Legislative Update: June 21, 2019
There are only a handful of major business issues left in the 2019 session. There is anticipation that the legislature is on track for adjournment by mid-next week. The legislature must adjourn by June 30th.
Here are the key issues still left in the 2019 session.
  • Cap – And – Trade (HB 2020)

This bill is being estimated as a $1.3 billion tax that will increase costs directly on local manufacturers and on everyday Oregonians using natural gas. Additionally, it will cause a 21 cent per gallon increase in gasoline prices by 2021. By 2050, gasoline prices could rise as much as $3. It would also create a 54-employee bureaucracy that would be required to implement the bill, costing about $23 million in the coming two-year budget cycle, with potentially significant increases in the future. Business groups are supporting another set of amendments that will allow cap-and-trade system to move forward but will mitigate the extreme cost impacts and allow Oregon companies to remain competitive. These are known as the -117 amendments. The Senate Republicans as of today are boycotting the vote on Cap and Trade by staging a walk-out. OSP was called to locate and return the Senators to the capitol.

  • Paid Family Leave (HB 2005)
Paid family and medical leave have dominated the workforce conversation this session and is now becoming more of a reality. The bill is now being supported by a host of business organizations. It is modeled loosely on Washington state’s paid family leave law and includes:
–       12-weeks paid family and medical leave annually
–       All employees are eligible after they’ve earned $1,000
–       State-run insurance program, administered by a TPA, and funded through payroll tax contributions
–       Premium collection begins in 2022
–       Employees can begin to take leave in 2023
–       Maximum payroll tax of up to 1%:
– 60% employee paid
– 40% employer paid
–       Employers with 25 or fewer employees are not required to pay the premiums
–       All employees are required to pay regardless of business size
There is a widespread feeling that HB 2005, if passed, will only grow more costly as leave rights are expanded over time and current cost constraints prove ineffective.
  • Business Tax implementation (HB 2164)
This is a bill to be aware of, because it could produce significant tweaks to the just-passed Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427). Several proposed amendments to the bill have already produced eye-popping changes like exemptions for major corporate investments and lowering the threshold for applying the tax.
  • Diesel Engine Regulations (HB 2007)
Negotiations are still ongoing for this on-road diesel engine retrofit and replacement bill. If new amendments get traction, this bill is likely to move next week. The current version of the bill includes:
–       Phases out 2007 and older on-road diesel engines by 2029
–       Limits the phase-out and diesel retrofit requirement for on-road diesel engines to the tri-county (Metro) area
–       Exempts:
– F-Plates, farm tractors, and implements of husbandry
– Log Trucks
– Low use of 5,000 miles or fewer in a year.
– Motor homes
The session is quickly coming to a close. We will update you with information on these or any other bills as they become available.