Revenue Forecast, Heath Care Town Hall, Jobs Bills & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     August 2013

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Dear friends,

When the September Revenue Forecast was released earlier this week, I was pleased to see strong indicators that Oregon's economy is steadily improving, putting families and small businesses on more secure economic ground. Best of all, the long-term trend in our state is continued job growth.

The Office of Economic Analysis reports that the revenue forecast for the 2013-15 biennium is reduced $37 million from the close-of-session forecast. While personal income tax collections have boosted overall General Fund revenues by $26 million for 2013-15, a surge of refunds issued at end of the 2011-2013 biennium will result in $70 million less in the beginning balance for 2013-15. Technical factors related to borrowing costs will help offset this slightly lower beginning balance, along with the fact that there was no corporate tax kicker in 2011-13, for which the June Forecast assumed a cost of $20.3 million.

    As students and teachers head back to school, I'm also glad to say that this latest revenue forecast indicates we're on the right track to deliver on the priorities we funded in the 2013-2015 budget. This budget made historic reinvestments in education and will substantially address the need to keep teachers in the classroom and decrease class sizes across the state.

September 16 18 , the Legislature will meet in Salem for the first set of "legislative days" since the regular 2013 session. This consolidated three-day period allows committees to meet and hold hearings. The Senate will meet for a floor session to consider gubernatorial appointments.

Committee assignments for the 2013-14 interim and February session were recently announced. I will serve on three committees: the Senate Judiciary Committee (which I chair); the General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee; and the Rural Communities and Economic Development Committee. In addition, I have been appointed to three task forces formed during the 2013 session: the Justice Reinvestment Grant Review Committee, the Task Force on Public Safety, and the Task Force on Resolution of Adverse Health Care Incidents. Finally, I will continue to serve on the Oregon Law Commission, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee of the CJC, and the Oregon State Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision.

    Please "save the date" on Wednesday, September 25 from 6
9 p.m. for a health care town hall that I will be co-hosting with some of my colleagues representing Lane County. This town hall will be an opportunity to engage with us as well as panelists from Cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority. The place has yet to be determined. I will provide more details when available.

Beginning with this e-bulletin, I'll be offering summaries of bills passed during the 2013 session by category. Below you will find information on:

- 2013 Session: Jobs & Economic Development Bills
        - Willamette Pass Salt Creek Tunnel Construction Update

        - Scam Alert: Locksmith Con
        - Please Come Forward: Victims of Premium Fence

Input Sought on Rebuild of Aging Transmission Line
        - Managing Common Weeds in the Vegetable Garden  

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail. If you're traveling this Labor Day weekend, please be safe and remember that the roads will be busy.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

2013 Session: Jobs & Economic Development Bills

    In January, I went to Salem determined to reinvest in education and job skills training, put Oregonians back to work, and stand up for middle class families and small businesses. After months of hard work, I believe the Legislature successfully passed key legislative victories in each of these priority areas. The bills are listed in numerical order.

Senate Bills

    SB 241 - University Research Accelerator / Oregon RAIN:
Creates the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) and appropriates $3.75 million. Universities and cities will collaborate through RAIN to tap into the research and education expertise of academia to bolster economic growth and initiatives.

    SB 246 - Industrial Lands Site Readiness
: Allows the Oregon Business Development Department to work with public entities to develop certified regionally significant industrial sites.

    SB 253 - Industrial Site Readiness Assessment:
Creates the Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Assessment Program, which will provide grants to help local governments survey the availability of industrial sites and create a plan to help develop these areas.

    SB 254 - Contracting Transparency for Local Construction Management:
Requires state and local agencies to use standardized rules when awarding contracts under the "Construction Management/General Contractor" (CMGC) method. State and local governments increasingly use the CMGC method to award contracts for large value projects and structures with historical value. SB 254A is the product of a legislative work group that came together in order to assess the ramifications of CMGC's rising popularity as an alternative to traditional "low-bid" contracting. The bill responds to concerns that the CMGC process does not provide for sufficient transparency of the contracting process by creating a standardized framework and set of rules that agencies will use.

