Legislative Updates

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  • June 09, 2021 6:05 PM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    We are now into the second week of June, and it has been over five months since session officially began.  June 27th is the last possible day of session, which leaves roughly just over two weeks remaining before adjournment. There is a push to get out of the building early, but it is unknown at this point if they will actually be able to do so or how early that might be.  While each session, is unique, this one has been unlike any we have ever participated in. As a reminder, all committees have been held virtually and voting on the House and Senate floors are the only time most members are together. The public has not been allowed in the building, which has added an interesting element in advocating for or against legislation – requiring quick adapting and strategy changes on our part.  With much of the legislation being considered this session already passing or failed there are still many big budget decisions left to be made, including how all lottery bonds, ARPA (Federal stimulus) dollars, and capital construction projects will be allocated.  There are also several large agency budgets that are still being worked on including the Department of Education, Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority.  On the policy side of things there are still a handful of major policy bills that are still being negotiated, all of which have a considerable amount of opposition to them, and will likely be amended in some fashion before moving out of the Ways and Means Committee.  These aren’t the only policy bills still being considered but are those that are drawing the most attention in the final days of session and include:

     

    • SB0582 (state.or.us) - The bill creates an extended producer responsibility around how to recycle packaging of products.  The bill will have new amendments this week that make several changes to the underlying bill.  If anyone would like to see the latest amendments to this bill and haven’t received them yet, please let me know and we will get them to you right away.
    • SB0762 (state.or.us) - This bill is dealing with wildfire mitigation.
    • SB0844 (state.or.us) - This bill creates an upper payment limit on prescription drugs that would affect not only pharmaceutical products but also healthcare providers
    • HB2021 (state.or.us) - This is a 100% clean electricity bill, which sets a goal of getting to 100% renewable non-emitting sources of electricity by 2040.
    • HB2362 (state.or.us) - This bill directs OHA to examine, monitor and approve or deny mergers or acquisitions in the health care industry over a certain net revenue threshold.

    There is much which will transpire in the next couple of weeks, but we wanted to give you a brief update on where things stand as of now. In the days following session, we will provide an individualized report, which will be more detailed, and include a handful of  the most pertinent bills to you and your industry.   While things legislative speaking are incredibly busy these last days of session, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you might have.

     

    -Matt

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • February 25, 2021 1:50 PM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    We are now just over a month into the 2021 Legislative Session.  Things continue to all be done virtually and it is becoming more and more difficult as bigger policy issues are beginning to be debated.

    Today the Senate Republican’s opted to not participate in the Senate Floor session in protest to how the Governor is administering vaccines and the need to get students in the classroom as soon as possible.

    Here is a quick update on the on yesterday’s new revenue forecast for the state.

    The state economist delivered the March revenue forecast on the afternoon of 2/24 to the House Committee on Revenue, and it was surprisingly better news than many were expecting. In their words, the economic scarring to date in terms of business closures and permanent layoffs is much better than first feared. Total personal income is higher that it was prior to the pandemic, despite Oregonians having 160,000 fewer jobs. As the pandemic wanes, pent-up demand has the potential to fuel growth in the month ahead. While the lottery forecast is down from the last forecast by about $100m, the new forecast predicts our combined general fund and lottery revenues will come in roughly $642M higher than forecasted in November of last year. In addition, a personal kicker is projected somewhere in the neighborhood of $570M and about $420M is supposed to be dedicated to K-12 Education spending for the 21’-23’ biennium through the corporate kicker. This means the state has now seen an increase of $1.2B since the June 2019 “close of session” forecast which is the foundation for which all the budgets are built. A couple of the factors playing into this strong revenue collections include large amounts of federal aid and asset markets continuing to be strong. Any potential federal dollars received though some sort of an additional spending package would further improve the state’s budgetary picture, however such a scenario remains speculative at this point.  At the November 2020 forcast the state was then at a shortfall of current service level of about $1.6B and now the shortfall is down to about $900M.

     

    As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns.

