Wheat Growers: Legislative review

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By Oregon Wheat Growers League

2015 Legislative Session Updates
Jana Jarvis, Paladin Public Affairs/ Amanda Dalton, Dalton Advocacy, OWGL Lobbyists

SB 613 was introduced which would establish new regulations around the aerial application of pesticides including, among other requirements: 1) establishing buffers around schools, residences and waterways; 2) providing extensive pre- and post-notification for forestry applications; 3) require notification for forest management activities involving fire; 4) developing a website for all required notification and application records for public access; 5) requiring ODF notify adjacent landowners whenever a notification or application record is filed; and 6) authorizing the Oregon Health Authority investigate suspected cases of pesticide poisoning of humans or animals. Although directed at the forestry industry, language in the bill references the ODA and would undoubtedly lead to further requirements for the agricultural industry. SB 613 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing

The House Business and Labor Committee took testimony on HB 2005, the Paid Sick Leave bill. This bill proposes to require all Oregon employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave a year and does not include an exemption for agriculture. The hearing was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. that Monday evening and five of the six hearings rooms were filled with individuals waiting to testify. Currently both Portland and Eugene have their own laws pertaining to paid sick leave but unions and activist groups are pushing for a statewide policy with supporters claiming that the bill is a “public health issue and workplace productivity issue”. No work session has been scheduled as of yet for this bill.

The Senate passed SB 324, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard with a 17-13 vote. The bill has been surrounded by controversy and has been under scrutiny due to the former-first lady’s paid fellowship with the Clean Energy Development Center and her contract with the Energy Foundation, both of which were shown to benefit from the policies of the former governor’s office. The floor debate on the bill lasted for four hours, including debate on the minority report. The bill is being fast-tracked and is on the schedule for a hearing in the House Energy and Environment Committee this Tuesday, February 24.

SB 657 was introduced on behalf of OSU Statewides funding. This proactive approach calls for an additional $16 million package for the Extension Service, Ag Experiment Station and the Forest Research Labs and was introduced by Sen. Arnie Roblan and Reps. Betty Komp and Jodi Hack along with 26 other sponsors.