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Legislative Updates

  • May 20, 2020 12:18 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    May 19th was primary election night and will set the stage for campaigns for the rest of 2020. Here are a handful of the more notable races as well as one tax measure.

    Secretary of State

    Longtime State Senator Mark Hass is leading in a three-way democratic primary against fellow State Senator Shemia Fagan, and relative political newcomer Jamie McLeod Skinner. Assuming he holds on his opponent in November will be State Senator Kim Thatcher. Hass will look to put the Secretary of State’s Office back in democrat control after Dennis Richardson won in 2016 and became the first Republican to win statewide office in many years.

    Congressional District 2

    Former State Senator Cliff Bentz won the Republican Primary to replace Congressman Greg Walden who announced he would not seek reelection. Bentz defeated a long list of opponents including Former State Rep and Gubernatorial Candidate Knute Buehler, Former State Senator Jason Atkinson, and political newcomer Jimmy Crumpacker. Despite raising less than half the amount of money as Buehlers campaign, Bentz prevailed by nearly nine points. Cliff Bentz 31.3%, Knute Buehler 22.2%, Jason Atkinson 19.9% and Jimmy Crumpacker rounding out the top four with 17.5%. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Bentz will be the next Congressman from CD-2 due to it being a safe Republican seat.

    Ballot Measure 26-210: Supports homeless services through higher earners’ tax, business profits tax

    This tax authorizes a 1% tax on household income above $200,000 and individual income above $150,000. Included in the ballot measure is a 1% profit tax on businesses with gross receipts higher than $5M to fund homeless services. This measure passed with 58% voting yes.  This measure is only for the Metro Counties and will expire in 2030.

    Senate District 2

    SD-2 is a seat in Southern Oregon in and around the Grants Pass Area. This seat is being vacated by Former Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger.  Art Robinson defeated Jolee Wallace 54.1% to 43.2% in the Republican primary and will face Democrat Jerry Allen in November. Art Robinson will be the likely next Senator as the seat is a safe Republican seat.

    Senate District 18

    SD-18 is a district making up portions of SW Portland and Tigard. Longtime Senator who until recently was the Senate Democrat Leader generated a challenge by Ben Bowman who is a member of the Tigard Tualatin School Board. While there was some momentum building early on from Bowman’s campaign, Burdick won a resounding victory 70% to 30%. She will return to the Senate for another term as she does not have a Republican opponent this November. 

    House District 3

    HD-3 is a seat in southern Oregon which makes up half of SD-2 (mentioned above). Former House Republican Leader Carl Wilson is retiring at the end of this term and a trio of Republicans battled it out to replace him. Lilly Morgan emerged as the victor defeating Zacharie Maynard 43.1% to 34.4%, with Max Whittington coming in third with 13.4%. She will face Democrat Jerry Morgan this fall, though Morgan will likely win as this is a safe Republican seat.

    House District 17

    HD-17 is a seat making up a large portion of eastern Linn and Marion Counties including the towns of Lebanon, Stayton, and up toward Detroit. Long time legislator Sherrie Sprenger has decided to run for the Linn County Commission and in her place six individuals have vied to fill the vacancy. Though still to close to call in the Republican primary, as of late last night, Jami Cate is slowly extending her lead against Scott Sword 28.8% to 25% with the other candidates picking up smaller portions of the remainder of the vote. If Cates lead holds, she will face Stayton City Councilor Paige Hook in November. HD-17 is a strong Republican seat, so in all likelihood, Cate will win handily in November.

    House District 20

    HD-20 is a house seat making up most of West Salem and some rural communities in Polk County. This democrat leaning seat is held by Rep. Paul Evans. In the Republican primary, in what was a closer contest than many predicted, Selma Pierce is leading (and appears to be pulling away) Kevin Chambers 57%-42%. The race has yet to be called though it appears that Selma has a large enough lead that she will likely emerge as the Republican nominee and will face Rep. Paul Evans in what will be a rematch of 2018. This will be a competitive race this fall and potentially one to pay close attention to in the coming months.

    House District 26

    Is a district making up portions of the South Portland Metro Area including the cities of Wilsonville, and some rural areas running out to the south of Hillsboro. This seat is a toss up seat, though population shifts have turned a once lean Republican district to a small Democrat advantage. Current Rep. Courtney Neron will look to keep the seat in Democrat control after her upset win in 2018. Her Republican challenger will be Peggy Stevens who won by nearly 16% against two other candidates to gain the party nomination. This race will be extremely hard fought this fall and may be one of the most hotly contested races in the state. This will certainly be a district to watch as Republicans will look to flip the seat back to red.

    House District 28

    Is a seat in and around the Beaverton area. Long time legislator Jeff Barker is stepping down and three individuals ran in the democrat primary to replace him. Wlnsvey Campos emerged defeating Alisa Blum and Jacob Bride with 54% of the vote. In November she will face Republican Daniel Martin though it is relatively safe Democrat seat so barring a massive upset, she will likely be the next State Representative from HD-28.

    House District 32

    Is a district on the North Coast taking in the cities of Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside, and areas nearby. Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell is stepping down after serving one term. On the democrat side, Debbie Boothe-Schmidt defeated George Kiepke. Boothe-Schmidt will face Suzanne Weber who handily won the Republican nomination winning her race by over 60%. This seat has been reliably democrat for many years, though it is a district that has slowly become more competitive. This is another race to watch as it may trend toward a toss-up by November.

    House District 33

    This district encompasses areas of NW Portland and regions out toward the west. Rep. Mitch Greenlick who has served in the legislature for many years announced he was going to retire at the end of the term. Unfortunately, he passed away just a week or so ago due to a long battle with several illnesses. Maxine Dexter defeated three other opponents winning by over 11%. She will face Republican Dick Courter in November but due to the seat being a safe Democrat seat, she is a virtual lock to be elected this fall.

    House District 36

    This district takes in a large portion of downtown Portland. Former Democrat House Leader Jennifer Williamson stepped down late last year and Akasha Lawrence Spence was nominated to fill out the remainder of her term with the caveat of not seeking reelection. Four individuals ran in the democrat primary to be the next Representative from this district. Lisa Reynolds emerged as the winner after a fairly competitive race defeating Laurie Wimmer 43.1% to 36.3% with Rob Fullmer and Adam Meyer picking up 12.6% and 7.6% respectively. She will face James Ball in the general election, though since this is one of the safest Democrat seats in the state she will prevail and become the next State Representative from HD-36.

    House District 42

    HD 42 is located in the inner SE Portland area. Rep. Rob Nosse who has served for three terms drew an opponent from his left in the Democrat primary by Paige Kreisman who was supported by several unions and some community activists. While Paige was able to generate a fair amount of early support, Nosse won in resounding fashion defeating Kreisman 67.2% to 32.6% and will retain his seat.

    House District 46

    This is district is located in the middle of East Portland just to the south of I-84. Rep. Alisa Keny Guyer has decided to retire after serving several terms and three individuals battled it out to replace her. In the end, Khanh Pham walked away with it after defeating two other opponents by earning 85% of the vote most notably former Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen who received 9.7%. Pham will be the next State Representative from HD-46.

  • May 14, 2020 12:15 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    After over 7 weeks with our stay home order, the Governor stated, we have seen that it works and because of it we have had 70,000 less infections and 1500 less hospitalizations.  While we have issued new guidance in several areas, they expect to issue transit, summer camp and summer school standards very soon. Most retail businesses weren't required to close during this time period, but many did anyway, we issued guidance on how those businesses should operate moving forward. Also, it is important everyone that can work from home should work from home. Of our 36 counties, 33 of them applied to reopen and 28 have been approved.  Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties (Portland Metro area) did not apply to reopen.  The five that were not approved - three of them, Jefferson, Umatilla, and Morrow, OHA is still working with them on their application and could be approved soon.  Marion and Polk were denied because neither of them met the criteria to actually reopen.  Both of them have had an increase in both hospital cases and infection rates, and many of the new cases have been untraced to a source.  This is different than Clatsop County who had an uptick but was able to trace the issue to one facility and should be under control (Clatsop will be reopened for phase 1). Both Marion and Polk counties will continue to talk with OHA and their applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis.  Outside of the eight counties listed here, the rest are able to reopen with the guidance for each business sector.  To get to phase 2, each county will have to wait for a minimum of 21 days.  In those counties approved for phase 1, this will allow the following business to reopen following the Governor's guidelines - restaurant and bars to have sit down service, personal care business, and gyms under limited capacity.  Also in these counties public gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed if you can keep to physical distance requirements.