     

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • December 22, 2020 7:57 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    This legislature convened this morning for the third special session of the year to deal with COVID related issues. Below are the bills being considered which were passed out of committee early this afternoon including a brief description and a link to the text of each bill. At this point, it appears the bills will be taken up late this afternoon on the floor of the House and Senate , and if all goes as planned, the legislature should be done sometime this evening.

    SB 1801- Would allow holders of an on-premises sales license to sell and deliver mixed drinks and single servings of wine in sealed containers for off premises consumption. The bill also limits the fees that a third-parry food delivery service may charge a restaurant for delivery.
    SB1801 2020 3rd Special Session - Oregon Legislative Information System (state.or.us)

    HB 4401- Extends the moratorium on no-cause eviction and for nonpayment through June 30, 2021 for tenants who declare a hardship. In addition, the bill establishes a landlord compensation fund to cover rent assistance and authorizes Oregon Housing and Community Services to distribute assistance to recipients of CARES Act grants.
    HB4401 2020 3rd Special Session - Oregon Legislative Information System (state.or.us)

    HB 4402- This bill limits liability of school districts, ESD’s, charter schools, community colleges for claims arising during COVID emergency period. During the committee, an amendment was adopted that extended these protections to private schools as well.
    HB4402 2020 3rd Special Session - Oregon Legislative Information System (state.or.us)

    SB 5731- Is the spending bill which appropriates dollars from the general fund to the emergency board for:  General Purposes ($100m), COVID related items ($400m) and also appropriates money Housing and Community Services Department ($150m), and $100m for needs related to the 2020 wildfire season. Here is a link to the budget details:
    229156 (state.or.us)

    SB 1803- Limits the liability of hospitals, health maintenance organizations and health care providers for claims arising during COVID emergency period.
    SB1803 2020 3rd Special Session - Oregon Legislative Information System (state.or.us) This bill did not have the support needed to get out of committee.

    SCR 231- This bill adjourns the session.
    SCR231 2020 3rd Special Session - Oregon Legislative Information System (state.or.us)

     

    As a reminder, session starts officially on January 19th with a one-day organizational day on January 11th.

    If anyone has any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • December 15, 2020 8:39 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    The Governor, as expected, has called a Special Session for December 21st. It is expected to only last one day and will be the same format as the first two special sessions we have seen. There will be no public allowed in the building and all public testimony, which is sure to be limited, will be done virtually. As of right now the list of items to be considered include:

    • Eviction Moratorium, Extension and money to Landlords
      • $150m for Landlords and $50m for rent assistance

    • Restaurant Package – Cocktails to go and delivery fee caps

    • School Liability Protections

    • Budget bill moving around $600 million to the Emergency Board for future expenses.

    This list has been carefully negotiated between both democrats and republicans, including the Governor’s office. While the list seems to be somewhat set, I am sure there will be some changes between now and he 21st as to what will be considered.

    As a reminder, the Legislature is finishing up Interim Legislative Days this week with House Committees meeting. The First day of the Regular 2021 session is January 19th and the Legislature will have a one day or Organization on January 11th.


    Please let us know if you have questions or comments

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • November 18, 2020 10:27 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    The House and Senate Revenue Committees met jointly this morning to give our 4th quarter revenue forecast for the state. This forecast is the baseline for which the legislature will consider making budgetary decisions for our upcoming 21’-23’ biennium. Since the September forecast, assumptions made are tracking very closely to projections. In the near-term, there are both positives and negatives that may end up offsetting each other. On one hand, COVID cases are rising more than projections, however it now appears a vaccine is much closer than originally thought. Some earlier assumptions were a vaccine would not be widely available until late summer 2021, and now it seems likely that timeline may be moved up to early 2021. In addition, while it isn’t a certainty, it appears probable that there will be another federal aid package in the Q1 2021 to help offset further economic damage.

     

    To summarize, our economic outlook is relatively flat and slightly to the upside since the September 2020 forecast.  In total the forecast shows we are up a total of $80.3 million in General Fund from the last forecast.  This includes an increase in the forecast of $17.2 million in lottery dollars.  When all is said and done, this means that our projected ending fund balance is up roughly $1.3B since 2019 close of session estimates (general fund dollars are up $571 million since close of session) and the Rainy Day Fund is projected to receive about $218 million following the 19’-21’ biennium. Though these numbers are better than what was initially projected at the beginning of the COVID crisis, they are is still down overall from where we were during February Session earlier this year.  It’s important to remember these numbers are “best guesses” and it is likely the numbers will be different when the next forecast is given in Q1 next year.

