Two House Bills Impacting Credit Unions Introduced in Oregon

Members of the 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly were sworn into office yesterday and have already begun organizing in preparation for the Feb. 4 start date. More than 1,200 bills were also introduced and first read in the House and Senate chambers yesterday, including two at the request of the House Interim Committee on Revenue with potential impact on credit unions.

H.B. 2485 provides that credit unions have an ongoing obligation to help meet the credit needs of all communities in which a credit union has a physical presence and would require the director of the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules to specifically govern that obligation, requiring that he create certain minimal standards for measurement.

The bill would also add a new examination for credit unions, requiring the director to periodically examine to evaluate whether each credit union is meeting its obligation. The director may then consider the results when determining whether or not to approve certain applications from credit union. The bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

H.B. 2486, will be more familiar to credit unions, as it is the same as a bill introduced during the 2011 session that never received a hearing. This bill would impose a corporate excise tax on state-chartered credit unions and interstate credit unions holding any public funds deposits that exceed $250,000. The excise tax would also apply to any credit union holding holding commercial loans that collectively exceed 10 percent of the credit union’s assets and would apply to tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013.

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) will continue to monitor the progress of each bill. Pamela Leavitt, the NWCUA legislative affairs liaison for Oregon credit unions, is always working with legislators and directly with credit unions to improve the operating environment and is well positioned to defend credit unions’ tax status.

In addition to the flood of new legislation, newly elected Speaker of the House Tina Kotek (D-North Portland) and Senate Pres. Peter Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn) both spoke to the joint session of the Legislature Monday prior to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s “State of the State” address.

Courtney was elected to a record sixth term as Senate President, and Burdick (D-Portland) was chosen for a second term as President Pro Tempore. Democrats hold a 16-14 majority in Senate and a 34-26 majority in the House.

Kotek took the oath of office from former Governor Barbara Roberts, Oregon’s only female governor, as Kotek’s partner, Aimee Wilson, stood at her side. Kotek called for renewed focus and cooperation to deliver on Oregon’s priorities.

“As our state continues to tackle the task of economic recovery, our focus must be on the priorities that matter most to Oregonians,” Kotek said in an address to the House chamber. “Oregonians are expecting us to listen well, listen to everyone, and find solutions through challenging but productive discussions.”

Under Oregon’s annual-sessions law, which voters approved in 2010, lawmakers will be in an organizational session through Wednesday that does not count against the legal limits. They will then break until Feb. 4, at which point the session clock starts. They have a legal limit of July 13, although leaders say they plan an adjournment target of June 28, which would make the 2013 session 145 days—the shortest in four decades. The 2011 session lasted 150 days and ended on June 30.

Oregon credit unions will be following several key committees, including:

General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection:

Chip Shields, Chair
Larry George, Vice-Chair
Herman Baertschiger
Laurie Monnes Anderson
Floyd Prozanski

Finance and Revenue:

Ginny Burdick, Chair
Larry George, Vice-Chair
Brian Boquist
Mark Hass
Diane Rosenbaum

Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency:

Paul Holvey, Chair
John Lively, Vice Chair
Dennis Richardson, Vice Chair
Margaret Doherty
Vic Gilliam
Mark Johnson
Alissa Keny-Guyer
Greg Smith
Jessica Vega Pederson


Phil Barnhart, Chair
Jules Bailey, Vice Chair
Vicki Berger, Vice Chair
Cliff Bentz
Jason Conger
John Davis
Sara Gelser
Tobias Read
Jessica Vega Pederson


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

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Strategic Link.