    The Governor made it clear that we will likely see an uptick in infections as we reopen and stated life as we "knew" it will not be back until there is a good treatment or vaccine.  If we see a significant spike a county could move back to the stay at home order depending on the situation.  When asked if someone in a "closed" county could travel for service to an "open" county, the Governor stated we hope this doesn't occur and people are thoughtful and considerate of their neighbors.

     

    Emergency Board

    The Emergency Board of the Legislature will meet tomorrow from 1pm to 3pm.  They will be getting reports from both the Department of Administrative Service and Legislative Fiscal Office on Federal Relief Funds that has come to the State already.


    As always, please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments.  If for some reason you don't have it, my cell phone is always the best if you want to talk: 503.510.3371 or email is always good too.  We are still working from home at this time.

    -Matt

    Markee & Associates, Inc.
    5605 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer, Oregon 97303

    503.378.0412
    www.markee.org

  • May 07, 2020 2:51 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    The Governor held a press conference today discussing about how and when our economy will start to reopen.  It was stated that our stay at home policy has prevented over 70,000 infections and 1500 hospitalizations.  They have set prerequisites for counties to meet before they can apply to reopen into phase 1 – this will be a gradual reopening. These prerequisites include things like:  fewer people getting sick for 14 days, emergency room visits below the baseline, contact tracing in place (needing to be able to trace 95% of infections within 24 hours), adequate testing capacity, adequate  healthcare space (20% of hospital beds available) and availability of personal protective equipment.  Applications from counties will start to be accepted tomorrow for the possibility to reopen starting May 15th.  While the number or names of counties that will be eligible to apply to reopen were not listed, it was stated that most would be able to meet the criteria to apply.

    Phase 1, as we have previously described, will have guidelines for the following things to open:

    • Restaurant and Bars - Guidelines are set that include things like maximum party size, distancing between tables, face coverings by employees, limited to no counter seating, limit percentage of total occupancy and more
    • Retail stores - Guidelines are set to how they can reopen that includes things like one direction aisles and social distancing measures
    • Personal services (hair, nail, etc) - guidelines here are set to including things like face coverings, appointment only visits, sanitation, and more
    • General Business - guidelines here include things like encouraging telework, social distance, face covering and more (sounds like for businesses that are open today, not much change during phase 1)
    • General public - guidelines here encourage face coverings in public, social distance, maximum size of social gatherings, limit nonessential travel
    • Outdoor recreation - guidelines here have already started to be implemented but it is a gradual opening of outdoor areas.  It was stated that things like basketball courts will not reopen in phase 1
    • ​Childcare and summer camp guidelines will come out next week

    Once in phase 1, it will be a minimum of 21 days before a county can apply for phase 2.  They will need to show they can continue to meet prerequisites, etc.  Phase 2 guidelines are still being processed and determined.

    It was clear that until there is a vaccine, life as we know it, will not return to normal.  Our new normal will include social distancing and face coverings for some time.  It was also stated that large gatherings that include concerts, sporting events, conventions, and fairs will not be allowed until at least September and likely longer (it was said some parts of fairs potentially could take place with limits on people and other strict limitations)

    The Governor also stated that she wants to have students back in the classroom this coming fall, but what that looks like is still being worked on.

