Families & Housing, Rev Forecast, Oakridge Helicopter Work, & 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
Email: sen.floydprozanski@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/prozanski
e-Bulletin                     December 2017

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

Dear friends,

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. As we move into the holiday season, I want to provide a final e-newsletter for the year.

    From November 13-15, the Legislature held its second set of "legislative days" for the 2017 interim. The Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, and the House Judiciary Committee met jointly for updates on various topics, including implementation of the new distracted driving law (HB 2597). The Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources, of which I'm a member, received a debrief on the 2017 fire season from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. The Senate Committee on General Government & Accountability, of which I'm also a member, met to receive an update on interoperable emergency communications. (Ensuring that first responders can communicate with each other even though they have different communication equipment.) Audio recordings of these and other committee and task force meetings held during legislative days can be found, here.

    The Senate and House will meet for one more set of legislative days from January 10-12 before the 2018 "short session" —  a maximum of 35 days —  kicks off on February 1.

    Below you will find information on:

        - December Revenue Forecast
        - 2017 Session Accomplishments: Working Families & Housing
        - Helicopter Thinning Work Resumes near Oakridge
        - Giving Thanks: Cultural Trust Impact in Senate District 4

    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 holiday season; remember to check ODOT's TripCheck.com for road conditions and traffic information.

                                                                   Sen. Prozanski signature

                             The Capitol Tree in Salem
                                                The Capitol tree in Salem

December Revenue Forecast

    The December 2017 state revenue forecast was released on November 29 during a joint meeting of the Senate and House Revenue Committees. Below is a summary of that forecast assembled by the Senate Majority Office.

economy continues to grow. It's bigger than it's ever been, and it's still expanding. Oregon continues to be a great place for growing small businesses. These gains aren't confined to metro areas; in fact, the Portland area has been slowing. Rural Oregon's economy is growing, with the Southwestern corner of the state competing well in job creation.

Revenue Outlook

    The projected 2017-19 Net General Fund resources are up $36.6 million (0.2%) from the September 2017 forecast. Projected lottery sources are also up for 2017-19 by an estimated $10.8 million (0.8%). The total increase is expected to be $47.4 million (0.2%).

    Both personal and corporate income tax receipts for the third quarter came in below forecast. Third Quarter personal income tax collections came in $35.7 million (-1.7%) below forecast. Corporate income taxes collected in this quarter were $5.3 million (-3.4%) below forecast. Despite the lowered rate in collected personal and corporate taxes, the projected increase for the General Fund is made up for in an upward expectation for estate and lottery taxes.

Economic Outlook

    Employment in Oregon is up slightly from the September 2017 forecast. Employment increased by 14,435 jobs in the third quarter, 2,943 (0.2%) more than originally forecast. Job creation continues in service and tech sectors with historically low unemployment continuing despite frictional unemployment from in-migration. As Oregon reaches near full employment, skilled worker shortages may be a factor in future biennia. Furthermore, ongoing retirement of baby-boomers will leave vacancies in high-skilled positions that are not easily filled by young workers entering the workforce.

Forecast Risks

    The proposed federal tax reform would have a significant effect on Oregonians. Namely, it would remove the state and local tax deduction currently available. Changes in federal policy will require ongoing attention. It is also advisable to keep an eye on upcoming and/or potential initiatives, referendums, and referrals. Voters can make broad legislative changes via such measures that can significantly alter the state's revenue landscape.

Other Notable Items

    The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis is studying both short- and long-term implications of increased wildfire activity. In the short-term, it is expected that wildfire season may disrupt small business cash flows and transportation access. It will affect employment in response fields. In the long-term it may negatively impact timberland and recreational areas. It may also impact distribution of business and population growth.

        Marijuana sales are still in a period of acceleration. The first year of sales exceeded expectations, based on Washington and Colorado's market rollout. As the industry matures, recreational sales are expected to increase revenue by $150 million for the 2017-19 biennium.

    Finally, the legislative community said goodbye to a legendary Capitol fixture last week. Dr. Paul Warner served as State Economist from 1989 to 1999 and was appointed Legislative Revenue Officer in January 1999. Paul gave his 105th Revenue Forecast last Wednesday, the final day before his retirement.

