Legislature Considers Pro-Business Proposals

Several bills aimed at streamlining and assisting business are under consideration by committees in both the House and Senate. Last week, the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee was to hear SB 219, authorizing the Oregon Business Development Department to administer the Oregon Business Retention and Expansion Program to lend incremental Oregon Business Retention and Expansion Program tax revenues to certified employers and specifying provisions for a forgivable  loan  program.  The purpose of the bill is to provide incentives for business hiring. The bill was held over and will be heard this week instead.  An identical House Bill, HB 2162, is scheduled to be heard before the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee on April 20 On Friday, the House Business and Labor Committee amended HB 3247 and voted the bill out of Committee.  As amended, the bill would require the Secretary of State Registration Information Center to create and maintain a one-stop Oregon Business Web Portal to provide information, resources and services for starting, expanding and operating a business in Oregon or relocating a business in Oregon.  The bill now goes to the House Floor, with a subsequent referral to Ways and Means. HB 2770 will be heard today (April 18), also in the House Business and Labor Committee.  HB 2770 would establish a Business Ombudsman to  receive  comments  from  business   on  regulatory  actions  undertaken  by  state  agencies.  The Ombudsman would be required to maintain the confidentiality of persons making comments but would report the substance of those comments to the affected state agencies, the Governor and the Legislative Assembly.  The Ombudsman  would also  evaluate  enforcement  activities  and  the responsiveness  of  state  agencies  to  business  concerns and report those findings as well. The Business Ombudsman is not to be confused with the Office of the Ombudsman for Small Business, which was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1990 as part of a major workers’ compensation reform bill.  That office is currently in existence and provides information and assistance to small businesses regarding workers’ compensation insurance and claims processing matters. On the Senate side, the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee will hear SB 930 on April 19.  That bill would require the Oregon Business Development Department to provide technical assistance with marketing and business development strategies to emerging growth businesses upon approval of application for those services. This is an excerpt from a weekly legislative updated received from the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC).  The Tigard Chamber is a member of OSCC.    

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