     

    The Speaker has called for a December Special Session to spend about $100 million focused on keeping people housed and to stabilize the rental market.  It is too early to tell if or when this will happen.

     

    Two is the start of the Governor’s two week freeze on businesses, etc.  Here is a link to the executive order: here

     

    Also, for those who are interested and have not heard, the Attorney General has decided to not introduce broad privacy legislation in 2021 and will instead focus on privacy directly related to contact tracing.  The broader legislation will continue to be fine tuned for the 2022 session.

     

    Here are some upcoming dates to keep track of:

    • December 7  LC Draft Return Deadline
    •  December 7-11th  Legislative Days  Senate Committees and Joint Transportation meet
    • December 15-18th  Legislative Days  House Committees and Joint I-5 Bridge Committee meet
    • December 21st  Pre-Session Filing Deadline  The Parliamentarians are working on an electronic process to sign bill backs. They will provide more information shortly.
    • January 11th  Organizational Days
    • January 19th  First Day of Session
  • November 13, 2020 2:24 PM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    During the lunch hour today (11/13), the governor issued a statewide two-week freeze due to the recent spike in COVID-19 activity. The two-week freeze will be in effect from November 18th through December 2nd, though it was mentioned Multnomah County will be under these new guidelines for the next four weeks. State officials said these risk reduction measures are in an effort to limit further community spread and to aid in helping conserve hospital capacity.  

    The freeze measures include:

    • Limit gatherings (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people total, and from no more than two households.
    • Limit faith-based gatherings to a maximum of 25 people indoors, or 50 people outdoors.
    •  Restaurants and bars will be take-out only.
    • Gyms and fitness organizations will be closed
    • Indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts will also be closed, along with outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
    • Grocery stores and pharmacies will be set to a maximum of 75% capacity, along with retail stores and malls.
    • Urges businesses to work from home as much as possible
    • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities.

    According to Governor Brown, the two-week freeze does not change current health and safety protocols for personal services such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy as they can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

    It also does not effect congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed as well as current D.1 and professional athletic exemptions.

    Sperate from this legislative days are coming up next month. In the past, this would last about three days, but to accommodate conducting legislative business remotely, will last two weeks.

    Here are some of the upcoming dates of note:

    • December 7  LC Draft Return Deadline
    •  December 7-11th  Legislative Days  Senate Committees and Joint Transportation meet
    • December 15-18th  Legislative Days  House Committees and Joint I-5 Bridge Committee meet
    • December 21st  Pre-Session Filing Deadline  The Parliamentarians are working on an electronic process to sign bill backs. They will provide more information shortly.
    • January 11th  Organizational Days
    • January 19th  First Day of Session


    Markee & Associates, Inc 

    5065 Inland Shores Way #110

    Keizer Oregon 97303

  • November 04, 2020 8:14 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    2020 Oregon Election Wrap Up

    November 3, 2020

     

    While it was a wild election night on the national level that produced results which may not be known for days, locally in Oregon there were fewer surprises. It was another year of record campaign spending and the results at this point appear to be mixed. Going into the evening, Democrats held supermajorities in both the House and the Senate, 38-22, 18-12 respectively. The Democrats were looking to expand their majorities which would make future walk outs irrelevant by adding two seats in each chamber, and Republicans were working toward busting the current supermajorities. While not all results are completely final, it appears the Republicans will net one seat in the House narrowing the Democrat majority slightly (37-23), and numbers remaining the same in the Senate. If this hold, Democrats will continue to hold supermajorities in both Houses, but not gain any seats.

    See below for specific details on focus races as of 7:30am this morning, as things change we will let you know:

     

    Legislative Membership

    2018      Senate: 18D/12R             House: 38D/22R

     

    2020      Senate: 18D/12R             House: 37D/23R

     

    Focus Legislative Races

    Senate

    Senate District 5 (South and Central Coast) This race was an open seat after Senator Arnie Roblan (D) decided to retire.

