Weekly Review               
This week, I found myself focused on recent proposed legislation that concerns businesses. I am fearful for our state, as many of the bills coming through committees are creating road blocks for businesses and future entrepreneurs. I've always believed the government should act as a stepping stone for businesses, rather than a stumbling block, but the current agenda in the legislature is clearly anti-business. My hope is that we can work together to best serve Oregonians while being friendly to business.
Cease and Desist

On March 18th, the House Committee on Business and Labor passed HB 2386 with a party-line vote. HB 2386 was introduced at the request of Brad Avakian, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). BOLI is a state agency which regulates all employment related activity.

 

If this measure moves forward, the new law would authorize BOLI to issue temporary cease and desist orders to businesses based upon only the allegations of wrong doing. Currently, there is already a wage and labor dispute process overseen by BOLI. HB 2386 would hinder the current system of checks and balances by giving too much authority to BOLI.

This causes grave concern for businesses. I've already heard from business owners in Albany, fearful this measure could destroy the company they've worked so hard to establish due to the fact there would be no method to appeal the cease and desist order until the agency has already completed an investigation or issued a final order. While the investigation is being performed, the business may be forced to remain closed. Potentially, the employees would be left without an income during the closure.

 

I'm all for protecting employees rights, but this bill goes above and beyond that, especially when we already have a process in place. I will be a NO vote on this bill.    

   Paid Sick Leave and Minimum Wage

On Monday, March 30th, the House Committee on Business and Labor is scheduled to have a work session on HB 2005. HB 2005 requires all employers to implement paid sick leave for employees. This bill mandates businesses to pay sick leave no matter how small the business is. Businesses are already facing higher healthcare costs, mandated by the federal government. Now, Oregon businesses may be facing mandated paid sick leave, and an increased minimum wage of $15 per hour if HB 2009 passes.

 

Because of the need to keep businesses open, provide jobs for Oregonians, and protect the collective bargaining rights for union members, I've requested amendments to HB 2005. Under the -18 amendments requested by my office, I am suggesting the following changes to the current bill:

  • Paid sick leave would only be required for employers with businesses of 25 employees or more
  • Employees must work 25 hours per week to receive paid sick leave
  • Keeping at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave earned per 40 hours, employees cannot exceed more than 40 hours of sick leave per year
  • An employee must be employed for 180 days before sick leave is available
  • Exempt agriculture and construction workers
  • Exempt seasonal and temporary workers

I am hopeful the House Committee on Business and Labor takes the proposed -18 amendments into consideration before moving forward with the current bill. These amendments remain business friendly while giving more benefits to Oregon workers.

                        In-District Day

This Friday, March 27th, all committees and floor sessions will take a brief break at the Capitol for legislators to dedicate a day to their districts.

 

My schedule is already filling up with constituent meetings and legislative discussions throughout the day. I'm blessed to have such an active and involved constituency that provides informational feedback. As always, thank you for the support and input.

 

Until next week,

 

 

Andy Olson

 

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Salem, OR 97301
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