Oregon PSR's 2019 Legislative Agenda

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Oregon PSR is committed to advancing health protective bills and stopping harmful legislation during the 2019 Oregon State Legislative Session, which began on January 22nd and runs through June. Take a look at our ever-evolving agenda for the Oregon Legislature and contact our lobbyist if you would like to learn more and/or help us pass these important pieces of legislation. 

Cleaning up Dirty Diesel Engines

  • Bill Number: HB 2007
  • Position: Support with amendments
  • Summary: Pollution from Oregon’s diesel emissions causes 460 premature deaths and 145 heart attacks each year, in addition to other serious health ailments that cumulatively cost the state more than $3 billion annually. We have a unique opportunity to use Oregon dollars from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement of a civil lawsuit against their emissions violations to bring Oregon's engines up to a 95% cleaner standard that has already been adopted in California. Oregon PSR supports legislation that commits all of these funds to mitigating the harmful health effects of diesel pollution, especially for those most affected, including low-income communities and communities of color. Oregon PSR is working closely with other members of the Oregon Just Transition Alliance and allies to support a strong bill that will protect public health from dirty diesel. Read more about what we like in the current version of HB 2007 and what amendments we are supporting to strengthen the bill’s ability to protect the health of Oregonians Read Oregon PSR’s factsheet on diesel, small particulate matter, and public health.
  • Note: we are not supporting HB 2063, the Volkswagen spending bill that would put 15% towards vehicle electrification, because there are other funding sources for electrification and the Volkswagen settlement offers a rare opportunity to maximize our mitigation of diesel vehicles in the communities that need it most.

Carbon Cap-and-invest ("Clean Energy Jobs," Oregon Carbon Action Program/OCAP)

  • Bill Number: HB 2020
  • Position: Needs revisions
  • Summary: For many years, supporters of a market-based system of capping and pricing greenhouse gas emissions have attempted to pass legislation to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and force the biggest polluters to buy and trade credits for their emissions, investing the proceeds in clean energy projects and job training. The political atmosphere in 2019 has many thinking that it's now-or-never for a carbon cap-and-invest bill. Oregon PSR raised serious concerns about some of the weaknesses in the cap-and-invest bills considered in the 2018 legislative session, and remains wary of the consequences of a watered-down version of this bill including exemptions for major polluters, and loopholes for dirty energy sources (such as nuclear, forest biomass, and incineration of medical and municipal waste). This session's current bill language is not strong enough from Oregon PSR's perspective to effectively curb greenhouse gas emissions and create substantial investments in clean energy and impacted communities. We are working to advocate for amendments to the current bill draft.
  • Read our 12-point list for our proposed changes to HB 2020
  • Listen to our Clean Energy Organizer, Damon Motz-Storey, and Dr. Pat Delaquil of 350 PDX on this episode of KBOO’s Locus Focus
  • Read our comments on the HB 2020 -31 amendments in the Portland Business Journal

Joint Memorial on Nuclear Weapons

  • Bill Number: SMJ 5
  • Position: Support
  • Recent activity: Public hearing held on 4/3/19
  • Summary: Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and partner organizations are working with Senator Michael Dembrow to introduce a joint memorial urging congress to lead a global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear war. The memorial details the the negative impact of nuclear weapons on Oregonians, including the financial trade-offs of spending Oregon taxpayers’ money on nuclear weapons rather than on critical needs such as education, health care and the environment. It highlights the people most affected by nuclear weapons and honors Oregonians who have worked for nuclear abolition. The memorial declares Oregon’s support for the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was passed by the majority of countries in 2017. It also affirms Oregon’s support for federal legislation to lessen the risk of nuclear war sponsored by members of our congressional delegation. 
  • Take Action: Sign our petition to Oregon's legislature to support the Nuclear Weapons Memorial

Oil Train Safety

  • Bill Numbers: HB 2209
  • Position: Support
  • Current location: Referred from House Committee on Veterans & Emergency Preparedness to Joint Committee on Ways & Means with a "Do pass" recommendation 
  • Summary: Oregon communities continue to be at risk due to unsafe crude oil trains and a lack of emergency response preparation. This threat was illustrated in June 2016 when an oil train in Mosier, OR derailed and spilled oil that leaked into the Columbia River, causing a large fire near homes and an elementary school. These bills would require the state’s approval of contingency plans and training for oil train-related spills, fees on railroad operators used to improve oil spill response and establish funding for emergency preparedness, adequate insurance for railroads to cover true worst-case oil train derailments and oil spills, and 24-hour notice that oil trains will be passing through a certain area.