    Melissa Cribbins (D) VS Dick Anderson (R)

    Result- Dick Anderson (R) appears to defeat Melissa Cribbins (D) 49.3%-46.5% with a third party candidate pulling in 4% of the vote. This is a Republican pick up of a long-time Democrat seat.

    Senate District 10 (South and West Salem) Senator Denyc Boles (R) is running for his first full term after being appointed to replace long-time Senator Jackie Winters after her passing.

    Senator Denyc Boles (R) VS Deb Patterson (D)

    Result- Deb Patterson (D) wins, defeating incumbent Senator Denyc Boles (R) 50%-46.5% with a third party candidate receiving 3.3%. This is a Democrat win in a seat that has been reliably Republican for decades but has since become more competitive due to closer registration numbers.

    Senate District 27 (Central Oregon) Senator Tim Knopp (R) is running for his third four-year term.

    Senator Tim Knopp (R) VS Eileen Kiely

    Result- It appears Senator Tim Knopp (R) will squeak out a victory, narrowly defeating Eileen Kiely 50.7%-49.0%.



    House

    House District 9 (South Coast) This is an open seat after Rep. Caddy McKeown (D) decided to retire.

    Boomer Wright (R) VS Cal Mukumoto

    Result- Boomer Wright wins, besting Cal Mukumoto 57.5%-42.4%. This is one of the two Republican pickups, winning a district which has been held by a Democrat for many years, but has seen narrowing registration numbers in recent years.

     

    House District 11 (Eugene and rural Linn/Lane Co.) Rep. Marty Wilde is running for his second term.

    Rep. Marty Wilde (D) VS Katie Boshart Glaser (R)

    Result- Rep. Marty Wilde (D) will retain his seat winning 52.0%-47.7%

     

    House District 19 (South Salem, Aumsville) Rep. Raquel Moore Green is seeking her first full term after being appointed to fill a vacancy created after Denyc Boles was appointed to the Senate.

    Rep. Raquel Moore Green (R) VS Jacqueline Leung (D)

    Result- Rep. Moore Green (R) defeats challenger Jacqueline Leung (D) 52.9%-46.9%.

     

    House District 20 (West Salem, Independence, Monmouth) Rep. Paul Evans is seeking his fourth term.

    Rep. Paul Evans (D) VS Selma Pierce (R)

    Result- In a rematch from 2018, Rep. Paul Evans (D) fends off Selma Pierce (R) winning 52.4%-47.3%.

     

    House District 24 (McMinnville and surrounding area) Rep. Ron Noble is seeking his third term.

    Rep. Ron Noble VS Lynnette Shaw (D)

    Result- Rep. Ron Noble will retain his seat, besting challenger Lynnette Shaw (D) 57.8%-42.0%.

     

    House District 26 (Wilsonville) Rep. Courtney Neron is seeking her second term.

    Rep. Courtney Neron (D) VS Peggy Stevens (R)

    Result- Rep. Courtney Neron (D) wins 55.9%-41.9%.

     

    House District 31 (Columbia County) Rep. Brad Witt is seeking his ninth term in the House

    Rep. Brad Witt (D) VS Brian Stout (R)

    Result- Rep. Witt (D) narrowly defeats Brian Stout (R) winning 50.5% to 49.3%.

     

    House District 32 (North Coast) This is an open seat after Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell decided not to run for another term.

    Suzanne Weber (R) VS Debbie Boothe-Schmidt (D)

    Result- Suzanne Weber (R) will defeat Debbie Boothe-Schmidt (D) 53.9%-45.9% after what is likely to be the most expensive legislative race in Oregon’s history. This win flips a formerly Democrat held seat to Republican.

     

    House District 37 (West Linn) Rep. Rachel Prusak (D) is seeking her second term after flipping the seat from Republican to Democrat last election.

    Rep. Rachel Prusak (D) VS Kelly Sloop (R)

    Result- Rep. Rachel Prusak (D) wins 61.4%-38-3%

     

    House District 52 (Hood River) Rep. Anna Williams (D) is seeking her second term.

