2024 Oregon State Legislative Session – Bills We Supported

Below is a list of climate justice bills and budgeting priorities we supported in the 2024 Oregon Legislative Session.

HB 4083 – The COAL Act (Clean Oregon Assets Legislation)

We helped lead Divest Oregon’s legislative endeavors this year, supporting Rep. Khanh Pham’s introduction of the COAL Act, which will remove coal from the Oregon State Treasury’s portfolio. See the press release for more information, including a long list of supportive lawmakers.

BACKGROUND: Coal is a dying industry with declining value over time, a major contributor to climate change, and is harmful to public health, predominantly affecting the health of low income communities and communities of color. Oregon started phasing out coal as a power source in 2016, and the COAL Act would place the Oregon State Treasury’s investment strategies in line with our energy decisions. This bill requires the Treasury to maintain its fiduciary duty to protect PERS members’ retirement funds. Learn more at divestoregon.org/COAL-Act

Climate Budget: Encouraging the Legislature to include climate-related priorities in each year’s budget

This year, we’re focused on:

Worker Relief Fund: Last session, a worker relief fund of $1 million was approved to cover wages for farmworkers on days they can’t work due to climate emergencies and extreme weather. All of this was paid out. The ask this year is to fund it at the level requested, adding $9 million. More info here.

SB 1593 – Fire Safe Communities

The State of Oregon is legally required to provide funds to suppress wildland fires, but it has a large funding shortfall in its commitment to community wildfire protection. This bill would establish a study to explore funding mechanisms for a durable long-term source of funding to invest in community resilience to fire, including the option of reinstating the timber severance tax with a focus on large corporate timberland holdings. The results of this workgroup would inform legislation for the next long session.

Learn more about the Fire Safe Communities bill here.

Emergency Housing Stability & Production Package: Pass SB 1530-3; Amend SB 1537

This package invests in housing within urban growth boundaries (UGBs), funds shelter for people without homes, provides rental assistance, and funds to convert existing buildings to affordable housing. The SB 1530 bill within the package is particularly important in providing more equitable access to housing, helping Oregonians use our energy and infrastructure resources wisely, and reducing energy use.

UPDATES: The package passed out of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development. An amendment (SB 1530 -3) provides specific funding, including:

  • $100 million in direct allocations for shovel-ready projects within the existing Urban Growth Boundary
  • $65 million for ongoing homeless shelter support
  • $40 million to OHCS for rental assistance with a set aside for culturally specific organizations
  • $18 million for Recovery Housing to house people recovering from drug addiction
  • $10 million for land acquisition to convert buildings into affordable housing
  • $3.5 million for air conditions and air filters provided on an emergency basis to at-risk individuals
  • $4 million to the Residential Heat Pump Fund in DEQ
  • $7.5 million to Healthy Homes, to support home repairs and improvements to lower energy usage and make homes safer

We are particularly pleased to see $7.5 million allocated to Healthy Homes and $4 million toward heat pumps, though we would like to see Healthy Homes funded more fully at $15 million.

Requests to amend SB 1537: While we agree it is important to build more affordable housing and appreciate the incentives for climate-smart building, we have a number of concerns around SB 1537‘s expansion of urban growth boundaries (UGBs). While the -9 amendment is progress, we still advocate for SB 1537 to be amended to encourage housing to be built within existing UGBs where there is existing infrastructure and better access to services.

Learn more about the Housing Production Bill here.

SB 1559 Climate Target Modernization

Previously called the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rules Updates, the Climate Target Modernization bill would replace greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals set for 2010 and 2020 with goals for 2030, with an aim of keeping the planet to 1.5°C of warming (or less).

We are OPPOSING HB 4106 Forest Harvesting Targets

The HB 4106 Forest Harvesting Targets bill would require the Oregon Department of Forestry to set timber harvest targets to maximize timber harvest (Maximize Net Present Value) over all other values, including clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation, requiring state forests to be managed like private tree farms with short rotations. The bill would prevent the ODF from fully implementing the Climate Change and Carbon Plan for state forests, while threatening public health and local wildlife.

Other bills we’re supporting:

HB 4044 Toxic Plumes Study: This bill will authorize the Department of Environmental Quality to study risks related to toxic inhalation during an earthquake. This would provide essential information for determining the future of the Critical Energy Infrastructure hub in Portland, which would pose extreme risks to public health in the event of an earthquake.

HB 4132 Marine Reserves: This bill will establish funding to continue marine reserves, which maintain ocean health and contribute to a more sustainable climate.

HB 4148 Wildlife Package: This bill will support wildlife by reducing disease and addressing the spread of invasive species re: funding to create wildlife corridors and crossings. Climate change contributes to the increased spread of species ranges and disease by increasing pest habitat and active months, so this bill would help mitigate that effects of climate change.