Capitol: Media tax bailout, New DEQ powers, flavor ban, DC statehood

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Here are some upcoming super-fast hearings on bills, the good, bad and ugly.

SJM 6–  Oregon to push DC statehood.  (Hearing 4/4/23) An Oregon memorial to urge Congress to enact legislation granting statehood to Washington, D.C. so they can get two United State Senators.   This may set a new precedent that cities themselves could get their own United States Senators.

HB 3090 Flavor ban: Bans flavored products like vaping (Hearing 4/3/23).  Would demolish many small shops overnight.

HJR 23Steals people’s kicker.  (Hearing 4/4/23) HJR 23 would refer to the people a ballot measure to change the Constitution by taking part of the people’s kicker income refund and using for drought water projects.

HB 2513 –  Measure 110: (Hearing 4/4/23) Requires Oregon Health Authority to study implementation of Ballot Measure 110 (drug decriminalization measure).

SB 884 Tax cuts of disabled veterans.  (Hearing 4/4/23) Grants higher property tax exemption for property of veterans with disabilities.

SB 925 Mandatory pay posting.   (Hearing 3/30/23) This sets up a complicated reporting mechanism where employers are forced to detail out all kinds of pay ranges and benefit definitions when posting a job.   Failure to do so, or making mistakes could land your business in tens of thousands of dollars in fines.   Just what small business needs in a labor shortage and inflation crisis — a new bureaucracy making hiring employees more expensive.

SB 847New home tax freeze.  (Hearing 4/4/23) Freezes tax assessed value for certain new residential construction for five property tax years. This would provide relief for sky high property tax assessments while new homes are being brought to market.

HB 2605  Tax credit for media companies: (Hearing 3/30/23) This appears to create a tax credit to media companies while also creating a taxpayer fund to fund a government (university) media system.  It is defined as “Creates tax credit for contributions to publisher of local journalistic publication. Defines local journalistic publication as print, broadcast, or digital publication either published by nonprofit news organization or that serves regional or local community, contains certain news and current events coverage, and employs certain number of persons other than independent contractors… Directs Department of Administrative Services to issue one-time grants to University of Oregon Agora Journalism Center and Fund for Oregon Rural Journalism to support Oregonians’ local news and information needs. Appropriates unspecified amount of General Fund to grant recipients.”

HB 2002   – Abortion/gender identity bill: (Hearing 4/4/23) Modifies provisions relating to reproductive health rights. Modifies provisions relating to access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming treatment. Modifies provisions relating to protections for providers of and individuals receiving reproductive and gender-affirming health care services. Creates crime of interfering with a health care facility. Punishes by maximum of 364 days’ imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both. Creates right of action for person or health care provider aggrieved by interference with health care facility. Repeals criminal provisions relating to concealing birth.

HB 2614 New DEQ power: (Hearing 4/4/23) House Bill 2614 appears to give DEQ new agency power to hurt companies that don’t meet their climate goals and to fund companies and activities that they like (all without an apparent vote of the people or their elected lawmakers).  Bill explanations reads “would require transportation network companies to meet or exceed specified targets for a percentage of their service miles provided by zero-emission vehicles and establish a Rideshare Electrification Fund.” and “Requires a transportation network company to report by April 1 of each year to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) information sufficient for DEQ to determine the total number of service miles driven in Oregon by transportation network company vehicles and the total number of service miles driven in this state by zero-emission transportation network company vehicles. Authorizes Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to establish by rule requirements for reports submitted to DEQ. Establishes that the confidential business information submitted to DEQ by a transportation network company under this section is confidential and not subject to public disclosure under ORS 192.311 to 192.478. Requires transportation network companies to meet or exceed specified targets for percentage of service miles provided by zero-emission vehicles. Requires DEQ to conduct a feasibility review of the targets and provide the results to the EQC if the two largest transportation network companies in this state each fail to meet the specified targets by 30 percent or more for two consecutive  years. Requires EQC, after receiving the results of the review, to modify the targets or delay implementation of the targets. Establishes that rules adopted by EQC related to requirements for reports submitted to DEQ must be informed by data reported to DEQ. Requires EQC to establish by rule a program to provide financial incentives for: 1) the purchase or lease of zero-emission transportation network company vehicles by transportation network company drivers; 2) the construction, planning, installation, operation, or maintenance of electric vehicle charging stations at or near multifamily dwellings in which transportation network company drivers reside; and 3) electrical work, including wiring, conduit, or electrical panel upgrades and the purchase or installation of level 2 or higher electric vehicle charging stations at single-family dwellings in which transportation network company drivers reside. Directs DEQ to administer the financial incentives program. Requires DEQ to disburse financial incentives under the program to eligible recipients in a timely manner but no less than once per year. Establishes Rideshare Electrification Fund (Fund) and criteria for administration of Fund and allocation of moneys. Establishes a civil penalty of 50 cents for each service mile, to be deposited in the Fund, that did not meet the ZEV service mil target required for that calendar year if a transportation network company that fails to meet a ZEV service mile targets, or established by the EQC by rule. Requires DEQ to limit the number of zero-emission and electric vehicle rebate program (ORS 468.444) rebates available to an organization, including businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state or local government agencies, to 200 rebates per organization per year.”

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