    Rep. Anna Williams (D) VS Former Rep. Mark Helfrich (R)

    Result- Rep. Williams (D) wins fending off Helfrich 52.6%-44.9%.

     

    House District 54 (Bend) Rep. Cheri Helt (R) is seeking her second term.

    Rep. Cheri Helt (R) VS Jason Kropf (D)

    Result- Jason Kropf (D) will defeat Incumbent Rep. Cheri Helt 60.1%%-38.9%. The Democrats were successful here in flipping a Republican seat.

     

    Secretary of State Race

    Senator Kim Thatcher (R) VS Senator Shemia Fagan faced off to replace Bev Clarno (R) who had been appointed to fill in for the remainder of Secretary Dennis Richardson’s term after his passing.

    Result- Senator Shemia Fagan (D) will win, defeating Senator Kim Thatcher 51.1%-42.5%.

     

    Ballot Measures/Local Measures

    Measure 108- Increases cigarette tax from $1.33 per pack to $3.33 per pack, imposes a tax on e-cigarettes and dedicates revenues to the Oregon Health Authority for medical and health programs.

    Result- Measure passes. Yes 66.3%          No 33.7%

     

    Measure 109- Authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to create a program to permit licensed service providers to administer psilocybin mushrooms for individuals 21 years of age or older.

    Result- Measure passes. Yes 55.9%          No 44.1%

     

    Portland Metro, Measure 26-218 Infrastructure and Transportation Payroll Tax- Authorizes the Metro Council to impose a payroll tax of .75% on employers with 26 or more employees, excluding local governments beginning in 2022 to fund infrastructure and improvements and transportation programs.

    Result- Measure fails. Yes 43%                 No 57%

     

     

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • October 31, 2020 9:56 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    Elections:

    As we approach Tuesday’s election there are still many races that we just don’t know what the outcome will be.  It is all but certain that the Democrats will remain in control of both Chambers. In the House, it is most likely that the Ds will retain their supermajority.  There is a scenario that in the although unlikely that the Ds could gain a couple of seats to get them to quorum proof – meaning the Rs couldn’t walk to shut the process down.  We believe as of today that the numbers in the House will likely either be the same as today or plus one Republican (there will be some seats that which around).  In the Senate, the Rs only need to gain one seat to get rid of the super majority held by the Democrats.  This is entirely possible but the Rs need to hold onto all incumbents which is too close to tell at this point.  Even the one pick up opportunity polling shows as a deadlock at this point.  Seats to watch on election night include:  House District 9, south coast where the R is likely to win (this is held by a D today); House District 32, north coast where this is too close to call at this point (currently held by a D); House District 54, Bend where the D is likely to win (held by a R today); Senate District 5, central coast where this race appears to be dead even (held by a D today); Senate District 10, too close to call (held by a R today); and Senate District 27, Bend where Republican Tim Knopp should hold on to win a close race.

    You will all get a thorough election update on November 4th, if not before.

     

    Special Session:

    It looks like Oregon will be going back into Special Session sometime the week before Thanksgiving.  They will be looking at both budget and policy issues, with most of the attention spent on wildfire relief, COVID issues and likely looking to extend earlier eviction legislation that has already been extended by executive order.  As this date gets closer and we actually know what the date is, we will certainly keep you informed of what types of legislation will be on the list.

     

    Regular Session:

    What Session will look like in 2021 is still a huge unknown.  What we can tell you is, as of today, there is no limitation on legislation being introduced and so far there has been no change to the start date of Session in January.  There are some people that are pushing to either start in January and recess until Spring or simply just change our start date to a date in Spring, but so far it appears that we will start in January and work through the end of June.  If that is the case, while there may be a limited number of people in the Capitol, we feel most hearings, etc will be conducted remotely.  Many in the lobby world are strongly advocating if that is the case to have extended timeline around notice for hearing and work session to make sure there is adequate time for advocates to make contact with legislators prior to votes taking place.

    Just as a reminder interim legislative days are set for the week of December 7th.

