Today, April 4 is the “first chamber” deadline, which marks both the unofficial halfway point of the session and also a reprieve from the frantic activity of the past few weeks. By the end of today, all bills need to be passed out of their initial policy committee or else they are considered dead.
This deadline is really the most important of the session because it determines the playing field for the “homestretch” of the legislative session.
With more than 2,900 bills introduced this session, today’s deadline should provide some clarity about what remains alive and what’s actually in most bills (as opposed to placeholder language). Hopefully, this deadline will provide a welcome reduction in distractions, allowing stakeholders to manage policy priorities more effectively. That will be a challenge in the Ways and Means Committee, where the list of bills with large financial impacts is piling up. With a limited pot of discretionary money available this biennium, there will be intense lobbying late in the session as legislators try to get their projects funded.
This past week marked the first time during the 2023 session where House Republicans joined Senate Republicans in requiring the full text of some bills to be read in their entirety. This is a tactic commonly employed to slow the session down.
Concerning Bills We’re Tracking
HB 2713 – (DEAD) 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 – (Still Alive) 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 – Amended down to make Oregon’s current “right to refuse work” law consistent with federal law.
SB 851 – Amended down to direct the Bureau of Labor and Industry to prepare a model ‘respectful workplace’ policy that employers can adopt.
HB 2433 / SB 127– 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 Joins Coalition Opposing an Insurance Increase
Two bills greatly expanding litigation in resolving insurance claims and threatening higher costs for Oregonians are on the move in the state Capitol. Under HB 3242, insurers could face lawsuits over settlement practices, and under HB 3243 they could face lawsuits under the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The Salem Chamber joined dozens of organizations in opposing this legislation.
Content contributed by Bravio Communications, Salem Chamber staff and OSCC.