Oregon Legislative Update: 2014’s Short Session Begins

Oregon lawmakers gathered in Salem last week to kick off only the second Short Legislative Session in the state’s history, facing a time crunch that could force many of the most contentious bills to fall by the wayside.

From Oregon’s entry into the Union in 1859 until 2010, the Legislature met once every two years. That changed in 2010 when Oregon voters approved a measure that directs the Assembly to meet annually. The change allows legislators to make budget adjustments and address problems quicker, rather than having to wait two years for the next session.

Going forward, the Legislature will meet for no more than 35 days in even-numbered years, and for no more than 165 days in odd-numbered years.

During long sessions, there are no limits to the number of bills each member and each committee can submit; in short sessions, members are limited to two bills and committees to three. The Senate and House each have about two weeks to hold public hearings, amend bills and vote on them, and then two more weeks to do the same for bills that emerge from the other chamber. 

What does this tight timeline mean?

It means that bills that still require a lot of work, refinement and compromise will have a hard time making it through the process. Most will fall by the wayside, and many will be addressed in work groups and task forces in between sessions with the goal of being introduced in 2015. Bills that have price tags attached will face an even greater challenge, because the Legislature has already set the state’s budget for the biennium.

New Representatives

Oregon’s House of Representatives welcomes two new members this month:

  • In District 38, former Clackamas County commissioner Ann Lininger replaces Chris Garrett, who was appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber to the Oregon Court of Appeals. District 38 includes Lake Oswego and parts of Southwest Portland. Lininger, a Democrat, was appointed to the Clackamas County Commission in 2008 and served until 2012, when she chose not to run for re-election. She now works part time for Oregon Iron Works as the company’s general counsel and vice president for compliance and strategic initiatives.
  • In District 45, Democrat Barbara Smith Warner is the new state representative from District 45, which includes parts of Northeast Portland, the city of Maywood Park and the Parkrose area. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners picked Smith Warner to replace Michael Dembrow, who vacated the post to fill Jackie Dingfelder’s District 23 Senate seat. Dingfelder resigned to join Portland Mayor Charlie Hales’ staff. Smith Warner, who was a labor liaison for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, will finish out Dembrow’s term, which expires next year.

Bills the NWCUA is Tracking

The Northwest Credit Union Association is paying special attention to several bills this session that could have a direct or indirect impact on Oregon’s credit unions. They include:

  • HB 4065: Requires notice of trustee’s sale in connection with foreclosure of residential property to include language that warns prospective purchasers that residential property may have been used in manufacturing methamphetamines.
  • HB 4079: Directs Oregon State Lottery to establish pilot program to operate lottery savings game in which players may win randomly awarded prizes of interest or earnings.
  • HB 4083: Requires a person, before sending unsolicited check, draft or other payment instrument or offer to extend credit or lend money to a consumer, either to send notice to the consumer at least seven days in advance or to establish and use a system by which the consumer must affirmatively consent to receive a check, draft or other payment instrument or an offer to extend credit or lend money.
  • HB 4103: Addresses issues related to mechanical liens.
  • HB 4151: Requires investigations of abuse of persons 65 years of age or older to be completed within 120 days from date of report of abuse, and the preparation of a written report upon completion of investigation.
  • SB 1540: Deals with patent trolling. Prohibits a person or person’s affiliate from communicating demand to recipient if in-demand person or affiliate alleges, asserts or claims in bad faith that recipient has infringed or contributed to infringing patent or rights that patentee, assignee or licensee has under patent.
  • SB 1552: Deals with UCC Article 9. Provides that record of financing statement sufficiently provides name of debtor who is individual when record provides individual name, or surname and first personal name, of debtor.

Legislative Lunch at the Capitol

It’s not too late to register for the NWCUA’s Legislative Lunch at the Oregon Capitol. The free event is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

During full legislative sessions, the Association hosts full-size Credit Union Days at the Capitol. Oregon lawmakers may only be meeting for 35 days this year, but it’s still important for credit union advocates to share their message and the hope is that representatives from every Oregon credit union will attend.

In addition to lunch, the agenda includes an opportunity to hear from legislative leaders and plenty of time to “hike the Hill” with special leave-behind gifts and messages for senators and representatives.

For more information or to register for the event, go to the NWCUA’s website.

Pam Leavitt will report from Salem each week when the Oregon Legislature is in session; look for her “Oregon Legislative Update” every Tuesday in Anthem. For more information, contact Leavitt at pleavitt@nwcua.org.

 

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, Events.