    SB 307 - Tax certainty for companies that use single sales factor:
Boosts job creation in Oregon by making it abundantly clear to corporations and businesses that the state will not unilaterally change the way business taxes are calculated. Oregon initially adopted the Multistate Tax Compact in 1967 in order to assist corporations doing business in more than one state to pay their fair amount of taxes. Since then, Oregon has moved to calculating corporate taxation solely through the single sales factor, which only takes into consideration sales within Oregon's borders.

    SB 440 - Rural health care provider loan repayment program:
Renews loan repayment program to bolster Oregon’s health care workforce, expanding access to primary care services in rural and underserved areas. 

    SB 498 - Career Technical Education Revitalization Grant Program:
Provides $7.5 million in grants to Career and Technical Education programs. The CTE Revitalization Grant Program leverages innovative partnerships with local businesses and labor organizations to provide classes for high school students to gain workforce training opportunities. During the last budget cycle, 21 schools received CTE grants to offer new or improved vocational programs that partner with employers in the community.

    SB 582 - Rural building codes regional solutions:
Allows the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services to enter into agreements when requested by local governments to provide additional building inspection services. The bill also provides for special consideration of the needs of rural and remote regions of Oregon when crafting and adopting the state building code.

    SB 678 - Extending Protections in Workers' Compensation Cases:
Extends exclusive remedy protections of workers' compensation statutes to partners, limited liability company partners, general partners, limited liability partners and limited partners.

    SB 782 - State Contracting Apprenticeships
: Requires state contracting agencies to use apprenticeship labor for at least 10 percent of contract work.

    SB 814 - Environmental Claims Reform:
Provides relief for companies by strengthening the cleanup assistance law to include a new list of unfair environmental claims settlement practices and a private right of action for policyholders to pursue insurance companies based on the list. The bill also provides for a non-binding mediation process to encourage resolution of disputes over claims. Since cleanup efforts are funded by insurance claims, policyholders will have more ways to obtain much-needed resources from their insurance policies to comply with federal and state requirements.
    SB 833 - Safe Roads Act, Implementing short-term driver cards
: Will allow Oregonians to obtain a short-term driver card from the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services division (DMV), leading to more accountability for these drivers on Oregon roads. Applicants must reside in Oregon for at least one year, and must meet all other requirements of a driver's license. Driver cards issued under SB 833B will be valid for four years, rather than the eight-year validity period for a standard driver license.

    SB 841 Rural Wineries:
Provides that a small winery or a large winery meeting annual production requirements may be established on land zoned for mixed farm and forest use and repeals the January 1, 2014, sunset of authorization for wineries to be established on EFU zoned land. The bill is focused on smaller wineries and does not change regulations for large wineries. However, it modifies activities to mirror the language for small wineries as it relates to the marketing and selling of wine and commercial events.

    HB 2225 - Oregon Business Retention and Expansion Program:
Renews the Business Expansion Program, which provides an upfront award to a company planning to expand or locate in Oregon based on the estimated income tax revenues generated by new hires associated with the project over a two-year period. In addition, to qualify for the program, there must be at least 50 new hires associated with the project with wages that meet or exceed 150 percent of the state or county average, whichever is less.

House Bills

    HB 2296 - Benefit Companies:
Allows a company to add a social or environmental benefit as a key mission of the business, in addition to profit. This bolsters companies doing social good, and also maintains integrity by requiring benefit companies to compile an annual report about the social or environmental benefits provided by the organization.

    HB 2323 - Oregon Growth Board and Oregon Growth Fund:
Renews the Oregon Growth Board and creates the Oregon Growth Fund to encourage investment in and availability of capital to in-state businesses, and increase resources available to further economic development. The Oregon Growth Board will make investments in, and provide loans or grants to, businesses to promote economic development. The bill allocates $1.9 million to the Oregon Growth Fund.

    HB 2345 - West Coast Infrastructure Exchange:
Establishes the 10-member Oregon Innovation in Infrastructure Task Force. It will examine possible participation in a "West Coast infrastructure exchange" that would bring together innovators around the region to evaluate the status of existing structures and develop and implement critical infrastructure projects. These projects could include energy transmission and efficiency, water storage capacity, municipal water systems, and wastewater management.

