The 2015 Oregon legislature enacted a number of new laws that directly impact Oregon businesses and the development community. Many of those laws went into effect on January 1, 2016.
Paid Sick Leave. Senate Bill 454 requires employers with ten or more employees (six or more for cities with a population of over 500,000) to provide at least one hour of paid sick leave time for every 30 hours of work. If an employer already has a PTO policy that provides time off at a rate of equal to or more than the sick leave requirements, they do not need to provide more sick leave (provided that the PTO can be used in the same way). For accrual, the law assumes exempt employees work 40-hour weeks unless their employer can show that they are regularly scheduled to work fewer hours.
Ban the Box. House Bill 3025 prevents employers from asking applicants to disclose their criminal history until the initial interview or later. If there is no interview for the position, employers cannot consider criminal history until they make a conditional offer of employment. There are some exceptions, particularly when federal, state or local law requires an employer to consider an applicant’s criminal history.
Noncompetition Agreements. House Bill 3236 reduces the enforceability of noncompetition agreements from 24 months to 18 months after the date of termination.
Expedited Land Division. House Bill 3223 expands the definition of expedited land division under ORS 197.360 to include affordable housing developments and requires municipalities to advise applicants if a project might qualify for an expedited land division.
Sale of State Property. House Bill 3524 requires that state agencies grant the right of first refusal to developers of affordable housing when selling or disposing of real property.The property must not be used for public purpose or be needed for public use in the next five years in order for the state to offer it for sale.
House Bill 2734 authorizes the creation of municipal land bank authorities to acquire, clean up, and redevelop brownfield properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated because of environmental contamination. The land bankstructure brings together local governments, lenders, and the development community in an entity formed specifically for this purpose.
Looking Ahead at the 2016 Short Session
The 2016 short session started on February 1. There are a number of significant bills that will be in play during the short session, including brownfields tax incentives, raising the minimum wage, fixes to the paid sick leave legislation from 2015, repealing the state ban on inclusionary zoning (a ban that prevents cities from forcing housing developers to include low-income housing in new developments), a transportation investment bill (with corresponding statewide fuel tax increase), and a cap-and-trade bill designed to cut carbon emissions. It will be an interesting 35 days to be sure.
Steven L. Shropshire is the shareholder-in-charge of Jordan Ramis PC’s Bend office. He practices water and environmental law and was recently named a “Lawyer of the Year” in water law by Best Lawyers. You can contact Steve at 541-647-2979or email@example.com