[July 30, 2021] - Mask Mandates & Covid-19 Regulations / Oregon Jobs & Spending / Ee
ORLA is in the midst of an epic run of events which started with the sold-out ORLA Open Golf Tournament earlier this week, the launch of the second Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy class, and the Northwest Food Show this Sunday and Monday at the Portland Expo Center. We hope you can join us at the Show and take advantage of all it has to offer – or if time is limited, stop by for an hour and sample some great products. Registration is free for ORLA members ($25 at the door).
Here are the latest updates from your association:
Mask Mandates & Covid-19 Regulations - Our team is closely monitoring the impact of the CDC’s announcement this week that everyone—regardless of vaccination status—should return to wearing face coverings in certain regions across the nation with high levels of COVID-19 community spread. Several jurisdictions in other parts of the country have already announced they will mandate masks again, and we anticipate that others will in the coming days. Unfortunately, the politicization of masks may lead to conflicts in jurisdictions that mandate them. As a reminder, ServSafe has a free course on conflict de-escalation that ORLA members can utilize for staff. We learned earlier this week that at this stage Oregon OSHA has no plans to reinstitute face covering mandates. We will keep you posted on future developments.
Job Openings & Spending in Oregon - New data show the state of job openings and consumer spending in Oregon both up as of this month. With January 2020 acting as the baseline, the data shows job openings up in hospitality at a rate of 45.9%. Consumer spending in hospitality is up 7% over the same timeframe while overall consumer spending is up 13.1%. No surprise, the extent of our job opening crisis is impeding our ability to keep up with consumer spending gains across other sectors.
ENTREE Act - Last week, the House Small Business Committee Ranking Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer introduced legislation to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Appropriately titled the ENTREE Act, this bill generally reflects the GOP’s preference for how to replenish the RRF.
The ENTRÉE Act will:
National Hotel Stats - Our national partners at the American Hotel & Lodging Association have compiled the following statistics which provide important perspective on the state of our nation’s lodging industry:
[July 16, 2021] - ERTC Resources, Legislative Report
Don’t Leave Money on the Table! - Over 100 ORLA members registered for our Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) webinar earlier this week. ORLA members can find resources to assist in navigating the importance of ERTC and the cash infusion it can bring to our industry operations behind our online member wall (login and go to the Resource Library). You may be surprised how you can leverage both Payroll Protection Program dollars and Employee Retention Tax Credit dollars in ways the are completely above board and legal. ORLA’s Government Affairs Coordinator Tom Perrick is standing by to assist ORLA members in navigating the tools you need to maximize your cash infusion. We think you’ll find it less complicated than you might anticipate. If you have questions or need support as an ORLA member please email Tom Perrick at email@example.com. If you’re not an ORLA member yet, make it happen through the this link.
ORLA Legislative Report - The ORLA Legislative Report from Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley can be read on our Legislative Session page. The 2021 Oregon Legislative Session brought about historic challenges with no opportunity for industry stakeholders to engage in person with lawmakers due to Covid regulations. ORLA’s goal with all legislative sessions is to protect, improve, and promote hospitality. Our work this session resulted in protecting the intellectual property rights of our restaurant operators across the state, improvements in unemployment insurance rates that will be paid by lodging and restaurant employers in the coming years, and an ongoing commitment to promote the importance of a fully functioning hospitality industry which was crippled by Covid. We hope you find the summary report helpful and we want to thank both Greg Astley and Bill Perry with Balance Point Strategies for their work on behalf of the industry.
OSHA & OHA Intelligence - We expect OSHA will announce an elimination of the enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols relating to Covid as soon as this coming Monday. ORLA participated in the second of a series of rulemaking advisory committee meetings earlier today and it is clear there is widespread support amongst the committee members to ditch the need for high frequency cleaning standards on top of robust cleaning protocols already in place in our industry as well as others. Also, please find the latest intelligence from the Oregon Health Authority on the status of Covid variants including data points on transmission and geographic penetration rates here in Oregon.
[July 9, 2021] - Golf Tournament | Cannon Beach Sales Tax on Meals | RRF in Oregon | OLCC Updates
ORLA Open Golf Tournament - We have more sponsorship revenue on the books for the golf tournament than we’ve ever had before. That is a testament to our Director of Business Development Marla McColly who continues to provide top tier leadership for the association. Our Government Affairs team is running point on lining up golf teams to make sure we have a sold out field of golfers. We have just over 2 weeks before we hit the links.