    Additional economic forecast information is available at: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017I1/Committees/SFR/2017-11-29-08-30/MeetingMaterials.

2017 Legislative Accomplishments: Working Families & Housing

    Continuing my in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2017 session by subject area, here is a comprehensive listing of accomplishments related to working families and housing — by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 117 - Cracking Down on Predatory Towing: This legislation cracks down on predatory towers who patrol parking lots, look for cars to tow, and then stick the owners with outrageous bills. SB 117 adds towing provisions that are enforceable as unlawful trade practices. Before a vehicle can be towed, it required that there is a sign in plain view, indicating the parking area is restricted or prohibited. The tower must also have a signed consent from the property owner or a representative for the property from which the vehicle is to be towed.

    SB 277 - Protecting Tenants of Manufactured Dwellings & Floating Homes: This legislation increases the notice period for termination of a rental agreement for a manufactured dwelling or floating home from 30 to 60 days. Landlords must indicate the cause for termination and list specific repairs that would enable the tenant to cure the violation and continue the rental agreement.

    SB 310 - Vertical Housing: Oregon's Vertical Housing program encourages development of mixed-use properties by offering partial property tax breaks for constructing vertical housing in previously non-residential areas. This legislation transitions the Vertical Housing designation to local cities and counties instead of the Oregon Housing & Community Services Department. Cities and counties must consider the impacts of possible displacement before approving a vertical housing area.

    SB 398 - Notice of Earned Income Tax Credit: This legislation directs the Bureau of Labor & Industry to require employers to notify employees of potential eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credits. Employers shall send notice annually with employee's federal tax forms.

    SB 416 - Prevailing Wage Projects: Under this legislation, public and private entities are prohibited from dividing public works projects to circumvent prevailing wage rate laws, regardless of the entity's intent in dividing the project. SB 416 enables BOLI to require certain exempt entities to follow prevailing wage rate laws if the entity is not paying its employees a prevailing wage.

    SB 821 - Emergency Housing Funds: This legislation works to align federal strategies and resources available to prevent homelessness by directing funding from the Emergency Housing Account. The account was created to assist homeless persons and other individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless, including the elderly and persons with disabilities.

    SB 828 - Fair Work Week and Schedules for Employees: This legislation sets up scheduling requirements for employers with 500 or more employees worldwide in the retail, hospitality or food service industries. Employees have a right to rest for 10 hours between shifts and must receive their work schedules at least seven days in advance. In 2020, the requirement changes to 14 days' advance notice. Employers may not require employees to come to work outside of these schedules, but may maintain a standby list of willing employees for short-notice work.

    SB 1040 - Protecting Union Security Agreements: This legislation provides that private sector labor organizations and employers statewide may enter into union security agreements to the full extent allowed by federal law. SB 1040 closes a loophole that prevents local jurisdictions from passing so-called "Right to Work" ordinances.

    SB 1051 - Affordable Housing Supply: This legislation requires that affordable housing development applications be acted upon within 100 days and prevents an application from being denied if the proposed development complies with the county's clear and objective development standards, local land use regulations and comprehensive plan. Under SB 1051, counties may not outlaw accessory dwelling units on single-family zoned land, but they may regulate them. Places of worship are permitted to develop housing on-property if 50 percent of the units are affordable and the development is consistent with existing zoning rules.

House Bills

    HB 2002 - Preservation of Public Housing Supply: Property owners participating in federal housing programs are required to provide notice of an expiring U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development contract to OHCS one year in advance. This legislation increases the notice requirement to two years and permits OHCS and local governments to require tenant relocation fees. The bill mandates that if two years' notice is not given, affordability restrictions on the property will be extended. HB 2002 requires that a participating property owner give OHCS and the local government an opportunity to purchase the property 13 months prior to withdrawing from the housing program.

