in the newly-adopted budget.
This strategy has many holes, not the least of which is that there are probably not enough Democratic votes to pass the kind of cuts that this strategy will require (we can guarantee that no Republican will assist in this strategy).
But nonetheless, it was a significant departure from the bipartisan, cooperative tone that had defined the first two months of the session, most notably in the Senate.
Here are the bills that are still alive as we approach the Tuesday, April 18th deadline:
SB 301: would effectively preclude employers from enforcing zero tolerance drug policies. We are deeply disappointed this bill has been kept alive in Senate Judiciary. Scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.
SB 828 / HB 2193: would implement predictive scheduling with amendments mainly targeting hotels, restaurants and retail establishments. We were disappointed to see both the House and the Senate bill kept alive. SB 828 is scheduled for a vote on Monday, as is HB 2193.
HB 3087: Paid family leave, which would require 12 weeks of leave for qualifying events and is slated to be funded by .5% tax on employees and .5% payroll tax, is scheduled for a committee vote on Tuesday.
SB 292: unlawful employment action for “workplace bullying,” was mysteriously kept alive in Senate Judiciary. Scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.
SB 1040: would implement local union security agreements and prevent local right to work measures. Scheduled for a vote on Monday.
SB 997: was kept alive. The bill would levy fines on all employers with 50 or more employees who do not provide private health insurance for employees. Scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.
On the good side, both SB 984 (fixes BOLI’s bad interpretation on daily/weekly overtime pay) and SB 329 (preempt local employment law mandates) were kept alive. Both are scheduled for votes on Monday.
SB 1008: the costly mandate for diesel engine retrofits and replacements – is still alive and scheduled for a vote on Monday.
On the good side, HB 2669, ‘Community Right to Know’ was killed.
The big bill here, HB 2269: which would increase Title V and ACDP fees to fund the new DEQ ‘Cleaner Air Oregon’ regulatory scheme was voted out of committee on a 5-4 party-line vote and sent to the Ways & Means Committee.
HB 2236: was also kept alive which requires the DEQ to conduct a study and develop recommendations relating to emissions of air contaminants from industrial sources.
SB 197: a disaster for the dairy industry – is scheduled for a vote on Monday. It allows for the DEQ to adopt a program for regulating air contaminant emissions from dairy confined animal feeding operations. We believe this bill will die, but will confirm next week.
SB 737 (formerly SB 487): which would eliminate the $500k cap on non-economic damages in civil lawsuits, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote. As of right now, we expect this to be the first major bill of the session to be defeated and sent back to committee. Stay tuned on this one.
Taxes & Budget:
OSCC has reason to believe now that the House Revenue Committee will take up the issue of corporate tax disclosure, HB 2019. We have not seen the amendments, but we believe now that this will be a legitimate threat.
We also believe there will be a real attempt to scale back the small business tax cut passed by the legislature in 2013. This is one issue that we expect that Republicans may assist Democrats in raising revenue. Republicans have shown a willingness to consider eliminating the lower tax rates for LLP’s. The bills to watch here are SB 164 and SB 165.
Tourism and TRT Funding:
HB 3260: authorizes coastal counties to impose local transient lodging taxes on residential short-term vacation rental properties by submitting the issue to county voters. The bill has received some attention in the House Revenue Committee and is still alive.
HB 2744: amended the definition of “tourism-related facility” to include improvements to real property that have the substantial purpose of supporting, promoting or accommodating tourism or tourist activities.
HB 2768: expanded the definition of “tourism promotion” for purposes of local transient lodging tax revenue expenditures.
Also of note, all tax and budget issues are still alive. Any tax bill residing in the Revenue Committees, or budget bill residing in Ways & Means, is not subject to deadlines. OSCC will monitor these bills until the very end of session.
OSCC expects that the Ways & Means Committee will be engaged in an inordinate amount of policy work this session as committee chairs punt critical bills to Ways & Means to keep them alive.
Again, OSCC will give you a precise accounting for all the bills that will remain in play after the Tuesday deadline. It will easily be the most active two days of the session this week, but after April 18th, OSCC will have a very solid understanding of all the bills in play for 2017 and will be able to focus efforts appropriately.