Cannon Beach Sales Tax on Meals - About 40 restaurant operators in Cannon Beach have their hands full with the 5-person City Council in Cannon Beach who decided this past Tuesday night in a 3-2 vote to move forward with a new 5% food and beverage tax on foodservice operations within the city limits. As you can all imagine, we’re floored by the rationale to impose a new tax on restaurants after the grueling reality of COVID inflicted on the industry. ORLA will be testifying along with local restaurateurs at the next meeting July 14.
RRF in Oregon - The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released their most detailed information to date on Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) applications and recipients broken down by state. 2,337 Oregon restaurants received RRF dollars totaling approximately $531 million. 4,930 applications for RRF were received by SBA from Oregon operators which means about 47% of applicants from Oregon were funded. You can view more details in SBA's RRF report.
OLCC Updates - The latest updates from the OLCC about alcohol service changes as a result of Governor Brown rescinding all of her executive orders pertaining to the COVID emergency are included in the OLCC press release. A number of important topics are covered including but not limited to alcohol delivery, to-go cocktails, liquor liability insurance suspension, premises expansion, and license renewal fees. You can view more information on the OLCC website.
[July 1, 2021] - Full Reopening | OSHA Changes
Full Reopening with OSHA Changes - As many of you saw, OSHA updates were sent out as an Announcement on some bigger workplace changes that aligned with the Governor’s full reopening of the economy yesterday, June 30. In anticipation of the updates, we tracked down intelligence from OSHA Director Michael Wood and released information to the ORLA membership on Monday, June 28 regarding the change to both face covering mandates and physical distancing mandates from OSHA which is separate from the Oregon Health Authority regulations we knew were already going away on June 30. Once we confirmed the information, we sent an update to our industry to give as much advance warning as possible.
ORLA Feedback on Communications - With communication preferences constantly changing, it’s important that our professional staff have up to date information from members on how they view our communication performance, especially after a year like we’ve had. We appreciate hearing your feedback on our communication products and how well they’re hitting the mark. Take Survey
Updated Year in Review - View an updated version of ORLA’s Year in Review here. There was such a deluge of work over the last 15 months for all of us that it can be easy to dismiss or simply forget the work that has been accomplished or the degree of its importance. We hope our work has been something you are proud to be a part of. Before Covid, it was an ongoing challenge to communicate the value of advocacy and government relations work. Many times its seen as an intangible that is nice to have for the industry but not necessarily important to operations on a day to day basis. Of course Covid changed this perception entirely as it consumed our world and altered our approach to so much in the industry.
Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy Progress - Even with everything going on, ORLA remains committed to the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy which we built from scratch last year in partnership with Travel Oregon and the Oregon Destination Association. The leadership program is owned by ORLA and will prove to be an important tool in helping the association train and cultivate leaders for the future of our industry. Due to Covid, we have two separate leadership groups actively engaging their peers in the program. Our first year class will have their third experience out of four in Seaside next week from July 7-9. The first year class will wrap up their program year in the Willamette Valley from September 29 – October 1. Our second year class launches their year in the Columbia Gorge July 28-30. For more info visit OregonRLA.org/OTLA.
[June 28, 2021] - Clarifying Your Questions about OSHA Rules
A number of industry operators have been reaching out since Governor Brown’s announcement Friday, June 25, about Oregon OSHA rules for employees.
We have confirmed as of today thanks to Director Michael Wood that face covering and distancing rules will be eliminated in alignment with the full reopening of our economy on Wednesday, June 30.
ORLA will continue working with Oregon OSHA as part of their rules committee to continue addressing the details involved with unraveling the Covid-19 directives.
We recommend sending a communication alert to your entire staff letting them know face covering mandates are no longer in effect as of Wednesday if you plan to follow state policy. If you so choose, you can still require face coverings as a business policy as well as allow staff who prefer to wear a face covering to continue doing so.
Congratulations to you for making it to this point and surviving the monumental challenges presented from the past 15 months.
Please reach out to your ORLA Regional Representative for the ongoing intelligence you need to operate your business most effectively.
[Click the "Read More" link for archived blog updates]
House Vote on Unemployment Insurance Tax Relief Triggers Movement to State Senate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2021
Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, ORLA
503.851.1330 | astley@OregonRLA.org
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilsonville, OR– The Oregon House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to move forward with bipartisan legislation which would provide millions in unemployment insurance tax relief for some of Oregon’s hardest hit industries.
House Bill 3389 passed the Oregon House and will now move to the Senate for ongoing deliberation. The bill accomplishes a number of priorities for Oregon’s hospitality industry with the most important component being the removal of 2020 and 2021 employment data from the formula used to determine an employer’s applicable tax rate, starting in 2022.
“We would like thank the leaders who have signed on to support this bill as sponsors and their ongoing work to shepherd it through the legislative process,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The deferral and forgiveness components could be stronger for this year given the impact of government restrictions on industry employment options. Having said that, the big win will prove to be solving the tax hike problem for years 2022 through 2024.”
