Legislature: Water Bill, Wolf Bill & Farm Tax Credit

Legislative Update: Water Bill, Wolf Bill & Farm Tax Credit
By Oregon Farm Bureau

Water is for fighting……..Oregon Farm Bureau entered the February session with one mission: to promote policies that directly relate to economic growth in the natural resources sector. We are disappointed with inability to agree on policies to increase water supplies for agriculture and economic development.

While water is a limited resource, it’s use can be extended by efficiency improvements and application of innovative technologies to capture, store, and distribute water, based on need and timing (winter capture, summer distribute). This balanced approach is what HB 4101 intended to implement.

The Water Bill (HB 4101) remains the only major pro-natural resources bill still in play this session. However, its language and merits continue to be debated and negotiated in the Capitol. Farm Bureau and others are advocating for a minimum of 100,000 acre-feet of new stored water for agriculture, a review of policies affecting new appropriations from the Columbia River including a comparison with Washington’s water policies and programs and the creation of a water development fund.

Farmworker Housing Tax Credit – HB 4038

Oregon Farm Bureau appreciates the work and attention Representatives Jules Bailey and Vic Gilliam gave to extending the Oregon farmworker housing tax credit this session. Having passed Energy, Environment and Water, the bill in now stalled in House Revenue. Unfortunately at this late date the bill is unlikely to make it to the Senate and on to the Governor’s desk.

It’s more important than ever to advocate for the extension of this important tax credit. Even if we aren’t successful this session, a wave of emails now will help make this a top priority for next session, and might be a tipping point for passage of the bill now.

Update on Wolves

This week, HB 4158 (allowed ODFW to continue implementing the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan by taking wolves killing livestock) seems to have died in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee.

However on a positive note, HB 4005 (wolf depredation tax credit) is confirmed to be part of the end of session budget agreement. This afternoon, it is expected to pass out of the Ways & Means Natural Resources Sub-Committee.

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