Oregon Legislative Week in Review

The 2011 Session. This week is the halfway point of the 2011 session!  So far, only a handful of bills have been passed by both chambers and been signed by Governor John Kitzhaber. Friday, April 15, was the last day for a bill work session to be scheduled. If a bill failed to be scheduled for a work session in its committee of origin, or if a Chair fails to carry a bill over at this point, it will not be moving forward this session. This Thursday, April 21, is the last day for a work session for first chamber measures. The deadline does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and committees dealing with redistricting.

Credit Union Legislation. We expect our priority bill, SB 177, which passed out of the Senate General Government, Consumer & Small business Protection Committee by unanimous vote, to be heard on the Senate floor sometime this week. Our bill passed out before the critical deadline of April 21. As soon as it passes out of the Senate, we will begin our work to get it scheduled in a House Committee in order to meet the next deadline.  

State Bank. Many of you are following the State of Oregon Bank proposals that were introduced this session. The Association is working closely with legislative leaders on amendments to House Bill 3452, the bill that creates the Oregon Economic Development Finance Authority. This bill and its companion, SB 889, are working their way through the legislative process and are considered the alternatives to the Oregon state bank concept. The Finance Authority would be charged with entering into contracts with state agencies for the investment and management of state funds. Earlier versions of the bill used a definition that excluded federally chartered credit unions from participation on the Finance Authority advisory council; however Association staff worked with bill sponsors to draft an amendment that includes all credit unions. The Association can support the bill with this change.

With the deadline looming, Senate Committees will be hearing the following bills that we are tracking on behalf of credit unions:

  • S.B. 491 – Modifies requirements for notice of foreclosure and termination of tenancy for residential dwellings in foreclosure.
  • S.B. 577 – Related to debt buyers with sections that impact all debt collectors.
  • S.B. 826 – Authorizes Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules to regulate certain activities of persons that make mortgage loans.
  • S.J.M. 10 – Urges Congress to enact legislation to assist the FDIC and NCUSIF in establishing a voluntary system of full insurance for public funds accounts.
  • H.B. 2957 – Prohibits the owner of foreclosed residential real property from neglecting real property during periods of vacancy.

State Budget. The legislature passed its $5.7 billion K-12 education budget last week with a unanimous vote in the Senate and a 32-28 vote in the House. The proposal includes provisions that take $100 million from the Education Stability Fund. The budget bill now goes to Governor Kitzhaber, who has stated that he plans to sign the bill, but wants assurances that lawmakers will approve his higher education and early childhood education proposals. If the economy improves, legislators say they intend to boost school funding in 2012. Several House Democrats pushed to take more from reserves to use for K-12 education, and have introduced legislation to take additional dollars from reserve funds. With the final passage of K-12 funding, legislators will be able to focus on the remaining budget proposals, with an eye toward completion by the end of May. This is the first time in a number of years that the education budget has been approved so early in the session.  Early funding of the K-12 budget helps give certainty to school districts who like to have their budgets developed as early in the summer as possible.

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Legislative Advocacy
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel


Posted in Advocacy News.