    HB 2005 - Equal Pay Act of 2017: This legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age. Employers may not pay protected workers differently for comparable work unless the pay difference is based on a seniority or merit system, education, training, experience or factors specific to the job, such as workplace location and travel. To disrupt long-standing patterns of unequal pay, employers are prohibited from seeking the salary history of a prospective employee. Employers who have done an equal-pay analysis to determine if there are any inequalities, and who have corrected compensation based on their findings, may be protected against civil actions alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act.

    HB 2113 - Secular Marriage Officiants: This legislation makes Oregon's marriage laws more inclusive by adding secular organizations and officials to the list of those who are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies and sign licenses.

    HB 2511 - Allowing Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: This legislation authorizes residential tenants to install electric vehicle charging stations on their property.

    HB 2912 - Affordable Housing Land Acquisition: This legislation creates the Affordable Housing Land Acquisition Revolving Loan Fund Program to provide loans for the purchase of land that will be used for affordable housing development. Forty percent of the loans must go to organizations operating home ownership programs for low-income households.

    HB 3060 - Enlisting State Contractors in Fight Against Harassment: This legislation prohibits state contracting agencies from hiring contractors that do not have policies and practices for preventing sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination against members of protected classes. Protected classes are defined by race, color or ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status or religion.

    HB 3170 - Collective Bargaining for Supervisory Faculty: Oregon law permits faculty to join collective bargaining units, but does not extend these rights to supervisors. Faculty who supervise research teams shift in and out of eligibility, creating inefficiency and confusion. This legislation permits faculty in supervisory roles to join collective bargaining units as long as they are not in the same unit as those they supervise.

    HB 3279 - Workplace Protections for Janitors: Under this legislation, those who supply janitorial services are considered labor contractors, which are regulated by BOLI. BOLI is responsible for adopting rules and directing training on prevention of harassment, assault and discrimination in the workplace. HB 3279 puts janitors under BOLI's umbrella, providing them with the same protections as other labor contractors.

    HB 3458 - Limitations for Overtime Work: Under this legislation, qualifying employees who earn both weekly and daily calculated overtime are paid at one and one half times pay for the greater of the two overtime amounts. HB 3458 establishes a "soft cap" for weekly hours of 55 to 60, meaning that employees must be willing to work between 55 and 60 hours in a week. The bill prohibits employees from working more than 60 hours per week and establishes a right-to-rest period of 10 hours between eight-hour shifts. Employers qualify for an undue hardship period exemption if the employer processes perishable foods. Under the exemption, the employer may permit employees to work up to 84 hours per week for four weeks and up to 80 hours per week for the remainder of the undue hardship period. The exemption lasts for up to 21 weeks per year.

Giving Thanks: Cultural Trust Impact in Senate District 4

    The Oregon Cultural Trust (OCT) works to enhance the lives of all Oregonians, including those in rural communities. This year, generous spring donors lifted OCT fundraising to a new high, resulting in a record $2.94 million in grants to 136 cultural nonprofits for fiscal year 2017-18.
    The awards include a total of $735,887 to the Cultural Trust's five Statewide Partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); $735,887 to 45 county and tribal cultural coalitions for re-granting in their communities; and $1,471,774 in competitive Cultural Development Grants to 86 cultural organizations across the state.
    In Senate District 4, I'm proud to share that OTC awarded 2017-18 grants to:

        - Creswell Heritage Foundation ($5,000)
        - Lane County Historical Society ($7,358)
        - Douglas County Cultural Coalition ($18,212)
        - Lane County Cultural Coalition ($46,885)
        - Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians ($6,489)
    OCT envisions an Oregon that champions and invests in creative expression and cultural exchange, driving innovation and opportunity for all. It aims to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities.

Helicopter Thinning Work Resumes Near Oakridge
(Information from the U.S. Forest Service)

    In continuation of the Oakridge/Westfir Fuels and Reduction Project aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires, about 450 acres of forest are planned for thinning by helicopter this winter. Thinning timber stands and opening up the spacing between trees will increase the ability of firefighters to successfully suppress future wildfires in the area.
    On weekdays, the helicopter will be working nearer to Dead Mountain then moving back to finish High Thin, which is closer to private lands, on the weekends (but still further away than last year.) The Forest Service expects a second helicopter to begin working soon up near Camp Six.

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