Monday, June 1, 2015

Legislative Update, Week 16 - Second Winnowing, OTC, Capitol

Still middling weather at the
A week ago Friday was another deadline, so we'll have a pile of bills that failed to move forward.

But first, Laws!
  • SB 533 making it legal for two-wheelers to go on red when you've waited one complete cycle and the light or controller is broken. Signed.
  • SB 120 as introduced expanded the definition of ways to meet "mobility standards" and included "reducing congestion in other modes of travel" - which seems ambiguous, but could as the language was adjusted have meant something like "reduce auto congestion by means of improvements in bike lanes and transit (etc)." The relevant language has been deleted in the first round of amendments, and now it looks like it maintains the usual "highway mobility targets established for a highway corridor by the Department of Transportation’s Oregon Highway Plan" and calls for a new study and to "adopt or amend rules relating to transportation improvements." Passed both houses and seems almost certain to be signed.
Gail Achterman Room, where the OTC usually meets
Also, BikePortland has news on the appointment to replace Catherine Mater on the Oregon Transportation Commission. Since Kitzhaber fired Mater earlier this year, the Commission had been functioning with four members only. Sean O’Hollaren will be the fifth Commissioner.

One interesting thing? BikePortland writes:
The OTC is the most powerful transportation body in the state. They approve funding, set ODOT policy, and “guide the planning development, and management” of our transportation network. There are five members, each representing a different region of the state.
But Mater was fired precisely because she wanted to approve and set policy! On the contrary,
In a statement, Kitzhaber spokeswoman Melissa Navas indicated that contrary to Mater's view, the governor's concern was about the process, not the coal project. Normally, the Oregon Transportation Commission approves without question the list of projects assembled by ODOT stakeholders, regional officials and staff. [italics added]
"Approves without question" is not an attribute of a group that sets and guides policy. And I wonder, then, if we overestimate and overvalue the contributions of the OTC. On the other hand, a strong chair of the OTC could negotiate a different balance of power with a different governor. (Was the OTC under Gail Achterman, for example, more assertive in actually setting policy?)

Back to the Legislature...Dead bills or bills that are no longer interesting:
  • HB 2552 fees for studded tires (public hearing held, but no work session) 
  • HB 2620 would require ODOT to inventory ODOT land and determine if it is really needed transportation (public hearing held, but no work session)
  • HB 2819 to require drivers over the age of 75 to take annual license exams (public hearing held, but no work session)
  • HB 2282 - Former speed bump bill. Gutted and stuffed on electronic signatures and e-filing on DMV stuff. (No longer of interest.)
  • SJR 16 broadens the list of projects eligible for the gas tax, "for infrastructure that reduces traffic burden of, or pollution from, motor vehicles on public roads." Looking dead. (Hearing held, but no work session.)
  • HB 3250: Requires Environmental Quality Commission to adopt carbon cap-and-dividend program. (Hearing held, but no work session.)
  • HB 3252: Imposes tax on each fuel supplier and utility based on amount of carbon in carbon-based fuel that is sold by fuel supplier to consumers in this state or that is used to produce carbon-generated electricity supplied by utility to consumers in this state. (Hearing held, but no work session.)
Live bills after the jump. New milestones and movements are highlighted in green. (As usual, see more relevant bills or movement? Drop a note in the comments.)

