Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Legislative Update - The Final Reckoning

The Legislature called it a session late yesterday. There just doesn't seem to be a whole lot to say about it. In a larger context of "business as usual," I see small, incremental things mostly. Nothing that is wonderful for people who bike, and nothing catastrophic. (Do you see anything else or want to characterize it otherwise?)

Undated early view of 1876 Oregon Capitol
(before Portico addition of 1888)
via State Capitol 75th Anniversary site
Bills that passed recently:
  • HB 2621 for expanded photo speed enforcement pilot project in Portland.
  • SB 463 would permit darker tints in car windows with "letter from doctor."
  • HB 2002 The Portland BTA came out with a important observation about traffic stops, racial profiling, and vision zero. As we ramp up vision zero approaches to safety and call for more traffic enforcement, we need to ensure there is enforcement for actually dangerous or unlawful behavior, and less "stop and frisk" for potential or phantom or trivial lawbreaking. HB 2002 calls for important steps to end racial profiling by law enforcement.
  • HB 2274 Changes name of "Connect Oregon Fund" and renews it for another cycle. This makes $42 million in video poker and lottery dollars available for marine, rail, air, bike/ped projects outside of the public road right-of-way.
  • SB 5502 concerning North State Hospital Campus. The "Enterprise Asset Management" line item went from $8.3 million for that project to $100 million for a whole lot more, and from the bill alone it is not possible to say what is envisioned. 
Bills that passed earlier in the session:

  • 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.
  • 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.
Bills and concepts that failed:
  • HB 3255 Originally requiring additional reflective clothing at night, but now with two sets of proposed amendments for a rear light instead of just a reflector at night. 
  • HB 2736 would establish a Task Force on Vision Zero. Looks pretty dead. 
  • SB 565 - Tax credit for rehab of historic properties.  
  • HB 2564 on inclusionary zoning.
  • HB 2633 on improving planning for disasters.
  • 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.​ 
  • Fees on studded tires
  • More stringent testing and license renewal for drivers over 75  
  • Gas tax and carbon tax reform
  • The larger transportation package - though it wasn't very good, and taking a mulligan on it might be for the best
  • Bike licensing
  • WES/Commuter rail study
  • Seismic work for the Capitol building itself. (A lot of criticism of the Capitol project goes like, "when the earthquake hits, I'll be worried most about my family; the Capitol is the last thing I'll be worrying about." But apart from the immediate loss of life, another important cost to not stabilizing the Capitol is how our descendents would feel about it 75 years down the road after it is lost - just like we feel the loss today of the 1876 Capitol in the 1935 fire.)
They'll reconvene in February.


Interesting piece on personality conflict between the Speaker and President of the Senate:

For all notes on the 2015 session, see here.


Anonymous said...

The Bend Bulletin has more on the "gang of 8" and failed transportation package -

There's significantly more detail on how Big Oil drove the ostensible "compromise":

"While the Gang of Eight worked in private and almost exclusively with Brown policy advisers, lobbyists for the oil industry who oppose the low-carbon fuel standard were kept up-to-date and even outlined part of the new package that would have repealed and replaced the standard.

Because the standard aims for a 7.7-million ton reduction of greenhouse gas pollution in 10 years, lawmakers agreed that was the minimum target they’d need to reach to try to swap the program for new carbon cuts and road funding.

Internal documents from the group show a large piece of the proposed carbon-cutting scheme was associated with three prominent oil and industry lobbyists: Paul Romain, Bob Russell and Brian Doherty.

The so-called “Doherty/Russell/Romain concept” came largely from the framework of two proposed ballot measures to water down or repeal the standard filed on May 20, a week after The Bulletin first reported Brown had pulled leaders together to try to salvage a bipartisan transportation deal.

The work group used the ballot measure largely as a blueprint that would cut carbon emissions through blending biofuel “as long as the fuel is commercially available, technologically feasible, and cost effective.”"

Anonymous said...

Since it's 57pp long, not sure this really counts as a "summary," but here's the ODOT summary of legislation: