Approaching the Finish Line: Week 4 Legislative Update

The road to getting an important bill passed can take a lot of twists and turns. This is even truer when there are a variety of different bills coming together as part of a negotiated package. But the clock is ticking, and we need legislators to produce a strong set of housing policies to preserve and increase housing opportunity for Oregonians. While key policy bills continue to move through the process, we do have great news that our funding priorities have made it into the budget recommendations! Here’s an update for the fourth week of the 2016 session:

Housing Alliance agenda priorities

Tenant protections, including 90 days’ notice for rent increases and no rent increases in the first year of tenancy (HB 4143): Passed the Senate Committee on Rules.

Inclusionary zoning (SB 1533): Passed out of the Senate and scheduled for hearing before the House Committee on Rules on Feb. 29. You can read a summary of this current version of the bill here. (The Housing Alliance is now neutral on this bill.)

Local Innovation and Fast Track housing program parameters (SB 1582): Passed full Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Removing the sunset on property tax exemptions for affordable housing (HB 4081): Scheduled for third reading by the Senate on Feb. 27.

Funding priorities

We are thrilled that our funding priorities have made it into the budget bill, SB 5701! These resources will make a real difference in increasing housing stability by helping prevent and end homelessness, ensuring we don’t lose any affordable units, and helping homeowners avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. The budget recommendations include the following appropriations:

  • Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program: $10 million
  • Preservation of existing affordable housing units: $2.5 million
  • Foreclosure counseling: $2.73 million

Support agenda items

Restoring General Assistance (HB 4042): Scheduled for second reading in the House on Feb. 29 and third reading on March 1.

Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for families with young children (HB 4110): Scheduled for second reading on Feb. 27.

Increasing resources for veterans (HJR 202): The Housing Alliance has voted to support House Joint Resolution 202. This resolution would put a ballot measure to the voters allocating a percentage of lottery revenues for veterans’ issues. This would help more veterans take advantage of the federal benefits they have earned and promote housing stability for veterans. This resolution has moved out of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue on Feb. 26, with an amendment setting the allocation at 1.5%.

Bills to watch 

The Housing Alliance does not have a position on these bills, although they are being discussed as part of the package of housing bills along with tenant protections and inclusionary zoning.

HB 4079 (pilot programs to expand the urban growth boundary for affordable housing): Scheduled for second reading on Feb. 29 and third reading on March 1.

SB 1573 (ending voter approved annexation): Scheduled for third reading on Feb. 27.

Support bills not moving

We do not anticipate further action on HB 4120 (increasing the percentage of the EITC), HB 4144 (EITC utilization task force), and HB 4043 (increase in document recording fee and creating a capital gains tax exemption for market properties sold as affordable housing). Additional funding for 211info did not make it into the budget bill.