Oregon Legislative Session Comes To An End

SALEM, Ore. — The 2023 Oregon legislative session concluded on Sunday afternoon after lawmakers worked diligently to address pending legislation. Despite efforts to finish early, the session extended beyond expectations. Both the House and Senate reconvened on Sunday morning.

According to the Oregon Constitution, the session cannot exceed 160 calendar days, rendering any bills awaiting a vote after Sunday inactive. Lawmakers exerted significant efforts over the past week to clear the backlog caused by the six-week Republican Senate walkout.

A noteworthy resolution was passed on Sunday morning, as the Oregon Senate approved House Joint Resolution 16 A. This constitutional amendment grants the Legislature the authority to impeach statewide elected officials. If signed by Gov. Tina Kotek, the amendment will be included on the ballot for Oregon voters during the 2024 General Election in November.

House Bill 2004, which focuses on the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting in specific elections, will also appear on the ballot.

House Bill 3632 successfully passed in the Senate and now awaits Gov. Kotek’s signature. This bill seeks to extend the prosecution timeline for first-degree sex crimes from 12 to 20 years, applicable to offenses committed before, on, or after the bill’s effective date in January 2024. It does not apply to offenses where the statute of limitations has already expired.

House Bill 2757 and 3426 address Oregon’s behavioral health crisis. HB 2757 provides stable funding for the state’s two 9-8-8 mobile crisis response call centers to enhance services, while HB 3426 mandates that 9-8-8 crisis hotline centers establish policies and train staff to assist emergency response personnel.

Several other prominent pieces of legislation successfully cleared the final hurdle on Saturday and now await Gov. Kotek’s approval. These include House Bill 2009, which introduces new tax credits to bolster semiconductor manufacturing, and Senate Bill 283, which aims to address K-12 staff shortages by focusing on enhancing the state’s teacher workforce.

Two climate resilience bills also passed, aiming to improve the efficiency of Oregon’s housing stock and fortify homes and buildings against extreme weather.

On Saturday, House Bill 2395, which seeks to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and House Bill 2572, designed to curb paramilitary activity, were both approved.

Additionally, House Bill 3235 was passed, introducing the Oregon Kids’ Tax Credit, a fully refundable $1,000 tax credit per child between the ages of zero and five for families earning $30,000 or less annually.

House Bill 3396, which aims to improve staffing levels in Oregon hospitals and develop solutions for discharge challenges, also advanced. The bill establishes the Joint Task Force on Hospital Discharge Challenge, focused on addressing education, nurse/nurse assistant licensing, and appropriate discharging solutions for patient care.

Furthermore, House Bill 3198, the Early Literacy Success Initiative, was successfully passed on Saturday, expanding literacy funding and support in Oregon classrooms.

Senate Bill 5511 and House Bill 3395 were both approved. SB 5511 is the budget bill for the Housing and Community Service Department, with an overall budget exceeding $2.5 billion and 441 positions, indicating a 28.5% increase compared to the current service level. HB 3395 consolidates various housing-related policies into a single bill and allocates $48.5 million from the General Fund to support projects within it.

Lastly, Senate Bill 611 establishes an upper limit of 10% for annual rent increases. The previous Oregon law allowed rent increases up to inflation plus 7%, but concerns arose this year due to high inflation, resulting in a maximum allowable increase of nearly 15%.