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OSCC Legislative Report
What we see coming up (June 8 – June 12):
- Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (SB 454-A) will be on the full Senate floor for a vote as early as Wednesday. At this point, we believe SB 454 was negotiated specifically for Senate passage. The real contest will be in the House.
- OSCC is also anticipating that the Mandatory State-Run Retirement Savings bill (HB 2960-A) will be on the full House floor for a vote as early as Wednesday. House leadership is working hard to secure passage. It will be closely contested. Leadership doesn’t often lose tough votes. OSCC is actively opposing and lobbying the bill unless the -17 amendments are adopted.
- House Bill 3025, the “ban the box” bill that would prohibit employers from compelling job applicants from disclosing their criminal history prior to an initial interview, will hit the Senate floor this week. The bill was watered down even more on the Senate side to prohibit anyone from suing an employer over the new law. The new bill also allows employers to conduct background checks at any time. At this point, the bill simply says that an employer cannot ask a prospective employee to disclose their criminal history until the first interview.
- House Bill 3034, the bill that would remove the property tax exemption for local hospitals, will unlikely see any further action this session. The bill now appears to be dead.
- House Bill 2077, the bill that requires corporate tax disclosure for certain C corporations, is up again for a public discussion and work session in the House Revenue Committee this week. OSCC continues to believe the bill does not have the votes to move out of committee. However, the fact that the bill keeps popping up is a discouraging indicator that there is a desire to move the bill. OSCC will continue to oppose this measure which will politicize the tax returns of key chamber members and key Oregon companies.
- House Bill 2093 is a key bill for OSCC to watch. Could be up for additional hearings and work session in the Joint Tax Credits Committee. The reason that HB 2093 is important is because it appears that House and Senate leadership may try to use the bill to combine the renewal of various expiring tax credits with potential tax increases to produce a revenue-neutral bill.
Why is this so important? Because tax increases require a 3/5 supermajority vote of the legislature in order to pass. But the relatively new tactic being discussed in HB 2093 would allow the legislature to pass a tax increase with a simple majority vote.
It will be vitally important to keep a watch on this bill because, if left unchallenged, the legislature could employ this tactic to raise taxes in the future with only simple majorities instead of the 3/5 vote required by the Oregon Constitution.
- House Bill 2764 will hit the Senate floor this week. In a previous version, OSCC opposed the bill because it would increase workers’ compensation costs by 5 percent as a result of the dramatically increased attorney fees authorized by the bill. However, the bill has been negotiated by management, labor and trial attorneys. The new version of the bill significantly scales back the projected cost increases. OSCC has upgraded its position from “oppose” to “neutral”.
- Finally, discussion are ongoing between key Democrats and Republicans about the prospect of a comprehensive transportation package to be funded by a 6-cent increase in the state gas tax. The sticking point continues to be the recently-passed Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Republicans insist that the LCFS be repealed in order to provide the votes necessary for an increase in the gas tax. Democrats are very reluctant to give up their recently-won LCFS legislation. But the key thing is that talks are still ongoing and have not broken off.