2023 1st Quarter Legislative Update

2023 OMBA 1st Quarter Legislative Update

Spring is nearly here, and the legislature has now been in session for two months. Policy committees are running at full speed and with the reduced building capacity due to construction on the building, all committees are running on a much tighter schedule as all of the normal committee rooms aren’t able to be used. As 1st chamber policy deadlines near, legislative leadership and individual members are working furiously on their bill priorities. All bills must be scheduled for a work session in their chamber of origin by March 17th and must be moved out of committee by Tuesday, April 4th. The next policy bill deadline will be on May 19th, where bills must be moved out of 2nd chamber committees. An example of this would be a House Bill which moved from committee and passed the House, must be moved out of a policy committee in the Senate.

Among the biggest priorities of the legislature this year is to address housing and homelessness. There remains a wide range of opinions on how to best tackle a very difficult issue, but most can agree the matter is something the state needs to address. A piece of the overall Housing Package is contained in HB 5019 and in HB 2001. On March 10th, the Joint Ways and Means Committee voted both HB 2001 and HB 5019 out of committee and will likely be considered on the House floor likely during the week of March 13th. HB 2001 establishes the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis and associated production targets and reporting requirements. HB 5019 includes providing statewide assistance to rehouse people, expand shelter capacity, direct money to emergency management response and also to develop a proposal for long-term rent assistance programs

Together the two bills will fund:

  • $130 million for the Governors Emergency Declaration
  • $27 million to address homelessness in 25 rural counties that aren’t included in the Governors Order. 
  • $25 million earmarked for homeless youth, to help young people and their families with rent assistance, shelter and mental health or substance abuse treatment. 
  • $20 million to encourage production of modular homes.
  • $5 million in grants for farmers to improve health and safety conditions at farm worker camps.
  • $3 million in revolving loans builders can use to pay for predevelopment costs, such as permits and local infrastructure fees, for homes that will be affordable to people earning between 80% and 120% of the median income in their area. 

Separate from the Housing Package, as in sessions past, there are bills around creating a state bank, as well as ones which seek to eliminate or make changes to the mortgage interest deduction. Another bill of note is HB 2008. This bill as drafted seeks to make some sweeping changes to how debt is collected as well as seeks to modify exemptions individuals are entitled to in the event they own a debt. One particular item of note in this legislation is a section which would make changes to the homestead exemption. Currently the homestead exemption for a couple is at $50,000 and this bill would take it to the median home price of a region – in Portland that is about $475,000. There are ongoing negotiations between proponents of the bill and industry of which we are part of and we expect should the bill pass it will a lesser about than the bill as introduced.


Markee & Associates, Inc

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