Monday, April 29, 2013

Legislative Update, Week 12 - First Winnowing

Is it over yet?
So a week or two ago the first deadline passed, and bills that did not have worksessions or hearings scheduled officially died in committee.

(Sausage, it's like sausage making!  Even with the new "Oregon Legislative Information System," deadlines like this aren't posted in obvious places, and to non-experts such deadlines remain "secret voodoo" known only to initiates.  Sometimes it doesn't seem very democratic or accessible to ordinary citizens.)

Down at the end of the post is the scrap heap and dead pile.

At this point it's hard to see that any significant legislation will pass on behalf of people who bike.  Even transportation-related bills of a more general type seem to suffer from an enthusiasm gap.

Once the session ends, it's possible that the bill for which there was the most enthusiasm will be the exception from the cel phone ban for those paragons of careful and virtuous driving, the taxicab operators.


Two hearings, one on Wednesday, May 1st on a mileage tax; the other on Wednesday the 8th on the celphone exemption for taxicab operators.  See below for links to the hearings agenda.

The different piles after the jump.

Paying for the Roads

  • ConnectOregon V reform - House Bill 2310 to fund "ConnectOregon" has moved out of committee and picked up amendments to include bike/ped projects, but there has been no movement for a month now and it looks like it may be stalled.   
  • Studded tires.  House Bill 2277 is the survivor! In committee, though, it was watered down from genuine action to a call for the proverbial "further study" on the "impact" of studded tire use.  It has to make a detour into the Ways and Means committee, and then presumably will go to the floor with a "do pass" recommendation.  
  • House Bill 2453 - "Requires persons operating certain high-mileage motor vehicles to pay per-mile road usage charge or flat annual road usage charge." It continues to get hearings and at least to give the appearance of movement.  There's another hearing on May 1st.
Road Safety (and "Safety")
  • Celphones, texting, and distracted driving - Senate Bill 9 filed by Senator Courtney would "increase the penalty [for using a cel phone while driving] from a Class D violation to a Class B violation, which means the maximum fine would increase from $250 to $1,000. The minimum fine would increase from $60 to $130."  (The amendments are still baffling.  Hopefully folks will chime in with some clarification.  I have no idea what this bill really means.)  It also looks stalled in committee. Senate Bill 294 would create an exception in existing law for taxi-cab drivers to use a hand-held celphone while driving. It passed the Senate and is in the House. Hearing on the 8th.
  • House Bill 2115 would broaden the definition of intoxicating substances for the purposes of DUI citations.   It has picked up amendments, and went to the floor, but it was re-routed back to committee last week.  Could be death by procedural shuffling!
  • HB 3047 would double the length of a motor vehicle license suspension from 10 to 20 years.  In Senate Judiciary.
Active transport
and smoking
Bills Having Died without Work Sessions or Hearings
Bills Moribund in Committee, almost certain to die, or looking doubtful
  • House Bill 2338 "Creates Task Force on Extending the Westside Express Service Commuter Line to Salem."  I think this is dead.   Somewhere I read that because of the Oregon Passenger Rail study currently in process, it was felt this would have set in motion a redundant study. 
  • Senate Bill 247 on Connect Oregon
  • House Bills 2278, and 2397 would add fees to offset the damage studded tires cause, and they look dead.
  • House Joint Resolution 9 -"Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to allow revenue from taxes on motor vehicle fuel and ownership, operation or use of motor vehicles to be used for transportation projects that will prevent or reduce pollution and congestion created by use of motor vehicles."
  • Tax on CarbonHouse Bill 2792 ,  SB 537
  • This one looks like a real bummer. House Bill 2500 would have expanded the "types of costs that qualify as approved transportation costs for purposes of State School Fund distributions."  These would include "Expenditures made to improve  safety for students traveling to school by means that are not provided by the school district and that:
    (i) Include walking or using a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or similar device..."  
  • Senate Bill 756 would allow "Department of Transportation to accept donations to State Parks and Recreation Department Fund for purpose of improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Permits registered owner of vehicle to make donation to fund when registration is renewed." 
  • Senate Bill 741 would require persons "of any age to wear helmet when using bicycle, skateboard, scooter, in-line skates or roller skates when participating in organized exhibition, competition or contest." Senate Bill 742 would require kids "under 18 years of age to wear protective headgear while operating or riding on bicycle, riding on skateboard or scooter or using in-line skates or roller skates, on public or private land." 
All of this year's legislative updates are tagged 2013 Legislative Session.  If you know of something of interest, please add it in the comments!

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