Status of agriculture tax & labor bills


By Oregon Farm Bureau

HB 2980 – Farm Labor Housing Tax Credit. This bill will extend the current tax credit program that allows on-farm and community housing projects to receive a tax credit. This bill was included in the Co-chairs’ budget and should not have any difficulty in passing. It is currently in the Joint Tax Credits Committee where we believe all of the tax credits will be put into new single bill. We do not foresee any issues with this passing.

SB 678 – LLC liability fix (Cortez case). This bill addresses a liability issue that was created due to a recent Oregon Court of Appeals decision in the Cortez case. The result of that ruling opened liability up to the members of an LLC. This is a big issue to not only Farm Bureau members but to all LLC’s. OFB was happy to see SB 678 pass out of the House Committee on Business and Labor May 22 and now heads to the Floor of the House for final consideration.

SB 573 – Lien on employer property. SB 573 would have placed a lien on an employer’s real and personal property when a wage claim had been filed by an employee. OFB had many concerns, including a lack of due process, placing farmers property in jeopardy, and the fact that this would not fix the problem this bill aims to address. This bill died in committee.

HB 2950 – Mandatory bereavement leave. This bill makes it mandatory that employers give two weeks unpaid leave to employees to attend a funeral, make arrangements, grieve, receive counseling when a family member has died. This, of course, can have serious implications on farming activities especially during harvest. OFB testified in opposition to this bill, however, it passed out of the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation May 21 and now heads to the floor of the Senate for final consideration.

HB 3436 – Creates Oregon Retirement Savings Investment Board. This bill would create a board to issue a report to the legislature on how to establish a savings account for private sector employees that would be ran by the State Treasurer. Even though this creates a board to report on how to implement a state run retirement account, OFB believes government competition into the private marketplace creates problems and it would also create an accounting nightmare for farmers who would be required to keep track of their seasonal employees retirement accounts. This bill is in the W&M subcommitte on General government and OFB will continue to monitor this bill.

HB 3142 – Changes the definitions of employee & employer. This bill would essentially allow an additional private right of action (lawsuit) to employees “who performs services that are an integral part of the business.” The bill would allow an employee to be sued for executing duties of the business, such as human resource functions, when an employee files a wage claim against the business entity. OFB had many concerns with this bill. This bill did make it to the House floor, but was re-referred to the Rules Committee where it should remain for the rest of session.

HB 3307 – Meal and rest period requirements. HB 3307 would have created a new private right of action for wage claims stemming from an employer who failed to provide required meal and rest periods. Currently, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) requires such rest and meal periods, but this bill would have added another private right of action for failing to provide the rest periods. The bill also called for an additional 90 minutes of wages to be paid per day/per employee for each day an employer is in violation. OFB did not support this legislation. This bill did make it to the House floor, but was re-referred to the Rules Committee where it should remain for the rest of session.

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