The 2019 Oregon Legislature reached its first bill deadline on Tuesday, April 9. All measures had to be voted out of their first committees in order to stay “alive.” For example, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Education Committee must have moved to the floor for a vote of the full chamber, to the Rules Committee, or to the Joint Ways & Means Committee in order to remain active in the legislative process.
Lawmakers are tackling big policy and budget challenges, including:
Climate change: Still under debate, HB 2020 would establish a new cap-and-trade marketplace in Oregon, set a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and reduce it over time. It would also charge large polluters — including utilities, fuel importers and industrial facilities — for each ton of greenhouse gas they emit, though some entities would receive breaks. Amendments abound on this measure.
Rent control: SB 608 limits rent increases and bars no-cause evictions after a tenant's first year in a building. The bill was signed by Governor Brown earlier this session.
Workplace harassment: SB 726 would create new protections for employees who experience harassment or assault in the work place. The
Title IX protections: In the wake of the U.S. Department of Education releasing its notice of proposed rulemaking late last year making changes to Title IX regulations, Oregon lawmakers introduced HB 3415. The bill would codify that universities must adopt written policies concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that occur both on and off campus, ensure relevant training is provided, and more.
Credit transfer: SB 730 continues the state’s work on collegiate credit transfer and the creation of unified statewide transfer agreements (USTAs) that are reflected in current law as a result of the passage of HB 2998 in 2017.
Dual credit: SB 800 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to develop standards for approving partnerships to provide dual credit programs.
The University of Oregon’s key legislative priorities all continue to move through the process successfully.
SB 949 provides $350,000 of new funding to support the UO’s prison education program. The program offers a horizon-broadening experience for “outside” students and invaluable skill-development and credit-bearing course opportunities for “inside” students, helping to reduce recidivism rates overall. SB 949 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 949’s public hearing.
SB 255 would provide $500,000 in one-time state funding for the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology to purchase a new boat for research and teaching. This measure is led by legislators who represent Oregon’s coastal region. SB 255 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 255’s public hearing.
SB 739 would provide $2.5 million to expand the UO’s College of Education’s Oregon Research Schools Network (ORSN) to more school districts throughout the state. The program embeds UO faculty into high schools for five years to work with teachers and students to improve high school graduation rates and student success with the newest pedagogy and resources. SB 739 moved out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. Read the Around the O story on SB 739’s public hearing.
HB 2594 would create a $300,000 state matching fund for the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), which is part of the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. The matching fund would help smaller, more rural cities partner with SCYP to help them solve public policy challenges and provide more students with experiential learning opportunities. HB 2594 moved out of the House Education Committee unanimously and is now in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means.
Future legislative deadlines:
May 15: Last state revenue forecast before final budget decisions
May 24: Second chamber work session deadline (AKA lots more bills die)
June 30: Constitutional Sine Die