2019 SESSION RECAP
On June 30th we wrapped up the 2019 legislative session after a long weekend of discussing bills on the House Floor. In many ways this session was difficult, but my colleagues were able to pass some legislation that will truly benefit all Oregonians. Of course, there were bills that were bad for Oregonians and I always tried to express the concerns of my constituents who live in Eastern Oregon, but my voice sometimes was not heard. On other occasions, I received tremendous support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that will greatly benefit people in my district. I am glad to be back in Vale for the next few months to reconnect with my constituents and the district I represent. It has been an absolute pleasure serving my constituents of House District 60. As always, please feel free to reach out to my office if there is anything we can do to assist you.
HB 2020 – Dead: The Cap and Trade bill, is a bill that would have had devastating impacts on all Oregonians. The bill would have created a Climate Policy Office with the goal of reducing carbon emissions in Oregon by the year 2050. The Climate Policy office would have required that businesses purchase allowances for emitting carbon, which would (hopefully) disincentivize people from emitting carbon. It is important that we are always finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint to combat climate change and making sure we are good stewards of our environment, but the economic impact of this bill far outweighed the global environmental impacts. The bill was killed through negotiations late last week, largely as a result of the Senate Republican walkout, but I am sure that the proponents will try to bring it back in a future legislative session.
HB 2007 – Passed: Originally introduced with the hope of phasing out machines that use diesel engines state-wide. Diesel engines power a significant number of machines that rural communities and the agriculture industry relies on. Along with Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Tangent), I worked tirelessly to ensure that this bill would have as small of an impact as possible on rural Oregonians. As thebill was amended, it will not negatively impact any of my constituents, nor anyone else living outside of the Oregon Tri-County area. Within the Tri-County area, this bill exempts logging trucks, farm vehicles, antiques and heavy-duty trucks driven 5,000 miles or fewer on state highways each year. This bill could have been very damaging to rural Oregonians and I am glad that the hard work we put into it paid off.
HB 2015 – Passed: Allows people living in the state of Oregon to receive a drivers license or identification card without having to prove legal residence in the United States of America. There have been many concerns with this bill across the state of Oregon for a myriad of reasons. I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill that 85% of my constituents voted against on Measure 88 in 2014.
HB 3427 – Passed: Also referred to as the Student Success Act, is a $2.8B corporate gross receipts tax. It creates the Fund for Student Success and will appropriate money received to the Oregon Department of Education for transfer to the State School Fund. This bill ultimately hurts working Oregonians because the businesses having to foot the bill for this tax will have no option but to pass the costs to consumers, hurting the bottom line for Oregon families.
REPRESENTATIVE FINDLEY’S BILLS
HB 2451 – Passed: Eliminates certain unneeded repetitive regulations for Oregon’s onion producers, making them more competitive on the global market.
HB 2457 – Passed: Conducts a study that will look at the teaching license process in the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region, with the hopes of attracting more teachers to the area.
HB 2458 – Passed: Creates a property tax exemption for cooperatives that provide steam or hot water heat by combustion of biomass. This bill is important because it incentivizes people to find more innovative ways to provide heat for the community without contributing air pollution.
HB 2933 – Passed: Grants the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region more authority and freedom, allowing them to continue to promote the Region’s economy.
HB 2972 – Passed: Allows the Harney District Hospital to join all of the rest of the district hospitals in Oregon to provide retirement programs to their employees other than PERS. This will encourage future doctors and other hospital staff to move to Harney County and work at the hospital. The bill also allows the Harney District Hospital to hire previously retired hospital staff to work in order to solve some of their employment vacancies.
HB 2449 – Passed: Increases the 9-1-1 emergency communication tax to better fund the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the state. The increase will help PSAPs hire more staff to respond to the increase in 9-1-1 call volume. The 9-1-1 emergency communication tax hasn’t increased in nearly 25 years and is necessary to provide the highest level of safety to all Oregonians.
HB 2456 – Dead: Would have allowed up to one hundred 2-acre lots of non-viable farmland in Malheur County within the Eastern Oregon Economic Development Region to be rezoned for rural residential use. This would have provided more housing opportunities in Malheur County encouraging more people to move to the region helping boost the economy.
INTERIM COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS
Finance and Revenue, Vice Chair
Environment and Natural Resources
Road User Task Force
Columbia River Crossing