Stopping Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

  • Bill Number: SB 444
  • Position: Oppose
  • Status: Died in committee (hearing & work session were not held by the deadline)
  • Summary: Oregon's 1980 nuclear reactor law bans all nuclear reactors in the state unless the United States licenses a deep geological repository for nuclear waste and Oregon voters approve a new reactor at the ballot box. SB 444 would create a carve-out from this law for small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), allowing Oregon cities and counties to license reactors under 300 megawatts of electrical output without a safe destination for the waste they would produce. The Oregon House of Representatives struck down a nearly identical bill to this one sponsored by the same State Senator (Brian Boquist, R-12) in 2017 after hearing testimony from Oregon PSR and our partners. This year, once again, we will work to block SB 444 and keep Oregon's common-sense public health laws strong.

Omnibus Gun Violence Prevention

  • Bill Number: SB 978
  • Position: Support 
  • Summary: Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in our state and nation and should be understood and treated as a public health crisis. Common sense provisions in this bill including safe storage, banning firearms that are undetectable, untraceable, or downloaded, and requiring reporting firearm injury data to Oregon Health Authority for research into firearm injury prevention can and will save lives. Read our testimony in support of the bill and see Ceasefire Oregon's website for more information.

Energy Equity at the Oregon PUC

  • Bill Number: HB 2242
  • Position: Support
  • Current location: Joint Committee on Ways & Means
  • Summary: The Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates and sets rates for the customers of private utilities including Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. This bill would authorize the PUC to consider differential energy burden and other inequities of affordability in rates. HB 2242 would also create a Low-Income and Environmental Justice Advocate position at the PUC to intervene on commission proceedings related to utility consumers from low income or environmental justice communities. HB 2242 would also allow the PUC to provide financial assistance to stakeholders from low income and environmental justice communities wishing to participate in public input on regulatory processes.

Household Hazardous Waste 

  • Bill Number: HB 2772
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: This bill establishes product stewardship program for household hazardous waste. It requires initial plans for household hazardous waste stewardship programs to be submitted to Department of Environmental Quality no later than April 1, 2021. 

Oregon Fracking Ban

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

  • Bill Number: HB 2625
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Directs Department of State Police to study how to increase criminal justice resources relating to missing Native American women in Oregon and report to appropriate committee or interim committee of Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2020.
  • Read a one-page factsheet on HB 2625
  • Read our testimony submitted by Diana Rempe, PhD and Patrick O'Herron, MD.

Equal Access to Roads Act

  • Bill Number: HB2015
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Eliminates requirement that person provide proof of legal presence before Department of Transportation issues noncommercial driver license, noncommercial driver permit or identification card. In Oregon, being unable to produce a driver’s license during a traffic stop is increasingly leading immigrants, who otherwise have no criminal records, to be flagged for deportation. Oregonians shouldn’t have to live in fear of being deported or worry about their families being torn apart simply because they are taking their kids to school, going to work, or taking care of their family or neighbors.
  • Read Oregon PSR's testimony on the bill written by member Maxine Fookson, PNP

Home WRAP Energy Efficiency Incentives

  • Bill Number: HB 3094
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Establishes Home Weatherization & Retrofit and Affordability Program for Housing and Community Services Department to provide incentive payments to construction contractors undertaking energy improvement projects on residential structures. The bill will provide incentives to help low and moderate-income people and people in rural communities weatherize their homes and make them more energy efficient.
  • Read Oregon PSR's testimony in support of the bill

Pesticide Protection

  • Bill Numbers: HB 2619 A
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Several commonly used pesticides can negatively impact human health, water quality, aquatic species, pollinators, and the biodiversity upon which we all depend. HB 2619-A would ban chlorpyrifos to protect farm workers, children, rural communities and all wildlife and drinking water.

Waste Incineration as Renewable Energy

  • Bill Number: SB 451
  • Position: Oppose
  • Summary: Establishes eligibility for renewable energy certificates for facilities that generate electricity from direct combustion of municipal solid waste and became operational before January 1, 1995, if such facilities register with Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System at any time.
  • Learn more and take action.

Don't Water Down Oregon's Renewable Portfolio Standard

  • Bill Number: SB 508
  • Position: Oppose
  • Status: Died in committee
  • Summary: Specifies that electricity generated by hydroelectric facility or other equipment that generates electricity through use of hydroelectric energy may be used to comply with renewable portfolio standard. This weakens the original intent of Oregon's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was to add non-hydro renewables to our grid to displace fossil fuels.

Flood Safety and Water Quality District Bill

  • Bill Number: SB 431
  • Position: Needs substantial revisions (see proposed revisions)
  • Summary: Creates urban flood safety and water quality district in portion of Multnomah County within urban growth boundary adopted by Metro, for purposes of managing and improving levee system, drainage and natural areas to provide for flood safety and contribute to water quality, habitat and landscape resiliency. We agree with expert organizations that a 21st Century vision of flood management needs to look beyond simply building larger and wider levees and integrate ecological health, environmental justice and climate change resiliency in order to develop a holistic approach to managing water. 

Polystyrene Ban

  • Bill Number: HB 2883
  • Position: Support
  • Summary: Prohibits food vendors from using polystyrene containers in selling, offering for sale, serving, or dispensing prepared food to the public.