Unemployment insurance taxes are paid entirely by Oregon employers to fund Oregon’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund which remains the healthiest in the nation. One third of unemployment insurance taxes for 2021 can be deferred for employers with an increased tax rate of half a percent or more. If the employer’s tax rate increased more than 1 percent to 1.5 percent, 50 percent of the deferred tax would be forgiven. For tax rates which increased more than 1.5 percent to 2 percent, 75 percent of the deferred tax would be forgiven. And for employers who had a tax rate increase of more than 2 percent, the full deferred amount would be forgiven.
“We know this legislation if passed has the potential to save hospitality employers tens of millions of dollars this year alone,” said Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “That amount pales in comparison to the real impact of the relief in future years. If we can erase 2020 and 2021 from upcoming calculations as proposed in the legislation, it will have a direct impact on our industry recovery efforts.”
The bipartisan Chief Sponsors of the bill in the house include Representatives Paul Holvey, Daniel Bonham, and John Lively. The bipartisan Chief Sponsors in the State Senate include Senators Bill Hansell and Chuck Riley.
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians.
Join the National Restaurant Association and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association for a virtual conference on April 20, 2021
Every spring, the restaurant industry comes together in Washington D.C., to meet with Congress on issues impacting our industry.
The 2021 Public Affairs Conference may look different this year, but it provides the National Restaurant Association and state restaurant associations like ORLA with an opportunity to expand our reach and impact with more attendees and more meetings on Capitol Hill.
As an industry leader, your attendance is critical to the success of the Conference. With new party leadership in D.C. and our industry suffering from this unprecedented pandemic, our collective voices are needed now more than ever. We have to educate our lawmakers—new and established—on the impact of COVID-19 to our industry and what steps Congress should (or shouldn’t) take to help us survive and then thrive once the pandemic has passed.
Click the Register button below and use the code PAFCMEMBER to receive your member discount. The cost for members is $50 and $75 for non-members.
You will hear from political analysts, industry leaders, and lawmakers on key issues impacting the restaurant industry. If you’ve never attended the conference in the past, this virtual Public Affairs Conference is a great way to get involved for the first time.
If you have any questions, contact ORLA's Director of Government Affairs, Greg Astley.
Oregon’s Legislature will meet on Monday, December 21 for a one-day Special Session to discuss four specific issues including To-Go Cocktails and Commission Caps on Third Party Deliveries. Read the draft of Legislative Concept (LC 10).
We realize this legislation won’t fix everything so we are still working with the Governor’s office, Oregon Health Authority and Legislators to find ways to re-open dining rooms sooner and safely. You can help by contacting the Governor and your Legislators (find your legislator here) to let them know how little time you have left before you have to close your doors because of the restrictions on indoor dining.
Public hearings have now been posted for Thursday evening (6:00-9:00pm) and Saturday morning (10:00am-1:00pm). You may provide written or oral testimony at these meetings. For more information on these public hearings and to sign up to testify, please visit the following websites:
Oral Testimony (Live Remotely):
Important note about testimony: Neither registration nor use of the public access kiosk is a guarantee that you will be able to testify during the meeting. The chair may determine that public testimony must be limited. For this reason, written testimony is encouraged even if you plan to speak.
The Presiding Officers are extending the period for public comment. The public record is open when a meeting is posted until 24-hours after the committee is scheduled to meet. For example, this means written testimony can be submitted now until 6:00pm on Friday for the public hearing on Thursday.
Our Industry Needs Your Voice at the Table!
We need your voice at the Capitol to help pass this legislation. We need you to share your story of how the shutdowns, freezes and restrictions have impacted you and your employees and why this legislation would help you survive! If you are not already signed up for ORLA’s Text Alerts, please take a minute to text “ORLA” to 52886 today and sign up for important notices regarding key legislation and how you can help.
Thank you in advance for taking action.
Creation of a $75 Million Hospitality Relief Fund is Needed for Industry to Survive
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2020
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | JBrandt@OregonRLA.org
Wilsonville, OR– Another shutdown of Oregon’s restaurants, bars and foodservice establishments is crippling an already broken and damaged industry. While other industries in Oregon have experienced revenue losses on average of five percent from last year, the hospitality industry in Oregon has experienced revenue losses on average of at least thirty percent.
Because of this massive economic disparity, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, has sent a letter to the Legislative Joint Emergency Board asking for the immediate creation of a $75 million Hospitality Relief Fund to help operators and their employees survive another shutdown.
