First Day of Session, New Laws, Wildfire Risk Grants & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     January 2023

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Dear friends,

    With 2022 in the rear-view mirror, many of us are taking a moment to reflect on the previous year's accomplishments and to consider the challenges and opportunities ahead. The same is true in the Legislature. I find myself reflecting on our achievements and missed opportunities during 2022's "short" legislative session, and looking forward to the 2023 regular session. Legislative Organizational Days began today, and it was my honor to be sworn in as the state Senator of District 4. Committee memberships have been announced and bills will be introduced over coming days. The Legislative Assembly will formally convene Tuesday, January 17.

    During the 2023 session, I will continue to serve as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I'll also continue to serve on the Senate Natural Resources & Wildfire Recovery, and as a new member of the Senate Human Services Committee. This morning, I was elected by the Senate to continue serving as a co-chair of the Senate Conduct Committee and co-chair of the Joint Conduct Committee. While my assignments mean a busy schedule, I look forward to engaging with constituents about their views on topics that come before these committees.

    I'll also be working with colleagues on other challenging issues facing our state, including implementation of Ballot Measure 114 passed by voters last November, public safety, Oregon's ongoing public defense service crisis, homelessness, and the fentanyl epidemic.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will also be working to implement the recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling calling for new trials for all defendants who were convicted of a criminal charge by juries that did not come to a unanimous verdict. The ruling came about after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ramos v. Louisiana that guilty verdicts for criminal trials must be unanimous. Oregon historically has not require unanimous juries, and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in Watkins v. Ackley that the U.S. unanimous jury standard must be applied retroactively to all cases in Oregon, including those where defendants were convicted and had exhausted all of their direct appeals and post-conviction relief.

Although the calendar has transitioned to a new year, COVID-19 and other viruses continue to impact us, our friends, family and neighbors. With a new COVID variant spreading more easily than previous strains, it's important to remember that vaccine boosters still help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and deaths. Beyond that, our best defenses against this variety of viruses (including flu and RSV) remain masking in enclosed areas, social distancing when possible, testing, staying home if we're not feeling well, and washing hands frequently.

    Click here to listen to my final on-air conversation (12/21/22) with Kyle Bailey on KQEN's "Inside Douglas County" as state senator representing North and Eastern Douglas County as well as Southern and Eastern Lane County.

    Below you will find information on:

- New Year, New Laws
        - Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant
        - Affordable Connectivity Program: Eligibility and How to Apply
        - Local Awardees of SUDC Drinking Water Grant Program

    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. Happy New Year!

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

New Year, New Laws

    While many bills passed during the 2022 Legislative Session took effect earlier (please refer to my 2022 e-bulletins), some important new laws became effective on January 1. The following is a listing of new laws — in priority order as assembled by the Senate Majority Office — that went into effect at the start of 2023:

    HB 4002 - Farm Worker Overtime: Both state and federal laws provide a maximum hour requirement of 40 hours per week and require employers pay one-and-one-half times the regular rate for all hours worked over 40 hours. However, agricultural workers were exempt from both the state and federal maximum hour requirement laws and therefore were not entitled to overtime pay. This inequity was accentuated by the intense manual labor, extreme heat, and chemical exposure that farmworkers often face. This legislation remedies this inequity by phasing in overtime limits over several years, starting at 55 hours in 2023 and reaching 40 by 2027. Farmworkers will be entitled to one -and-one-half times pay for each hour beyond these limits. HB 4002 also allocates $55 million in tax credits and $10 million in grants or loans to help farm owners make this transition.

    HB 4103 - Protecting Home Buyers from Realtors Working without License: Buying and Selling a home is a significant process in someone's life. This legislation ensures that only licensed realtors work in Oregon by increasing fines for those practicing real estate without a license.

    HB 4075 - Access to Restitution for Crime Victims: Access to restitution is important in the process for crime victims to move forward. This legislation streamlines the court process for obtaining an award of restitution and elevates payments to a higher obligation, so crime victims have priority in the distribution of payments made by the offender.

    HB 4105 - Photo Radar Review by Administrative Agents: 
The Legislature passed HB 2621 in 2015, authorizing the City of Portland to implement a fixed photo radar pilot program that created 24-hour monitoring of specific traffic locations. In 2017, the Legislative Assembly extended the authority to issue citations for speed limit violations caught on camera to other cities (HB 2409). HB 2530 passed in 2021, repealing the sunset on the pilot program that had proven successful in reducing speeding in the targeted locations. Under these previous laws, only police officers could review the radar photos and issue subsequent citations. This legislation extends this authority to administrative agents. The goal of this change is to free up police officers to focus on responding to more immediate threats.

