By Oregonians for Food and Shelter,
Last week week the Oregon legislature published the set of bills that will be introduced for consideration in the upcoming short legislative session. In addition to monitoring a couple of major bills impacting timber (Private Forest Accord) and agriculture (overtime), OFS has identified several bills of interest to our membership and mission. The House Agriculture, Land Use and Water Committee has introduced a bill that would allow the agency to establish new pesticide license categories by rule rather than statute (HB 4062). A couple of bills seek to provide preferential state support for organic production (SB 1532 and HB 4048). Other bills we will be tracking include one initiating a study and metrics for carbon sequestration on natural and working lands (SB 1534), and the Governor’s environmental justice bill (HB 4077), which would fund the development of an environmental justice mapping tool which would become part of the decision-making process for state agencies.
As noted, a major focus for legislators will be on HB 4002 and overtime for agricultural workers. Currently, advocates of the bill are insisting on phasing in a 40 hour threshold, and behind-the-scenes reports are that the Labor Commissioner, Val Hoyle indicates she will do the same in rulemaking in the coming months if the legislature doesn’t act. Ag organizations are working around the clock to express the potential devastating impacts to Oregon’s agricultural and rural economies.
Session starts next Tuesday (February 1st), and will move quickly towards the March 7th deadline for adjournment. Stay tuned!
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