By all accounts, the 2017 Legislative Session has been one of the most challenging in recent history. Nevertheless, I worked with my colleagues to deliver an impressive list of accomplishments that put Oregon families and small businesses first, reinvested in public education, established a new transportation package, funding for Oregon’s expanded Medicaid program, bolstered job creation, and made college more affordable.
While many bills passed during the 2017 Legislative Session have already become law, there are some new laws that will take effect in October. Here are a few legislative highlights from the 2017 Session that will become law on October 6th.
Oregon State Capitol
SB 129 Forming a PTSD task force: Creates a task force to study and make recommendations about the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly for veterans. The task force will be responsible for identifying best practices for treatment and additional funding sources.
SB 310 Supporting vertical housing: Oregon’s Vertical Housing program encourages the development of mixed-use properties by offering partial property tax breaks for constructing this type of housing in a previously non-residential area. This bill transitions the Vertical Housing designation to local cities and counties instead of Oregon Housing and Community Services. Cities and counties must consider the impacts of possible displacement before approving a vertical housing area.
SB 360 Community service programs: Directs counties to create community service programs that allow parolees to engage in service in lieu of paying certain types of debts such as court-appointed attorney fees.
SB 398 Requiring tax credit transparency: Directs the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to require employers to notify employees of potential eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credits. Employers shall send notice annually with the employee’s federal tax forms.
SB 634 Including woody biomass energy as green technology: Oregon law requires public entities to spend 1.5 percent of the total price of a public improvement contract for new construction on green energy technology. SB 634 adds woody biomass energy technology to the list of energies that qualify as green energy technology.
SB 867 Bolstering maritime job training: Creates a Task Force on Maritime Sector Workforce Development to make recommendations for incorporating the maritime sector into the statewide workforce investment plan managed by the State Workforce Investment Board.
SB 1015 Industrial hemp: Allows Oregon Liquor Control Commission-licensed marijuana processors to take industrial hemp, as well as hemp concentrates and extracts, from industrial hemp growers and handlers.
HB 2002 Protecting low-income renters: Property owners participating in federal housing programs are required to provide notice of an expiring HUD contract to Oregon Housing and Community Services one year in advance. The bill increases the notice requirement to 2 years and permits OHCS and local governments to require tenant relocation fees.
HB 2005 Equal Pay Act of 2017 ensures equal pay for equal work: The Equal Pay Act of 2017 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age.
HB 2017 Transportation Preservation and Modernization: fter an intensive process studying transportation and infrastructure needs across Oregon, the Joint Committee on Transportation Modernization and Preservation put together a comprehensive transportation funding package. House Bill 2017 raises funds to fix Oregon’s bridges, highways and culverts, as well as make safety and seismic improvements.
HB 2066 Reauthorizing some tax credits: The tax credit sunset review process was established by the Legislature in 2009. This year, the Legislature renewed tax credits for affordable housing lenders, rural medical providers and for fish screening at water diversion sites.
HB 2197 Distribution of cannabis revenue
Allows the Oregon Department of Revenue to enter into an agreement with federally recognized tribes for the purpose of making rebate payments on state taxes imposed on cannabis items.
HB 2391 Health coverage for 350,000 Oregonians: Raises $673 million to continue health care coverage for more than 350,000 Oregonians who were added to the Oregon Health Plan after passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. It raises funds through a combination of taxes on hospitals, which have experienced profit growth resulting from the ACA, and assessments on insurance premiums.
HB 2409 Dual enforcement traffic cameras: Improves traffic safety by allowing cities to use red light cameras and sensors to monitor speeding. Cities may issue both red-light and speeding citations in the event an individual is going through a red light, while also exceeding the speed limit by more than 21 miles per hour.
HB 2579 Cracking down on distracted driving: This public safety law is aimed at reducing distractions while driving. It prohibits a person from using a mobile electronic device while driving, unless the device is mounted to the car, voice operated or if the vehicle is used for emergency or public utility purposes.
HB 2673 Protecting transgender Oregonians’ rights to privacy: Protects transgender Oregonians who are currently vulnerable when seeking to amend their vital records due to public posting and other regional court requirements. This law will allow transgender adults to update their name and gender identity on their birth certificate and related records through the Oregon Health Authority privately, rather than requiring a court process.
HB 3060 Battling sexual harassment, assault in the workplace: Prohibits state contracting agencies from hiring contractors that do not have policies and practices for preventing sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination against members of protected classes. Protected classes are defined by race, color or ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status or religion.
HB 3149 Completing the Oregon Coast Trail: The Oregon Coast Trail was created in 1971 and winds through state parks, beaches, public lands and private property. Almost 60 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail remains unfinished. Under HB 3149, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation will develop a plan to complete the Oregon Coast Trail and submit it to the Legislative Assembly by Sep. 15, 2019.
HB 3434 Local public safety fiscal emergencies: Some Oregon counties have struggled with financial instability since the Great Recession, which puts the availability of public safety services, such as police, at risk. HB 34 34 extends the availability of the public safety fiscal emergency program, which provides a safety net for essential services.