    Here are the guidelines of each areas that have been release so far (these weren’t available earlier):

    The Public:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342D.pdf

    Employers:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342C.pdf

    Outdoor Recreation:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342E.pdf

    Personal services:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342F.pdf

    Restaurants and Bars:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342B.pdf

    Retail:
    https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342A.pdf

    As always, this is a moving target, but happy to try and answer any questions you might have

    Markee & Associates, Inc.
    5605 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer, Oregon 97303
    503.378.0412
  • April 29, 2020 5:33 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    As many of you are aware, the State's next revenue forecast is May 20th.  What that forecast might say is still a bit of an unknown, but certainly there are lots of qualified rumors that seem to be close to at least current projections.  It sounds like for this current biennium we will be down between 2 and 3 billion dollars (that is about 10%, over the two year period).  This of course is subject to change depending on how successful the reopening of our economy turns out. As for the 2021-23 biennium, this is much harder to predict, but we are hearing anywhere from flat to down as much as $5 billion.  For the next biennium, things like: will there be a vaccine, immunity, or a number of other major factors all come into play.  In my opinion, the sooner a vaccine happens, the more likely things look positive in the 2021-23 biennium.  As for lottery dollars for this biennium, it appears that they will be down around 20% or about $250 million.  The numbers for lottery could be even more bleak should the reopening of bars and restaurants not be a smooth process.  It is important to remember a large percentage of our lottery revenue comes from Video Poker/slots.  ​As far as what Oregon has in reserves, in my opinion, is better than what the state has had in past downturns.  Our ending fund balance is between $1 and 1.2 billion and we have an additional $1.5 billion in "rainy day" funds.  We still have some rebalancing of our budget that didn't get done in the February session but that should leave us somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion in total reserves.  

    The question now becomes how to rebalance our budget.  I am sure there are some people that would like to fill the entire gap for this biennium with our reserves in hopes that the economy bounces back before the 2021-23 biennium.  I don't think that happens at this point, but certainly it is in the realm of possibilities, and as we all know things change on a daily basis.  It is also important to remember that budget cuts made this biennium reduce some roll up costs for the following biennium.  Another huge outlier right now is if states will get any federal assistance to help with budgetary issues.  Assuming we go into Special Session (which best guess would be in June after the revenue forecast), I think there will be some mix of budget cuts and use of reserves to balance the budget.  Don't think that we won't also spend some money at the same time - I do think there are a few COVID-19 related budget items, homelessness, etc that could get more dollars.  However, at this point, most all things that were funded during the February Session that didn't ultimately get over the finish line I think are off the table for now.  For all of you that may have had items on this list, we continue to talk and work with the Co-Chairs of Ways and Meanson a frequent basis so your projects are still on their minds should this situation change and other funding request get attention. One other scenario that could happen is that we don't have a special session, or at least don't have one soon.  In this case, the Governor could wait and see what, if any, Federal help Oregon receives and assuming budget cuts are still needed she could make those evenly across the board on her own without legislative review.  If the Governor makes cuts on her own, they must be made equally across the board to state agencies.  Obviously the Legislature doesn't like this approach, but is something that is being talked about (hard to tell how likely it is at this point).  Remember, if we make cuts in the 2nd half of the biennium, they will equate to about 17% based on these projections.  Again, as budget cuts are discussed, we continue to advocate the importance of your programs.

    As for reopening our economy, we continue to move forward in that direction.  The Governor is expected next week to announce her guidelines for things like restaurants, personal service, etc (all of this is still in draft form now).  Non-emergency medical and dental procedures are allowed to reopen starting May 1st assuming they have a plan in place to deal with social distance, sanitation, and personal protective equipment.  The Governor has already issued her guidelines on how medical offices would reopen.  When will our Phase 1 start?  This is still unknow but some think it will be the middle to the end of May.  I believe the State of Washington isn’t looking until after May 31st.  Phase 2 could start as soon as 14 days after if the number of new cases continue to decline, this seems to be a big “if”.  I think it is important to note that phase 1 for most businesses that are currently open, whether they are working from home or at an office, things basically stay the same and telework will still be the first choice.

     If anyone has any specific questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out.

