Monday, February 9, 2015

Legislative Update, Week 1 - Carbon v. Hayes

You might know about an east coast band, "this bike is a pipe bomb," whose stickers occasionally scared folks and brought out the bomb squad. A few bikes were "neutralized" and destroyed over the years as a result.

BikePortland caught wind of SB 177, a bill that would license bikes and end the provisions of the McCall-era Bike Bill, and I wonder if they took it too seriously.

Perhaps the only thing that needs to be said about it is that it was introduced at the request of a constituent, and the very same constituent also requested SB 176, which would prohibit Oregon courts from applying Sharia law.

To the bills.

Bike licensing:
  • SB 177 Bike licensing and repeal of Bike Bill
  • SB 551 Bike licensing and repeal of Bike Bill
 Other Bike-relevant and transportation bills:
  • A pod of bills about speed bumps: HB 2281, HB 2282, HB 2283, HB 2293, HB 2730, HB 2736
  • HB 2256 Cleans up language about PIP in auto insurance (not sure if it's a policy change or just housekeeping on language)
  • HB 2274 Changes name of "Connect Oregon Fund"; also HB 2275; and HB 2740
  • HB 2552 fees for studded tires 
  • HB 2620 would require ODOT to inventory ODOT land and determine if it is really needed transportation
  • HB 2819 to require drivers over the age of 75 to take annual license exams
  • HB 5040 ODOT Biennial Budget 
  • SB 120 expands the definition of ways to meet "mobility standards" and includes "reducing congestion in other modes of travel" - which seems ambiguous, but could as the language is adjusted mean something like "reduce auto congestion by means of improvements in bike lanes and transit (etc)"
  • SB 511 creates a study on DUI and recidivism (many DUI cases are repeat offenders)
Lots of carbon things:
The gas tax will be at the center of transportation package
But Rs don't like the low-carbon fuel standard
While some Republicans are posing an either/or show-down between raising the gas tax and continuing the low-carbon fuel standard, and locally we love our SeQuential Biofuel plant, there are serious questions whether agricultural land should be used for fuels rather than food. Instead of trying to create "better" fuel so we feel ok about using it, maybe we should just try to use less fuel. In any case, SB 324 looks to have made it out of committee and to the Senate floor on a strict party-line vote last week.

No seismic reinforcements for bridges yet. The Connect Oregon change looked like renaming the general program, not an appropriation for the next round.

The Portland Bicycle Transportation Alliance published their legislative priorities for the session, and they aren't actually very bike-centric. Instead, they are more about the general funding and maintenance problem. Instead of going at it on their own, they are participating in a larger coalition, "Transportation for Oregon's Future." The Oregon Environmental Council has more on the larger aims - though the coalition doesn't seem to have its own website or messaging arm.

Interestingly, the Oregon Active Transportation Summit, which in odd years has held sessions here in Salem in order to support a Legislative Lobby Day, this year will be in Portland.

Gov. Kitzhaber
by Henk Pander
Finally, as a major, major subtext - so major it may end up being the main text itself of the session - there is what may be the Governor's own implosion over his main squeeze. It seems likely it will diminish the possibilities for transformative legislation and push things towards a minimalist agenda and set of accomplishments. If more seemed within reach, now mediocrity may be the best we can expect in 2015. This will almost certainly impact the scope and nature of a transportation package as well as any climate/carbon initiatives.

Update, February 13th

The day before the State's birthday, it's over.


Anonymous said...

Here's Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian with a preliminary assessment of the scandal's impact -

Mike D said...

There's a House bill to expand WES to Salem too.

Anonymous said...

It just gets worse. The way the Governor removed Mater from the OTC now looks like a possible prelude to the lapses in judgement unfolding this week. It's all very strange.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with clip from resignation letter.