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Reflections on the 2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 legislative session ended amid a media whirlwind. Like so many advocates, we were thrilled when a quorum returned to the capitol on June 29-30 to wrap up critical business.

 

The list of affordable housing wins and ground-breaking legislation passed this session is wonderfully long. Here are a few highlights:

  • SB 608 – Renters’ Protections
  • HB 2001 – The Speaker’s bill promoting “Missing Middle” development
  • HB 5005 – $150 million allocation for LIFT
  • HB 2164 – Includes EITC increase and renewal, plus important Oregon IDA program tax credit formula adjustment

 

All of us at Habitat for Humanity of Oregon tremendously appreciated the outstanding affiliate turnout for our Cost of Home kickoff event on the Capitol steps. Special thanks to North Willamette Habitat and Habitat of the Mid-Willamette Valley for helping with the event logistics. You literally made this event possible. The Cost of Home kickoff event is one of many instances where affiliate leaders stepped up to directly support our most-aggressive legislative agenda to date. Once again, thank you to so many of you who joined us for Habitat at the Capitol, who contacted your legislators with specific requests to support bills and who helped to garner unprecedented earned media.

 

The 2019 legislative session is also the first time Habitat for Humanity of Oregon contracted with a lobby team. Elise and Peter Brown of ebi Public Affairs ensured that we had daily representation at the Capitol. We have truly appreciated their joyful, professional and tireless support.

 

As well as immediate legislative victories, our cumulative efforts this session have strengthened Habitat for Humanity’s relationships with both legislative leaders and other affordable housing advocates. Thank you! It is an honor to serve in the capitol as a face of Habitat for Humanity’s wonderful work across the state.

 

2019 Legislative Priorities

  • Renters’ Protections (SB 608): Passed.
  • Addressing the Missing Middle (HB 2001): Passed.
  • Receivership Technical Fix (HB 2285): Passed.
  • New LIFT Allocation (HB 5005): $150 million allocation for LIFT. This amount is up from $80 million last biennium.
  • Increase the EITC (Now HB 2164): 1% increase to Oregon’s EITC — from 8% to 9% of the federal credit for all eligible households, with an extra boost to 12% for households with children under age 3.
  • Increase Oregon IDA (Now HB 2164): Tax credit formula adjustment will help to keep the program viable in the context of newly passed federal corporate tax laws. This program is fully funded through 2020 and advocates anticipate returning during the short session to renew and increase the tax credit.
  • Healthy Homes (HB 2802): This bill was not passed or funded.
  • Oregon MID Reform: This bill was not passed. The MID coalition’s lead agency, Oregon Center for Public Policy, recently received an advocacy grant from Meyer Memorial Trust that will help to fund polling on this key initiative.