Town Hall, Jobs Bills, Revenue Forecast & 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                     December 2015

If you're having trouble viewing this message, please visit my legislative web page at, click on "News" in the lower left-hand column and scroll down.

Dear friends,

    Happy Holidays! As 2015 comes to an end, many of us are taking a moment to reflect on the past year's accomplishments and thinking of the challenges and opportunities ahead. The same is true in the Legislature, and this time of year I find myself reflecting on our achievements and missed opportunities during the 2015 Legislative Session. At the same time, I look forward to the upcoming legislative "short" session (35 days) in 2016. This is also a time for families and friends to spend time together. I hope each of you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season.

    While many bills passed during the 2015 Legislative Session have already become law, there are other important new laws that take effect on January 1. Below you will find a list and summary of some of the legislation that will become effective on January 1, 2016.

    On December 17,
House Judiciary Chair Rep Jeff Barker and I held a special joint meeting of the House and Senate Interim Committees on Judiciary. The hearing provided us an opportunity to examine and discuss the state's role in preventing and responding to acts of violence like the senseless tragedy that took place at Umpqua Community College on October 1. The hearing also served as an opportunity to look for areas where the Legislature could make changes so Oregonians' homes, schools and communities are safer. Topics of the hearing included: threat assessments, prevention efforts, mental health services, on-site security options, coordinated law enforcement responses, and community and victim services. Sheriffs, the state police and the FBI offered presentations, as did medical professionals and other experts.

    I recently received my committee assignments for the upcoming short session that begins on February 1. I will continue to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee; I will continue to serve as vice-chair for the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91; and I will continue to serve on the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee. My colleagues and I will meet in Salem from January 13-15 for organizational days before the start of the short session. 

    Below you will find information on:

        - Joint Town Hall in Eugene: January 4
- New Laws Effective January 1
2015 Session Accomplishments: Jobs, Economy & Workforce
        - December Revenue Forecast
        - Charities to Avoid this Giving Season

    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. Please stay safe when traveling this season; remember to check ODOT's for road conditions and traffic information.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Joint Town Hall in Eugene: January 4

    Please join Sen. Lee Beyer, Rep. Phil Barnhart, Rep. Paul Holvey, Rep. Nancy Nathanson and me for a joint town hall at 6 pm on January 4 at Lane Community College, Room 112-114, in downtown Eugene (101 W 10th). We'll be answering your questions and discussing the upcoming short session in Salem that begins on February 1.

New Laws Effective January 1

    The following are some of the new laws passed during the 2015 Legislative Session that will become effective on January 1, listed by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 3 - Increased Penalty for Violating Domestic Violence Restraining Order: Oregon faces a domestic violence death nearly once a month. This legislation better protects victims of domestic abuse by strengthening the enforcement of restraining orders. SB 3 increases the penalty for violating a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, if there is clear risk of physical injury, to a Class C felony. It also gives judges the ability to make violations punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $125,000 fine, or both (Class C Felony).

    SB 89 - Local Assistance for Veterans: Many local communities in Oregon rely on volunteers who assist and advocate for veterans. This important volunteer service is offered differently from one locality to the next, sometimes in conjunction with County Veterans Service Officers. This legislation allows counties and the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs to appoint qualified, vetted volunteers to provide specified support services. It will improve support for veterans across the state, especially in rural Oregon.
    SB 253 - Confidentiality for Veterans: This legislation allows veterans, active-duty, reserve and National Guard members of the armed forces to be exempt from having certain personally identifiable and contact information subject to public records requests. The bill will assist the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs in protecting the information of people accessing their services, helping to foster trust between veterans and the department.

    SB 320 - Supporting Small Home Businesses: Currently, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) requires anyone who would like to sell baked goods made in his or her home kitchen to meet specific requirements and to obtain a domestic kitchen license. This legislation allows small-scale operations to prepare and sell baked goods without ODA licensure. These food entrepreneurs throughout Oregon will still be required to label and safely handle their products, but will be able to do so with fewer burdens on their budding businesses.

    SB 411 - Personal Injury Protection and Stacking in Car Insurance Policies: This legislation will put injured drivers' needs ahead of insurance companies by changing state laws on uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection coverage. There are two main provisions in SB 411: the first allows injured motorists to add their uninsured motorist coverage on top of the at-fault driver's liability coverage so injured consumers get the coverage they paid for with their premium. The second provision addresses personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Currently, a policyholder's PIP coverage is repaid to the insurance company before the injured party is paid total damages. SB 411 allows the injured motorist to recover their total damages first.

    SB 454 - Paid Sick Time: With passage of this legislation, Oregon joins a growing number of states requiring a statewide paid sick time policy for workers. SB 454 requires most employers having 10 or more employees to implement a sick time policy allowing an employee to earn, accrue, donate or use at least 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Additionally, SB 454 requires most employers who employ fewer than 10 employees to implement an unpaid sick time policy. This legislative victory will ensure that Oregon workers don’t have to choose between their health — or the health of their children — and their livelihood.