“There is no federal relief package waiting to be voted on and distributed from Congress or the White House,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “There are no stimulus checks being printed to help Oregon families pay their bills. There is no weekly check for $600 available for those servers, cooks, hosts and hostesses about to lose their jobs or have their hours cut again because restaurants can’t survive on takeout and delivery if they can do it at all.”
Restaurants and bars are still paying rent and there has been no extension of the commercial rent moratorium even though revenue has been cut by as much as 65% for some operators because of the shutdowns, “pause” and now a “freeze.”
Restaurants and bars are still paying OLCC license fees even though they are not able to serve hard alcohol or offer cocktails to go for customers doing pickup or delivery. They are still paying health inspection fees based on the number of seats they have in their establishment even though they cannot seat anyone in their establishment. There are payroll taxes, corporate activity taxes, property taxes on property they cannot fully use and commercial personal property taxes on property restaurants own.
In addition to the immediate creation of the $75 million Hospitality Relief Fund, ORLA is recommending several other solutions to the Legislature to help the hospitality industry survive. Those solutions include:
“We were already hearing from members they were concerned about what another shutdown would do to their chances of staying open,” said Brandt. “Without significant help from the state, the hospitality industry in Oregon–many of your favorite restaurants, hotels, bars and other places– will have to permanently close their doors, putting tens of thousands of people out of work.”
“Hospitality businesses need immediate help. We cannot wait for February and hope a relief package will materialize and be approved at the federal level,” said Brandt. “This is an emergency and we need the Joint Emergency Board to take action now to save our industry and the tens of thousands of Oregonians who rely on it to put food on the table, pay their rent or mortgage and provide for their families’ needs.”
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of approximately 10,000 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments with a workforce prior to COVID of 183,191.
New Coalition Of Public And Private Sector Leaders Call On Congress To Act On COVID Relief Before Election
Washington, D.C. (September 30, 2020) – COVID RELIEF NOW, a new coalition of nearly 200 major public and private sector groups across the U.S., today called for “No Recess without Relief” imploring Congress to not leave town for the 2020 elections without passing additional COVID economic relief – stating millions of jobs and survival of small businesses as well as vital government services are on the line.
The coalition stated that if Congress fails to act, millions of employees will be furloughed or terminated; millions of unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment insurance pandemic benefits; hundreds of thousands of companies will be at risk of closing their doors forever; and the vast majority of state and local governments will have to curtail critical services in order to balance budgets due to a decline in tax revenue.
Read the letter signed by coalition members, including the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, that was sent to Congress today:
This week is pivotal for COVID relief legislation and we must do everything we can to make sure our voice is heard. We need you to add your voice to ours. Write, call, and tweet your elected officials and tell them that the hotel industry’s needs must be included in any final bill.
Take action and share this message with your colleagues!
ORLA sent a letter this morning to Representative Nancy Nathanson, Chair, Members of the House Interim Committee on Revenue, and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to oppose Legislative Concept 2. Please see the following call to action and take action today, WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Stop the Tax Sneak Attack!
Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, the Oregon Legislature is now set to pass an ill-conceived proposal that would effectively impose $225 million in taxes on Oregon businesses, including restaurants and lodging, struggling to recover from the staggering impacts of the COVID shut downs.
But instead of admitting this is a new tax burden on struggling businesses, they will say this is simply a technical change, impacting only a few wealthy Oregonians. That’s simply not true. Many Oregon businesses will lose much-needed cash if this tax increase moves forward.
Please contact the governor, your legislators, and the House Revenue Committee immediately and tell them THIS PROPOSAL ISN’T FAIR to thousands of Oregon employers struggling to survive – and hundreds of thousands of unemployed Oregonians that want to go back to work.
Email your legislators today and tell them this sneak attack isn’t fair. Tell them to oppose this backdoor tax increase. ACT NOW. The Legislature is set to meet in special session on Monday, and all signs are that this bad idea is set to be fast-tracked through the process.
More information is now available on the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act” released earlier this week by Senate Republicans. As a reminder, the House introduced the HEROES Act proposal in May, which passed along party lines. Discussions are expected to now begin in earnest as Congress faces the July 31 deadline for enhanced pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
Part of the Republican proposal would reduce these benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week on top of state administered aid until the end of September at which time the maximum benefit will be 70% of the recipient current wages -- but this will be a starting point for the negotiations.
Read the National Restaurant Association’s summary of the proposal and the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s analysis of the HEALS Act.
Many of the hospitality industry’s priorities are included in the HEALS Act, including:
If you haven't yet, please take action on the National Restaurant Association's Blueprint for Restaurant Revival and/or the American Hotel and Lodging Association's Hotel Priorities Day of Action, thank you!
Restaurants and Bars Among Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Pandemic
[Wilsonville, OR] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, recently completed a statistically significant survey around To-Go Cocktails, drinks made with distilled spirits for takeout, pickup or delivery to go along with meals purchased by guests.
The survey, conducted July 3-6th, shows 72% or nearly three in four Oregonians, said they would favor a proposal allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) with their takeout and delivery food orders from restaurants. This is in addition to beer and wine, which is currently allowed.
Support is highest among those between the ages of 24-39 at 83%, with respondents between the ages of 58-74 showing the least support at 66%. Twenty-eight percent of adults said they strongly favor the proposal. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon adults said they purchased takeout or delivery food from a restaurant for dinner during the week before they were surveyed.
ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said, “This is so encouraging for our members who have struggled just to stay open and keep people employed.”
Brandt continued, “This has been an incredibly difficult time when restaurants and bars have struggled to deal with the challenges of being shut down, having to pivot to offer only takeout, pickup or delivery and then trying to invite guests back into dining rooms and make them feel safe and comfortable. Knowing almost three out of four Oregonians support the option to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks to go with their meals means some restaurants and bars who might have previously had to close down actually have a chance to make it now.”
Allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) for pickup, takeout or delivery requires a statutory change, meaning the Oregon Legislature would need to make the change to state law. Thirty other states currently offer To-Go Cocktails including Washington and California.
“From a public safety perspective, if more businesses are able to offer the service of delivery of alcohol to their customers, the need for those customers to physically go into stores and businesses is reduced, thus reducing the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” said Brandt.
Recognizing the need to help those who may have difficulty with alcohol addiction, ORLA’s website outlines a number of resources available to individuals, as well as training information to aid in prevention. More information on these resources and trainings can be found at OregonRLA.org/crisis-services-and-training.
For more information please contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs at 503.851.1330.
ORLA is hosting another series of virtual town halls and all hospitality industry members and partners are invited to participate.
The purpose of these virtual meetings is to provide a summary of the latest industry intelligence from the Governor’s Office, as well as from state and local leaders as we continue operations during Phase 2. We will review Public Health Guidelines, best practices, ORLA resources, and engage local operators about what strategies have been working since reopening.
We want to continue to keep businesses connected and feeling supported as we move through these challenging times. If you are interested in an overview of the latest Government Affairs updates and participating in a discussion about industry resources and guidance, this virtual meeting is for you.
To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact your Membership Representative below and include any questions or comments you would like considered as part of our conversations.
Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meetings:
Thursday, July 16 - 9:30-10:30 am
Polk, Marion, Benton, Linn Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Monday, July 20 - 10:00-11:00 am
Washington / Columbia / Yamhill Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Tuesday, July 21 - 3:00-4:00 pm
Coos, Curry, Douglas, Deschutes, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane Counties
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Wednesday, July 29 - 2:00-3:00 pm
Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Recent Virtual Town Hall Meetings
If you missed a town hall and would like to watch/listen to the recording, please contact Glenda Hamstreet at GHamstreet@OregonRLA.org.
Wednesday, April 22 – 9:30-10:30 am
Washington / Columbia / Yamhill Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, April 22 – 1:30-2:30 pm
Baker City / Eastern Oregon
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 11:00 am-12:00 pm
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 2:45-3:45 pm
Coos, Curry, Douglas, Deschutes, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane Counties
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Friday, April 24 – 9:30-10:30 am
Benton / Linn Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, May 13 – 9:30-10:30 am
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, May 13 – 3:00-4:00 pm
So. Oregon, South Coast
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Update: “Cap and trade” has been a contentious issue for the last several sessions, with Republican lawmakers staging walkouts over the issue multiple times. With no quorum to vote on legislation, Oregon lawmakers adjourned in March 2020 for the short session. We will update you on future movement on the “cap and trade” issue.
House Bill (HB) 2020, the “Cap and Trade” bill, would raise prices on users of natural gas which include restaurants, lodging properties and manufacturers around the state. This legislation could increase the cost of living for Oregonians by $50 to $125 a month, give appointed officials the authority to increase taxes without a vote of the people or Legislature and drive thousands of jobs away from the state.
Oregon is one of the lowest carbon emitting states in the nation, and we’re getting lower. We just enacted ground-breaking new climate policies on transportation and electricity generation, we should give these new laws a chance to work.
Without an exemption for natural gas, hotels and restaurants will pay significantly more money. Along with increases in minimum wage, paid sick leave and possibly paid family leave, the hospitality industry is being crushed under over-burdensome regulations and there is no sign it’s going to end anytime soon.
Please consider emailing members of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and let them know you oppose HB 2020 which will hurt your business and increase prices to customers. Urge them to Vote “No.”
