Photo credit: Statesman-Journal via AP Anna Reed 07/07/17  
Your Actions Made the Difference - Thank You!
 
Throughout Oregon's 2017 legislative session, the Nonprofit Association of Oregon was working and advocating on your behalf. There were also many nonprofits advocating for specific legislation supporting the missions and communities they serve - our hats off to them on their hard work! During the session NAO shared policy alerts/updates and asked you to take action on concepts and bills that would either help or hurt all charitable nonprofits working in Oregon. With the declaration of "Sine Die" (end of session) for Oregon's 2017 legislative session on Friday, July 7, we wanted to update you on the work with this final legislative session report detailing where Oregon's legislature landed on bills that were under consideration this session.
 
Overarching Outcome:
Charitable Deduction - There were no bills brought forward in session to cut or curtail the charitable deduction. NAO worked hard behind the scenes in partnership with the Oregon Community Foundation and a coalition of organizations to ensure that the charitable deduction was not considered for incorporation into any piece of legislation.
Specific bill outcomes :


HB2358: NAO supported this update to Oregon Revised Statutes through the passage of HB2358 with modest increases to existing statutory caps, including raising prize limits from $2,500 to $5,000 and increasing the amount of permitted administrative expenses from 18% to 22% of annual handle (gross gaming receipts). HB2358 made necessary changes to the allowable time employees can work (up to 40 hours/week) administering or operating games - up from the current 30 hours, easing current restrictions. NAO is pleased to report that HB2358 pass through the legislature and was signed by Gov. Kate Brown on May 22, and will become effective January 1, 2018.


HB2609: This bill was sponsored by the Oregon State Bar and developed through their Nonprofit Organizations Law Section. HB2609 would have updated the Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 65 that governs nonprofit corporations in the state. NAO was invited to participate in the work of that sub-committee and was eager to see the refinements proposed by this bill move forward. Unfortunately, the bill hit a snag with some mutual benefit organizations wanting further refinements. The decision was made to hold off on moving the bill forward, take into consideration the suggested changes, and bring this bill forward in a future session.


SB149: Provides that the property of a limited liability company qualifies for property tax exemption or special assessment if the limited liability company is wholly owned by nonprofit corporations or public bodies, and the property, if held directly by each nonprofit corporation owner of the limited liability company, would qualify for such exemption or special assessment. While this bill only pertains to nonprofits that qualify for their property tax exemption under ORS307.090, this is an important piece of legislation as it clarifies precedent for social enterprises to qualify for charitable exemption when they are wholly owned by nonprofits and serving the public good. SB149 was passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Kate Brown on June 22 and goes into effect October 5, 2017.


HB3321: NAO had deep concerns about this bill, and fortunately, the bill received only one informational hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. HB3321 would have required nonprofit corporations that meet certain requirements, including receipt of public funds, to comply with open meetings law and public records laws, to post a copy of the corporation's proposed annual budget to the corporation's public website, and to submit to and cooperate with an audit, as well as subject all members of the corporation's board of directors, officers and employees of the corporation to government ethics standards. Nonprofits are not public entities and NAO's position was and is that the concept went way too far in suggesting that complicated public meeting and public records requirements be required of nonprofits. NAO advocated that there are better ways to ensure the effective use of public funds through those nonprofits that receive them, and helped ensure that this bill never got beyond committee.


SB181: You all probably heard the most from NAO on this bill. SB181 would have created a new, annual reporting requirement for many charitable benefit nonprofits to defend their property tax exemptions ever year. Individual county tax assessors would be allowed to interpret the current, unclear laws using their own ideas of eligibility for exemption - this at a time when government employees are under political pressure from politicians to bring in more revenue. It was quickly engrossed by the senate and passed out of the House Committee on Revenue headed for passage on the floor of the house, despite the  opposition testimony of dozens of nonprofits NAO worked with a coalition of organizations, including the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, Oregon Alliance of Children's Programs, the Oregon State Grange and several others to coordinate a grassroots efforts to oppose SB181 on the floor of the house. Through a considerable outpouring on nonprofits' calling, texting, and writing their legislators, SB181 was sent back to committee where further work sessions were held, but the bill was eventually allowed to die in committee.
 
NAO would like to congratulate and thank the hundreds of organizations and individuals who worked tirelessly to get this bill defeated. Without your efforts and voice SB181 would have become law and had significant implications on the work of nonprofits - thank you!
But our collective work is not done!
We are very happy with the outcomes of Oregon's 2017 legislative session and we hope you are too. NAO knows that there will continue to be important work between sessions and we expect that a few ideas that did not move forward this session will be back.
 
One way to keep our advocacy work moving forward and to continue to build awareness of the importance of your voice in this important work - we would be interested in hearing if nonprofit organizations are interested in hosting a discussion on advocacy at your location with fellow nonprofit colleagues. E-mail us at info@nonprofitoregon.org to let us know!
 
We look forward to continuing to work together - and with your support - continue to be an advocate and a voice for Oregon's charitable nonprofits. A big thank you to NAO members who through their membership make it possible for NAO to do this important work on their behalf. Many of you were engaged, involved and were galvanized into action for the good of the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve across Oregon - and we deeply appreciate your hard work and efforts!