Sponsored by Oregon Business

Bills get down to business

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Capitol.jpg SALEM It’s the special legislative session that some are calling the “Seinfeld session,” a reference to the television show that was, as its creators famously described, about nothing.

That’s not entirely fair. While much of what’s on the Legislature’s plate from Feb. 4-29 is small or highly specific to individual issues, there’s a little heft as well — some of it with long-term effects on Oregon businesses.

By mid-December, many potential bills were still in the draft stage in specific committees. But the biggest issues were already apparent, and funding the Big Look Commission — as the land-use reform task force is known — is at the top of lawmakers’ and business groups’ agendas.

As Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council, puts it, getting the task force moving is a “big deal” when it comes to revamping land-use laws — a sentiment echoed on both sides of the aisle.

“Oregon’s existing land-use laws just don’t recognize that the world has changed. We’re going to put our shoulder to the wheel to make [funding] happen,” says Bill Smith, an Oregon Business Association board member and president of William Smith Properties in Bend.

Another top priority for the OBA is a tax credit for companies that exceed environmental emissions standards. This will be OBA president Ryan Deckert’s first session outside of the Legislature; he stepped down as a senator last year to take the top job at OBA. He describes the credit as a bigger incentive for companies competing on a global scale to excel environmentally.

While they might have different solutions to the problems, both Democrats and Republicans are focused on other business-related bills. One is legislation aimed at combating the rising number of predatory foreclosure scams that have followed on the heels of the national mortgage crisis.

Another joint interest is water. Senate majority leader Richard Devlin calls it a “hidden topic,” but one that’s increasingly being seen as crucial to both urban and rural Oregon. Water storage and aquifer restoration in Eastern Oregon — a huge issue for farmers, fishermen and tribes — is the subject of a bill that both the governor’s office and Sen. David Nelson, R-Pendleton, are working on.

All in all, more than enough for the Legislature to make something out of so-called nothing.              


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


Down on the Bayou

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails in Bend.


The Harder They Fall

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Storyteller-in-Chief by the managing partner of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.


Downtime with Barry Cain

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Live, work, play with the president of Gramor Development.


There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02