Without a Quorum, no bills from the 2020 Short Session will go into effect
On Feb. 23, the Joint Ways and Means Committee passed SB 1530 known as “Cap and Trade” onto the Senate floor. Protesting this bill, 11 of the 12 Senate Republicans left the Capitol to deny the Senate a quorum. The following day, 21 of the House Republicans also left the Capitol in protest of SB 1530.
The Oregon Constitution requires both the House and Senate to have two-thirds of members present in order to conduct business. Committees with a simple majority have continued to meet in the interim, but do not have sufficient authority to enact legislation or approve budget items.
We are all waiting to see if the House and Senate Republicans will return to provide a quorum. Without a quorum, the session will end on March 8th and none of this legislation can go into effect. If there is no quorum and the session ends on Sunday, we’ll have to wait to see if the Governor calls a special session to address the budget.
Bills that did not receive funding recommendations
SB 1532 — Healthy Homes Pilot Program: Unfortunately, our Healthy Homes request did not make it into the list of items that the Joint Ways and Means committee recommended for funding. We will strategize with our colleagues on how best to bring this concept back for funding in the future.
HB 4070 — Craft3 Septic Loan Program: This bill did not make it to the budget.
Habitat Oregon Legislative Priorities Included in the Proposed Budget
Oregon IDA Initiative (Neighborhood Partnerships and the Oregon Housing Alliance are leading this effort): The final budget balance or “Christmas Tree” bill includes $4.5 million to keep the Oregon IDA Initiative whole through the remainder of this biennium. Separate legislation, SB 1531 contains language to switch the funding source for this program from tax credits to general operating dollars in future years.
HB 4003 — Addressing Racial Disparities in Homeownership Workgroup Package: The final version of this bill included in the budget sets aside $5 million for the following priorities:
- $2 million for additional down payment assistance
- $2 million for outreach and technical assistance to ensure communities of color have access to homeownership resources
- $1 million for Individual Development Account savers working towards homeownership
HB 4039 — EMO’s 3 Strategies to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness: The budget includes $2.5 million for pursuing the three approaches outlined by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
Other Key Affordable Housing Bills included in budget or poised for passage:
- $50 million in general obligation, Article XI-Q bonds for LIFT (for a total of $200 M this biennium);
- $10 million in general fund dollars for preserving and maintaining existing affordable housing (for a total of $35 million this biennium!);
- $6 million to add to the Land Acquisition Program;
- $5.5 million in Disaster recovery money for housing in areas in Eastern Oregon impacted by the floods (including rapid rehousing and home replacements).
To learn about other affordable housing priorities this legislative session, please visit the Housing Alliance Website for regular updates.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to build strong relationships with state legislators and advocate in support of key policies to promote safe and stable homes for Oregonians of all income ranges. While it is exciting to see so many critical pieces of affordable housing legislation poised for success, it is frustrating to know that this session may end without any bills going into effect.