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.
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.
Oregon’s lodging tax investments could be drastically reduced if Senate Bill 595 passes.
If successful, SB 595 would eradicate the critical lodging tax reforms of 2003 by taking 30% of our industry’s 70% of any new or increased lodging tax implemented since July 2, 2003, and allowing local governments to redirect those funds for “affordable workforce housing” projects. The result would allow only 40% of new or increased local lodging taxes to be protected for tourism promotion and tourism-related facilities.
ORLA was at the table in November supporting Measure 102, giving communities across Oregon greater flexibility to create the workforce housing they need. ORLA continues to be willing and ready to engage in productive conversations about alternative solutions that can benefit communities and foster economic development without targeting one industry.
The Senate Committee on Housing held a public hearing for SB 595 on February 18. We need lodging industry members to take action now!
Email members of the Senate Committee on Housing and tell them how important the 70% protections are to growing Oregon’s tourism economy. Urge them to consider alternatives to workforce housing initiatives.
• Senator Shemia Fagan, Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Dallas Heard, Vice-Chair: email@example.com
• Senator Jeff Golden, Member: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senator Tim Knopp, Member: email@example.com
• Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Member: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the bills ORLA is engaged and/or tracking this session at OregonRLA.org/billtracking.
If you have any questions on this bill, please reach out to me via email at JBrandt@OregonRLA.org or call me directly at 503.302.5060.
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.
79th Legislative Assembly Garnered Real Outcomes
The “short” Oregon Legislative session officially ended March 3, 2018. The Government Affairs team at ORLA worked diligently to pass several pieces of good legislation and prevent more damaging laws from passing. Working collaboratively with other groups and organizations, some of whom we have not partnered with before, ORLA finished up a very successful short session on behalf of our industry partners.
Here is an update on a few of the bills ORLA was working on and tracking:
HB 4120A – Relating To Short-Term Intermediary Lodging Tax Payments
In 2003, the Tourism Investment Program (HB 2267) was adopted, establishing the statutory framework for the transient lodging tax program. Third-party intermediaries have always played a role in short-term lodging and that role has increased as new short-term lodging models emerged in the marketplace and consumers more frequently turned to multiple online platforms to compare prices and make their vacation plans.
In 2013, we believe the Legislature passed bills intending to treat short-term rental intermediaries the same as traditional hotels, motels and other lodging establishments who pay the transient lodging tax to the state, counties and cities.
Unfortunately, some of these third-party short-term rental intermediaries have refused to pay taxes unless a voluntary collection agreement is signed and even then, the agreement stipulates no sharing of data between the short-term rental intermediary and the city or county. Cannon Beach recently rejected a voluntary collection agreement due to a lack of transparency and the inability to properly audit, thereby ensuring they were receiving the correct amount of transient lodging tax.
The need to statutorily clarify that short-term rental intermediaries are responsible for collecting and remitting the transient lodging taxes was reinforced in 2016 by the HB 4146 Work Group and as a result, HB 2049 was introduced in the 2017 session.
This session, ORLA worked with the League of Oregon Cities and State Representative Pam Marsh (D–Ashland) to help introduce HB 4120A, which requires short-term intermediaries like Airbnb to collect lodging taxes when they’re already collecting the lodging stay payment. After passing out of committee, HB 4120A was supported widely through a bipartisan vote (52-8) in the State House of Representatives. The bill then moved over to the Senate and to the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee where State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) led the committee in support of a 5-0 vote recommending passage to the rest of the Senate. Another member of the Senate Committee, State Senator Alan DeBoer (R-Ashland), carried the bill on the Senate floor to a 26-1 vote for a major hospitality win. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.
HB 4088 – Relating To Music Licensing
ORLA, working in partnership with the Oregon Winegrowers and with the support of music licensing company BMI, introduced HB 4088 to help regulate how music licensing companies can engage lodging and restaurant operators about the playing and/or performing of copyrighted music.