    HB 2427 - Limiting Canola Growth in the Willamette Valley
: Prohibits raising canola in Willamette Valley. Prohibits Oregon Department of Agriculture from designating any control area in Willamette Valley that allows raising canola. Authorizes civil penalties up to $25,000 for violation. Applies to raising canola planted on or after effective date. Sunsets prohibition on growing canola in Willamette Valley on January 2, 2018. Directs College of Agricultural Sciences of Oregon State University to conduct peer-reviewed study and report results to interim committee of Legislative Assembly by November 1, 2016. Identifies study components.

    HB 2643 - Small Business Information Clearing House:
Directs the Secretary of State to put together a central information clearing house on all known state licenses, certifications, permits, and registrations that affect small businesses.

    HB 2646 - Prevailing wage for Oregon University System construction projects: Oregon's prevailing wage law is designed to ensure competent work, efficient use of state resources, and competition among qualified contractors while maintaining compensation standards that fit the surrounding community. The intent of HB 2646A is to make certain that construction projects at Oregon’s universities comply with the state policy that publicly funded works use prevailing wage.

    HB 2656 - Transient Lodging Tax for Tourism Promotion:
The state transient lodging tax is a 1 percent tax imposed on any consideration rendered for the sale, service or furnishing of transient lodging. Tax receipts are collected from lodging customers by providers and remitted to the Department of Revenue each quarter. The bill identifies the point of taxation to be at the retail level, which in essence allows the new tax collectors (online travel companies) to pay the tax based on their sale price (retail price to consumer) not the net or wholesale price they were charged by the lodging provider (hotel or motel). Proceeds benefit tourism promotion by local governments.

    HB 2700 - Aggie Bonds
: Establishes the Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program administered by the Oregon Business Development Department to help local Oregon farmers access capital and credit.

    HB 2927 - Contracting Standards at the Port of Portland:
Provides that in awarding contracts and leasing spaces, the Port of Portland may establish best value standards and criteria. These criteria may include experience, technical capability and past performance; the qualifications, compensation and retention policies of bidding contractors and lessees with respect to the staff and subcontractors operating at the port; and the potential local and regional benefit within the port, the surrounding community, the region and the state.

    HB 2977 - Wage Theft Prevention for Construction Workers:
Establishes licensing requirements for construction labor companies and requires these companies to apply for and obtain a license before recruiting and hiring workers for projects. Workers who are hired by a company that has not obtained a license under HB 2977B would have a cause of action to recover any unpaid wages that are due to the employee.

    HB 3276 - Coos Bay Rail Line:
Exempts Coos Bay Rail Line from property taxation for tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2012. Provides for a refund without interest of taxes for the tax year beginning July 1, 2012, upon filing of an application with the county assessor. Waives these taxes if they have not been paid.

    HB 3341 - Increasing Job Training Programs at Community Colleges:
Before HB 3341, community colleges seeking to establish new programs that are also offered by for-profit career colleges must give a notice of intent to the career college. If the career college demonstrates that it may be adversely impacted by the community college offering, the community college is prohibited from developing and offering the new course. HB 3341B eliminates the career college’s ability to unilaterally block a community college course.

    HB 3342 - Public Sector Neutrality in Union Organizing:
Ensures employees have full opportunity to be represented by a labor union by prohibiting a public employer from using public funds to deter, support, assist or promote union organizing.

    HB 3367 - Expanding the Oregon Film and Video Incentive:
Adds an additional $8 million to the Oregon Film and Video Tax Credit for the next biennium. Increases the annual cap on film and video tax credit from $6 million to $10 million per year.

    HB 3400 - Buy Oregon Contract Transparency:
Since 2009, agencies have been able to buy agricultural products produced and transported entirely within Oregon as long as the Oregon product costs no more than 10 percent above the lowest bid. Additional preferences for Oregon goods and services were authorized by the Legislature in 2011. HB 3400A will help the public track the implementation of these "Buy Oregon" incentives.

    HB 3435 - Distilleries:
Allows distillers to conduct tastings, aside from the licensed premises of the distillery, at up to five areas.

