Halfway Through

The April 4 deadline has come and gone and the total bills in circulation are now closer to 1,500 (down from about 3,000). Many surviving bills were moved to Ways and Means Committees where things are beginning to pile up. Likely there will not be significant movement in any budget-related bill until after the May 17 Revenue Forecast. We know there will be a more limited amount of discretionary money available this biennium, and just as much lobbying for dollars. Stay tuned.

This session has been, so far, status quo for businesses. Generally speaking, it appears that almost no anti-business bill has survived to date.

A controversial insurance bill sparked House Republicans to force bill reading for the first time this session on the House Floor. Once the bill moved, rules were suspended once again to avoid bill reading. Floor proceedings will be watched carefully as tensions rise this session. At this point, most committee meetings are canceled for the remainder of this week due to floor delays and the backup of bills.

The next significant deadline is May 5. At that time policy bills must be scheduled for a vote in committee.

Concerning Bills We’re Tracking

HB 2800(DEAD) Added complexity to Oregon’s existing age discrimination laws by compromising employers’ ability to consider experience and by requiring employers to bear burden of proof that age discrimination did not take place for adverse employment decisions.

HB 3152(NOW DEAD) 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.

HB 3242 and HB 3243 – Allows policyholders to sue their insurance companies for bad faith. These bills have been tried in other states and have benefitted few but resulted in significant premium spikes in commercial policies for all. These bills passed the House on party-line votes.

SB 925(DEAD) Would have required employers to disclose pay range and employment benefits within all job postings. Failure to do so would subject an employer to a lawsuit or employment claim.

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.

HB 3205 – This bill would allow employers to begin to offer hiring and retention bonuses again as current state pay equity laws have made these bonuses legally tenuous. This bill will advance.

Content contributed by Bravio Communications, Salem Chamber staff and OSCC.

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