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OSCC Legislative Report
- Low Carbon Fuel Mandate – SB 324 – was signed by Governor Kate Brown.
- Mandatory Paid Sick Leave – SB 454 – will be amended to reflect a few minor concerns from business, but these amendments will not allay any business opposition. The outline of those amendments were distributed to the OSCC Legislative Committee on the Friday conference call.
- State Run Retirement Plan Mandate– HB 2960 – received a second hearing in the House on Friday. Its companion bill – SB 615 – received its first hearing on Monday. Same cast of characters in both hearings. OSCC/Business Coalition testimony in opposition to the bills was distributed to OSCC Legislative Committee on Friday conference call.
- HB 2077 – a bill to mandate corporate tax disclosure to the Secretary of State – had a very lively public hearing in the House Revenue Committee on Wednesday. This bill is an initiative of the government employee unions and seeks to make public – on a public website – very sensitive tax information for any Oregon C corporation with at least 25 employees.
- HB 2386 – the bill that gives BOLI the unchecked ability to issue cease and desist order if the Labor Commissioner “has reason to believe” an employer has committed an unlawful employment practice – no longer appears inevitable. It was supposed to be approved by the committee on Monday, then Wednesday, then on Friday. OSCC engaged in the issue last week and helped put the brakes on the bill.
What we see coming up (March 16 - 20):
- Corporate Tax Disclosure – HB 2077 – will get a second public hearing in the House Revenue Committee.
- “Cap the Co-Pay” legislation – HB 2951 – will be heard in the House Health Care committee on Monday. This bill, introduced by Pfizer, seeks to cap co-pays for expensive pharmaceuticals at $100. Critics of the bill contend that capping co-pays hides the true cost of pharmaceuticals and pushes those costs on to commercial health care insurance ratepayers – most notably small businesses. OSCC has not taken a position on the bill, although it is very likely the critics’ concerns on the bill are justified and it will, in fact, have the effect of hiding the true costs of health care.
- Two bills that take aim at the insurance industry – SB 313 and SB 314 – will get consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Strong business/insurance coalitions are being built in opposition to the two bills. OSCC has not taken a position on either. SB 313 would allow a “second lawsuit” against an insurance company from a claimant who files an initial claim and does not like the outcome from the claim. SB 313 would then allow a second “bad faith” lawsuit to be filed against the defending insurance company. SB 314 would bring insurance companies into the Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) statutes even though they are governed by their own set of regulatory statutes and even governed by their own regulatory agency (the Oregon Insurance Division.) Based on experience from both California and Washington, these bills will likely lead to much higher insurance costs.
- Watch out for SB 63 in Senate Finance & Revenue Committee this week. We are expecting that this may be a vehicle to make some pretty significant changes to the tax code including repealing itemized deductions in exchange for lowering personal income tax rates. The amendments we’ve seen to the bill are modeled after the 1986 federal tax reform legislation that lowered rates in exchange for eliminated many deductions. At the end of the day, this may be the significant “tax reform” effort that gains traction in the Capitol.
- Finally, it appears that we may have stalled HB 2386, the bill that gives BOLI unchecked authority to issue cease and desist orders without going to court to gain approval. Forces the employer to go to court to prove their innocence and remove the BOLI cease and desist order. We talked about this issue at length on our Friday Legislative Committee call. Keep up the grassroots pressure this week. It’s working.