To submit testimony to Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction:
ALERT 2.12.19 - The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction announced four public hearing dates for House Bill 2020 - tell your lawmakers that we can’t afford cap and trade.
ORLA encourages restaurants and hotels to testify at the hearings about how this would impact their operations. More information about the proposal as well as talking points are available upon request. If you are interested in providing testimony, contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs, at 503.851.1330.
The joint committee will host public hearings where Oregonians will be able to voice their opinions and ask questions about the bill. Additionally, there will be a public hearing on February 25 where the Salem-based committee will accept live, remote testimony from around the state.
Reasons to Oppose House Bill 2020: Cap and Trade:
The five dates and locations are listed below:
These feedback opportunities are in addition to two public hearings on February 15 and 18 in Salem before the committee.
The Law Regarding Service Animals and Public
There was a story in the news recently about a dog chasing a cat. Why was that newsworthy? Because it was a service dog attending a showing of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” with its owner, and the cat in question was one of the shows characters (which, if you’re not familiar with the show, was a person dressed as a cat, not an actual cat). Hilarity probably ensued, to the embarrassment of the dog’s owner.
That story reminded me of an issue that sometimes vexes restaurateurs and other business owners – how to deal with customers who make questionable claims that an animal is a service animal, and insist on bringing it onto the premises. This article summarizes the legal rights and responsibilities of customers and business owners in those situations. Businesses are, of course, free to be more accommodating than the law requires.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Oregon’s equivalent law requires “places of public accommodation” (including hotels, inns, restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving food or drink) to allow persons with disabilities to bring “service animals” onto the premises. Contrary to popular belief, though, every animal does not qualify as a service animal just because the customer says so.
First, the ADA currently limits the types of animals that can qualify as service animals to dogs and miniature horses. Oregon’s law is also limited to those two types of animals unless and until administrative rules are enacted that expand the definition to include other animals. Other states’ laws may vary, but, in Oregon, those are the only two animals that qualify as service animals.
Second, the animal needs to be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the individual with a disability. This includes physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.
Examples of specific tasks the animal can be trained to perform include, among other things:
Providing general emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not qualify. This means that emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not considered “service animals” under the ADA unless the animal is also trained to perform some other specific task related to the individual’s disability.
The law does not require a license, jacket, tag, or other means to identify an animal as a service animal. Nor does it require medical verification or a prescription.
When confronted with a situation where an individual wants to bring a claimed service animal onto the premises, the business can only ask the following two questions of the individual:
The business needs to take the individual at their word, and allow the service animal on the premises, if the individual answers “yes” to the first question and states a specific task or type of work the animal has been trained to perform.
The individual cannot be charged a fee to bring a service animal onto the premises; even a pet fee charged to other customers, because service animals are not “pets.”
If the service or assistance animal causes damage, then the owner can be charged for the damage so long as the business normally charges other customers for the damage they (or their pets) cause.
Unruly and disruptive animals need not be accommodated. The owner is responsible for supervising and controlling the service animal. The animal must also be housebroken.
If the animal behaves in an unacceptable or threatening way and the handler does not control the animal, then the business can ask that the animal be removed from the premises. For example, a service dog that repeatedly barks or growls at other customers, destroys property, climbs on the furniture unnecessarily, makes a mess on the carpet, or chases an employee (even one dressed like a cat), could be excluded from the premises if the individual cannot or will not control the dog.
The business can also require that the service animal be kept on a leash, harness, or other tether unless the individual is unable to hold a tether because of a disability or its use would interfere with the animal’s safe and effective performance of work or tasks. Even then, the service animal must still be kept under control by some other means, such as voice commands.
The owner is responsible for the care and feeding of the service animal. The business does not need to provide food or water for the animal, or clean up after it. That is the responsibility of the owner.
If a service animal is excluded, the business must still give the individual the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises. | Shane P. Swilley, Partner, Cosgrave Vergeer Kester LLP (originally posted 1/2/2018; updated 1/2/2020)
Access additional compliance information and resources for the hospitality industry, including ADA regulations and downloadable posters at OregonRLA.org/Compliance.
• Fact Sheet #9: Pet Dogs in Outdoor Seating Areas in Oregon
• Oregon/ADA “Sorry, pets are not allowed” Poster
• U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Requirements for Service Animals
• Disability Rights Oregon, Service Laws in Oregon
At their most recent meeting, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) Board of Directors voted unanimously (with 1 abstention) to support a legislative bill which will originate from Governor Brown’s office in support of a permanent 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate during the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session. Revenue raised by the statewide lodging tax is invested in Travel Oregon’s efforts to strengthen the economic impact of our state’s tourism industry. Oregon’s statewide lodging tax is currently collected at a rate of 1.8% with a reduction in the rate scheduled to take effect as of July 1, 2020 to a permanent rate of 1.5%.
