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OSCC Legislative Report

Jun-15-2015

Review of Past Week (June 8 – June 12):

  • Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (SB 454-A) passed the Senate 17-13 and passed the House 33-24. The bill goes to Governor Brown for her signature.

 

  • The Mandatory State-Run Retirement Savings bill (HB 2960-A) passed the House 32-28.

 

  • 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, passed the Senate 21-8. 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, appears to finally be dead.

 

  • House Bill 2077, the bill that requires public disclosure of certain Oregon C corporation tax returns, was once again taken off the House Revenue Committee agenda. OSCC will continue to oppose this measure which will politicize the tax returns of key chamber members and key Oregon companies, but the bill now appears to be dead.

 

  • House Bill 2764 passed the Senate 18-11 and will now go to Governor Brown’s desk for her signature. 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.   OSCC was pleased that the Senate passed a negotiated version of the bill that would scale back the cost increases significantly. 

 

What We See Coming Up (June 15 – June 19):

  • Minimum Wage. It is believed that House Speaker Tina Kotek will unveil her minimum wage plan this week.  It appears the Speaker is intent on trying to pass her plan in the waning days of session.  OSCC is now counting votes on the House side and is taking this issue very seriously.

It is our understanding that the Speaker’s proposal will increase the minimum wage to $11 in 2016, $12 in 2017 and $13 in 2018.  In addition, her proposal will allow local governments to raise their own minimum wage to higher levels.

 

  • Discussions are continuing 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 politics of the transportation are getting more complicated every day as environmental interest groups are threatening to refer any transportation package that repeals the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and taxpayer groups threatening to refer any transportation package that increases the gas tax.  The talks are further complicated as Republicans are growing angry with the number of anti-business bills that continue to pass the legislature.
  • HB 2075, the bill that would increase the jet fuel tax to fund infrastructure improvements to rural airports, is slated for a public hearing and possible work session in the Ways & Means Committee this week. OSCC identified this issue as a top proactive agenda item and has worked this issue throughout the session.  It appears, at this point, that the bill is poised to move.  Very significant victory for OSCC.

 

  • HB 2960, the Mandatory State Retirement Plan for private sector workers, will hit the Senate floor as early as Tuesday. It is expected that the bill will pass the Senate.

 

  • An agreement has been struck on SB 129, the bill that would preserve the state’s Gain Share program. OSCC supports the bill.  The Gain Share program is important to provide incentives for local government to use its property tax tools to incent job creation.  The Gain Share program gives counties a share of the income tax revenue generated by new jobs under the state’s Strategic Investment Program.  OSCC will continue to monitor this issue for developments.  It could be a significant positive development as the bill will provide significant funding for rural economic development as well as Career and Technical Education.

 


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