2013 legislative report card
The grades are in for the 2013 Oregon legislative session.
Every year, OEC forwards priority bills critical to our strategic mission. We shape concepts, educate stakeholders, build coalitions and shepherd bills through the legislative process. OEC also works as a partner to our allies, offering testimony to support good ideas and to fend off harmful proposals.
We are pleased to report on our success as well as the priorities for which we’ll continue to galvanize support in years to come.
OEC priority bills
Reducing Pesticides for Clean Water
Soon, our waterways will get more love and attention from both experts and locals. We worked hard to secure funding in the Oregon Department of Agriculture budget to establish proven programs across the state that help communities keep pesticides out of our rivers, protecting fish and drinking water. Next biennium, Pesticide Stewardship Programs will flourish with initial dedicated funding of $1.5 million!
Clean Air Tax Study Bill (SB 306)
By charging a fee for carbon pollution, can we generate new revenue for clean air solutions and do it in a way that is fair to working families and low-income households and supports Oregon companies? Oregon’s Legislative Revenue Office will commission a study to understand how a tax on carbon pollution could work best for Oregon.
Sharing Water Costs (HB 2259)
When water users request certain services from the experts who manage our water resources statewide, they traditionally pay half the cost and taxpayers pay the rest. This year, we helped make sure water transaction fees are high enough to maintain the 50/50 cost share. Unfortunately, the fix won’t last: in four years the fees will revert back to 2009 levels.
Protecting Oregon’s Water (SB 217)
Oregon’s Water Resources Department and its field staff are essential to protect water supplies. We supported the Water Resources Commission’s proposal for modest fees to fund these services, collected from those who hold water rights. The bill did not go to a vote. Now, legislators will establish a work group to seek full funding for the Water Resources Department. OEC will participate in that effort.
Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids (HB 3162)
The House voted 39 to 21 with bipartisan support in favor of requiring manufacturers of children’s products to disclose their use of toxic chemicals and use safer alternatives. The Senate then failed Oregon’s children by choosing not to vote on the bill.
Clean Fuels for Oregon (SB 488)
A tie 15-15 vote in the Senate killed a bill to remove a mandated end date on Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. We will be back again until the program is fully implemented, working with a coalition of more than 120 partners in support of cleaner fuels. We will keep fighting to ensure that Oregon invests in alternatives to Big Oil and makes clean, low-cost fuels available.
OEC partner bills
With our “active transportation” partners, we increased options to finance biking and walking trails through a fund that previously supported mostly freight. We also defeated an effort to dismantle the vehicle inspection program. And we helped clear the way for more electric cars, allowing charging stations at state agencies and condominiums.
Climate Solutions, Citizens Utility Board and Renewable Northwest Project were powerful partners this year. We fended off efforts to weaken our state’s standards for increased use of renewable energy, set stronger standards for efficiency in household appliances and outdoor lights, and closed a loophole to make sure we limit coal-fired power purchases in Oregon. We also helped secure the first step towards an “Energy Performance Score” so that homebuyers can see how efficiently a home uses energy.
Healthy Farms (HB 2427)
Championed by Friends of Family Farmers, this bill limits canola farming in the Willamette Valley until further study is conducted on impacts of pests and disease.
Defending Oregon’s Natural Resources
The Department of Environmental Quality budget passed with a 1% increase. Funding is also intact for important OSU outreach and agriculture experiment programs. Great news for critical services ensuring clean air, water quality and watershed health!
Safe Public Places (HB 3364)
Kudos to Beyond Toxics and the OSU Integrated Plant Protection Center for leading the charge! State agencies and public universities will manage pests and weeds using fewer chemicals for less risk to health.
Local Action on GMOs (SB 633)
OEC opposed this bill to quash local action addressing concerns about genetically modified crops. The bill was defeated!
Water Management (SB 199)
Thanks to leadership from The Freshwater Trust, Oregon extended a program that helps water rights holders keep water in the river during hot months when fish need it most.
Suction Dredge Mining (SB 838)
How bad is it to vacuum up a stream bottom, filter out the gold and then spit the rest back into the river? Oregon will set limits on the practice until 2015, when either new regulations or a moratorium will be put into place.
Water Supply Development (SB 839)
OEC helped develop this grant and loan fund for water conservation and supply projects with environmental and economic benefits. The part of the bill that protects stream flows when building storage projects was weakened; but we will work to ensure the program meets environmental goals.