Interim Task Force and Rulemaking Update
OBI’s policy team participates in and monitors task forces and agency rulemaking processes. Task forces typically focus on issues that may become legislation. Rulemaking involves the implementation of laws or executive orders. Below are updates on significant task forces and rulemaking efforts.
Education and Workforce
‘Student Voice’ Task Force: The first meetings of the Joint Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education – aka the Student Voice Task Force – took place at the end of March. The task force will continue to hold in-person and virtual meetings on campuses across the state through the end of July. OBI has been asked to identify businesses to participate in task force roundtable discussions A complete schedule of task force visits and meetings can be found here.
The Legislature created the task force in 2021 to develop policy and funding proposals to help students from populations with comparatively low higher-education enrollment. For each meeting, OBI has been asked to identify two or three local business representatives to discuss preparation for students entering the workforce. Given today’s workforce shortages, the contribution of business voices to the task force is critical.
If you’d like to learn more or participate, please contact Morgan Beltz.
Employment and Labor
PFMLI: The Oregon Employment Department is working on the latest batch of rules related to the Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program. The Legislature established the program in 2019, and employers that don’t offer equivalent plans will begin to pay into the program early in 2023, as will their employees. The employment department is likely to introduce multiple bills during the 2023 legislative to address both technical and substantive changes to the program. Meanwhile, OBI hopes to work on legislation for 2023 that will ensure that PFMLI will work smoothly with the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), which provides unpaid time off. OBI is working with the employment department to hold several webinars this year, beginning this spring or early summer with a PFMLI overview, followed by a webinar on equivalent plans.
Heat and Smoke Rules: We expect Oregon OSHA to announce in late April or early May that the agency has adopted administrative rules to protect employees from excessive heat and smoke. OSHA intends to have the rules in place by May in anticipation of summer heat and wildfires. OBI and business-coalition partners submitted comments on the final proposed rules recently. As soon as OSHA announces the rules, we will schedule a compliance webinar.
For employment and labor questions, contact Paloma Sparks.
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
Air Permitting: OBI is participating in a major Department of Environmental Quality rulemaking process that seeks significant, fundamental changes to the air quality permitting program. OBI and a broader coalition of businesses and associations, represented by Stoel Rives, have submitted comments in response to Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting 1, RAC Meeting 2 and RAC Meeting 3. We have expressed concern that the result of the proposals being discussed will make the program more complex and costly, but not more effective Two meetings remain: April 15 and May 2, after which the proposed rules will be released for public comment. The new rules are slated for adoption in November.
Clean Fuels Expansion: We are monitoring the rulemaking process to expand Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, which reduces the “carbon intensity” of road fuels by increasing the use of low-carbon biofuels and other alternatives. The Clean Fuels expansion rulemaking is a product of Gov. Brown’s executive order 20-04 to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions. This rulemaking follows a worrisome trend in which agencies increase the stringency of regulatory programs beyond the requirements included in the executive order that triggered them. While the executive order recommends reducing the carbon intensity of fuels by 25% by 2050, DEQ is recommending a 37% reduction. More than 10 state agency rulemakings have been undertaken as a result of the executive order. We expect the proposed rules to be released for comment this summer and presented to the Environmental Quality Commission in the fall for adoption.
For environment, energy and natural resources questions, contact Sharla Moffett.
Universal Health Care: OBI is monitoring the Task Force on Universal Health Care, which the Legislature established in 2019 to recommend a universal health-care system. On April 5, the task force released a pair of funding scenarios for the system, which would cost about $25 billion per year. The adoption of such a program is unlikely, but the work of the task force is worth following. The scenarios contemplate private sector payroll tax rates as high as 10%, personal income tax rates as high as 13% for upper-income Oregonians and corporate income rates as high as 12.5%. One of the options contemplates a 6% sales tax. The revenue estimates begin on page 72 of the linked document above.
For health care questions, contact Morgan Beltz.
