2017 Legislative Session Heats Up

Industry Members Should Take Heed, Several Bills Could Impact Your Business


The 79th Legislative Assembly convened on February 1, 2017. Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is tracking hundreds of bills in the Oregon State Legislature, keeping a keen eye on potential threats to the hospitality industry that may arise during this session.

The following are just some of the key bills we are currently following, for a complete list, please visit OregonRLA.org/GA

GENERAL BUSINESS
SB 563 -
Establishes exception to gift limitation for food and beverages consumed by members of Legislative Assembly and candidates for office as member of Legislative Assembly.  
ORLA supports this bill.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING
HB 2141 -
Directs court to order suspension of person's driving privileges upon person's conviction for offense related to sexual solicitation. 
ORLA supports this bill and others like it related to curbing or eliminating human or sex trafficking.

RESTRICTIVE SCHEDULING
HB 2193 -
Requires employer to pay employee equivalent of at least four hours of work if employee is scheduled or called in to work but, due to employer, does not work entire shift.
ORLA opposes this bill due to its restrictive and punitive nature and because research has shown that three out of four employees do not want the government interfering with their work schedules.

MINIMUM WAGE
SB 409 -
Repeals minimum wage increases that have not yet become operative. Authorizes Wasco and Josephine counties to avoid adjustments for inflation until wage rate is equal to that of nonurban counties. Declares emergency, effective on passage.  
ORLA supports this bill to help businesses adjust to ever-increasing regulations and mandates placed by government that make it more difficult to operate in Oregon successfully.

HB 2182 - Creates a tax credit for employers that pay wages to youth workers, defined as workers between 16 and 25 years of age. Allows taxpayer to claim credit by retaining portion of withholding tax, calculated as percentage of wages paid to youth worker. Bases percentage to be retained on age of youth worker. Applies to wages paid to youth workers on or after January 1, 2018, and to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, and before January 1, 2024. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.
ORLA supports this bill to help Oregon’s youth secure employment opportunities to gain life skills and needed work experience.

LOTTERY
HB 2549 -
Authorizes Oregon State Lottery Commission to issue registrations to fantasy contest operators to organize or offer fantasy contests. Directs commission to adopt rules related to fantasy contests. Currently, Oregon does not allow these games since it would create a conflict with Oregon hosting NCAA tournaments.  Since those tournaments have failed to bring in significant revenue. 
ORLA supports this bill. 

TOURISM

SB 327 - Provides recreational immunity to owner of land. Extends recreational immunity to employees and agents of owner of land when acting within scope of duties and those with private property interests in land. Eliminates duty of care to maintain land for entry or use by others for certain purposes. Declares emergency, effective on passage. 
ORLA supports this bill. 

In addition to these, we expect to see bills related to: Income equality, allowing employers to get a credit for tipped employees’ total wages and use that money to address the inequality between front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house; transportation, hopefully to address Oregon’s failing infrastructure of roads and bridges; and protecting the lodging tax percentages and allocations.

For more information, please visit OregonRLA.org/GA or email Greg Astley, director of government affairs, at 
Astley@OregonRLA.org. | Greg Astley, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association