NEWSLETTER, LEGISLATIVE & POLITICAL

Executive Council takes position on the following bills

February 10, 2020 / Heather Nahmias

On its February 6, 2020 meeting, the Executive Council considered bills from our Legislative Committee and took the following positions:  

 

The AAUP-Oregon Legislative Committee and the PSU-AAUP Legislative Committee are recommending that the PSU-AAUP Executive Council to vote in SUPPORT of the following legislative bills:

* Denotes a bill substantively similar to legislation we supported in 2019.

 

SB 132

Relating to paying the cost of health care services.

Requires health benefit plans, state medical assistance program, Public Employees' Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board to pay for standard fertility preservation services for covered individual who will undergo medical treatment that is likely to result in iatrogenic infertility.

Rationale: SB 132 to would expand PEBB coverage to include necessary fertility preservation services for those undergoing treatment which is likely to produce infertility. This is a needed and fair expansion of our members’ health insurance benefits.

 

HB 4007

Relating to unemployment insurance benefits for employees unemployed due to labor dispute; declaring an emergency.

Provides that individual otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits is not disqualified for any week that individual’s unemployment is due to labor dispute in active progress at individual’s place of employment. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

Rationale: HB 4007 would remove language the disallows striking workers from drawing unemployment insurance benefits.  The bill is filed at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO and is a step forward in protecting the ability of workers to use the strike as a means of securing contract gains.

 

HB 4055

Relating to needs of students at post-secondary institutions of education; declaring an emergency.

Requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to conduct study and develop recommendations on how Oregon's community colleges and public universities can best combat food and housing insecurity among their students.

Rationale: Students face significant housing and food insecurity. A study to develop recommendations on combatting this is a first step toward much needed support for our students.

 

HB 4057

Relating to gambling on college athletics.

Prohibits Oregon State Lottery from offering games based on outcomes of sporting events organized by, sponsored by or played in connection with post-secondary institutions of education.

Rationale: Such gambling could place an even greater emphasis on college athletics and create further opportunities for profiting off of the unpaid labor of student athletes.

 

HB 4094*

Relating to mandatory subjects of collective bargaining.

Amends definition of "employment relations" to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts.

Rationale: HB 4904 expands collective bargaining rights for public school teachers and counselors by adding class size and caseload limits to the list of employment relations (and thus to the list of mandatory subjects of bargaining). We support both the general expansion of rights and the possibility that this may move us in the direction of having class size as a mandatory subject of bargaining for higher education employees as well. HB 4904 is substantively the same as 2019 legislation (HB 2580) that we supported.

 

HB 4146*

Relating to employees at public institutions of higher education; declaring an emergency.

Provides that part-time faculty member at public institution of higher education who qualifies for health care benefits will pay 10 percent of insurance premiums for employee coverage.

Rationale:  HB 4146 is our priority bill and would expand access to affordable health care to part time faculty who, pooling their FTE across community colleges and public universities, work more than half-time. The bill would provide for 90% premium contribution by the state. HB 4146 is substantively the same as 2019 legislation (SB 852) that we championed.

 

HB 4099*

Relating to higher education tuition; declaring an emergency.

Provides that student who legally entered United States under Compact of Free Association treaty between United States and Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands or Federated States of Micronesia and who has not previously established residence in any state or territory of United States other than Oregon qualifies for exemption from nonresident tuition and fees at public universities and is eligible to receive state and university scholarships or other financial aid.

Rationale: This bill represents another important piece of our longstanding push for tuition equity for students who are Oregonians but may not qualify as residents of Oregon for the purpose of in-state tuition. HB 4099 is duplicate a provision of 2019 legislation (SB 263) that we supported.

 

HB 4160

Relating to underrepresented students at public post-secondary institutions of education; declaring an emergency.

Establishes Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education. Directs task force to develop student success policy proposals focusing on increasing likelihood of student success in higher education for students from populations that are underrepresented in higher education enrollment.

Rationale: HB 4160 seeks to set up a process for evaluating how we can better serve the needs of students from underrepresented backgrounds. The process would include a task force of legislators traveling to campuses to hear from students about the challenges they face and the investments that could be made to improve student success. The work is important in its own right and may develop into a vehicle for conversations on funding needs more broadly.

 

HJR 202*

Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to obligation of state to ensure access to health care.

Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing obligation of state to ensure every resident of state access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care.

Rationale: HJR 202 would move Oregon toward single payer health care. This move is in line with our work to secure quality health care for not just our members but everyone. HJR 202 is substantively the same as 2019 legislation (HJR 203) that we supported.

 

SB 1540

Relating to student loan servicers; declaring an emergency.

Requires certain persons that service student loans in this state to obtain or renew license.

Rationale: SB 1540 takes steps to ensure the legitimacy and liquidity of student loan servicers in Oregon. This is a protection for our member who have student loan debt as well as our student who will graduate with student loan debt.

 

SJR 201

Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to quorum requirements for each house of the Legislative Assembly to conduct business.

Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to modify portion of each house of Legislative Assembly needed to be in attendance for quorum necessary for house to conduct business.

Rationale: SJR 201 would reduce the quorum requirement from 2/3 to a simple majority. The current quorum requirement allows a relatively small minority to prevent any business from happening in the Legislature.

 

 

The AAUP-Oregon Legislative Committee and PSU-AAUP Legislative Committee are recommending that the PSU-AAUP Executive Council vote to OPPOSE the following legislative bill:

SJR 202

Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to sessions of the Legislative Assembly.

Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution to eliminate even-numbered year regular sessions of Legislative Assembly.

Rationale: SJR 202 aims to eliminate the short session that occurs in even-numbered years. This would make the long session even more arduous and delay necessary and important legislation to being introduced only every other year.

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