Monday, June 21, 2021
VACCINE RATES SLOW SIGNIFICANTLY, UNCLEAR WHEN OREGON WILL FULLY REOPEN
With vaccine delivery slowing across the nation, Oregon has missed the hoped-for goal hitting a 70% vaccination rate by today.

The latest figures show that 68.7% of Oregonians aged 18 or older have received at least one shot, an increase of just one percentage point over the last week. It is unclear whether the state will hit the 70% benchmark even by June 28, the day the governor’s most recent COVID emergency order is due to expire.

Gov. Brown has said she will lift mask and social distancing requirements, as well as capacity restrictions, as soon as 70% of Oregonians 18 and older have received at least one shot. Some 51,000 additional individuals still need to get their first dose to make that benchmark. You can see the county-by-county breakdown here.

In the meantime, OBI continues efforts to understand how workplace rules will change when the 70% mark is reached. Last week, Oregon OSHA convened a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the repeal of the COVID workplace rules. OBI urged the division to fully repeal the rules when Oregon reaches that benchmark, but OSHA indicated they will only repeal the mask and distancing requirements, while leaving other elements in place until infection rates decrease further. OBI submitted comments about other rules we would want to see changed.
CAPITOL CENTRAL
We have reached the final week of the 2021 legislative session. The “sine die” adjournment resolution, SCR 12, has been introduced and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday in the Senate Rules Committee. It will be the last bill to pass both houses of the Legislature this session. They are constitutionally required to adjourn by midnight Sunday, June 27, but there is expectation that work could conclude a few days early.

The OBI team is producing an end-of-session report that we will distribute to our members following adjournment.

Our website includes timely and in-depth updates, which you can find here. Here’s a few highlights of what’s going on at the Capitol right now:

  • SB 139 A passed out of the full Senate last Thursday, June 17, on a 16-13 vote. The bill would eliminate eligibility for preferential pass-through entity tax rates for entities with taxable income above $5 million/year. It would also create additional employment and re-investment hurdles for entities that still qualify. While the amended bill is much narrower in scope than the original, OBI continued to oppose it because, quite simply, the Legislature has no need to raise additional revenue, given the expectation of a sizeable budget surplus, adequate reserves and a huge infusion of federal dollars.
  • HB 3398, which extends the implementation date for the Paid Family and Medical Leave program to 2023, was heard early last week in Senate Rules. We expect it to pass out of Rules this week and go to the Senate floor for a final vote and passage before the Legislature adjourns.
  • SB 582, establishing a producer responsibility program for packaging of products, passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee Friday. All Republicans voted against the measure. One Democrat, Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), gave a courtesy yes vote to allow it to allow the bill to move out of committee, but she made it clear she will vote no when the bill comes to the Senate floor. The latest amendment makes some changes in the cost to producers by removing debris clean-up and multifamily housing costs but DEQ estimates the overall cost of the program will be $83 million per year.
  • HB 2021, the 100% renewable bill, moved out of the full Ways and Means Committee Friday, with adoption of the -B59 amendment. During the policy committee process, OBI raised concerns about several provisions of this bill. Some have been removed but, unfortunately, a significant one remains: labor standards on private projects. We are concerned about the precedent these standards could set.  
  • HB 5513, the Department of Education’s grant-in-aid budget, passed out of the Joint Ways and Means education subcommittee last Wednesday and is scheduled for a vote in the full committee today. This is the budget where Gov. Brown recommended $5 million in investments for the Regional STEM hubs, STEM Innovation grants, and a new Mathways program focused on diverse learners. In partnership with OBC and the STEM Employer Coalition, OBI has advocated for this funding all session and we were pleased to see it in the final Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) budget the committee approved.
  • HB 2010, directing the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Consumer and Business Services to study and create and implementation plan for a public option health plan, passed out of the Ways and Means human services subcommittee Tuesday on a unanimous vote. It is scheduled for a vote today in the full committee, where we expect it will easily pass. 
If have questions or comments about a bill, or would like to be involved in a policy committee, contact us at communications@oregonbusinessindustry.com.
POLICY UPDATES
2021 Vision Oregon Keynote Speaker Announced
Join us in person on Oct. 27 for the inaugural Vision Oregon Dinner! Register here.

After 20 years of celebrating the Oregon spirit of leadership, we’ve decided to rebrand our flagship dinner and award ceremony with a focus on the future. The Vision Oregon Dinner will celebrate our state’s tremendous potential and honor Oregonians whose innovation and spirit of service are making it possible for our state to soar into the future. 

We are thrilled to announce that the event’s keynote speaker will be Ben Minicucci, the new CEO of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. The combined airlines carry over 45 million guests a year on 1,300 daily flights to 115 destinations throughout the United States and to Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. The pandemic had unique impacts on the travel industry that rippled worldwide. Learn about those challenges and why Oregon businesses should be more optimistic than ever as we recover together.
OBI IN THE NEWS
By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian/OregonLive

“Oregon will not reach its vaccination goal to lift nearly all coronavirus restrictions by Monday and may not hit the mark by the time the governor’s COVID-19 emergency order expires June 28.

The goal seemed attainable if a bit optimistic two weeks ago, when state officials said they would lift most masking and distancing requirements when 70% of Oregonians 18 and older had been at least partially vaccinated.”
By Kale Williams, The Oregonian/OregonLive

“From the Columbia River in the north to the Klamath Basin that straddles the California border, Oregon is well short of the water it needs.

Boat ramps have been closed due to low levels in some reservoirs, snowpack in many parts of the Cascades is far below average for this time of year and, in many places, temperatures this week are forecast to crest near 100 degrees.”
By Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian/OregonLive

“Oregon added jobs at a modest pace in May and the employment rate remained at 5.9%, unchanged from April’s revised tally.

The state added 6,900 jobs in May, according to data out Tuesday from the Oregon Employment Department, compared to an average of 11,400 jobs over the prior four months. Oregon has now recovered just 62% of the jobs lost in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
CONNECT WITH US
The OBI team is always available to assist you. Please feel free to reach out to us at communications@oregonbusinessindustry.com. 
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