     

    Governor’s update on Schools:

    The Governor and Director Colt Gill held a press conference late this morning in which they revealed new guidelines for potential reopening of in-person student populations between the grades of K-6. Effective immediately all districts would be able to begin planning and potentially qualifying for in-person instruction if certain county metrics are met (much of this was based on state metrics before). The updated reopening metrics remain among the most protective in the country but are now more aligned with the way other states have set their measures. They take into account the measures the CDC has recommended as benchmarks for school reopening, including case rates and test positivity thresholds over 14 days, risk mitigation strategies, and levels of transmission risk across different models of learning. There was an acknowledgement made that though the statewide numbers are climbing, the virus isn’t spreading as fast in every community and many counties have numbers well below the state average. Again the goal as outlined by the Governor and the Department of Education are to provide more opportunities for in-person instruction when the risk is relatively low. The three major changes are as follows:

     

    1. The state is removing the statewide 5% threshold for percentage of tests coming back positive and believes that the new approach will be simpler and will better reflect local conditions.
    2. There is a change in the review period for examining metrics data to two week periods rather than three consecutive one-week periods. The thought here is the change will avoid the situations where a one-time cluster in a smaller county resets the clock for them an additional three weeks.
    3. There is an expansion from the K-3 exception to elementary schools up to grade 6.

     

    Here is a link to the new guidelines:

    https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/healthsafety/Documents/Ready%20Schools%20Safe%20Learners%202020-21%20Guidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

     

    As always if any of you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

     

    Thanks

    Matt and Thomas

     

    Markee & Associates, Inc
    5065 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer Oregon 97303
    o-503.378.0412
    c-503.510.3371
    markee.org

  • September 23, 2020 12:40 PM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    Revenue Forecast-

    The Senate and House Revenue Committees met jointly on the morning of 9/23 to present the quarterly economic revenue forecast. The last forecast given in June was dire due to the mandated shutdowns of much of the State’s economy and more broadly the nation as well. This quarterly forecast was drastically different.  While the economy isn’t in the best shape, tax collections have yet to show significant impacts. Compared to the presentation three months ago, things are not quite as bad as previously thought.  I believe the last forecast was the absolute worst case scenario that didn’t actually happen. Revenues are up significantly from the last forecast but remain lower than pre-COVID forecasts. We now expect to end the biennium (19’-21’) like we did in March. So in the short term things look ok. We have about $1.7B which could be applied to the next biennium, but we are still waiting to feel the impacts of initial job losses. Initially,  in the last forecast, the prediction of a 21% job loss and a four year recovery, however it now appears actual losses are about 14% and we are looking at three years to get back to the pre-recession levels. In real numbers, this means our revenue forecast compared to June is up $1.9B which equates to a positive number of $473M from the close of session but are still down from our highest forecast from prior to the session earlier this year.   These changes in numbers from the last forecast come from federal stimulus dollars like PPP that helped keep people employed and increased our personal and corporate tax collection.   Lottery dollars projections are also up from the last forecast by $150m.  Just as a side note, even with this projection we are still down by approximately $500 million from where we say during the February Session of this year.  We can only assume our forecasts for the remainder of the fiscal year will bounce around quite a bit.

     

    Privacy-

    The AG’s office is still waiting to get their drafts back from Legislative Counsel.  They also have not decided whether or not to introduce anything next session due to the pandemic and not knowing what our legislative session will look like next year.  On Friday the AG will be presenting to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees with an update on the potential legislation, but there won’t be much new information since they are still waiting to get language back from LC.  Also, there is a staffing change in the AG’s office and Kate Dickson is now the new lead on this issue.  She has been involved from day one, and any of you that have met with the AG’s office on this topic will know her from those meeting.  Cheryl Hiemstra the former lead staff person has decided to take a different job within the AG’s office that is more hands on in the litigation world.  Once draft language is available we will make sure to get it out to everyone.

     

    OSHA Temporary COVID-19 rules-

    OSHA is still planning to release there final version of their temporary rule this week with an effective date sometime before the middle of October.  It sounds like there should be several key changes from the earlier drafts that have been seen.  One key change will likely be the removal of the two week paid leave requirement.  OSHA received approximately 1500 comments on the draft rules.  Once the temporary rules are adopted, OSHA will continue conversation on what a permanent rule will look like with the idea of adopting that in early spring.