    SB 482 - Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership: This legislation creates the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership Advisory Committee (PNMP), a consortium dedicated to accelerating the resurgence of manufacturing in the Northwest. The PNMP will sit within Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency. Staff in the department will focus on facilitating regional collaboration amongst the manufacturing sector by working with relevant education and research institutions.

    SB 492 - Work Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence: This legislation allows employees to use sick leave or personal business leave to seek services, assistance or treatment if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Prior to passage, employees could be limited to using only vacation leave for such purposes. The bill applies to workplaces with six or more employees.

    SB 552 - Domestic Worker Protections: Domestic workers are a crucial workforce comprised primarily of women, and particularly women of color. They provide in-home services such as childcare, cooking, and housekeeping. This legislation establishes workplace protections for primarily domestic workers who live in the home they serve, and classifies violations as unlawful employment practices. The protections for domestic workers in SB 552 include overtime pay, periods of rest, paid vacation time, and freedom from harassment.

    SB 641 - Smartphone Data Privacy: Data stored on a smartphone or other portable electronic device can paint a near complete picture of even the most intimate and personal details of someone’s life. To ensure that law enforcement only access this data appropriately, this legislation requires a warrant or consent to copy data from a portable electronic device and allows information obtained without a warrant or consent to be excluded from use in court.

    SB 759 - Helping Victims of Campus Sexual Assault: In response to pressing concerns about how sexual assaults cases are handled on college campuses, we passed this legislation to require higher education institutions in Oregon to adopt and make public a written protocol for responding to a sexual assault involving a student, faculty, or staff member. The protocol must include information on victims' rights and resources on- and off-campus. In addition, a law that has already taken effect — HB 3476 — ensures that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking can seek support services without compromising their privacy. Under HB 3476, information shared with a certified advocate will be privileged communication, kept confidential unless a victim consents to disclosure. Together, both bills will help ensure that victims are informed, supported, and respected, especially on college campuses.

House Bills
    HB 2007 - Equal Pay for Equal Work: This legislation protects workers by prohibiting retaliation against employees who discuss wages among themselves. Prior to passage, workers in Oregon could face consequences for sharing their wage or salary rate with their coworkers, or for voicing their right to a fair wage. Threat of retaliation has been cited as an impediment to progress on equal pay for equal work for Oregon women.
    HB 2225 & HB 2226 - Holding Criminal Elder Abusers Accountable: This legislation ensures that people who take advantage of or steal from elderly individuals are held accountable. HB 2225 provides greater flexibility for investigation of financial crimes against seniors by broadening the jurisdiction of a search warrant issued for this purpose. HB 2226 ensures that a person who steals from a senior citizen does not avoid paying restitution simply because the person they stole from has died.

    HB 2317 - Doubling the Statute of Limitations on Rape: Oregon's six-year statute of limitations on rape and other certain sex crimes was one of the shortest in the country. HB 2317 doubles the statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes, including rape, to 12 years. Under current state law, there is no statute of limitations when DNA evidence is present.

    HB 2645 - Supporting Veterans in Higher Education: This legislation requires Oregon's public universities — and allows community colleges — to give eligible service members and their dependents enrollment priority over other students. Many eligible veterans receive Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits which help cover the cost of tuition for 36 months and provide a housing stipend for enrolled students. HB 2645 will help ensure that veterans can get the most from the benefits available to them by increasing opportunities to participate in higher education.
    HB 3025 - Bans Consideration of Criminal History before Job Interview: This "ban the box" legislation will help Oregonians with prior arrests or convictions seek gainful employment. The bill creates an unlawful employment practice that bans employers from excluding consideration of a job applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. The bill does not prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s criminal history in making their hiring decisions.
    HB 3343 - Improving Access to Birth Control: This legislation makes Oregon the first state in the nation to ensure that women can access a full 12-month supply of birth control, by requiring insurance companies to cover the cost up front rather than across multiple trips to the pharmacy. In addition, HB 2879 will allow women to obtain birth control directly from pharmacists without a doctor's visit. Together, these bills will improve women's access to birth control, help support consistent birth control use, and drive down unintended pregnancies in Oregon.
    HB 3524 - Boosting the Supply of Affordable Housing: This legislation requires the state of Oregon to give nonprofit organizations the first right of refusal to develop affordable housing on property that the state no longer needs. This measure will help address an ongoing shortage of buildable land for affordable housing.

