- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Legislature wrapped up its first month of the 2017 session last week, and the state’s ongoing housing crisis, budget issues and changes proposed by the new White House administration have dominated discussions in Salem thus far.

Here’s a recap of some of the biggest proposals most recently debated and what’s coming up next week:

HOUSING

House Bill 2004 drew dozens of Oregonian tenants and landlords Thursday to Salem, where they spent almost six hours voicing polarized opinions about whether to do away with no-cause evictions statewide. The proposal would prohibit landlords from evicting month-to-month tenants without cause and 90 day-written notice, with some exceptions, or otherwise pay the equivalent of three months-worth of rent to cover tenants’ relocation costs. Cities could also impose caps on rent hikes within their jurisdictions, a practice currently banned by state law. The Democratic-supported proposal essentially expands similar, recently-adopted provisions within Portland city limits to the statewide level. Critics argue the bill could adversely affect Oregon’s affordable housing situation, which is largely instigated by short supply, while supporters say it’s an immediate fix for struggling households. Friday was the deadline to submit public testimony for HB 2004.

MARIJUANA

Senate Bill 863 may soon put a stop to Oregon pot shops’ record keeping of their recreational and medical customers’ personal information -a practice that’s either banned or discouraged in Colorado, Alaska and Washington state. Amid worries of a federal crackdown on state-approved marijuana laws, the bipartisan bill would require legal pot retailers to destroy customers’ data - such as names, addresses, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, any marijuana products they purchased and on which dates - from their books within 48 hours. Retailers log the information from patrons’ IDs or medical cards, which state law says must be checked at the door, to help build customer rapport and loyalty, and also stay on track with various regulations. Lawmakers argue it puts customers at risk of having their personal information seized from businesses by federal agents. The first public debate of SB 863 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

ABORTIONS

House Bill 2232 would require Oregon health insurers to maintain free birth control coverage and also cover other reproductive health services, including abortions. Oregon has among the most liberal abortion laws in the nation. The Democratic-supported proposal aims to protect reproductive health care across the state. The bill has yet to advance to its first public hearing as Obamacare repeal discussions in Washington were still underway, and state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum recently told The Associated Press she vows to fight back if federal funds are pulled from Planned Parenthood.

LABOR

House Bill 2193 and Senate Bill 828 - packaged as sister proposals in both statehouse chambers - would require certain employers in the restaurant, retail, hospitality and other service-and trade-related industries to honor employees’ preferred work hours and post employee schedules two weeks in advance, or otherwise pay a penalty wage for any changes. The proposals, backed largely by workers’ rights groups and unions, drew dozens to public testimony in Salem during the first hearing last week on S.B. 828; the first public hearing for H.B. 2193 is slated for 1 p.m. Monday.

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