    HB 3459 - Office of Small Business Assistance:
The Office of Small Business Assistance will facilitate interactions between small businesses and state agencies. In order to ensure a level playing field, the office will also conduct reviews and investigations of complaints received from small business with respect to interactions with state agencies.

    HB 3464 - Coos Bay Channel Project:
The Coos Bay Channel Project supports increased maritime commerce and new marine terminal development in the Coos Bay Harbor. This bill modifies the schedule and conditions for issuance of lottery bonds to pay costs of the Coos Bay Channel Project.

Willamette Pass Salt Creek Tunnel Construction Update

    As you may have noticed, the tunnel project on Highway 58 has progressed slowly this year. In fact, ODOT reports significant delays to the project that will affect the overall project completion.

    On July 22,  the contractor formally informed ODOT that the project would not be completed on September 30, 2013, as specified in the current contract.
Instead, the contractor provided a schedule that shows project completion in October 2014.

    ODOT and the contractor disagree over the cause of the delays on the tunnel
project. Such a disagreement often results in a contract dispute that is resolved by a process laid out in the contract between the parties.
The priority for ODOT is to choose options that preserve the integrity of the highway, protect Oregon taxpayers from unnecessary additional costs, and ensure that any impacts to communities and motorists are minimized between now and project completion.

    While single-lane restrictions may be inevitable in 2014, continuous nighttime closures will  be limited. ODOT will work to assure that any complete closures are short-lived and do not fall on consecutive nights.

All that said, work on the project continues. To date, the contractor has completed:

  • lowering the tunnel roadway and sidewalks,
  • the tunnel liner spall (fragment) repairs and 
  • the pile footing installation for three viaducts.

The schedule supplied by the contractor shows additional work to be completed this season. That work will include completion of:

  • two of the four viaducts (bridges),
  • the pile footing installation for all viaducts,
  • the tunnel lighting repairs,
  • the tunnel liner crack injection and painting and
  • installing all permanent signs.

The schedule now shows that the following work will be completed in 2014:

  • construction of the remaining two viaducts (bridges),
  • installation of  two variable message signs, and
  • completion of  final paving and striping.

Scam Alert: Locksmith Con

    The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) are warning citizens to be on the alert for bogus locksmiths. Complaints to DOJ and CCB reveal that several locksmith companies, all using similar methods, are significantly overcharging consumers, charging for unnecessary services, using intimidation tactics, and failing to give refunds or respond to consumer complaints.

Sadly, this is a typical scenario for a locksmith scam. When a Beaverton woman called the first number that popped up in her Google search, she thought she had reached a local locksmith. But when the man on the other end asked her if she was calling from Portland, Maine, she knew something was wrong. And it only got worse from there. The "locksmith" arrived in a van clearly identified as associated with a company other than the one she had called and he wanted to charge her more than twice the amount she was quoted on the phone. Fearing she was being scammed, she called another locksmith only to learn the "locksmith" standing next to her car was a fraud. The going rate to unlock her car according to this legitimate locksmith - $80; not the $139 this "locksmith" was demanding.

    To help you protect yourself from scammers, the DOJ and CCB urge you to follow these tips:

  • First, find a certified locksmith before you need one. Get references from the CCB online.
  • Once you find a reputable locksmith, keep the company's name and contact information in your phone, wallet, or address book at home or at work.
  • Avoid any company that answers the phone with a generic phrase such as "locksmith services" rather than with a specific company name.
  • Be wary of locksmiths who arrive in unmarked cars, trucks or vans. Legitimate locksmiths usually have a vehicle with the company name.
  • Ask for an ID with name and address. Oregon requires that on all service calls locksmiths carry proof that they are licensed.
  • Get a written estimate on company letterhead, with mileage charges, minimums and other fees, before work begins. Get a receipt after you pay.
  • If you're told the lock has to be drilled and replaced, find another locksmith. Experienced and legitimate locksmiths can unlock almost any door.

