Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Legislative Update, Sine Die - The Final Recking!

Buy a lottery ticket,
Support bikeways!
The Legislature adjourned on Monday, and a few weeks ago it was looking like nothing significant for people who bike would become law.

In a surprising dark horse win, one of the ConnectOregon bills came through with language making bike/ped projects eligible to compete for lottery funds.

A couple of other odds-n-ends passed as well.

Bills that Passed:
  • ConnectOregon V reform - While House Bill 2310 to fund "ConnectOregon" stalled, in a separate effort aided it seems by the BTA, Senate Bill 260 emerged from the back room and passed both houses.  Back in April it seemed dead in committee, but July 7th, it was resurrected and the bike/ped language added.  As introduced SB 260 did not contain the bike/ped language.  BikePortland has more on the bill that makes lottery funds available on a competitive basis for non-highway multi-modal projects.  Bike/Ped projects will compete against rail, air, transit - big projects and big interests.  It might be a step in the direction of "least cost planning."  Here's the BTA's statement.  (But see below for inconsistency with the bill that as I understand it actually authorizes the monies.)
  • Celphones, texting, and distracted driving - Senate Bill 294 creates an exception in existing law for taxi-cab drivers to use a hand-held celphone while driving.  Like SB 260, in a last-minute win, Senate Bill 9 filed by Senator Courtney increases the penalty for using a cel phone while driving from a Class D violation to a Class C violation, which means the maximum fine would increase from $250 to $500.
  • HB 3047 doubles the length of a motor vehicle license suspension from 10 to 20 years under certain conditions. 
  • While bills to enact a carbon tax failed, Senate Bill 306 to study a carbon tax did pass.
  • It's over!  And I'm thinking of
    no more parking garages.
  • Bonds and Budgets and Earmarks and Pork:  In bills not followed here previously, HB 5507 allocates $35 million from bonds for a "Capitol Master Plan."  There are rumors that because of - wait for it! - the high cost of parking, DAS has realized they don't want to build more parking garages and instead wants to invest aggressively in alternatives to drive-alone commute trips!  Look for more on this later in the month. It'll be interesting to learn more about the scope of the $35M.  (Update - it's just for the Capitol Building itself; the Capitol Mall Plan will be something else, and it is not nearly so far along.)  The Salem River Crossing planning process has blown $7M, the Columbia River Crossing $170M - so this would seem to be a midpoint in expected scope.  A companion bill, HB 5533, also allocates $42 million for ConnectOregon (see above) - but interestingly does not include the bike/ped language in SB 260.  Will the inconsistency be an issue?  HB 5533 also sends $3.5 million to Cherriots for the Keizer Transit Station.
(Interestingly, HB 2322 contains pork for Multnomah and Washington County transportation projects. Why not other counties, hmmm?)

I think that's it.  The scrapheap of failed bills after the jump.

Paying for the Roads.
  • House Bill 2453 - "Requires persons operating certain high-mileage motor vehicles to pay per-mile road usage charge or flat annual road usage charge."  Having been sent back to committee to avoid a floor vote, this appears to have died at the very last minute on July 7th!
  • House Bill 2276 would increase the gas tax.  
  • Senate Bill 769 "Requires registration of bicycles. Imposes $10 registration fee."
  • House Bill 2338 "Creates Task Force on Extending the Westside Express Service Commuter Line to Salem."    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 247House Bill 3348 on Connect Oregon
  • House Bills 22772278, and 2397 would add fees to offset the damage studded tires cause.  2277 was watered down to a study, and that didn't even pass.
  • 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 537HB 2874HB 2497
  • 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 have allowed "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." 
Road Safety
  • House Bill 2115 would have broadened the definition of intoxicating substances for the purposes of DUI citations.   
  • House Bill 2732 was a ban on headphone while on bike and allows mopeds on multi-use paths.  
  • Senate Bill 332 would have established a "Task  Force  on  Bicycle  Safety." 
  • House Bill 3320 would have created a new residential speed limit of 20 mph.  
  • Senate Bill 741 would have required 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 have required 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!


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Quick update: The Capitol Mall Plan and Capitol Master Plan are distinct and the $35M is for the Capitol building itself, not planning for the larger mall area. More to come on this latter, but it's still in the early stages.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Over at Doug's Transportation Ramblings, Doug writes about HB 2384, which was signed into law, and could make a dent into the continued driving by those whose licenses have been suspended:

"HB 2384 will allow local police to seize a driver’s vehicle for forfeiture if the driver is convicted of criminal or aggravated driving while suspended or revoked—the most egregious types of driving suspended—and were previously been convicted of the same offense within the previous three years."