Product Labeling: OBI is monitoring the Truth in Labeling Task Force established by the 2021 passage of recycling-modernization legislation. The task force is reviewing options for Oregon-specific packaging label requirements, including the potential replacement of the universal recycling “chasing arrows” symbol with labels indicating recyclability in Oregon. OBI is not on the task force but seeks to delay any Oregon decisions until the conclusion of a similar effort in California, which represents a much larger market. The task force must submit a report to the Legislature by June 1. Implementation of any new requirements likely will happen over a period exceeding three years, in part due to the need to develop a comprehensive statewide recyclability list.
Consumer Privacy: The Attorney General’s Consumer Privacy Task Force has begun to meet again following the 2022 legislative session. The task force has been meeting for several years to develop legislation and is currently working on the bill section-by-section starting with definitions in preparation for comprehensive privacy legislation that will be introduced during the 2023 session. OBI will continue to urge that any legislation allow for the continued use of customer loyalty programs and other similar programs.
For retail questions, contact Paloma Sparks.
Urban Density: We are following the Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rulemaking process. The rules, which the agency hopes to adopt this spring or summer, are intended to restrict vehicle traffic by increasing the density of urban development and creating communities where very little driving is required. Sharla Moffett recently shared with the Land Conservation and Development Commission OBI’s concerns about the proposed rules, which will decrease the supply of buildable land available for businesses, reduce parking needed for retailers and place burdensome requirements on home construction, driving up the cost of housing even further. Several cities also offered comments expressing concern with the proposal. The process was initiated by Gov. Brown’s 2020 executive order requiring state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I-5 Bridge: We are following the progress of the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, the bridge in question being the Interstate 5 bridge connecting Portland and Vancouver, Wash. Members of the IBR executive team will present updates to the OBI Transportation Steering Committee on April 14 at 9:30 a.m. All OBI members are welcome to attend the virtual meeting. Given the bridge’s role as a critical trade conduit, OBI is working to ensure that the new bridge expands road capacity.
For transportation questions, contact Sharla Moffett.
Manufacturer Profile: Boeing
Most people associate Boeing with the Seattle area, and for good reason. But the aerospace giant also plays a significant manufacturing role in Oregon, where its work receives less recognition than it should.
Boeing manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles through wholly owned subsidiary Insitu. It makes aircraft parts at its Gresham facility, a company Center of Excellence for complex machining. And it is a founding partner of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center.
Read more about Boeing on our website.
Manufacturer Profile: Roy Manufacturing and Profile Laser
You’ve seen their work if you’ve walked through Clocktower Plaza at Portland International Airport, visited the Salem Convention Center … or if you’re a fish and you’ve been saved by a screen from swimming in an unhealthy direction.
Read more about these manufacturers and check out their work on our website.
Member News: Alaska Named Top Airline
Aviation Week Network’s Air Transport World (ATW) has named OBI member Alaska Airlines the 2022 ATW Airline of the Year. Alaska was chosen by an independent board of ATW and Aviation Week Network editors and analysts, who cited the company’s leadership under CEO Ben Minicucci and its strong financial and operational performance during a difficult 2021.
Alaska received this award in 1990, and sister airline Horizon Air was named Regional Airline of the Year in 2007.
Welcome, New Members
OBI welcomes the following members, who joined during the first quarter of 2022:
- National Federation of Independent Business
- St. Andrew Nativity School
- Bridgetown Electric
- Boring Bark and Landscape Supply
- Impact of Oregon
- Thrive Services, Inc.
- Connections Northwest
- Don Marjama Nursery
- Trupp HR
- Greyslak Dental LLC
- The Suran Group
- Dick’s Canby Ford
- Crawford Drummond + Associates
- Precise Flight Inc.
- All Family Vision Care
- Biomass One
- The Tumalo Group
- R.D. Building and Design LLC/IFS Design
- Robbins Electric Inc.
- River Refuge Seed LLC
- Corvallis Radiology
- Siskiyou Pediatric Clinic LLP
- Art Signs Inc.
- JBL Signs Striping & Supplies LLC
- Garden First LLC
- Flourish Contractors
- Stone Solid Installation Co.
- Star J. Construction LLC
- Select Sales Inc.
- Rever Grand LLC