“We appreciate Governor Brown’s proactive outreach to meet with ORLA and some of our key lodging stakeholders in person to discuss the merits of keeping the statewide lodging tax rate at 1.8% permanently,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “Our goals for lodging tax rate structures in Oregon are two-fold – protecting all statewide lodging tax resources to create return on investment for the industry through the efforts of Travel Oregon and protecting local lodging tax reforms passed in the 2003 Legislative Session.”
Oregon continues to experience healthy growth in tourism spending logging our ninth consecutive year of industry growth in 2018. Compared to 2017, visitor spending was up 4.2% reaching a record $12.3 billion. Industry employment was also up year over year by 2.9% to approximately 115,400. Year over year, hotel room revenue increased by 4.4% as well.
“We have seen firsthand what strategic investments in tourism promotion can do when industry tax dollars are put to their most effective use,” said Brandt. “With many other competing priorities in the Capitol, it is essential the association protects the appropriate use of these dollars at both the local and state levels. The economic impacts we are seeing are significant not just for our industry but for our public sector partners as well.”
The U.S. Travel Association tracks statewide economic impact throughout the country and assists states in quantifying the value of year over year tourism growth. The most recently available data notates Oregon’s tourism growth at 5.3% when comparing 2016 to 2017, further substantiating the value of healthy tourism growth for Oregon’s public sector. From 2016 to 2017, Oregon experienced visitor spending growth of $652 million. That increase in spending and associated payroll income tax increases equates to as many as 410 firefighter positions, 380 police officer positions, or 380 teacher positions.
ORLA continues to focus on the protection of local lodging tax dollars for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities in addition to support given to Governor Brown’s upcoming legislative bill for the statewide resource. Oregon’s local lodging tax structure can be complicated with over 110 different city and county jurisdictions collecting a transient lodging tax outside of the 1.8% statewide tax. Important guidelines have been in place for the past 16 years for how local lodging tax dollars can be spent. To clarify those parameters, ORLA recently produced a new instructional video to assist all stakeholders and the general public in better understanding the rules which govern local lodging tax resources.
The new video specific to local lodging taxes (not to be confused with Oregon’s 1.8% statewide lodging tax) can be viewed here:
For more information about the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s policies on transient lodging taxes, please reach out to Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com via email.
On June 30, the Oregon Legislature officially came to a close. The 2019 session was marked by hyper-partisanship, two walkouts by Senate Republicans and dozens of new laws affecting the hospitality industry. Several key bills will affect how restaurants and lodging properties conduct business in the near future. Watch for ORLA's full recap of the session coming soon to the Advocacy page.
Here are a few quick updates:
HB 2005 – Paid Family and Medical Leave
SB 90 – Plastic Straws on request
Plastic straws in restaurants are now only available “on request” unless a customer is using the drive through and then employees may ask the customer if they would like a straw. Effective as of June 13, 2019.
HB 2509 – Plastic Bag Ban
Single use disposable plastic bags are banned from restaurants and grocery stores. Retailers may charge for paper bags. Effective date is January 1, 2020. Read HB 2509 Enrolled.
HB 3137 – Collection of local lodging taxes by Oregon Department of Revenue
Provides that transient lodging tax becomes due when occupancy of transient lodging with respect to which tax is imposed ends. This bill will help eliminate the issue of properties collecting and remitting the lodging tax to the state and then if a customer cancels, having to go back and recover the lodging tax paid in order to refund the customer the tax. Effective date January 1, 2020.
SB 248 – Increase in certain fees charged by OLCC
Fees for OLCC licenses will double effective July 1, 2019. Negotiated separately from this bill is the option to renew an OLCC alcohol license every two years instead of annually.
Business Association Letter to the Revenue Committees
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is one of 22 business associations who signed the following letter submitted to the revenue committees on March 21, 2019.
As representatives of Oregon’s leading private-sector employers, we recognize that the Legislature intends to pass significant new taxes this year, most of which will fall on Oregon’s businesses, small and large.
As we consider tax proposals, our organizations will be guided by the following principles:
The Oregon Legislature is considering HB 3023 which will create statewide standards for rideshare companies, drivers, and vehicles in Oregon. ORLA supports this bill as it sets standards for driver background checks, vehicle safety, and insurance - important factors in providing affordable and safe transportation options.
Protecting Our Industry
During this session ORLA will be tracking several bills and engaging on those particularly to the hospitality industry. Members are encouraged to stay informed and engaged on the issues by subscribing to ORLA communications. If you have any questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org.