    Matt

    Markee & Associates, Inc.
    5605 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer, Oregon 97303

    503.378.0412
    www.markee.org

  • April 01, 2020 3:00 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    NEWS RELEASE

    April 1, 2020

    Media Contact:

    Charles Boyle, 503-931-7773

     

    Governor Kate Brown Issues Commercial Eviction Ban

    New order strengthens residential eviction ban, prohibits late fees 
     

    (Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-13, placing a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions for nonpayment, in light of the impacts on business owners caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The order also strengthens Governor Brown's previous ban on residential evictions, and prohibits landlords from charging tenants late fees for nonpayment of rent during the moratorium.

    "During this unprecedented public health crisis, too many Oregonians have found themselves with no way to pay the monthly rent for their homes and businesses," said Governor Brown. "These are difficult times. This order will help Oregon small businesses stay in their locations without the threat of eviction."

     

  • March 27, 2020 1:00 PM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    The Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response last night published their recommendations for items to be considered during a special session.  While the document is eleven pages long, you will see they left many of the items on the larger list off of their recommendation.  Please review the document and let us know of any concerns you may see.  You should also know that the business industry in general is continuing to push for a delay in the CAT tax.   

    Special Session continues to look like it will be next week but timing of that is still unknown.  There is a high likelihood that the public will not be allowed in the building during this time, with hearings being done virtually/online.  While things are subject to change (which they seem to daily) we still believe we will have a series of Special Sessions throughout this interim.  The focus of this first special session should be directed to coronavirus issues only.  Subsequent sessions are when we may see some broader types of issues addressed.  As a reminder,  our next Revenue Forecast is not until May 20th, and no one has a good idea of where our budget is at or how long it will take to recover. 

    The Governor also announced yesterday that Oregon will be delaying our tax filing deadline until July 15th.  Here is a break out from the Department of Revenue's news release:

    For personal income taxpayers:

    • The Oregon return filing due date for tax year 2019 is automatically extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
    • The Oregon tax payment deadline for payments due with the 2019 tax year return is automatically extended to July 15, 2020.
    • Estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 are not extended.
    • The tax year 2019 six-month extension to file, if requested, continues to extend only the filing deadline until October 15, 2020.
    • Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call us to qualify for this automatic Oregon tax filing and payment extension.
    • If you have questions about your personal income tax, contact
    questions.dor@oregon.gov.

    For corporate income/excise taxpayers:
    • The Oregon return filing due date for tax year 2019 is automatically extended from May 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020. Returns due after May 15, 2020 are not extended at this time.
    • The Oregon tax payment deadline for payments due with the 2019 return by May 15, 2020 is automatically extended to July 15, 2020. Payments for returns due after May 15, 2020 are not extended at this time.
    • Estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 are not extended.

    • Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call us to qualify for this automatic Oregon tax filing and payment extension. 

     

    As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with questions

     

    Matt Markee

  • March 23, 2020 9:44 AM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    Bulletin No. DFR 2020-7: 

    Purpose

    This bulletin encourages all Oregon-regulated lenders and loan servicers to take active measures to help borrowers economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes offering loan forbearance plans, fee waivers, and other deferred payment options.

    To read this and other bulletins and get more information, please visit the Division of Financial Regulation's Bulletins page at:

    https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Bulletins/bulletin2020-07.pdf

  • March 13, 2020 11:00 AM | Mary Ann Gray (Administrator)

    The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has published the following:

    Bulletin No. DFR 2020-6: Temporary Authorization for DFR Licensees to Work from Home While Transacting Business

    Purpose

    In response to the threat of COVID-19, this bulletin temporarily authorizes Oregon licensed mortgage loan originators and other employees of Oregon licensed mortgage lenders, mortgage loan servicers, consumer finance companies, payday/title lenders, and manufactured structure dealers to work from home while transacting business when certain conditions are met.

    To read this and other bulletins and get more information, please visit the Division of Financial Regulation's Bulletins page at:

    https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Bulletins/bulletin2020-06.pdf

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