First Week of Session: Go Big or Go Home
By Oregon Farm Bureau
OFB’s New Legislative Outreach Program
Oregon Farm Bureau will be using a new program this session-Voter Voice-to help communicate with you on important bills and coordinate your outreach to legislators. Through this program, we can provide links to different outreach campaigns, enabling you to target all of your legislators through one email. We encourage you to personalize your message to make sure your legislators understand how the bills they are considering this session will impact their constituents. It is going to be an important session for you to get involved in, and we are excited to have a new tool to help facilitate this process.
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
The first day of session started out not only with the Oregon Farm Bureau Women’s Committee’s Legislative Reception, but also with hearings on one of the most controversial bills of the session, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (SB 324). The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) requires fuel providers to reduce the carbon content of their fuel or purchase credits to meet the requirement. Fuel prices are estimated to increase between 4 cents and $1.06 per gallon as a result. After hearing testimony on Monday and Wednesday, the bill to implement the LCFS passed out of the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee on a 3-2 vote. The bill is next headed to the Senate Floor for a vote.
Please contact your legislator and let them know how this program would increase your operation costs and make Oregon’s farmers and ranchers less competitive.
Paid Sick Leave Hearings on February 16
HB 2005 and SB 454 would mandate that employers offer 56 hours of paid sick leave to employees. Employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and can begin using the leave after 90 days of employment. Leave can be used for illness, doctor appointments or caring for a child or parent.
Farm Bureau has grave concerns regarding the impact and cost this mandate will have on employers, especially during times of harvest.
A joint House and Senate hearing on these bills will be held on February 16 from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Capitol. It is critical that farmers come and testify as how this legislation will impact their family operations. We will send out more information as it is released.
Minimum Wage Frenzy
To date, six bills have been introduced concerning the state minimum wage. Two of these bills, SB 332 and HB 2004, would remove the state preemption, allowing local jurisdictions to set their own minimum wage and allowing for a patchwork of minimum wage requirements throughout the state. SB 327 and HB 2008 would increase the state minimum wage to $12.20 over the next two years; SB 597 would increase minimum wage to $13.50 by 2017; and HB 2009 would increase minimum wage to $15.00 by 2018.
This legislation would significantly impact farmers who must compete on a global market. For more information on minimum wage this session, listen to this news report .
OFB Staff Transition
After 11 years as a governmental affairs staffer at OFB, Katie Fast will be leaving to take the executive director position at Oregonians for Food and Shelter (OFS). Katie will continue to lobby for OFB through the end of the 2015 session, while transitioning half-time to administrative duties at OFS starting later this month. “Katie has been a key leader in building OFB’s stature in the Oregon legislature, and very effective advocating for OFB members and their policy. She has helped build a fantastic governmental affairs team at OFB, and was pivotal in building our PAC from $30-$40,000 per cycle to over $130,000. We will really miss Katie, but are glad she will still be working with us in the natural resource community,” said Executive VP Dave Dillon. Oregonians for Food and Shelter lobbies on fertilizer and pesticides in agriculture and forestry and is a long-time key ally of OFB on these important issues. If you need more information about the transition, please call or email Dave.
New Bills Introduced this Week
SB 573 creates a task force to study land value taxation.
SJR 15 would establish a land-value lease fee for all land in the state.
HB 2888 allows an action to enjoin or restrain a nuisance if a number of activities involving animals are undertaken on the property, including causing physical injury, cruelly causing death, or leaving a domestic animal or equine at a place appearing vacant without provision for minimum care.
Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.