On Thursday, June 15th legislative leaders reached an agreement to end the six-week walkout under the terms of an agreement that called for significant changes to controversial bills opposed by the Senate Republican caucus. The House and Senate spent the last week of the regular session clearing a backlog of hundreds of bills, including those that would fund state agencies and the 2023-25 budget. Both the Senate and House completed their work by the constitutionally mandated last day of session, and adjourned on Sunday, June 25th.
Overall, Bend Chamber’s legislative priorities fared well in the 2023 session with key highlights of the last days of session below.
Funding for Hawthorne Over-Crossing
The biennium’s lottery bonding bill included $5 million in ODOT bonding authority for the Hawthorne Overcrossing. This coupled with a $20 million grant award from the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program, provides full funding for completion of the overcrossing.
Housing and Infrastructure
Several last-minute omnibus bills rolled up multiple budget and policy priorities to support housing production and supply.
- SB 5511 is the budget bill for the Housing and Community Services Department. Some highlights of the budget are:
- $111.2 million for continuing shelter and rehousing services in response to the Governor’s emergency declaration on homelessness.
- $24.1 million for operating support to existing shelters.
- $7.5 million for down payment assistance.
- $9.7 million to establish a predevelopment loan program within the Department.
HB 3395 combines various housing-related policies into one bill and allocates a total of $48.5 million from the General Fund to support the projects included in the bill. The main provisions of the bill are:
- Flexibility in zoning regulations to accommodate residential areas and grants to local governments to assist with technical support.
- Grants to cities, counties, and tribes to aid in housing and community development initiatives.
- Matching revolving loans fund for certain home buyers to increase the equity they can accrue.
- Funds are allocated to establish programs that guarantee loans for affordable housing projects.
HB 3414: Allows a one-time modest and reasonable expansion of an urban growth boundary into already designated urban reserves. Limits conditions under which local governments may deny variance for housing development and establishes the Housing Production and Accountability Office. The bill failed, but may be addressed in a special session to be announced by Governor Kotek.
- SB 919: Addresses the shortage of middle housing by granting new tools for local governments to incentivize new construction via property tax exemptions for up to five years. Eligible middle housing includes duplexes, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), triplexes, quadplexes and cottage clusters. The bill passed and is expected to be signed into law.
General Business & Economic Development
- HB 2009: The package includes a research and development tax credit, extends the enterprise zone program, and updates the strategic investment package. HB 2009 sets a $255 million upper limit on tax credits through 2030 for businesses involved in the research, design or creation of semiconductors. The bill passed and is expected to be signed into law.
- HB 3242 and HB 3243: These proposals would greatly expand litigation in resolving insurance claims, disrupting Oregon’s insurance market, and threatening higher costs for consumers at a time when they can least afford it. Both bills failed to pass a Senate floor vote.
- HB 2727: Directs Department of Land and Conservation and Development to convene a work group to examine strategies for expanding early learning and care facilities in this state. Provides $215, 000 for the study. The bill passed and is expected to be signed into law.
- HB 3005: Directs Oregon Business Development Department to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants to pay for allowable costs related to early childcare infrastructure activities. Provides $100 million for the fund. The bill passed and is expected to be signed into law.