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Midterm Election Update

The outcomes of key federal and state races have yet to be determined three days after Tuesday’s midterm election.

On the federal level, Republicans appear poised to win a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, though several races remain too close to call. Control of the Senate also had not been determined as of Friday morning and may not be until a December runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

Vote counting continues in Oregon as well. Ballots received through Nov. 15 will be processed. Meanwhile, elections officials in a handful of counties continue to process ballots that have been received already. The Oregonian has written about Clackamas County’s efforts to process as many as 65,000 remaining ballots, to which end election officials will continue to work on Veterans Day and Saturday.

As of Friday, Democrat Tina Kotek maintained a lead of three percentage points over Republican Christine Drazan in the gubernatorial race, a gap large enough for key media organizations to call the race for Kotek.

Races in a pair of congressional races remained extremely close Friday. In the 5th Congressional District, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer maintained a lead of two percentage points over Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and The Oregonian has called the race in her favor. And in the new 6th Congressional District, Democrat Andrea Salinas maintained a lead of one percentage point over Republican Mike Erickson.

The outcomes of a few significant legislative races also had not been determined as of Friday morning. Notably, however, Democrats have lost their three-fifths supermajority in the Senate, which had allowed them to approve new taxes without support from any members of the minority party.

For continuing election coverage, check out The Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Secretary of State’s Office.


Notable News

HP Manufacturing: HP, which conducts printer research at its Corvallis campus, hopes to bring some manufacturing jobs back to Oregon if it can access federal CHIPS Act funding, The Oregonian reports.

Dairy Permitting: The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission has rejected a petition asking it to regulate air pollution from large dairies, the Salem Statesman Journal reports. The petition was filed in August by 22 advocacy groups, and the EQC’s vote to reject it was unanimous.

Wilhelms Op-Ed: In an op-ed that appeared Nov. 8 in The Oregonian, OBI President and CEO Angela Wilhelms discusses Oregon’s soaring business tax burden and its implications for Oregonians and public services. You can read the op-ed here and OBI’s recently released tax-burden study here.


Rulemaking and Task Force Update

Consumer Privacy Concept: The Oregon Attorney General’s Office has released the first draft of a long-awaited privacy bill, which among other things would require entities that process personal data to tell consumers how their data is managed and shared. It also would assess penalties for misuse. Policy team members Paloma Sparks and Morgan Beltz are reviewing the draft, which you can read here. OBI will prioritize the preservation of language that allows for the continued use of customer loyalty programs and the like. OBI continues to oppose the inclusion of individual lawsuits as an enforcement mechanism.

Recycling Modernization: The rulemaking advisory committee (RAC) implementing the 2021 Recycling Modernization Act met on Nov. 9. The discussion focused on recyclable materials lists, transportation reimbursement and the inadvisability of assuming that strategies that work well in the Portland area will succeed elsewhere. One such proposal would eliminate curbside glass pickup under the assumption that people would bring their glass to dispersed depots to be recycled. This proposal, some noted, ignores the likelihood that recycling will decrease as inconvenience increases. The committee will meet next on Jan. 11. Paloma Sparks represents OBI members on the RAC.

Pay Equity Law and Signing Bonuses: An exception to Oregon’s pay equity law that allowed employers to offer hiring and retention bonuses without conducting equity analyses expired at the end of September. A legislative fix is required to address the problem, and OBI has requested the introduction of a bill that would create a permanent pay-equity exemption for such bonuses. The bill is being drafted with the expectation that it will be introduced during the 2023 legislative session. As OBI talks with legislators about this issue, it would be helpful to share real-world stories illustrating the value of signing and retention bonuses and the problems caused by effectively banning them. To share yours, please reach out to Paloma Sparks via email.


Member News

Radie wins Woman of Year: The American Frozen Food Institute has selected Boardman Foods VP of Operations Debbie Radie (photo) to receive its inaugural Woman of the Year Award. AFFI is a national trade association representing all segments of the frozen food supply chain.

OBI Members Honored: The Portland Business Journal recognized several OBI members during its annual Maker and Manufacturer Awards celebration Nov. 10. Congratulations, Agility Robotics, Georgia-Pacific, The Greenbrier Cos., and Willamette Technical Fabricators. Congratulations as well to Patrick Criteser, CEO of Tillamook County Creamery Association, who was named Manufacturing Executive of the Year.


Watch Recent Webinars

Future Ready Oregon Progress

Watch a recording here.

The Oregon Legislature this year passed Gov. Kate Brown’s Future Ready Oregon plan, a $200 million initiative to prepare Oregonians for jobs in health care, manufacturing and technology. The state Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) oversees the expenditure of much of this money and works with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries and employment department to collect data on effectiveness.

So how has implementation been going, and how can businesses engage with this program? Executive Director Ben Cannon and Future Ready Oregon Director Jennifer Purcell joined OBI for a discussion on Nov. 1.


Are You Ready for Paid Leave Oregon?

Watch a recording here.

Oregon’s new paid family and medical leave insurance program, Paid Leave Oregon, will soon become operational. Employers must submit payroll contributions to fund the program beginning Jan. 1, and employees can start applying for benefits on Sept. 3. In the meantime, many employers are weighing whether to participate in the state-administered leave program or an equivalent program offered by an insurance provider.

This webinar covered much of what employers need to know as Jan. 1 approaches. It features Laura Rosenbaum, an employment attorney with Stoel Rives, and Jessica Bolar, senior product manager for paid family and medical leave with The Standard.


Managing Claims Costs with Return to Work Services

Watch a recording here.

Experts with SAIF explained how employers can manage the post-injury process, get their employees back to work and mitigate claim costs using the Return to Work services team at SAIF and the Employer-at-Injury and Preferred Worker Program benefits. The webinar was offered through OBI’s CompSAFE program.


OSHA Heat and Smoke Rules

Watch a recording here.

Experts with Oregon OSHA provided an overview of the recently adopted heat and smoke rules and answered questions from OBI members.


Union Organizing Dos and Don’ts

Watch a recording here.

Attorney Nicole Elgin with Barran Liebman LLP explained what managers and supervisors should know, do and not do when confronted by a union organizing drive.


Oregon Business Plan Update

Watch a recording here.

Oregon Business Council President Duncan Wyse delivered a midyear progress report on the Oregon Business Plan and answered questions from webinar participants.


Student Success Act Implementation

Watch a recording here.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Education joined OBI to discuss the implementation of the 2019 Student Success Act, which generates roughly $1 billion per year for education through the state’s corporate activity tax.