Capitol Review: 2011 Property Rights Bill

Watch Out For These Issues In The 2011 Legislature
By Oregonians In Action

As many of you know, the Oregon legislature will meet again starting in January, 2011. Oregon property owners need to keep a very close eye on Salem, as efforts will be made to pass new laws that both help and hurt property owners and your right to use your land.

Given the very close split between the parties in the Oregon legislature (see the View From Sherwood in this edition), along with a new governor, there is a completely different feel to the upcoming legislature. Bills that would have received serious attention in the last legislative session will not see the light of day in this session, and legislators from both parties will be forced to cooperate with each other in order to accomplish anything.

The change in the legislative makeup should spell the end for bills that would make drastic changes in Oregon property or land use laws. In the last few sessions, Oregonians In Action lobbyists have had to work overtime to defeat laws that would destroy the rights of rural Oregon property owners, with the outcome of those bills being in serious doubt on many occasions.

For example, since 2005, bills have been introduced each session that would make it virtually impossible for Oregon property owners to make new groundwater uses on their property. From bills that required property owners to install meters on their wells to bills that required a water rights permit before drilling a new or replacement domestic well, rural Oregon property owners have been under attack by legislators from Portland.

As a result of the change in legislative makeup, these types of bills should be much more difficult to pass. That should be a relief for Oregon property owners.

At the same time, bills that enjoyed broad, bipartisan support in recent legislative sessions should continue to receive support in the upcoming legislative session. For example, in the 2009 legislative session, OIA lobbyists were instrumental in the passage of House Bill 2229 (for an update on the implementation of HB 2229, see Dave Hunnicutt’s article in this edition) and SB 794, which made significant improvements to Oregon’s condemnation statutes.

These bills received broad bipartisan support in both chambers, and were the result of cooperative efforts between OIA and other associations to forge agreements on issues that were contentious and complex. In the end, agreements were reached, and improvements to current law were made.

It is these types of bills that are likely to receive consideration in the upcoming legislative session.

Oregonians In Action will have bills drafted for consideration in the upcoming session, and are hopeful of passage of at least some of them. In the meantime, Oregon property owners are urged to keep track of the legislature as bills make their way through the process. One good way to do so is by getting on OIA’s blast email list, which reaches nearly 50,000 households across the state. As bills are introduced and start to move through the legislature, OIA lobbyists will send blast emails to the list informing property owners of the bills, what they do, and what you can do to help pass or defeat the bill.

By using blast emails, the information is up to date, giving property owners the ability to act quickly to help out. Legislators respond to public outcry, so getting emails and responding may mean the difference between passage or defeat of a particular bill.

If you’d like to get on OIA’s blast email list, please email us ([email protected]) and ask to be placed on the list.

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