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Last Legislative bills to watch

June 30, 2015

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

As the 2015 Legislative Session struggles to the finish, several bills important to the business community remain on the table. Rather than an in-depth look at just a few bills, this week’s Leading Issues provides an overview of unfinished business. Some bills are good, some are bad, but all of them will impact your ability run a business and provide jobs in Oregon.

Energy & Environment

HB 3470: This is the most controversial environment and energy bill alive. In short, the bill sets aggressive greenhouse gas emission limits and delegates the authority to DEQ to create a program that will change Oregon’s economy without any consumer protections. The bill is awaiting a work session in the House Rules Committee. AOI opposes this legislation.

Retail

SB 478A: Manufacturers and retailers of children’s products are closely watching this legislation that would create new programs within Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for reporting chemical use and eventually banning certain chemicals used in children’s products whether or not the products are safe. The bill moved out of the Subcommittee on Human Services on a party-line vote to the Full Ways and Means Committee with the -A20 Amendment. We will continue to oppose the bill until the bill is amended in a way that is fair to all businesses operating in Oregon.

Transportation

The business community continues to lobby for a transportation bill which is now on life support due in large part to environmental opposition. The opposition stems from the inclusion of consumer protections from likely future price increases that will result from the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. AOI will continue to push for policies that protect fuel consumers and increase important investments in Oregon’s declining infrastructure.

Labor & Employment

HB 2012: Speaker Kotek’s new minimum wage proposal would increase the minimum wage to $11.00 on January 1, 2016, $12.00 on January 1, 2017, and $13.00 on January 1, 2018. Current indexing would continue to apply thereafter. This proposal would also lift Oregon’s current statewide preemption on local minimum wage increases. AOI opposes any minimum wage increase or lifting the statewide preemption on local increases.

Education

HB 3072: Creates a framework for funding career and technical education (CTE) and STEM education programs. AOI supports this legislation.

HB 2728: Changes the former Engineering Technology Industry Council (ETIC) to a broader model called the Oregon Talent Council (OTC). The OTC will have a broader mission, including advising state agencies and educational institutions on issues of talent development to promote growth and competitiveness of Oregon’s traded sector and high growth industries. AOI supports this legislation.

HB 3380: Creates Oregon pre-kindergarten program, allocating funding to both current Head Start program and other high quality pre-k programs.

Tax & Fiscal

SB 61: Tax haven expansion.

SB 129: Requires Department of Revenue to transfer 10% of annual personal income tax revenue, attributable to eligible projects in counties where the total amount exceeds $5 million, to a Local Economic Opportunity Fund.

SB 567: Directs excess capital gains tax revenues to State Education Stability Fund.

SB 925: Commercial activity tax study.

HB 2077: Corporate tax disclosure.

HB 2093: Tax expenditure study.

HB 3125: Five year machinery and equipment personal property tax exemption for dairies, bakeries, egg producers and grain millers.

  
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