    SB 1574 - Ensuring Proper Medical Forensic Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault: Survivors of sexual assault seek care from Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and Sexual Assault Examiners in hospitals across Oregon. It is often assumed that the evidence collected in hospital exams is included in a SAFE Kit, but sometimes it does not get included. This legislation ensures that the Medical Forensic Examination Forms are included in the SAFE Kit prior to transferring it to law enforcement.

    HB 4138 - Injured Worker Parity Bill:
 Often, injured workers must rely on worker's compensation benefits to replace their wages while unable to work. Once that worker reaches maximum improvement, the worker's compensation benefits end. At the same time, workers often find that their maximum improvement has been determined earlier than the doctor's final ruling, and they are faced with overpayments by the insurance company that paid out these benefits. This legislation provides worker protection by creating restrictions and extending time periods for backdated maximum improvements.

    SB 1586 - Protections from Inappropriate Nondisclosure Agreements:
 The Legislature passed the Workplace Fairness Act (WFA) in 2019. Under WFA, a private employer must adopt a written policy outlining procedures and practices for reducing and preventing discrimination and sexual assault. WFA also prohibits employers from entering into a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) as a condition of employment. It was brought to the attention of the Legislature that a loophole was being exploited that was effectively continuing the use of NDAs in inappropriate situations. This legislation closes this loophole. The law extends the prohibition regarding NDAs to cover former employees of private and public employers and clarifies that the prohibition covers current employees. The measure permits otherwise prohibited NDAs under specified circumstances and declares prohibited NDAs to be void and unenforceable.

    HB 4086 - Workers Compensation Modernization: This legislation 
updates offensive and discriminatory language in Oregon statute and clarifies worker's compensation retaliation protections. This bill also makes it more inclusive of all families and expands who can access death benefits.

    SB 1513 - Protecting Bakery Workers from Forced Overtime: Oregon law generally prohibits an employer from requiring an employee at a mill or factory to work more than 10 hours in a day or 55 hours in a workweek. If the employer processes perishable products, the employer may claim undue hardship. Oregon's predictive scheduling law also requires employers with at least 500 employees worldwide in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries to give employees a written work schedule at least two weeks in advance, however, it exempted manufacturing. This legislation rectifies loopholes that some bakeries were exploiting to force workers to work overtime without notice. The bill prohibits bakery and tortilla manufacturers from taking adverse employment action against an employee who refuses to work a mandatory overtime shift without at least five days’ notice.

SB 1515 - Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefit Year Clarification: In 2019, the legislature passed HB 2005, establishing a Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Program providing employees with paid leave when they have medical issues, a new family member, or need safe leave. The current statutory language makes it difficult to identify a single paid year for workers with multiple employers. This legislation updates statutory language to create a single benefit year across employers.

    HB 4121 - Child Support Referee: This legislation
 creates specialized Child Support Referees and provides the authority, in certain cases, for a child support referee to hear and rule on matters in child support cases.

    HB 4113 - Worker Compensation for Firefighters with Ovarian Cancer: Oregon worker compensation laws establish that certain cancers, including oral and male reproductive cancers, are presumed to be a compensable occupational disease for non-volunteer firefighters who have been on the job for at least five years. This legislation adds bladder and female reproductive cancers to this list. An employer can rebut the presumption by providing clear and convincing medical evidence that cancer was not caused or materially contributed to by the firefighter’s employment.

    SB 1555 - Universal Home Visiting Reimbursement: SB 526 (2019) established the Universal Home Visiting program in Oregon. Home Visit programs have shown positive impacts on reducing incidences of child abuse and neglect, improvement in birth outcomes, improvement in school readiness, and increased high school graduation rates for others who participate. This legislation clarifies the Oregon Health Authorities responsibility to support local newborn home visiting services and provide reimbursement for these services.

    SB 1538 - Dental Care for the Compact of Free Association Communities: This legislation establishes a dental program through the Oregon Health Authority for low-income citizens of Pacific Island countries in the COFA community who reside in Oregon.

