2018 Legislative Session in Review
Consumer Data Protection / Response to Equifax Data Breach
Several recent major data breaches affecting Oregonians and national consumers made it clear this problem needed attention from the Oregon Legislature. This year Senator Prozanski and I led an interim workgroup and Chief Sponsored SB 1551 to respond to the massive breach of consumer data by the Credit Reporting Agency Equifax aiming to all hold entities with consumer information to higher standards.
It is unacceptable that a corporation has free reign with our most sensitive personal and financial information often not taking the necessary steps to ensure the information is as secure as possible. When a data breach occurs, Oregonians deserve to know about it as soon as possible and to have an easy and inexpensive means to secure their information.
SB 1551 will institute a number of key provisions including:
Unlimited free credit freezes or unfreezes.
Requirement to notify consumers within 45 days after a breach is discovered.
Limits on upselling or the ability of companies that offer free credit monitoring after a data breach to couple that free offer to an additional paid service they may offer during the same transaction.
Requirement to better safeguarding and practices to protect consumers’ personal information.
Clean Energy Jobs / Cap and Invest
The devastating effects of climate change should not go unaddressed. Although standards may have slipped at the federal level, Oregon continues to push forward as a leader in fighting climate change. A priority this session was House Bill 4001, the Clean Energy Jobs bill, also known as “Cap and Invest”. It provides a market-based solution for integrating a price on carbon and green house gas reductions in a regional clean energy economy. After years of work on this proposal, I supported its passage this session. Though we lacked some critical votes to pass it this short session, we did commit to work for 2019 passage, and while not loosing time on structuring the program.
two key measures to keep us on track to enact a cap and invest program in Oregon:
Legislature’s approval of a newly created Carbon Policy Office to continue the groundwork needed to fully implement a cap-and-invest program.
A one-time $1.4 million General Fund appropriation to support the Carbon Policy Office. The appropriation includes $650,000 to fund studies to examine the economic impact analysis of a cap and trade program on Oregon’s jobs and economy, leakage risk of emission intensive, trade exposed industries (EITEs), and carbon sequestration.
The Speaker of the House and Senate President will convene and co-chair a new Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction to further refine the Clean Energy Jobs bill and strategically position it for passage in 2019.
I adamantly believe in an open and accessible internet for the public. When the Federal Communications Commission recently repealed rules that enforced net neutrality (the principle that all internet traffic be treated equally) I joined with Representative Jennifer Williamson to Chief Sponsor House Bill 4155. This bill prohibits public bodies from contracting with broadband internet service providers that engage in paid prioritization, blocking lawful content or applications, or disadvantages lawful internet content. With uncertainty at the federal level we need to do everything possible to preserve net neutrality in Oregon. I believe this measure will be a step toward protecting an open internet for Oregonians.
Gun Safety / Closing the “Boyfriend Loophole”
Gun control sadly remains an important topic for lawmakers. Fortunately, the Oregon Legislature was able to advance at least one bill this session to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” This bill tightens restrictions on gun ownership for people convicted of domestic violence or stalking. HB 4145 expands existing state laws to prevent intimate partners, regardless of marital status, from purchasing and possessing guns if they have been convicted of domestic violence. This is a step forward for common sense gun control in Oregon.I will continue to advocate for smart and effective gun laws to help prevent gun violence.
Federal Tax Disconnect
Addressing the budget impact of the new federal tax cut was a priority for the legislature this session. This bill “disconnects” Oregon from the new federal pass-through tax deduction in order to avoid a negative impact on the state from the recently passed tax overhaul. SB 1528 will help to keep our state tax revenues close to what they had been before the federal change, which would have negatively impacted our ability to fund vital services. These changes minimize the risk to future state revenues that especially impact the next biennium. SB 1528 will also increase the Oregon Opportunity Grant Fund by $14 million, providing greater access to college for low-income Oregonians.
Drug Price Increase Transparency
The skyrocketing cost of pharmaceuticals is making life-saving drugs unaffordable to those who need them the most. HB 4005 creates a statewide prescription drug cost and price transparency program. By targeting price-gougers, this bill will shine a light on how drug prices are set by requiring drug manufacturers to justify large cost increases for prescription drugs. HB 4005 also requires drug manufacturers to report marketing and research costs to the Department of Consumer and Business Services and to make policy recommendations to reduce costs based on the newly provided information.