    If you think you have been a victim of a bogus locksmith, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at, by phone at 1-877-877-9392, or by e-mail at

Please Come Forward: Victims of Premium Fence

    This summer, I was contacted by a constituent who paid a contractor for a project, only to learn that the owner left Oregon after collecting the constituent's money. I have been in communication with the attorney general's office as well as the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) and understand that other victims have filed complaints against the same company. As chair of the Judiciary Committee and member of the Senate's consumer protection committee, I feel strongly that contractors need to be held strictly accountable if they take money up front then don't perform the work.

    As reported in local media, CCB is pursuing claims and restitution against premium fence and construction. If you believe you were defrauded by this company, CCB is interested in hearing from you. Click here to download the complaint form, or call the CCB Customer Service Unit at 503-378-4621 to obtain the form by mail. The company has voluntarily surrendered its CCB license.

Input Sought on Rebuild of Lowell-Oakridge Aging Transmission Line

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) invites the public to comment on a proposed project to rebuild the 26-mile Hills Creek-Lookout Point transmission line between Lowell and Oakridge. Routine maintenance has been performed on the 115-kilovolt line since it was built in 1953. Now most of the 60-year-old structures are physically worn and need to be replaced. The project may also require improving access roads and acquiring or developing new access roads or trails. The rebuild would reduce potential safety risks to the public and work crews. By rebuilding aging transmission lines when needed, BPA preserves the value and reliability of its transmission system.

    BPA will hold a public meting on Sept. 11, 2013
, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oakridge Junior High School cafeteria (76499 Rose St.). At the meeting, community members can ask questions, voice concerns and share local knowledge about the potential impacts the environmental study should address. This review provides BPA the necessary information to make well-informed decisions.

    Residents who are unable to attend the meeting can learn about the proposed transmission upgrade at: Comments can be submitted at or by phone at 1-800-622-4519 by Sept. 26.

Managing Common Weeds in the Vegetable Garden

(Courtesy of the OSU Extension Service)

    Knowing more about weeds can give gardeners a leg up in the fight.
It is important to know how to distinguish between perennial and annual weeds.

    Vegetable gardeners most commonly deal with annual weeds, which spread only by seed and die when the weather turns cold. Yet seeds from annual weeds can survive in the soil for several years.
Perennial weeds thrive year after year with root systems that are tough to eradicate. They spread both by seed and creeping root systems.

Here are three summer annual weeds common to Oregon vegetable gardens:

  • Common lambsquarters — The seed's leaves and early true leaves are a dull bluish green on top and often a purplish red below. Seed leaves are narrow and oblong- to lace- shaped. This weed can grow up to 5 feet tall. Leaf surfaces, especially on new growth, are covered with a fine white powdery coating. Tiny green stalkless flowers cluster at the tips of the main stem and branches.
  • Crab grass — Seedling leaves are light green and smooth. True leaves are dark green and smooth. The leaf blade is around a quarter-inch across and up to five inches long and pointed. It often grows together in clumps or patches. Sometimes a reddish tint is visible at the base of the leaf. The seed head is unique and resembles an antenna. Leaf stems are flattened.
  • Common purslane — Prolific, taprooted annual succulent in the Portulacaceae family. Its reddish stems start from a central root, radiating out like spokes of a wheel. The stems can grow up to 12 inches. Leaves are stalkless, oval, and smooth, varying from one-half  to two inches in length. It produces small five-petaled yellow flowers. Difficult to kill with cultivation or hoeing because it can survive even when uprooted. Best to hoe and carry plants out of the garden.  

    To manage weeds, dig up with a hoe or pull them out by hand. Get rid of the roots completely and do not compost weeds that are producing seeds. Preventive methods include rotating crops and mixing up weed-control strategies every year. And most importantly, do not let weeds produce seeds.

    According to OSU, the herbicide trifluralin will kill all three species of weeds.
But the use of herbicides should be limited and a means of last resort. Before using any herbicides, read the label carefully, apply only as directed (it can also kill garden crops such as corn and cucumbers) and dispose of any remaining mixtures properly. (Do not put any herbicide mixtures in the sewer or stormwater systems. These systems drain to waterways.) Herbicides are poisonous and dangerous to human health especially children as well as pets and other animals including aquatic life. If you do use herbicides in your garden, be sure to thoroughly wash your produce before consumption.

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