    HB 4072 - Fishing License: This legislation lowers the cost of one-day angling fishing license from $32.50 to $23.00 and includes two new steelhead fishing authorizations that will help to implement tracking overall fishery participation, improve reporting of wild steelhead harvest, and generate funds for winter steelhead.

    HB 4124 - Survey and Best Practices for School Assessments: Oregon schools administer a wide range of standardized tests to identify student progress, barriers, and improvements needed. While standardized tests are helpful, we must understand which are the right types of assessments and when is the best time to administer them. This legislation creates a workgroup to administer a survey to gather information about assessments mandated by the state, federal government, and school districts. This survey will capture who provides these tests, how much they cost, the purpose, and what data this information provides back to the schools. In partnership with the Department of Education, this workgroup will develop recommendations and best practices to ensure mandated academic assessments are used effectively.

    HB 4114 - Economic Disclosure Filing for School Board Members: Most Oregon elected officials are required to annually disclose their economic affiliations to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission on a form called the ‘Statement of Economic Interest’ or SEI. Before the passage of HB 4114, local school board members across the state were not required to submit the form. This legislation changes the statute to require school board members to annually complete and submit the SEI to the Ethics Commission.

    HB 4031 - Establishing Diversity Goals for Oregon Schools: To promote equality and representation in our schools, this legislation creates a goal to have the percentage of diverse employees employed by the Department of Education match the percentage of diverse students in our public schools.

    HB 4133 - Online Voter Registration: Since 2010, Oregon has made it easy for citizens with a driver's license to register to vote online. Before the passage of HB 4133, eligible voters who did not possess a driver's license did not have access to this method of online registration. This legislation makes it easier for Oregonians who do not have a driver's license to register to vote online.

    SB 1560 - Removal of Harmful Language in Oregon Statute: This legislation recognizes that language matters and current language in Oregon laws is harmful to our community members. This law will update statutory language for individuals who are not citizens or nationals of the United States by replacing "alien" with "noncitizen."

    HB 4027 - Battery Powered Alarm Security Fences: This legislation creates uniformity in local laws around battery-powered alarm security fences and streamlines the permitting and registration process.

Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant

    The Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is accepting applications for a new grant opportunity to support communities in reducing wildfire risk. The Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program (CWRGP) is a competitive opportunity open to local governments, including special districts, structural fire service agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Eligible applicants can apply for wildfire risk reduction projects, equipment, and staff to support local efforts.

    The projects funded by CWRGP will help to protect people, property, and communities from wildfires through risk reduction programs designed for local communities. These efforts will prepare communities for wildfire impacts and create a more fire adapted Oregon.

    Click here to apply for the Community Wildfire Risk reduction Grant. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on January 31, 2023.  OSFM will be hosting an informational clinic to answer any questions on January 12, 2023, at 2 p.m. While it's not necessary to attend the clinics to be eligible to apply, OSFM encourages applicants to tune in. The calendar invites are attached to this email.

    CWRGP was made possible when the Legislature allocated funding through SB 762 (2021) to support communities in reducing wildfire risk. Please direct any questions about the CWRGP to Grants Manager, Shaun Parkman, at:

Affordable Connectivity Program: Eligibility and How to Apply

    The federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – was passed by Congress and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help eligible households receive a subsidy of up to $30 a month, or up to $75 a month on Tribal Lands, toward internet service. If you're interested in signing up, please review the following information:

You may be qualified for the program if:

  • You, your child or dependent participate in certain government assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, or other programs;
  • You're a member of select Tribal Assistance programs;
  • You, your child or dependent already receive a Lifeline benefit;
  • You received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year; or
  • You're eligible based on your household income.

How to enroll:

  • Apply to qualify, here.
  • After your service has been activated and you have your USAC ID, go online to your providers website to enroll in ACP and have the subsidy applied to your bill. ACP is non-transferrable and limited to one monthly internet discount. It's a federal government benefit program operated by the Federal Communications Commission and, if it ends or when a household is no longer eligible, customers will be subject to the provider's regular rates, terms, and conditions.

Local Awardees of SUDC Drinking Water Grant Program

    Congratulations to Swiss Village, LLC, of Eugene and London Water Co-op of Cottage Grove on being selected for Oregon's 2021 Small Underserved Disadvantaged Communities (SUDC) Drinking Water Grant Program in the amount $110,000 each. The awards will help fund upgrades such as installation of pumps, engineering and geologist services, and more. Congratulations on successful applications!

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