Oregon Business & Industry is one of the leading voices in the state on retail-related issues. With the Legislature in session now for nearly two months, the OBI team has been engaged on many bills on behalf of our retail members. If you have questions or concerns about a bill, let us know at communications@oregonbusinessindustry.com.

Recycling “Reform” Bills

The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment recently held its third day of public testimony on several recycling bills that would make significant changes to the recycling system in Oregon. OBI has raised concerns about these bills, which would be very costly for manufacturers and retailers to implement. Chair Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) has stated that he plans to move a bill that addresses the issue in some form.

  • SB 14 requires producers of plastic packaging to establish producer responsibility organizations and pay for system needs.
  • SB 582 establishes a broad producer responsibility scheme for packaging of all sorts. This bill is being promoted by the Department of Environmental Quality and is essentially a total redesign of the recycling system.
  • SB 581 labels the chasing arrows symbol on packaging as “deceptive” and requires Oregon-specific labeling. We have communicated that supply chains are not Oregon-specific, and so this would be a costly and unnecessary disruption to the process.

This is a top priority issue for OBI’s Oregon Retail Council. Look for updates in our weekly Business Bulletin.

Opposing the Private Attorney General Act

OBI has joined a broad coalition in opposition to HB 2205, a bill modeled after California’s Private Attorney General Act, which allows any individual or organization to sue on behalf of the state of Oregon for any provision that can be enforced by state agencies. Proponents indicated they are working on language to narrow the proposal to claims enforceable by the Bureau of Labor and Industries or Oregon OSHA, but OBI remains staunchly opposed. You can find recent OBI testimony here.

Product Stewardship Proposals

There are a couple proposals to further regulate retailers and manufacturers that fall under the “product stewardship” umbrella. OBI has serious concerns about expanding an already robust regulatory system in Oregon.

  • HB 2955 would establish a household hazardous waste stewardship program. OBI recently argued that such a proposal would reduce product diversity in Oregon, particularly when no other state has adopted such a proposal.
  • HB 2495 would expand the Toxic-Free Kids Act, which regulates chemicals in children’s products to identify classes of chemicals rather than specific chemicals. OBI testified in opposition, noting that the program has not completed its current rulemaking and there is no evidence that an expansion is needed.
Of course, many other proposals currently under consideration in Salem will have impacts to retailers. You can find updates on tax, environmental, employment and many other issues on the newly redesigned OBI website