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OSCC Legislative Report

May-11-2015

Review of past week (May 4 – May 8):

  • HB 2386-B, the bill to give BOLI ‘cease and desist’ authority, was defeated on the House floor on Tuesday and sent back to committee to die. This is the second time the bill was defeated on the House floor. This concept is now dead.  Local chambers made a huge difference in the outcome of this measure.

 

  • HB 2764-A, the legislation that increases attorney fees in workers’ comp cases and increases workers’ comp system costs by 5 percent, narrowly passed the House on a 32-27 vote. Last minute lobbying by the business community, including OSCC, made this a very competitive bill on the House floor. It is expected that the bill will be amended in the Senate to reflect a compromise agreement on this legislation.  If the Senate does not incorporate the compromise agreements, OSCC will lobby against the bill and request a veto from Governor Brown.

What we see coming up (May 11 - 15):

  • We are expecting Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (SB 454-A) to be approved by the Ways & Means Committee this week and sent to the full Senate for a floor vote.

We are expecting that the bill may be amended, perhaps even significantly, in order to secure passage on the Senate floor.  As of today, there does not appear to be the votes in the Senate to pass the bill, but it’s very close. 

OSCC will keep members informed and updated on this issue throughout the week.

  • OSCC is anticipating that the Mandatory State-Run Retirement Savings bill (HB 2960-A) will also be approved by the Ways & Means Committee this week and sent to the full House for a floor vote.

OSCC is opposing the bill for multiple reasons.  First, the bill will mandate that all employers who don’t offer a retirement savings plan auto-enroll employees into the state-run plan, including part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.  We have reason to believe that employers will incur ERISA liabilities for doing so.

OSCC also opposes the bill due to the lack of fiscal due diligence the plan requires.  There has been no analysis performed to indicate whether the new state-run retirement plan will be self-sufficient and able to survive without government subsidies.  There’s also been no analysis of the tax treatment of the income that will be withheld from employees to fund their new retirement plans.  Finally, OSCC is gravely concerned that the legislation attempts to bypass a determination from the federal Department of Labor as to whether the state plan is preempted by federal ERISA law.

            OSCC will issue an Action Alert to the membership this week on HB 2960-A.

  • House Bill 2075, the bill that would increase the jet fuel tax and use the proceeds to address infrastructure and deferred maintenance needs at rural airports, is moving. OSCC is now leading the effort to pass this bill, which raises the jet fuel tax by 4 cents per gallon and raises $13 million per biennium for safety, economic development, and capital upgrades to Oregon’s system of local airports.

HB 2075 is scheduled for a vote in the House Revenue Committee on Thursday.  At this point, we expect the committee to pass the bill with a large majority, perhaps even unanimously.  The bill will then go to Ways & Means where it will be assigned to Senator Betsy Johnson’s Transportation & Economic Development Subcommittee.  Senator Johnson is a major proponent of the bill.

  • Also on a positive note, the package of bills aimed at re-claiming hundreds of brownfields properties and turning them in to economically viable parcels of land capable will also be considered in the House Revenue Committee this week. OSCC is supporting both House Bill 2289 (tax credit) and House Bill 2734 (local Land Bank authority).  These bills create new tools to clean up brownfields and put that land back to use supporting business and job creation. 


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