2015 Session Accomplishments: Jobs, Economy & Workforce

    In this month's e-bulletin, I'm providing in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2015 session that related to jobs, Oregon's economy and workforce development — by Senate/House bill and in numerical order — that weren't included in the above list of new laws effective January 1:

Senate Bills

    SB 491 - Equal Pay Training for State Contractors: This legislation requires large state contractors to complete training on equal pay laws and protects contractor employees who discuss their wages from retaliation by their employers. The bill requires vendors bidding on state contracts over $500,000 and who have 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to submit certification of training on pay equity with their project bids.

    SB 611 - Central Assessment: Because of the Northwest's access to affordable land and electricity, rural Oregon has become an attractive location for data centers in the last decade. However, questions about how data centers should be assessed for property taxes and subsequent court cases have created complications and uncertainty for businesses looking to establish data centers in Oregon. This legislation clarifies that companies investing in data centers in Oregon will not be assessed on their total global value. The change will give large businesses, like Amazon and Google, the certainty they need to maintain their investments and start new construction of data centers in Oregon while guaranteeing a steady flow of revenue for local governments.

    SB 686 - Work Experience for Out-of-School Youth: This legislation helps kids who have dropped out by allowing alternative high schools to qualify for federal money that provides training and work experience for their students.

    SB 860 - College to Career Transition: For students transitioning from college into their careers, advice and assistance — from career advising services, to alumni mentorship — can be an important factor that supports career success. Senate Bill 860 directs the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to select one large and one small public university in Oregon to participate in a funded pilot program to coordinate opportunities for student career advising and mentorship. By January 1, 2016, HECC will begin supporting staff at these two chosen universities, and will give progress reports on these projects by 2017.

House Bills

    HB 2015 - Improving Employment Related Day Care: This legislation will significantly improve eligibility, accessibility, and quality of childcare assistance in Oregon. The bill revises the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, providing one continuous year of eligibility, granting eligibility to working students and the self-employed, and providing reduced copays and incentives for providers who meet certain quality standards. Expanded eligibility and an investment of nearly $17 million in the ERDC program under HB 2015 will shrink the current wait list by nearly one third, covering hundreds of additional eligible families.

    HB 2280 - Supporting Oregon-Grown Businesses: The Oregon Growth Board was established in 2011 to focus on increasing the state's ability to grow companies from early stages to large, locally headquartered firms. This legislation makes changes to the composition of the board to make it easier for the board to operate efficiently. The Legislature also increased staff capacity for the Oregon Growth Board in the 2015-2017 budget.

    HB 2410 - Training Certificates Awarded by Community Colleges: This legislation allows community colleges to award noncredit training certificates to working students—something that four-year universities are currently allowed to do. Employers often turn to community colleges for the training that they require their employees to have, and the noncredit divisions of community colleges are well-positioned to quickly meet the training needs of industry in their local communities. Noncredit training certificates (vs. "recognition awards" or other credentials community colleges are currently permitted to grant) will give current and future employees the documentation to prove skill attainment, making them more marketable and giving industry the kind of benchmarks they need to determine employee suitability.

    HB 2643 - Simplifying Economic Development through Enterprise Zones: Enterprise zones are an economic development tool used by local governments to exempt qualifying businesses from local property taxes on new investments. This legislation streamlines the process for establishing an enterprise zone and removes the limit on how many may be set up in Oregon at once. It allows cities and counties greater flexibility and less paperwork to use this proven economic development tool. The Oregon Business Development Department still must approve creation of new enterprise zones.

    HB 2728 - Connecting Skilled Workers with Business Needs: This legislation creates the Oregon Talent Council to gather data about skill and occupation needs across Oregon businesses; make recommendations to guide workforce investments; and invest in strategies to close key gaps in Oregon's workforce. Highly skilled workers are needed across every industry sector, and in every part of the state.

    HB 2764 - Helping Injured Workers: In many parts of Oregon’s complex workers' compensation process, an injured worker may not be allowed to hire a lawyer or pay the lawyer for their service. This has led to workers not having the help they need to navigate the system, and a shortage of attorneys with the expertise to work in this area. This legislation expands the services for which an injured worker can hire an attorney and increases caps on fees that these attorneys can charge for some services.

    HB 2734 & HB 5030 - Cleaning up Polluted Sites for Business Development: HB 2734 gives local governments the ability to create land bank authorities, an innovative tool to clean up brownfields — former industrial or commercial sites where development is hindered by real or perceived environmental contamination. Left untouched, these properties pose threats to human health and the environment while also undermining economic development and failing to contribute to the local and state economies. HB 5030 allocates $7 million for these efforts to help cities and  counties make better use of their land.

    HB 2960 - Retirement Security for Oregon Workers: This legislation creates the Oregon Retirement Savings Board, which will create a program to ensure every Oregonian has access to a portable retirement savings account starting in summer 2017. Crafted in response to the nation’s looming retirement crisis, this simple savings tool will help Oregonians save for their future.

