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Climate (and Oregon) Win in the State Legislature!

ROCPACkers,


After one of the strangest, highest spending long sessions in the history of Oregon's State Legislature several important pieces of climate legislation were passed into law. Here, I break down the climate bills that passed, their potential impact, and the lawmakers who supported the bills and those who opposed them, but first some context.


As our state slowly woke from the isolation, controversy and economic slumber that was the pandemic, our elected officials were still called to Salem to fulfill their State Constitutional duties and work to move Oregon forward. With a five month [or long] legislative session ahead of them, they were looking at polarized, often hostile politics and a state budget that was severely damaged by the economic shut downs due to COVID-19.


Two important developments aided in this overall effort. First, the Capital was closed to the public and non-essential personnel. While this limited the face-to-face access of ROCPAC and our allies, it also ensured that dangerous, armed elements could not occupy the building and threaten lawmakers and staff who were just doing their jobs. It's sad that we have to weigh the costs of not lobbying in person with the safety of our elected officials, but that is where we are right now.


The second important development was the infusion of billions of federal dollars, made available as part of the pandemic relief efforts. While the aid packages will add to our national debt they provide a temporary boom to Oregon's state budget and much needed short-term relief, allowing lawmakers to fund programs they would otherwise be unable to consider.


The challenge for ROCPAC was that everything was done remotely, and the pace of the session was intense at times! While we didn't have to travel to Salem, our effectiveness was impacted by the online format. Despite these unique challenges, we saw the drafting and passage of important climate legislation, led by some of our greatest climate champions in the House and the Senate.


Through all of this, we at ROCPAC want to thank Representative Pam Marsh and Senator Jeff Golden for their vision, leadership and championing of climate action at every opportunity. They embody the type of responsive, responsible and bold leadership we need in our rural communities.


State Climate Measures

HB2021 – Clean Energy For All Summary: Requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2040.

Chief Sponsors: Representatives Marsh and Pham, Senators Beyer and Dembrow Votes House 35:20; Senate 16:12 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD1 Brock Smith, HD3 Morgan, HD4 Stark, HD6 Wallan, HD55 Breese Iverson, HD56 Reschke; Senate: SD2 Robinson, SD28 Linthicum.

ROCPAC takeaway: This bill will revolutionize and modernize the Oregon electrical grid, resulting in 100% clean electricity by 2040. The elected officials who opposed this bill in the House and the Senate all showed predictable lack of vision and leadership that is what is required in times like a climate crisis. While there are still significant majorities to allow passage of important legislation like HB 2021, for further climate action we need to either move those legislators into the category of supporters or replace them with officials who will not actively work against the best interests of Oregonians and the world.

HB2062 - Appliance Energy Efficiency Act Summary: Establishes energy efficiency standards for certain appliances sold or offered for sale in this state. Removes requirement that certain appliances sold or offered for sale in this state meet state energy efficiency standards. Authorizes Director of State Department of Energy to update energy efficiency standards by rule. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

Chief Sponsor: At the request of Governor Brown Votes House 39:19; Senate 17:13 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD1 Brock Smith, HD2 Leif, HD3 Morgan, HD4 Stark, HD6 Wallan, HD55 Breese Iverson, HD56 Reschke; Senate: SD 1 Heard; SD 2 Robinson, SD28 Linthicum

ROCPAC Takeaway: This new law will standardize energy efficiency ratings and recognition, providing for greater clarity and stability. This bill confirms the pattern among local officials who will choose to oppose any ideas put forth by climate champions or those that seek to help us reach our greenhouse gas emissions goals through legislative measures and incentives.

HB2165 - Alternative Fuel Transportation: Summary: Requires electric companies that make sales of electricity to 25,000 or more retail electricity consumers in this state to collect an amount from all retail electricity consumers, to be expended to support transportation electrification pursuant to plan accepted by Public Utility Commission.

Chief Sponsor: At the request of Governor Brown Votes House 35:22; Senate 18:10 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD1 Brock Smith, HD 2 Leif, HD3 Morgan, HD4 Stark, HD6 Wallan, HD55 Breese Iverson, HD56 Reschke. Senate: SD1 Heard, SD2 Robinson, SD28 Linthicum

ROCPAC Takeaway: With a minimal surcharge, adjusted for income, this law will lay the foundation for revolutionizing Oregon's public transportation by expanding electrical transportation across the state. The official record of "no" votes mirrors the earlier votes listed here and continues the pattern of obstruction that is so detrimental to our efforts.

HB2290 - Transportation Electrification:

Summary: Requires State Parks and Recreation Department to allow for installation and service of public electric vehicle charging stations in parking spaces that are part of facilities of the state park system.

Chief Sponsor: Representative Wilde Votes House 43:11; Senate 20:7 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD4 Stark Senate: SD2 Robinson, SD28 Linthicum

ROCPAC Takeaway: The kind of investment needed by our state, to continue to support the use of electrical vehicles and our public spaces. Again, those opposed lack vision and leadership.

HB2475 – Energy Affordability Act: Summary: Authorizes Public Utility Commission to consider differential energy burden and other inequities of affordability in rates.

Chief Sponsors: Representatives Marsh and Pham Votes House 36:20; Senate 18:11 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD1 Brock Smith, HD3 Morgan, HD4 Stark, HD6 Wallan, HD55 Breese Iverson, HD56 Reschke; Senate: SD 2 Robinson, SD 28 Linthicum.

ROCPAC Takeaway: Of all the climate legislation passed during this session, this new law, along with the Healthy Homes Bill will have the most immediate impact on rural Oregonians. It is unfortunate that the officials who opposed this legislation, most of them from rural districts cannot bring themselves to vote in the best interests of their constituents and instead appear to only vote in the best interests of special interests.

HB2842 – Healthy Homes Bill: Summary: Establishes Healthy Homes Program within the Oregon Health Authority to provide grants to entities to provide financial assistance to low income households and landlords. Establishes Healthy Homes Repair Fund. Establishes Interagency Task Force on Healthy Homes.

Chief Sponsors: Representatives Marsh, Power, Pham Votes House 56:2 Senate 23:4 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD6 Wallan; Senate: SD2 Robinson, SD28 Linthicum.

ROCPAC Takeaway: Of all the climate legislation passed during this session, this new law, along with the Energy Affordability Act will have the most immediate impact on rural Oregonians. It is unfortunate that the officials who opposed this legislation, most of them from rural districts cannot bring themselves to vote in the best interests of their constituents and instead appear to only vote in the best interests of special interests.

SB762 – Enacting Governor’s 2019 Wildfire council report: Sen Jeff Golden Establishes a wide array of programs addressing wildfire:

Chief Sponsor: Senator Jeff Golden Votes Senate 22:7; House 49:6 Local Legislators opposing – House: HD4 Stark, HD6 Wallan, HD55 Breese Iverson; Senate: SD 2 Robinson, SD 28 Linthicum.

ROCPAC Takeaway: Of all the climate legislation passed during this session, SB762, along with Clean Energy for All will have the most lasting and important impact on rural Oregonians. With the devastation of the 2020 fires, and even worse conditions emerging this year, action on fire mitigation and adaptation and forest management are paramount. It is unfortunate that the officials who opposed this legislation, most of them from rural districts cannot bring themselves to vote in the best interests of their constituents and instead appear to only vote in the best interests of special interests.



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