Credit Unions’ Policy Agenda Front and Center in Oregon Legislature

A week before the opening gavel, 106 Senate bills and 158 House bills have already been introduced. Pamela Leavitt, the NWCUA’s Policy Advisor for Oregon State Advocacy & Grassroots, reports that in this year’s short, 35 day session, each lawmaker is limited to introducing two bills for consideration.

Said Leavitt, “With these tight deadlines, you have only two weeks to introduce a bill, have it heard and voted on in committee and pass on the floor of the first body!”

Minimum Wage

Leavitt expects the minimum wage debate to take center stage during the upcoming session, and last week Governor Kate Brown laid out her plan to phase-in increases to the state’s minimum wage over the next 6 years. The Governor is proposing a two-tier system, where minimum wage would be 15 percent higher in the Portland metropolitan area. Outside of Portland’s urban growth boundary, minimum wage would be raised to $10.25 in 2017 and increase to $13.50 by 2022. In Portland the 2017 wage would be $11.79, increasing to $15.52 by 2022. After 2022, increases would again be tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Senate President Peter Courtney responded to the proposal by saying, “I don’t like making public policy through the initiative process. That’s what will happen if the Legislature doesn’t act. This proposal doesn’t make everybody happy. It’s a compromise. It provides a needed increase for low-wage workers. It recognizes the differences between the economy in Portland and rest of the state. It keeps pre-emption. It phases in over a longer period of time. It can help us avoid a bitter, divisive battle over the ballot measures. Now we have to see if we can get the votes for it.”

The Northwest Credit Union Association Will Be Closely Monitoring Two Other Bills in Particular During the Session: 

HB4094 (LC218) Regarding Financial Services to Legal Marijuana Businesses

This legislation exempts financial institutions that provide financial services to marijuana related businesses, researchers and laboratories from any criminal law of this state that has elements that may be proven by substantiating that person provides financial services to person who lawfully possesses, delivers or manufactures marijuana or marijuana derived products. It directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Health Authority to provide financial institutions with information related to licensed or registered marijuana related businesses, researchers and laboratories upon request. The legislation would require the Department of Consumer and Business Services to study and report on any legislation or administrative action required to facilitate financing of businesses that engage in production, processing or sale of marijuana and marijuana derived products. 

HB4131 (LC122) Regarding Data Match Agreements

The bill requires financial institutions to develop data match agreements with the Department of Revenue to identify assets held at financial institutions by delinquent debtors. It establishes criminal penalties for misusing information shared pursuant to data match agreements, punishable by a maximum of five years’ imprisonment, $125,000 fine, or both. The legislation authorizes the Division of Child Support of the Department of Justice to enter agreements to share information relating to hiring of individuals in this state with other divisions of departments or with the Department of Revenue.

2016 Legislative Lunch at the Oregon Capitol

Registration is open online for the 2016 Legislative Lunch at the Oregon Capitol, scheduled to take place February 11. Even with the short window for the session this year, the Legislative Lunch allows credit union leaders to message their lawmakers about issues important to credit unions and their 1.8 million members in Oregon.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

 

Posted in Advocacy News.