OBI advocates on behalf of a strong and healthy business climate for Oregon.
Our government affairs team represents more than 1,600 member businesses each year in Salem on policy issues that impact business and industry and the economic vitality of our state. Visit this page often for updates and useful resources during each legislative session.
OBI Policy Team
2021 Legislative Report
Jan. 11, 2021 – June 26, 2021
Lawmakers faced challenges of monumental proportions: A global pandemic. Shuttered schools. Broken businesses. Widespread unemployment. Towns razed by wildfires. And a racial justice movement that is fundamentally changing our public policy frameworks.
Virtual meetings became the reality. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public was banned from the Capitol. Hearings were held virtually and conversations with legislators were left to text messages, phone calls and the occasional online connection. Providing input on legislative proposals was enormously difficult and staying updated on the latest version of legislation nearly impossible.
In an ironic twist, the session’s chief fiscal problem became what to do with too much money. The session started with a projected $2 billion deficit because of the COVID-induced recession. But, as federal stimulus payments kicked in and the global economy outperformed expectations, that deficit turned into a projected $2.8 billion surplus, on top of $1.4 billion in reserves and $2.6 billion in federal stimulus payments. State government is, quite simply, awash with money.
Your OBI team went into this session with a very straightforward policy agenda approved by our board of directors: we wanted lawmakers to refrain from enacting major new taxes and regulations so that Oregon businesses would have an opportunity to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID pandemic. We were largely successful. We tracked hundreds of bills that would impact Oregon’s employer community, stopping many of them, and influencing those that moved forward.
This report outlines many bills we tracked. We highlight the major bills that passed, the ones that died – and we are giving you a sense of the failed proposals that we expect to see again in future legislative sessions.