In Final Days of Session, Oregon Legislature Passes Marijuana Banking Legislation

House Bill 4094 awaits the signature of Governor Kate Brown. It is expected to expand financial services currently available to legal marijuana businesses, because it removes criminal liability for credit unions and other financial institutions.

“The people of Oregon decided that cannabis is legal in this state. Because cannabis businesses are limited in the financial services available to them, this can create significant security and safety concerns that need to be addressed,” said Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro), who carried the bill. “Operating a cash-only business creates targets ripe for robbery and other crimes. This bill helps financial institutions serve cannabis industry clients, providing services that can alleviate those issues.”

The bill also 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.  It directs the Department of Consumer and Business Services to study and report on any legislation or administrative action required to facilitate the financing of businesses that engage in production, processing or sale of marijuana and marijuana derived products.

The Oregon Legislature is in the final week of the constitutional 35-day session.  It must conclude by March 6th in even numbered years, but most legislators, staff and members of the lobby hope for a wrap this week.  

In Oregon’s 2016 Legislative Session, Partisan Politics Slowed Action

The Senate Republicans have slowed down the process by requiring all the bills be read completely from the beginning until the end.  Typically, a motion is made to suspend that process.  Some bills can take hours to read and currently the Senate has over 22 bills waiting to be considered on the calendar for just one day.  No matter what gamesmanship is left, only one week remains in the 2016 legislative session. In a short session that will be known for partisan battles, a last few bills still need to be guided through the process.  Last week, the full Ways and Means Committee may have held its last meeting when it passed numerous important bills, a clear sign that the legislative session is wrapping up its work.

Several high profile bills will wait their fate this week including SB1547, related to coal power, SB1571, related to the testing of rape kits, HB4143, on affordable housing and renter protections, and a resolution on veterans spending.

The Northwest Credit Union Association has worked on several bills this session of interest to Oregon credit unions.  Those priorities include: 

  • HB4131 – Requires financial institutions to develop data match agreements with Department of Revenue to identify assets held at financial institutions by delinquent debtors.   Creates crime of misusing information shared pursuant to data match agreements. Punishes by maximum of five years’ imprisonment, $125,000 fine, or both.  Authorizes Division of Child Support of Department of Justice to enter agreements to share information relating to hiring of individuals in this state with other divisions of department or with Department of Revenue.  Passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.
  • SB1532 – A bill to update the Oregon Credit Enhancement Fund.  The Oregon Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF) is a loan insurance program available to lenders to assist businesses in obtaining access to working capital or fixed-asset financing. The program has an enrollment fee typically between 1.25 percent and 3.5 percent of the insured amount, based on the term and type of the credit. Loan insurance is typically up to 80 percent of the loan amount, with a maximum exposure of $2 million, with a maximum term of either 15 years or the useful life of assets securing the loan. For lines of credit, insurance is for up to 75 percent of the operating lines of credit, up to $1.5 million, with an initial term of one year.  Awaiting Governor’s signature.

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

Posted in NWCUA.