The 2024 Legislative Session Kicks off this Monday, February 5th. Bills were published earlier this week and OFS has combed through the 300 or so to identify those of greatest concern to our members. We continue to meet with legislators regarding HB 4059 to urge them to find a coexistence solution for canola that gives all producers equal access to the crops and varieties they choose to grow. The current bill is a placeholder, and our advocacy is focused on ensuring that any new policies that might go into effect once the canola cap expires are science-based and don’t arbitrarily restrict acres, crops, or varieties to prioritize one crop or market over another.
We are also working with legislators on HB 4049, which proposes an Oregon State University study on biosolids, and on agricultural fields and crops to which biosolids have been applied, to test for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Our goal is to ensure that any commissioned study is appropriately framed and scoped, aligns with federal priorities that include keeping agricultural land productive, and does not result in reputational impacts to Oregon crops that could be prevented with a focus on prevention and treatment of biosolids rather than a focus on crops. We’ll continue to engage to ensure protections for Oregon’s producers and all of our unique crops.
The other major development this week was the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision to declare several legislators ineligible for re-election based on Measure 113. It remains unclear how it may impact the session given the primary issues Legislators are expected to tackle: housing, and drugs/Measure 110. We’ll know a lot more by next week, as most bills will be heard by the end of the week, as everyone works toward the looming deadline of bills crossing the House or Senate floors or arriving in the Ways & Means committee by February 19th to stay alive.
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