    HB 3072 & HB 5016 - Expanding STEM Education: To prepare students for apprenticeships, community college, and family-wage  jobs, this legislation more than doubles the previous investment in Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM) to $35 million. The investment will fund teacher training and mentorships, grants to schools to expand CTE programs, and grants to help ensure school programs connect to industry-recognized credentials.

    SB 5525 - Supporting Oregon Businesses: This legislation invests in programs to support Oregon-grown businesses, including support for successful manufacturing partnerships, small business assistance, innovation and industry competitiveness programs, and promotion of Oregon products in international markets. This budget includes $1 million for the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (Oregon RAIN), $750,000 to supplement funding for the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and $200,000 to support the Grow Oregon economic gardening pilot project.

December Revenue Forecast

    According to the December 2015 revenue and economic forecast, projected revenues for the 2015-17 biennium are up $56.3 million since the September forecast. The revenue outlook for the 2015-17 biennium is largely unchanged, with total General Fund and Lottery resources at $8.3 million more than projected at the close of the 2015 legislative session.

    General Fund revenues for the 2015-17 biennium are expected to remain at just over $18 billion, up $29 million from the September 2015 forecast. In total, the forecasted revenues represent an increase of $1.9 billion (11.9 percent) relative to the 2013-15 biennium General Fund.
    Oregon's economy continues to make significant gains with strong, sustained growth in jobs, wages, and income. The state's current job growth is strong enough to keep pace with an influx of new workers in the state's labor pool, and contributes to higher-than-average wage gains for Oregonians relative to workers in other states.
    Population growth and migration underscore Oregon's economic health, as an influx of new job seekers enter Oregon’s communities. Though our state's unemployment is higher than the national average, much of this is attributable to increased population and a quickly closing gap between available jobs and underlying population growth. Oregon is gaining approximately 4,000 jobs per month — double what is needed to keep up with population growth.
    Recovery and job growth in rural Oregon continues to improve. Though some disparity persists between rural and urban Oregon economies, every rural region of the state is adding jobs at around an average 2 percent rate year-over-year, and nearly every rural county in Oregon is experiencing real population growth.
    Oregon's unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in October, well below the 6.8 percent unemployment rate a year earlier in October 2014. This number has climbed slightly since early 2015, due in large part to recent population growth across the state driving an increase of job seekers. However, the total number of jobs in Oregon has never been higher, and today's pace of job gains (approximately 4,000 per month) is more than adequate to compensate for population growth. Should the current forecast bear out, at this time in 2016, employment in Oregon will have fully caught up to population gains.
    Despite these encouraging trends, certain potential risk factors may affect Oregon's sustained economic recovery. Manufacturing employment — though currently strong — is expected to slow with a weak global economy, strong U.S. dollar, and waning manufacturing cycle. This projected weakness in manufacturing may be offset in Oregon by strong growth in other sectors, including service and high-tech. A potential softening in the stock market could affect capital gains revenues, a volatile though significant portion of the state budget.
    Additional information can be found at the following links:

  • Office of Economic Analysis forecast documents:

  • Office of Economic Analysis summary blog post:

Charities to Avoid this Giving Season

    In 2013, Oregon's Legislature passed a law giving its Attorney General new tools to prevent nonprofit abuse to better protect charitable donors. Thanks to the new law, 13 charities that spend the majority of their donations on administrative costs no longer solicit in Oregon and three improved their performance. Three questionable out-of-state charities, however, did not stop soliciting in Oregon, and are still on the Attorney General's "worst charities" list. Beware: Oregonians who donate to these three organizations will not receive an Oregon tax deduction for their donation:

  • Dakota Indian Foundation, Inc. (South Dakota)
  • Firefighters Support Foundation, Inc. (Massachusetts)
  • National Veterans Services Fund, Inc. (Connecticut)

    One other charity, Car Donation Foundation, has a pending status.

    The following are some tips from the Attorney General to follow before you donate:

  • Research. Did you search the Oregon Department of Justice's new online tool to make sure the nonprofit is registered and to review copies of its financial reports? You can also check Charity Navigator and other sites to learn more about an organization.

  • Review. Some charities will sell your name. Make sure you ask the charity if they plan to sell your name, and always read the fine print.

  • Understand. Interested in a crowdfunding campaign? Donations made through sites like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe may not be tax-deductible. And unlike public charities, crowdfunding is not regulated or subject to financial reporting and disclosure requirements. There is no guarantee your donation will be spent appropriately.

  • Initiate. Seek out the organizations that you want to support. Beware of solicitations that look like an invoice or mail from an unfamiliar organization that thanks you for your previous support and asks you to give more. It might be a scam.

  • Report. If you suspect fraud this holiday season, call the Oregon Department of Justice at 971-673-1880 or file a complaint online at

Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your User Profile Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact