2014 OSWA Legislative Priorities

The Board has approved OSWA’s Legislative Priorities for 2014.

The 2014 Legislative Session is a short session (35 days) and the legislature will likely be focusing on state budget issues such as how to pay for the $30MM+/- unfunded cost of fighting fires in Oregon this fire season. OSWA’s strategy will be to protect the funding we lobbied for in 2013 and oppose any unfair tax increases. We will use the 2014 session to introduce legislative concepts that we will focus on in the 2015 session such as land use parity with ag lands to construct a second home on forestland when landowner needs family assistance. OSWA has also been engaged in preliminary discussions about a possible state Catastrophic Reforestation Assistance program in locations designated as a catastrophe by the state forester. Attached is a list of OSWA’s 2014 Priorities.

2014 Legislative Priorities Final Draft

Day at the Capitol

Oregon Small Woodland Association (OSWA) actively represents the interests of family forest owners in Oregon, at the Oregon Legislature. OSWA has a full time lobbyist to represent family forest interests, we introduce and lobby bills when needed, and members testify at committee hearings on bills of importance to family forest owners. During full legislative sessions, held on odd years, OSWA holds a Day at the Capitol for its members and partners. The 2013 Day at the Capitol was on April 23rd. Over forty family forest owners visited with legislative leaders during the morning, participated in an optional tour of the golden pioneer atop the Capitol building, toured the capitol with OSWA Lobbyist Roger Beyer, individually visited some of their own representatives, and participated in an afternoon Senate Hearing on HB 2441, OSWA’s pole building bill. The hearing on HB 2441 was successful. The Senate Rural Communities and
Economic Development Committee approved HB 2441 and forwarded it to the full Senate with a do pass  recommendation.  HB 2441 had already passed the House by a 58-0 vote. Also that day, the House voted on OSWA’s HB 2615, which adds truffles to the State list of Special Forest Products. The bill passed the House with a 59-0 vote and will move on to a Senate Committee for a hearing.

2013 Day at the Capitol
2013 OSWA Day at the Capitol Attendees

The Day at the Capitol is a great opportunity to hear directly from legislative leaders about issues important to them and to hear about some of the challenges they face in finding balance with funding requests and available state resources. It is also a great opportunity for these same leaders to hear about issues important to family forest owners. Participants came away from the day’s events with a better understanding of why it is important to communicate with one’s legislative representatives and how best to do so.

OSWA’s next Day at the Capitol will be June 18, 2015.

Legislative Update – April 25, 2013

OSWA Legislative Update

OSWA’s Day at the Capitol, on Tuesday April 23rd was a great success. Over forty OSWA members and partners visited with legislative leaders during the morning, participated in an optionals tour of the golden pioneer atop the Capitol building, toured the Capitol with Roger Beyer, individually visited with representatives, and participated in the afternoon Senate Hearing on HB 2441, OSWA’s Pole Building Bill. The hearing was successful. The Senate Rural Communities and Economic Development Committee approved HB 2441 and forwarded it to the full Senate with a do pass recommendation. HB 2441 has already passed the House by a 58-0 vote.

Also that day, the House voted on OSWA’s HB 2615, which adds truffles to the State list of Special Forest Products. The bill passed the House with a 59-0 vote and will move on to a Senate Committee for a hearing sometime soon. Legislators meeting with OSWA included Senators Roblan, Oslen, Ferrioli, Girod and Dingfelder and Representatives Hoyle, McLane, Gilliam, Unger, Witt, and Speaker Kotek. Thank you to everyone who participated.

The next GAC Conference call is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM.

Call #: 1-800-861-4084
Participating code: 1036304

I will send out a reminder next week. We will still have several issues ahead of us in this session.

OSWA’s HB 2442, the farm plate bill is still waiting for a hearing in the House Revenue Committee. The committee is waiting to hear from us when we are ready. We will discuss strategies for this bill at the next GAC call.

Senate hearing on our truffle bill, HB 2615, yet to be scheduled.
The hearings on the Department of Forestry budget and the OSU Extension budget went well, but the desired funding is still in question. The Wildfire Protection Act, HB 2050, has been connected to the ODF budget process. OSWA members provided written and verbal testimony in support of these budgets, but we may need to testify again in early May. The hearing schedules are not out yet.

OFIC’s fire liability bill which is a high priority for OSWA had identical Senate and House versions. Both have passed their respective chambers, but still await a joint conference between the Senate and House to agree on the other chamber’s bill. OSWA may still need to weigh in to support this bill.
SB 401, the Wild and Scenic River Bill was modified to a study on the need for and what rivers should be included in a Wild and Scenic Rivers bill. This issue is dead for now, but will re-emerge in the future. We will need to discuss any OSWA involvement in the study group.
HB 2555, the bill that would have imposed a $15 harvest tax to encourage domestic use of Oregon timber is dead. However, the concept of increased harvest taxes for a variety of reasons could still be in play in some legislators’ minds. This concept will need to be monitored and discouraged for the remainder of this session.

Sincerely,

Jim James
Executive Director
Oregon Small Woodlands Association