ORLA Engaged in Local and Statewide Measures and Races
A week after the election, there are still some races across the nation undecided or in the middle of a recount to determine winners. Here in Oregon though, the ballots are counted, and the results are definitive.
Governor Kate Brown (D) beat her opponent, State Representative and physician Knute Beuhler (R), giving her the opportunity to serve four more years in the office. With final numbers still to be reported, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, the two raised and spent a record $36 million in this race.
Democrats in Oregon won big victories and now officially have a supermajority in both the House and the Senate for the first time since 2009. ORLA believes the best policy occurs when there is more parity in the two chambers which can result in more compromise between legislators. The 2019 Legislative Session could see more partisanship or less depending on how Democrats choose to leverage their position in the House, Senate, and Governor’s office.
ORLA’s upcoming legislative priorities will be discussed and approved at our combined Public Policy Committee meeting on December 11th here at the ORLA offices in Wilsonville. Members can RSVP to join us from 1:30-3:00 p.m. by emailing Glenda Hamstreet at GHamstreet@oregonrla.org.
ORLA took a position on four of the five statewide ballot measures in this election cycle. We supported Measures 102 (Affordable Housing), 103 (Keep Our Groceries Tax Free) and 104 (Requirements for Raising Taxes) with only Measure 102 passing. In addition, we were opposed to Measure 105 (Repeal State Sanctuary Law) which was defeated.
In local ballot measures, ORLA was opposed to Portland’s Measure 26-201 (Gross Receipts Tax) which passed. We were also opposed to a local sales tax on meals in Jacksonville which was soundly defeated 65%-35%.
In another local race, Bambuza owner Daniel Nguyen, won a seat on the Lake Oswego City Council and will begin serving January 1, 2019.
The team at ORLA very much appreciates all of our members who contributed to the ORLA Political Action Committee (ORLAPAC) and allowed us to participate in a meaningful way in these important races. Your support and contributions will be needed even more in the future as we look ahead already to the 2020 election cycle.
Oregon has a strong track record of enhancing tourism and creating thousands of jobs that trigger local economic growth while making Oregon a top travel destination. That is why we are supporting Measure 104 – it will ensure tax fairness for businesses and consumers.
Join the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and protect the entrepreneurial spirit that brings award-winning plates from chefs who use Oregon’s farm fresh Marionberries and hazelnuts, salmon and crab and thousands of handcrafted beers and wines.
Unfortunately, this entrepreneurial spirit is under attack.
New taxes on beer, coffee, food, and soda have become common amongst politicians in Salem, as they search for new revenue, despite record spending levels.
How are politicians gaming the system and getting around the law?
Over 20 years ago Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority vote on all revenue-raising legislation. But now, thanks to a creative loophole found by politicians and their lawyers, politicians have changed the rules to avoid the supermajority vote designed to protect taxpayers from increased taxes on food and beverages.
This year, politicians used this trick to steal $1 billion from small businesses on a simple-majority vote, eliminating lower tax rates for hardworking, family-owned businesses throughout Oregon. That isn’t right and it needs to be stopped.
A "Yes" vote on Measure 104:
Supporting Measure 104 will help prevent partisan gamesmanship and ensure tax fairness for Oregonians. Join us in protecting the Oregon way and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Oregon a great place to live, visit, work and play.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association encourages a "Yes” vote on Measure 104.
Here's how you can help:
For more information on volunteering for the campaign download the Volunteer Info flyer.
Contact the campaign: Yes@Yeson104.com | 503.974.8860 | www.yeson104.com
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) supports Measure 103 because it protects low-income Oregonians and small businesses, including restaurants, from new taxes on the sale or distribution of food and beverages, regardless of where such items are purchased.
Measure 103 specifically defines “groceries” as “any raw or processed food or beverage intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, marijuana products, and tobacco products.” This broad definition includes food and beverages purchased from restaurants.
Taxes on food would have a disproportionate effect on Oregonians who can least afford it, including low-income households and seniors on fixed incomes. While many states other than Oregon have sales taxes, many exempt food and beverages from those taxes for this very reason. Measure 103 protects all Oregonians from regressive and harmful taxes imposed by state and local governments on the sale of food and beverages.
Oregon currently does not have any statewide sales tax but many local governments tax certain items. Measure 103 would ensure that if new state or local sales taxes are passed in Oregon, those taxes will not apply to the sale of food and beverages. Measure 103 protects customers and businesses from the negative affects new taxes on food and beverages would have.
A meal at a restaurant or from take-out is a regular and increasing part of many Oregonians’ busy schedules. ORLA supports Measure 103 because it will ensure that such meals remain as affordable as possible without unnecessary and burdensome taxation.
Join us in voting Yes on Measure 103.