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Bend Chamber Legislative Update – Week #1

On February 3, 2020, the Oregon State Legislature convened for the 80th Legislative Assembly marking the start of the short session lasting 35 days. While the short session is traditionally for codifying budget requests for the biennial budget, this session saw upwards of 250+ bill concepts introduced at the bill deadline.  While not all of those 250+ bills will move forward, it is a sure sign that Legislative leadership intends to use the short session as a vehicle for significant policy change.

…there is heated lobbying for nearly all of the revenue surplus from interest groups across the state.

Senate Bill 1530, the Cap and Trade proposal from Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) is expected to dominate the legislators’ time and attention this session. The proposal, which is a modification from the 2019 Cap and Trade bill, is slated for an initial hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on multiple days during the first week of session. Early actions taken on this bill will affect the tenor for the remainder of the legislative session, as Republicans have publicly threatened to deny quorum for a vote similar to the 2019 stalemate.

 

While climate proposals will be the most public legislation this session, there is also significant wrangling behind the scenes for a share of the state’s nearly $1 billion revenue surplus due in part to the prospering economy.  While the co-chairs of the powerful Ways and Means Committee have signaled they are inclined to allocate at least half of the funding towards the state’s rainy day fund, there is heated lobbying for nearly all of the revenue surplus from interest groups across the state.

The Chamber and key community partners have submitted letters of support for this much needed addition to the OSU-Cascades campus.

In addition to the revenue surplus, the co-chairs are entertaining a bonding package for capital construction and infrastructure projects across the state.  OSU-Cascades is on the list, but yet again below the threshold, for funding a $12.9M Student Success Center. The Chamber and key community partners have submitted letters of support for this much needed addition to the OSU-Cascades campus.

 

Key initiatives that the Bend Chamber of Commerce is engaging in this session are:

 

SUPPORT

  • Funding for the OSU Cascades Student Success Center
  • Funding for two (2) new Deschutes County judges
  • Access/affordability to quality child care
  • Increase in housing supply (transitional, affordable and attainable)

OPPOSE

  • Restrictions on independent contractors
  • Restrictions/elimination of opportunity zones
  • Increased regulations for businesses

MONITOR

  • Implementation of Corporate Activity Tax
  • Climate/cap & trade regulations

A weekly bill tracker will be circulated to Legislative Committee members with updates on key legislation of interest. Given the condensed timeframe for decision making this session, calls to action will come via email and Chamber staff will give as much time as possible for review and engagement.

 

 

 

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