Legislative Report – 2015
Oregon 2015 Legislative Profile
Governor: Kate Brown (D-Portland)Legislative Majorities:
Oregon 2015 Session Overview
The Oregon legislature convened for a regular session on February 2, 2015 and adjourned on July 6, 2015.
Over 2,799 bills were introduced during the 2015 Legislative Session. Of those, fewer than 640, or 23%, have been signed by the Governor. Each proposed bill was read and analyzed through the lens of how it could or would impact the grocery business. The NWGA lobby team tracked over 500 bills this Legislative Session. Many bills presented real threats to the way we operate our businesses resulting in costly new regulations and mandates. On the contrary, some bills created opportunities for NWGA to craft good public policy, which benefited the grocery industry. The following is a compilation of the good, the bad, and the ugly, which NWGA tackled on your behalf.
The beginning of the session held political controversy over ethics complaints regarding then-Gov. Kitzhaber’s (D) fiancé, Cylvia Hayes, and her role within his administration. A government whistleblower provided internal emails to the press, which displayed potential conflicts of interest between Ms. Hayes’ role as first lady and her work as an environmental consultant. Ultimately this controversy led to the resignation of Gov. Kitzhaber (D) on February 13, 2015, an investigation continues into the potential ethics violations of his administration. On February 18, 2015, Secretary of State, Kate Brown (D), was sworn in as the 38th Governor of Oregon.
Oregon bucked the national trend in November of 2014 by being the only state on the West Coast that did not pick up Republican Legislative seats. In fact both chambers picked up Democrat seats—extending the Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate (the Senate with a supermajority – enough votes from one party to raise taxes). As such, the 35-25 majority Democratic House and 18-12 majority Democratic Senate left many of us advocating on behalf of Oregon employers braced for what could be a very difficult legislative session.
NWGA Sponsored Legislation
Senate Bill 2803 – OLCC/Redemption Center Enforcement and Compliance
Summary: HB 2803 revises the reporting and compliance requirements of the OLCC when approving Oregon Bottle Bill redemption centers. It establishes a reasonable timeline and process for dealer/retailer compliance and timely OLCC enforcement to guarantee that non-participating dealer/retailers are in compliance with the existing law. In 2013, SB 117 was adopted which required non-participating retailers to meet specific convenience criteria and offer equivalent services. However, in the last 2 years OLCC has been reluctant to use their existing civil penalty authority for non-participating retailers. HB 2803 requires the OLCC to act. Specifically, OLCC determines a dealer is in violation, the Commission must provide the dealer with written notice of the violation. The dealer must cure the violation within 60 days to avoid a civil penalty. If violations are not cured within 60 days, OLCC is required to impose a civil penalty of at least $200 per day. All penalties recovered from such violations shall be paid to the State Treasury and credited to the General Fund.
The Joint Ways and Means Committee provided OLCC with $133,738 Other Funds expenditure limitation and one permanent full-time position (0.75 FTE). The new position is a Compliance Specialist 3 and will manage increased workload anticipated under House Bill 2803.
Impact to Industry: Non-participating retailer compliance will reduce redemption center costs to those participating retailers by over $440,000 in the first year.
History of the Bottle Bill:
Budget and Taxes
The original legislation on 2013 was opposed vigorously by pharmacies, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers because it was premature to act, biosimilars posed no immediate safety issue and it impeded or limited biosimilar substitution due to a provision in the bill that required physician notification provision to substitute a biologic with a biosimilar. NWGA eventually went neutral on the bill in 2013 which sunsets the physician notification provision.
Impact to Industry: Physician notification is unnecessary for a pharmacist to be able to substitute a biologic drug with a biosimilar.
Sentry Page Protection
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NWGA Lobby Team:
Legislative Director & Oregon Lobbyist