Legislative Update: April 7, 2021

The legislative session is in full swing. April 13th is the deadline for bills to advance out of policy committees in their chamber of origin. Committee schedules are packed full with work sessions as bills are either moving forward, dying or being amended. 

Lawmakers are expected to begin deliberations over traditional state budget bills as well as how to allocate $780 million worth of federal aid associated with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) over the coming week. 

Over the last 10 days, legislators have been collecting and submitting capital funding requests that would be eligible for $780 million in one-time federal funding. Budget writers will begin their review of the project proposals this week. These projects would be in addition to the normal funding projects eligible for capital funding from the state. 

It is believed many of the tax bills have lost steam right now due to the large infusion of cash the state will receive from the Federal government as part of the $2.6 billion ARPA allocation to Oregon. The bills to disconnect businesses from Federal CARES Act tax benefits (SB 137, HB 2839) as well as bills to tax PPP loans (HB2253) have lost steam. 

Here are a few bills that we recommend you watch: 

100% Clean Electricity Mandate (HB 2021) – 

There continues to be a significant amount of discussions around the development of this policy. Since the last update that we have received, no updated language has been released publicly. The bill is scheduled for public hearings nd possible work sessions where we will most likely get a look at the language that has been developed.  

Indirect Source Regulatory Program (HB 2814) –

Representative Maxine Dexter shared with stakeholders last week that her bill to establish one of the most expansive indirect source regulatory programs in the country will be amended into a study bill. The DEQ-led study will specifically focus on diesel emissions, with the goal of preparing legislation for the 2023 legislative sessions. 

Presumption of Retaliation (SB 483) –

This policy as amended creates a rebuttable presumption that an employer has engaged in retaliation or discrimination if – within 60 days of an employee or prospective employee reporting a labor or workplace safety violation – the employer takes an adverse employment action against that person. The presumption of retaliation is rebuttable upon by demonstration of a preponderance of the evidence. The bill is set for a Senate floor vote as soon as this week. 

Expansion of Oregon Family Leave Act (HB 2474) –

This bill would expand Oregon’s family leave law down to the smallest of employees (1 employee) and add new provisions. This bill is a work in progress. 

Repeal Oregon taxes on federal stimulus payments (SB 842) –

This bill would ensure all Oregon residents get the full amount of their Federal Economic Impact Payments without state taxation. 

Tax Credit for Forgiven Rents (SB 330) –

This bill would give commercial landlords a tax credit, to be taken over 5 years, for forgiven rents. 

Unemployment Insurance Rate Reduction (HB 3389) –

This bill would enact a number of policies that would help struggling small businesses to lower their unemployment insurance liability. Among other things, the bill would revert an employer’s experience rating back to 2019 levels and update Unemployment Trust Fund solvency requirements to lower tax rates into the future. 

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