Another Deadline Looms

With the first official scheduling deadline behind us, all eyes are forward. As of last Friday, the 2023 legislature crossed the first major deadline — if a bill was not scheduled for a work session by Friday night, that bill is no longer viable. The next two-and-a-half weeks, between now and April 4, are often considered the most difficult weeks of the legislative session in Oregon.

There are still over 1,700 bills alive, and all of those will be subject to the next hard deadline on April 4. By then, all bills need to be voted out of their policy committee in order to advance. Perhaps at that point, the playing field will level, if only slightly.

Reminder: Bills in Rules, Revenue, and Joint Committees are not subject to the same deadlines and will remain alive until Sine Die. It’s common for bills in policy committees to be referred to one of these standing committees shortly before a legislative deadline to keep them in consideration.

Concerning Bills We’re Tracking

HB 2713 – Permits cities and counties, whether home rule or not, to prohibit or limit the use of fossil fuels in new buildings or installation of fossil fuel infrastructure.

HB 3152 – Phases out the use of natural gas in the residential housing sector. It prevents line extension allowances for new gas line extensions that support the use of gas in residential buildings. This has the potential to further worsen inflationary cost pressure in the business sector.

SB 907 – Expands the existing right to refuse work law (federal OSHA and Oregon already provide that right) to allow employees to refuse work if they fear a potential hazard or danger. This goes beyond existing law and creates uncertainty and liability for Oregon employers.

SB 851 – Imposes liability on employers for any personnel decision or workplace conflict and creates unnecessary duplication of existing laws in place.

Support Encouraged

HB 2433 – Increases exempt amount and filing threshold for purposes of corporate activity tax. Raising the CAT exemption threshold for small businesses from $1 million to $5 million will provide much-needed tax relief to thousands of small businesses throughout Oregon.

HB 2624 – Allows additional estate tax exclusion of $1 million. Adjusts for inflation. Adding another $1 million to the exemption level, and indexing that for inflation going forward, means that Oregon will no longer be the worst in the nation for estate taxes.

SB 900 -1 – Establishes an organized retail theft grant program to assist cities, counties, the Department of State Police, and community-based organizations in addressing organized retail theft.

Salem Chamber Submits Written Testimony on HB 3205

This good policy ensures that our local businesses have the ability to incentivize the labor market as needed. HB 3205 allows employers to begin to offer hiring and retention bonuses again as current state pay equity laws have made these bonuses legally tenuous.

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