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2021 Legislative Session Update – April 19, 2021

What’s Happening (OSCC Political Observations)
 
This past Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives reached an agreement that put an end to the full reading of all bills being voted on in the House chamber. This is key, because it will speed up the process and allow House Bills to get over to the Senate side in a timely way. In this particular session, this tactic was especially effective in slowing the pace of the session.
 
In exchange for Republicans dropping the requirement that all bills be read in full, Democrats agreed to add a Republican to the redistricting committee to give each party the same number of members on the committee that is charged with redrawing Oregon’s Congressional districts and House and Senate legislative districts. 
 
In addition, Republicans were given greater input in the process of distributing $780 million of American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Though they have declined to require bill readings thus far, Senate Republicans were not subject to the agreement.
 
This week’s committee agenda is very light, as many committees did not schedule this week in anticipation of spending most of the week on the floor voting for the bills that have piled up.
 
Some of the big remaining issues of consequence to the business community include:
 

  • 100% Clean Electricity (HB 2021) OSCC has indicated that HB 2021 could be this session’s version of “Cap & Trade.” Last week, the House Energy and Environment Committee kept the bill alive by adopting amendments and moving the bill to the House Revenue Committee ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. Perhaps most notably, the committee moved the bill “without recommendation,” a relatively rare move that illustrates the continued tension behind the scenes among Democrats and interest groups surrounding the scope and details of the bill. The Legislative Policy and Research Office published an extensive summary of the bill in its current form, which you can view here, although the bill is likely to receive additional modifications if it is to advance this session.

 

  • Indirect Source Study (HB 2814) The House Committee on Energy and Environment watered down this bill at the deadline to require DEQ to study diesel emissions and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the potential adoption of an indirect source program. This amendment was adopted and the bill was sent to the Ways and Means Committee. OSCC remains skeptical of this bill in its current form due to the nature of the study and its potential to lead to an expensive, duplicative environmental regulatory program that would curtail needed local projects. 

 

  • Corporate Board Diversity (HB 3110) One of the few bills being discussed this week is a bill to require publicly traded corporations headquartered in Oregon to have at least one female and one member of an underrepresented community on their board of directors starting in 2024. This bill is expected to advance in some form.

 
Budget Hearings
 
One final issue of note – the Legislature will resume its statewide budget hearings this week.
 
All Chambers interested in supporting ARPA funds for community projects need to make sure your community is represented in the following hearings this week:
 
Congressional District 3
Wednesday, April 21, 5:30 pm
Register to testify here: https://survey.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4PGQ17iFvpyxnPo
 
Congressional District 4
Thursday, April 22, 5:30 pm
Register to testify here: https://survey.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9EJCb3HDLD9DYi2
 
Congressional District 5
Saturday, April 24, 1:00 pm
Register to testify here: https://survey.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eJT6e1ZhpsjQyrA
 
Our observation of these hearings is that the committee will allow about 3 hours worth of testimony and will generally limit testimony to 2 minutes per person.

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