2015 Legislative Accomplishments

HJM 18: Veterans’ Healthcare Resolution

WHAT THE MEASURE DOES:

Urges Congress to change funding of veterans’ health care from discretionary entitlement to

permanent and direct entitlement.

BACKGROUND:

Currently, federal spending on veterans’ health care is discretionary. Veterans are able to receive health care services through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system only to the extent congressional appropriations allow.

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly has sent a message to Congress about the importance of consistent and reliable funding for veterans’ health care going back six years with three previous House Joint Memorials: HJM 21 (2009), HJM 18 (2011) and HJM 9 (2013).

House Joint Memorial 18 urges Congress for the fourth time, to make the funding of health care for veterans’ a permanent and direct entitlement.

Read HJM 18 here.


HB 3459B: Fishing Days Bill

What the bill does:

  • Allows State Fish and Wildlife Commission to issue order allowing angling of fish or taking of shellfish without licenses or tags for two days up to four times per year.
  • Establishes Oregon Fishing Experience Enhancement Subaccount in Fish and Wildlife Account.
  • Directs use of funds in Subaccount.
  • Establishes nine-member Oregon Outdoor Activities Investment Planning Task Force.
  • Directs Task Force to develop plan for increasing angling activities for Oregon residents under 17 and establish a 50-year strategic plan for increasing availability of high-quality outdoor recreational activities.
  • Requires Task Force to report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to environment and natural resources no later than September 15, 2016. Disbands Task Force on December 31, 2016.

BACKGROUND:

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife publicizes a free fishing weekend the first full weekend in June. While all existing regulations apply during this weekend, the Department offers Oregon residents and visitors a full weekend to fish, crab, and clam without a license or tags. House Bill 3459 would allow the State Fish and Wildlife Commission to offer 4 weekends or 8 days of license- and tag-free fishing per year.

Read HB 3459B here.


HB 3391B: Human Services Employee Protection Bill

What the bill does:

  • Directs Attorney General to file suit in circuit court on behalf of employees of the Department of Human Services (DHS) in certain cases of threat to personal safety.
  • Creates Task Force on Safety for Child Welfare Employees staffed by DHS.
  • Outline membership, objectives, and process.
  • Requires a report to the legislature by September 15, 2016. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

BACKGROUND:

The number and severity of threats made against front-line employees of the Department of Human Services (DHS) has reportedly increased in recent years, particularly for child welfare workers. There are ways that DHS can and does support threatened employees; however, there are situations that call for further legal action. To proceed with further legal action, a DHS caseworker is currently personally responsible for retaining legal counsel if they wish, and for paying associated costs. House Bill 3391 allows the Department of Justice to provide legal assistance to DHS employees when their personal safety is threatened as a result of their work. The measure also creates a task force to give further consideration to worker safety issues.

Read HB 3391B here.


HB 3303: Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses Bill

What the bill does:

  • Expands disadvantaged enterprise certification to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
  • Changes name of Office for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business within the Oregon Business Development Department to Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity.
  • Changes name of Advocate for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business to Governor’s Advisor for Economic and Business Equity. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

BACKGROUND:

The Oregon Business Development Department, also known as Business Oregon, certifies businesses that meet the criteria for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Minority/Women Business Enterprise (MWBE), and Emerging Small Business (ESB) certifications. In order to qualify, a firm must be an independently owned and operated for-profit business that is properly licensed and registered with the Secretary of State and at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who manages the day-to-day operations. Businesses meeting these criteria are eligible for certain contracting opportunities with federal, state, county, and city governments and special jurisdictions.

House Bill 3303-B expands the certification program to include service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in the categories of disadvantaged business enterprises eligible for certain preferences in public contracting. The bill also changes the name of the office within the Oregon Business Development Department that certifies disadvantaged businesses to the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity and changes the name of the position reporting to the Governor on related matters to the Governor’s Advisor for Economic and Business Equity.

Read HB 3303 here.


HB 2955A: Civics Day Bill

WHAT THE MEASURE DOES:

  • Directs Department of Education to administer the process for providing funding for activities related to an annual conference dedicated to Oregon civics and held on Oregon Civics Day for Teachers.
  • Appropriates money from the General Fund to the Department of Education for purpose of the conference.
  • Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2015.

BACKGROUND:

SB 374 (2009), codified as ORS 336.029, established the first Friday in December as “Oregon Civics Day for Teachers.” It is a professional development day, with the goal of aiding educators in providing quality instruction in the area of civics. House Bill 2599 amends ORS 336.029 to require the Department of Education to administer a process for providing funding for activities related to an annual conference dedicated to Oregon civics and held on Oregon Civics Day for Teachers. This funding must be used to award grants to two public school teachers from each legislative district for expenses incurred to attend the conference, assist a nonprofit organization with operating expenses incurred in relation to the conference, and provide technical and professional assistance to teachers who attend the conference. Additionally, the measure includes an appropriation to the Department of Education for this purpose from the General Fund in the amount of $200,000 per biennium.

Read HB 2955A here.


HB 2838A: Incarcerated Veterans’ Taskforce

What the bill does:

  • Establishes Task Force on Incarcerated Veterans. Requires report to Legislature by September 15,
  • 2016. Sunsets December 31, 2016.
  • Declares emergency, effective on passage.

BACKGROUND:

In a 2013 study published in the Justice Policy Journal, 19.1 percent of Oregon Department of Corrections inmates were reported to be veterans. Oregon had the highest percentage of veteran state prisoners that year compared to other states; the next closest percentage of veteran inmates was in Nevada, at 11.3 percent. House Bill 2838-A creates a task force to study and make recommendations regarding services for incarcerated veterans

Read HB 2838A here.

 


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