     

    Campaign Update-

    Fall is officially here and with that, campaigns are in full swing. While election day is now only several weeks away now, that is a lifetime away for individual races as much can happen. National storylines, and happenings at the top of the ticket have the potential to impact down the ticket races much more in presidential election years. At this point, it seems unlikely we will see a big swing in current make up of our state legislature however there are a handful of races which are going to be close. In the Senate, the three swing seats are out along the Coast, in West/South Salem, and out in Bend. Republicans currently hold the Bend and Salem seat, and at this point are favored to hold those seats. Out on the coast, long-time Senator Arnie Roblan has decided to retire so this seat is open for the first time in a long time. Given that fact, and demographic shifts Republicans have a chance to flip that seat. While the numbers in the Senate are only expected to swing one way or the other by one seat, if the Republicans can pick up that seat they would have 13 members and thus Democrats would no longer have a supermajority (if the R’s hold the other two seats). Likewise in the House, there are only three to four seats that are going to decide a shift one way or another. Seats in Bend, Hood River, McMinnville, South Salem, North and South Coast will be the most competitive. Currently Democrats hold 38 or 60 seats, but the two coast seats specifically are more competitive than they have been in a long time and have the potential to flip from Blue to Red. We will be sure to update you as it gets closer to election day, but be sure much will likely happen between now and then. If anyone has any specific questions please let us know.


    Please let us know if you have questions

     

    Markee & Associates, Inc.
    5605 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer, Oregon 97303
    503.378.0412
    www.markee.org

  • August 31, 2020 7:38 AM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

    We just wanted to give everyone a quick update on legislative activities in Oregon. 

     

    There is still some talk of having another Special Session the end of September or early October, whether or not this happens is anyone’s best guess right now.  If it does, it would mainly be focused on policy type issues, but certainly we could see some budget tweaks at the same time.  Policy issues that could be discussed include: possible extensions to eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, employer liability limitations, workers compensation presumption, and possibly changing our mail in ballot timelines to being allowed if post marked by election day (and I am sure others as well).  I think the chance of a special session at the end of September isn’t super likely at this point, but things change very quickly these days and I might have a different opinion come next week.  I do think we will see at least one more special session sometime before the end of the year.

     

    Business groups, Unions and Trial lawyers continue to discuss possible changes to limit employers liability during this pandemic.  A complete presumption on workers compensation is a huge part of this conversation brought forward by the unions.  This workers compensation presumption would essentially mean if someone tested positive for COVID-19, and was working, there would be a complete presumption that the individual contracted it from work – kicking in workers comp benefits.  While conversations continue, I think it is unlikely at this point that something comes together.  Trading one for the other (with the liability clause being fairly weak) in the eyes of many business groups isn’t a good trade to make.

     

    OSHA continues to move forward with their temporary rules on infectious disease.  Their goal is to get this temporary rules in place the first half of September and continue to work on a permanent rule to be adopted shortly after the first of the year.  Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like more information on this process  - here is a link that shows the draft rule and the current timeline in place.  Comments on the rules are due by September 7th

    https://osha.oregon.gov/rules/advisory/infectiousdisease/Pages/default.aspx

     

    September 21-25 the legislature will be holding remote/virtual legislative days where all interim committees will be meeting.  This will be a similar to what we saw last June when we held a virtual interim committee week.  As agendas come out we will make sure you have all the pertinent information.

     

    Talks continue around what our normal legislative session might look like come 2021.  There seems to be a growing sentiment that session may be held off until sometime mid-spring with the idea of conducting business in person.  These conversations are in the very early stages, but as they progress we will keep you informed.  We are of the belief it would be good to put things off a little bit if it meant we could have a session in person, virtual sessions in our opinion are very hard to operate with much transparency. 

     

    As you all know, elections continue to progress as we get closer to November.  If anyone has any election questions please reach out; we are happy to talk you through any state race you would like.

     

    Please let us know if you have questions

     

    Markee & Associates, Inc.
    5605 Inland Shores Way #110
    Keizer, Oregon 97303
    503.378.0412
    www.markee.org

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