Ag Legislative Update

Legislative Update
Oregonians for Food and Shelter,
We are now halfway through the 2023 Legislative Session. Tuesday marked the midpoint of session, and the final day for many bills that lacked the votes to pass out of committee. We were relieved to say goodbye to a few bills we have been watching, while many survived and will continue to need our advocacy.
Bills that we saw die included two aquaculture bills that would have restricted technology and innovation (SB 89 & HB 2655), and one bill aimed at plastics reduction that would further restrict product packaging (SB 544). We saw a few last minute attempts to amend placeholder bill HB 3343 on groundwater into something with more teeth, and in the end it was passed with a version to address well repairs. We tracked a couple of bills related to small engine emissions (HB 2970, SB 525), both of which died as well. The perennial Independent Science Review Board proposal, HB 2648, also died once again. A suite of bills that would have again funneled state resources only to benefit a small proportion of growers who market organically also died (SB 526, SB 617, SB 1059, SB 87). A handful of placeholder and study bills we had been tracking also fell away.
We’ll continue to track several bills of concern for our members that did survive, including a bill that would shift pest management technical assistance for schools from Oregon State University to the Department of Education (SB 426), a bill requiring new reporting processes for domestic well testing as part of real estate transactions (HB 3207), a working lands carbon sequestration bill that our timber partners have worked hard to pare back (SB 530), and bills seeking to restrict Oregon’s livestock operations (SB 85 and SB 398). We have a longer list of priority bills we support as well as bills we oppose, and overall budget asks, that have moved to the budget writing committee, Ways & Means. Look for a summary next week as we continue our advocacy efforts on budget items!

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