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OSCC Legislative Report
Review of past week (Feb 23 – 27):
- Low Carbon Fuel Mandate – SB 324 – passed House Energy & Environment Committee on Thursday (Feb 26) on party line vote. As of today, we have exactly 30 “no” votes to defeat the bill on the House Floor. However, there is speculation over the weekend that Rep. Betty Komp (D-Woodburn) will switch her vote to “yes” in order to pass the bill. We are working over the weekend to get constituents to contact her to ask her to keep her commitment to vote “no.”
- Mandatory Paid Sick Leave – SB 454 – is the subject of shuttle diplomacy and workgroups to try and craft a bill that business will stand down on. The plan is that SB 454 will be moved to the Ways & Means Committee to sit until the end of session to give the negotiations a chance to be successful. It is highly unlikely at this point that any business groups will stand down on this legislation unless it contains a pre-emption of ALL local laws dealing with any term or condition of employment. Even then, it will be a tough sell for business. Stay tuned. This issue has slowed down considerably.
- Clean Energy Mandate – SB 477 – has hit the skids after initial interest from Senate Energy Committee Chair Chris Edwards (D-Eugene). OSCC members requested to put this legislation in the OSCC “OPPOSE” agenda. But the complications and costs of the bill, including removing coal completely as an electric generation resource by 2025, have made it extremely unlikely that this bill will go anywhere. Both PGE and Pacific Power are projecting huge cost increases for customers should the bill pass. The bill has lost all momentum.
- Minimum Wage increases are also losing steam. Several prominent Democratic legislators have come out in the past week with public statements that a minimum wage increase is unlikely in 2015. The key to this issue will be the handful of rural Democratic Senators who have expressed skepticism and disapproval of an increase in the minimum wage.
What we see coming up (March 2 – 6):
- Low Carbon Fuel Mandate – SB 324 – should be on the House Floor this week. This will be the final opportunity of OSCC and other business groups to stop the measure in the Legislature. All policy bills must receive 31 votes (a simple majority of the 60-member Oregon House of Representatives) to pass. If our votes hold, the bill only has 30 votes. We are working to secure our previous commitments from Rep. Betty Komp (D – Woodburn). At this point, the fate of the bill comes down to her. Up until now, Rep. Komp has been a strong opponent of the bill, but is now seen as wavering.
- Historic Property Rehab Tax Credit bill – SB 565 – is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance & Revenue Committee. OSCC will support.
- Corporate Tax Disclosure – HB 2077 – is up for a hearing in the House Revenue Committee. OSCC will oppose.
- Unlawful employment action legislation that would disallow employers from taking any adverse employment action subsequent to an employee discussing wage concerns – HB 2007 – is up for vote on the House Floor. OSCC testified against and will oppose on the House Floor.
- State-Run Retirement Plan legislation – HB 2960 – will be heard for the first time in the House Business & Labor Committee on Friday morning. OSCC has adopted a position in opposition to the bill, and will testify in opposition on Friday.