Bills get down to business

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2008
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.              

ABRAHAM HYATT



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

 

More Articles

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Reader Input: Fair Play

May 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation in February prompted some soul searching in this state about ethical behavior in industry and government.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS