LEGISLATIVE & POLITICAL

Executive Council Takes Position on 9 Bills

February 26, 2019 / Heather Nahmias

At its February 14, 2019 meeting, the PSU-AAUP Executive Council considered recommendations from our Legislative Committee and took majority supporting positions on the following bills of interest:

 

HB 2020: SUPPORT

Relating to greenhouse gas emissions; declaring an emergency.

Establishes Joint Committee on Climate Action. Establishes purposes of Oregon Climate Action Program and provisions for investment of moneys received by state as proceeds from auctions conducted under program. Requires program to place cap on greenhouse gas emissions that are regulated emissions and provide market-based mechanism for covered entities to demonstrate compliance with program. Sets forth certain other requirements for program and for rules adopted by Director of Carbon Policy Office related to program. Establishes certain funds. Sets forth requirements for uses of moneys deposited in funds. Authorizes Public Utility Commission to allow rate or rate schedule to include differential rates or to reflect amounts for programs that enable public utilities to assist low-income residential customers. Transfers duties, functions and powers of Environmental Quality Commission and Department of Environmental Quality related to greenhouse gas reporting to Carbon Policy Office. Amends greenhouse gas reporting statute. Repeals Energy Facility Siting Council carbon dioxide emissions standards. Includes provisions for treatment of site certificate conditions affected by repeal of carbon dioxide emissions standards. Provides that provisions related to Carbon Policy Office, Oregon Climate Action Program, investment of certain moneys, Public Utility Commission, transfer of duties, and repeal of Energy Facility Siting Council carbon dioxide emissions standards become operative January 1, 2021. Provides for expedited review of certain questions on Act to Supreme Court upon petition by adversely affected party. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

 

Rationale:  While HB 2020 isn’t directly tied to higher education or labor issues, we have supported similar legislation in the past, and the Legislative Committee recommends support again this session. Because many of our members engage in climate research and because we generally support research-driven public policy, we wish to provide support for this legislation. We do not intend to directly lobby on behalf of the bill, but would add our logo and name as a supportive organization.

 

HB 2028: SUPPORT

Relating to transfer of academic credits; declaring an emergency.

Integrates foundational curricula and unified statewide transfer agreements into Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to establish work group to advise on designing standards to implement Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and to develop electronic system for disseminating information regarding foundational curricula and unified statewide transfer agreements. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

 

Rationale: HB 2028 combines two pieces of legislation from previous session into Transfer Student Bill of Rights. It expands the advisory committee to HECC to explicitly include faculty representation. For this reason, we support the bill as a means of improving the transfer agreement process that is already in place.

 

 

HB 2807: OPPOSE

Relating to labor agreements entered into by the state.

Requires approval of certain collective bargaining and arbitration agreements by Legislative Assembly.

 

Rationale: HB 2807 would require any public employee collective bargaining agreement that contains an increase to overall compensation (salary and benefits) to be approved by the state legislature. This limits the scope of collective bargaining and provides time constraints to the process as well. This is an obvious attempt to limit the power of public employee unions.

 

HB 2910: SUPPORT

Relating to the Oregon Promise program.

Requires that for person who completes prior educational requirements to participate in Oregon Promise program while incarcerated or detained, six-month period to enroll in courses to participate in program begins after person's period of incarceration or detention has ended.

 

Rationale: By starting the clock on enrollment after the period of incarceration ends, HB 2910 in effect expands the ability of incarcerated individuals (who would otherwise qualify) to access the Oregon Promise program. As educators, we have a vested interest in expanding access to higher education. This will help to expand access for traditionally marginalized populations.

 

SB 689: SUPPORT

Relating to determining residency at post-secondary institutions of education.

Requires that spouses or dependent children of active members of Armed Forces of United States who are considered residents at time of admission to community college or public university continue to be considered residents for as long as they remain continuously enrolled at community college or public university.

 

Rationale: SB 689 will prevent folks who have residency when they enroll from losing that residency based on the need for the family to move to accommodate military service. The bill is consistent with the stance we’ve taken on other legislation to stabilize residency for Oregon students.

 

SB 717: SUPPORT

Relating to a tax credit for contributions to higher education savings accounts; prescribing an effective date.

Establishes refundable credit against personal income taxes for contributions to higher education savings network account. Applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2026. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

 

Rationale: SB 717 is, of course, an incomplete solution to the rising cost of higher education, but by allowing tax payers with gross adjusted incomes below $50,000 (or $100,000 joint) to make tax free contributions to a higher education savings network will expand access for some.

 

SB 726: SUPPORT

Relating to unlawful conduct in the workplace; prescribing an effective date.

Makes unlawful employment practice for employer to request employee to enter agreement that would prevent employee from disclosing or discussing conduct that constitutes unlawful discrimination, including sexual assault. Allows civil and administrative remedies for violation against unlawful employment practice. Makes unlawful employment practice for any person to aid, abet, incite, compel, coerce or conceal any acts prohibited under provisions of Act and any acts that constitute certain types of unlawful discrimination. Clarifies that employer's withholding of certain information from person who is owner, president, partner or corporate officer of employer, during course of employer's investigation, is not unlawful employment practice, provided that employer makes person aware of ongoing investigation. Allows person who is owner, president, partner or corporate officer to be held individually liable for engaging in prohibited acts. Requires all employers to adopt written policy containing procedures and practices for reduction and prevention of certain types of unlawful discrimination, including sexual assault. Requires employers to post notice in workplace and provide employees with copy of policy at time of hire. Requires Bureau of Labor and Industries to make available on bureau's website model procedures or polices that employers may use to establish employer policies. Makes voidable any agreement to pay severance pay to person found to have engaged in conduct that violates employer's policies or provisions of Act. Extends timeline for filing complaint with Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging certain unlawful employment practices. Extends statute of limitations from one year to seven years to file civil action for certain violations of law. Becomes operative January 1, 2020. Permits commissioner to adopt rules and take any action before operative date of Act that is necessary to enable bureau to exercise duties, powers and functions conferred on bureau. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

 

Rationale: Protections around reporting unlawful conduct, including sexual harassment, are integral to providing a safe work environment.

 

SB 730: SUPPORT

Relating to transfer of academic credits; declaring an emergency.

Integrates foundational curricula and unified statewide transfer agreements into Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to establish advisory committee to advise commission staff on designing standards to implement Transfer Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and developing electronic system for disseminating information regarding foundational curricula and unified statewide transfer agreements. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

 

Rationale: SB 730 is the senate version of HB 2028 and combines two pieces of legislation from previous session into Transfer Student Bill of Rights. It expands the advisory committee to HECC to explicitly include faculty representation. For this reason, we support the bill as a means of improving the transfer agreement process that is already in place.

 

SB 731: SUPPORT

Relating to political activity at public post-secondary institutions of education; prescribing an effective date.

Authorizes recognized student government of community college or public university, or member of recognized student government, to make statement or issue resolution to promote or oppose gathering of signatures on initiative or referendum petition or adoption of ballot measure.

 

Rationale: Allowing student governments to take official stances on ballot measures will strengthen the ability of the Oregon Student Association, a key partner in our Higher Education Coalition, to help promote and defend public higher education. Strengthening OSA strengthens our Coalition and amplifies our common voice on ballot measures.

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