The following is a quick look at some of the most recent legislation that has passed by Oregon lawmakers this week.
The House passed legislation Thursday that would level the playing field for public institutions that are currently blocked from offering certain high-demand programs to Oregon's students at
affordable rates. As it stands, community colleges and public universities must receive permission from for-profit career colleges before offering any new post-secondary programs that would overlap with the career college.
House Bill 3341 would exempt community colleges and public universities from this requirement, allowing them to offer more programs for a fraction of the cost that for-profit colleges charge.
Oregon House of Representatives passed legislation that would help Oregonians track how much money agencies are spending on in-state versus out-of-state goods and services. House Bill 3400 builds upon years of work to increase transparency in state contracting. Since
2009, agencies have been able to pay up to 10 percent above the lowest bid for agricultural products produced and transported entirely within Oregon. Additional preferences for Oregon goods and services were authorized by the legislature in 2011. HB 3400 will help the public
track the implementation of these "Buy Oregon" incentives.
Oregon House of Representatives passed legislation that would give local governments more power to prevent vacant foreclosed homes from becoming neighborhood eyesores. More than half of all foreclosed homes in Oregon are vacant, but current law does not assign
responsibility for the upkeep of these abandoned properties. This situation has created problems for neighborhoods throughout the state as eyesore properties introduce criminal activity and harm property values. House Bill 2662A prohibits property owners from neglecting foreclosed properties, requires property owners to post notice of who to contact in case of problems, and allows local governments to attach a lien if a nuisance arises that the property owner does not address.
In the Oregon Senate:
The Senate voted to address the shortage of primary care providers by expanding the state's loan repayment program for health care providers. SB 440B, which passed on a unanimous vote with two excused, will help to fill the demand for preventative health care services in Oregon's rural communities. SB 440B allocates a total of $4 million to the Primary Care Provider Loan Repayment Program. The program will provide assistance to primary care providers who have committed to serving medical assistance recipients in rural or medically underserved areas of the state. Oregon Health Authority will work with the Office of Rural Health to identify rural communities in need and award funds to providers that meet the program's criteria.