Legislative Update – February 14, 2020

| February 21, 2020

HJR 203: Real Estate Transfer Tax Hearing Respond to OAR Call for Action

Oregonians resoundingly passed Measure 79 in 2012, amending the Oregon Constitution to prevent taxes on the sale or transfer of real estate property. Oregonians already pay significant taxes on their homes in the form of property taxes and did not feel it was fair to be taxed again upon the sale or transfer of their property.

However, Governor Brown is proposing to repeal this constitutional ban on double-taxation with  HJR 203. This Joint Resolution would refer to voters a constitutional amendment to allow for real estate transfer taxes. The bill was up for a hearing on February 11, 2020 at 5:30pm in the House Committee on Revenue.

OAR put out a Call for Action (CFA) for members to contact legislators. Questions? Contact Taylor Shanaman, OAR Government Affairs Director.


HB 4010: Facing Legislative Attack, Opportunity Zone Proponents Make Their Case

On February 6th the legislature held its first hearing on HB 4010, which would disconnect Oregon’s income tax code from the federal tax code with respect to Qualified Opportunity Zones. Supporters of the bill argued that the program is a give-away to wealthy investors. Opponents of the bill came out to disprove those claims. Economic Development professionals, developers, investors and accountants from across the state showed up to describe the benefits of the program for driving investment in low-income and rural communities. Proponents cited projects in Redmond, McMinnville, Albany and other parts of the state, including several projects aimed at building workforce housing.

There is still time to weigh in and the legislature needs to hear from you! If you have a story to tell about opportunity zones, please connect with us and we will make sure your voice is heard. We can arrange for written or in person testimony.

Contact Jeremy Rogers at OAR to coordinate testimony to the legislature.


HB 4001: Homelessness Emergency Proposal Gets Hearing

Speaker of the House Tina Kotek introduced an amendment to HB 4001 that would declare a “homelessness state of emergency.” The legislation would allow local governments to bypass zoning restrictions when siting shelters.  At a public hearing last week the bill received general support from advocates for the homeless as well as local governments. Additional amendments are in the works.

The Speaker also wants the state to devote $60 Million in General Fund resources to create and operate shelters and “Navigation Centers” and another $80M in bonding to go toward construction of affordable housing and saving existing affordable housing.


HB 4003: Increase Minority Homeownership

OAR testified in favor of  HB 4003 , which passed out of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing with the 6 amendments on February 12th. The bill directs the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department to provide grants, loans and technical assistance to organizations that work to increase access to homeownership for persons of color including counseling, financial literacy, post-purchase counseling and down payment assistance. The bill also adds to the Law and Rule Required Course (LARRC) content on unlawful discrimination in real estate transactions including the Oregon and Federal Fair Housing Act. This bill has been referred to Ways and Means.


HB 4070: Increase Funding for Septic Repair and Replacement

OAR is part of a broad coalition working to increase the state appropriation for the Oregon Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund by $2M. This program provides low-interest loans to homeowners who need to repair or replace failing septic systems. OAR worked with partners to create this program several years ago and it has helped hundreds of homeowners across the state. The bill passed out of the House Committee on Water unanimously and now heads to Ways and Means—the budget writing committee. OAR and partners will continue to advocate for the funding in Ways and Means.


HB 4077: Well Testing Reporting Protocol Won’t Advance in 2020

HB 4077  was considered by the House Committee on Water but will not be moving forward this session. The bill would have changed several aspects of Oregon’s well reporting statute (ORS 448.271) and was put forward at the request of the Oregon Environmental Council. Under current law, sellers are required to test domestic wells for certain contaminants when they sell their home and report the results to the buyer and the Oregon Health Authority.  The bill would have shifted the reporting responsibility to the testing laboratory rather than the seller and would have had results sent to the Department of Environmental Quality rather than the Oregon Health Authority. Well testing laboratories objected strongly to the bill and stakeholders couldn’t agree on the need for the bill or the details. The bill will not be advancing this session. OAR will work with other stakeholders in the interim to evaluate how well the current process is working and whether or not any changes are warranted.


HB 2001 (Passed in 2019): Housing Choices

House Bill 2001 aims to provide Oregonians with more housing choices, especially ones that more people can afford. The law, passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature, lets people build certain traditional housing types, like duplexes, in residential zones. These housing types already exist in most cities, but were outlawed for decades in many neighborhoods. This bill will require updates to local laws that currently limit what sorts of housing people can build. These limitations contribute to increased housing costs and fewer choices. LEARN MORE


SB 608 (Passed in 2019): Statewide Rent Control Updated Summary

We have updated the Senate Bill 608 Summary to help answer additional questions associated with the passing of statewide rent control.

Senate Bill 608 ends no-cause evictions and limits annual rent increases to 7% + CPI after the first year of occupancy. It was signed by the Governor and took effect on February 28, 2019. OAR opposed the bill, but it sailed through both Chambers with only perfunctory hearings and no opportunity to amend.

For your reference, please see our  Updated Summary!