Specific bike things:
Other Bike-relevant and transportation bills:
  • A pod of bills about speed bumps: HB 2283 (this speed bump bills remains null, ready for gut-n-stuff action; see below for more that are getting stuffed)
  • HB 2621 for expanded photo speed enforcement pilot project in Portland. It got a systematic set of amendments to shift from "photo radar unit" to "fixed photo radar system." Looks technical rather than substantive. Still in committee, maybe languishing.
  • HB 2736, gutted and stuffed - and would establish a Task Force on Vision Zero. See BikePortland for more.
  • SB 463 would permit darker tints in car windows with "letter from doctor." Work Session this week. But maybe, you know, if your eyesight is this compromised, maybe you shouldn't be driving?
  • HB 2281 Former speed bump bill. On road usage charges passed the House and is in the Senate, and hearing scheduled for this week.
  • HB 2274 Changes name of "Connect Oregon Fund"; also HB 2275. Both are in a holding pattern, looking inactive right now.
  • HB 5040 ODOT Biennial Budget. Lots of hearings, but no recent action.
  • The big transportation package is still on hold because of Republican crankiness over the clean fuels bill. Over at the Oregon Economics Blog, Willamette economist Fred Thompson argues that what we need is a carbon tax. (In another post on taxation, indirectly he criticizes ConnectOregon, which funds transportation projects with lottery dollars: "Oregon’s most regressive and discriminatory tax by far is state-sponsored gambling.")
Restore Oregon visits the SJ to talk SB 565
(Did the conversation also touch that the building
is itself a minor, but also remodeled, Belluschi?)
A few land use things of note (all of these have had hearings and work sessions and look too be live bills, if sometimes dormant, at least for the moment):
  • SB 565 - Tax credit for rehab of historic properties. Shoot, this looks stuck in committee, all too dormant!
  • HB 2293, formerly one of the speed bump bills, has been gutted and stuffed: now it would "expand scope of long-range transportation plan. Requires [Oregon Transportation] commission to review and update plan at least once every six years." Kinda dormant, though.
  • HB 2564 on inclusionary zoning. Passed the House, Public Hearing this week
  • HB 2633 on improving planning for disasters. Got a major watering down in amendments, from "adopting administrative rules" to "providing guidance." It's in committee now.
  • SB 5502 concerning North State Hospital Campus. Dormant at the moment
Carbon taxes had looked like they were going nowhere, but three of them were scheduled and kept alive in April. One of them is active into June.
  • HB 3470: Requires Environmental Quality Commission to adopt by rule statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits for years 2020 and 2050 and to adopt interim statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits consistent with 2050 limit every five years.​ Work session this week.
And not tied to a specific bill that I can find yet, conversations about the Capitol are relevant.

If the seismic retrofit for the Capitol moves forward, the current plan seems to be to relocate things to the PUC/old Sears building in the elbow of 12th Street and Union Street.

When the Capitol is temporarily relocated,
what happens to parking?
(DAS parking map with arrows added)
So some questions come to mind about parking and commutes:
  • What does this do to the parking supply?
  • Does this do to the value/price of stalls especially those that gain a block or two in distance from the Capitol? 
  • With change, is there an opportunity here to shift people from drive-alone trips to transit, walk, bike, or carpool trips? Can we get some schedule shift staggering as well to disperse rush hour traffic and use off-peak surplus capacity better?
  • And, again, if there's pork, can we get funding to complete the Union Street bikeway and greenway from Winter to the Esplanade and a connection traversing the RR line?

For all notes on the 2015 session, see here.


A. J. Zelada said...

Thanks so much for this presentation.

Anonymous said...

Onward Oregon, an advocacy group, provides this summary of the carbon bill:

"HB3470 provides for these components:
- Gives ORS 468A.205 greenhouse gas reduction goals the mandate it needs.
- Consolidates Oregon laws, rules and policies about emissions into a comprehensive framework.
- Mandates emission reductions which are real, quantifiable, verifiable, enforceable nd based on best science.
- Requires least cost implementation strategies.
- Requires full accounting methods for carbon emissions with five hyear reporting and strategic adjustment.
- Protects low income communities from economic impacts.
- Authorizes a market-based trading and auction program similar to California law AB32."

Anonymous said...

The BTA has come out in support of a bill to end profiling in law enforcement stops, and explicitly links it to vision zero -

"Increased enforcement of traffic laws is a key component of crash-elimination efforts but traffic stops disproportionately target people of color. Last year, Portland Police released a report revealing that traffic stops disproportionately involve African Americans — a pattern seen elsewhere in the state and country. As Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, recently pointed out in an interview: we cannot ignore the reality of racial profiling when we advocate for increased enforcement.

The Center for Intercultural Organizing seeks to End Profiling with HB2002.
In light of this complicated issue, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance fully supports the “end profiling” bill (HB 2002) currently moving through the Oregon Legislature."

Anonymous said...

The BTA has also sent out today an Action Alert on the Vision Zero bill -