Oregon Legislature Meets for Interim Hearings, Announces House Leadership Changes

The Oregon Legislature met for three days of interim hearings from Sept. 21–23, one of three different weeks of meetings scheduled to prepare for the February 2012 legislative session. Some of the hearings included the Senate Business Committee on Access to Business Capital, the Senate Consumer Protection Committee on the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee on Reverse Mortgages, and the House General Government and Consumer Protection Committee on Debt Buyers.

The House Committee focused on SB 577, a bill that did not pass in the 2011 session and would have established requirements for legal action brought by debt buyers to collect debt. The legislation would make it a violation of unlawful collection practice and increase the amount of damages in action for unlawful collection practice. Senator Suzanne Bonamici and the Attorney General’s office testified on the problems with debt buyers and debt collectors in Oregon. They plan on introducing legislation in 2012.

The Senate focused their hearings on business and job creation. Two Senate interim committees held hearings on small-business support and job growth. The committees heard from experts on how to grow Oregon jobs and help small businesses prosper.

The Senate Interim Committee on General Government, Small Business, and Consumer Protection heard from business owners located in Northeast Portland and McMinnville. They spoke of how small business loans and assistance through the state can continue to create jobs and help home-grown businesses prosper.

The Senate Interim Committee on Business, Transportation and Economic Development met to discuss several business bills, including:

  • “One-stop shop” for Oregon business registry (HB 3247) – Directs the Secretary of State to create and maintain a “One-Stop Shop for Oregon Business” web portal to help businesses start, expand, relocate, or operate in Oregon. Business owners will be able to use this portal to update, maintain, and track progress on their registration information.
  • Removing barriers for Oregon’s small businesses, creating jobs (SB 494) – Removes barriers to loans and capital for Oregon small businesses by removing the sunset and making permanent the changes in the Access to Business Capital Act, passed by the legislature in February 2010. This bill frees up hard-to-come-by business capital and has already helped create hundreds of jobs statewide.

The legislature will meet again Nov. 16–18.

House Leadership Changes

Oregon House Democrats have chosen State Rep. Peter Buckley to be their nominee for Speaker Pro-Tem pending full House approval in February. Buckley adds these responsibilities to his role as Democratic Co-Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He will replace State Rep. Tina Kotek, who was elected last June as House Democratic Leader, when she resigns as Speaker Pro-Tem prior to the February session.

House Democrats also named State Rep. Val Hoyle as Deputy Whip and elected Rep. Michael Dembrow and Rep. Lew Frederick as new assistant leaders. Those moves came as a result of Rep. Ben Cannon, the former Deputy Whip, resigning his seat to work as Education Policy Advisor for Governor John Kitzhaber and Rep. Jefferson Smith announcing he will seek election next year as Mayor of Portland.

Buckley said he is honored to be chosen as the Speaker Pro-Tem nominee and will continue Democratic caucus efforts to create jobs and carefully manage the state’s budget as Oregon continues to recover from the global recession.

 

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

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

Posted in Advocacy News.