The bill prohibits certain activities by, and specifies additional duties for, performing rights societies in notifying business proprietors concerning proprietors' duties with respect to performing copyrighted musical works and in negotiating contracts for paying royalties for performing copyrighted musical works.
Essentially, the bill states:
A performing rights society may not enter into, or offer to enter into, a contract under the terms of which a proprietor must pay royalties unless the performing rights society, at least 72 hours before entering into the contract, provides to the proprietor or an employee of the proprietor:
(a) Information, at the proprietor’s request, as to whether specific copyrighted musical works are in the repertoire of the performing rights society;
(b) An opportunity to review, electronically and free of charge, the most current available list of the performing rights society’s members or affiliates, and the most current available list of the musical works that the performing rights society licenses, in a format that the proprietor can search by title, publisher and performing artist; and
(c) A schedule of rates and terms under which the performing rights society will collect royalties under the contract, including the terms of any sliding scale or schedule for any increase or decrease of the rates for the duration of the contract.
Further, a performing rights society or any agent or employee of a performing rights society may not:
(1) Enter onto the premises of a proprietor’s business to discuss or inquire about a contract under which the proprietor will pay royalties without first:
(a) Providing identification to the proprietor or the proprietor’s employees; and
(b) Specifying the purpose of the entry;
(2) Use abusive, profane or obscene language when communicating with a proprietor or the proprietor’s employees;
(3) Communicate with a proprietor or the proprietor’s employees in person or by telephone in locations or at times other than in the proprietor’s place of business during regular business hours unless the proprietor’s place of business is not open to the public and the proprietor or an employee, agent or representative of the proprietor agrees to communicate in a different location or at a different time;
(4) Communicate with a proprietor or the proprietor’s employees after receiving notice from the proprietor’s attorney that the performing rights society or an agent or employee of the performing rights society must address communications to the proprietor’s attorney, except that a performing rights society or an agent or employee of the performing rights society may communicate directly with the proprietor or the proprietor’s employees if the attorney fails to respond to communications for a period of 60 days or more;
(5) Engage in any coercive conduct, act or practice that is substantially disruptive to a proprietor’s
(6) Use or attempt to use any unfair or deceptive act or practice in negotiating with a proprietor
The bill was passed out of the House Business and Labor Committee and was carried on the House floor by State Representative Denyc Boles (R-Salem), passing 59-0 with one excused. On the Senate side, after passing out of the Senate Business and Transportation Committee, it was carried by State Senator Rod Monroe (D-Portland). It then passed the Senate 29-0 with one excused. The bill is now awaiting a signature by the Governor.
HB 4054 A – Relating to the Removal of Personal Property (i.e., homeless camps)
Although not a partner on this bill, ORLA was supportive of its passage.
The bill which specifically allows the Department of Transportation to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with cities with a population of 500,000 or greater (i.e., Portland) creates an avenue for the city to continue their important work in cleaning up homeless camps regardless of whether the land is owned by the city or state.
The bill cuts down the number of days from 22 to 2 for notification purposes.
This bill passed 58-0 in the House with two excused and 27-0 in the Senate with three excused. It is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.
Update: Thanks to lodging operators and tourism partners who mobilized with ORLA to share their concerns, the Umatilla County Commissioners decided against pursuing a lodging tax increase. Your efforts made a difference!
Umatilla County is considering a new Transient Lodging Tax of 2% on all overnight lodging facilities. ORLA submitted a letter to the Board of Commissioners asking for a delay in considering the new tax until appropriate communications can take place with their partners operating these lodging facilities. We do not feel an adequate amount of time to fully vet the need for a new tax was given.
ORLA encourages lodging operators to provide comment on the County’s plan and attend one of the following meetings where this plan will be discussed:
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2018 @7:30 a.m.
Nookies, 125 N. First, Hermiston
Friday, Dec. 8, 2018 @ 10:30 a.m.
Umatilla County Courthouse, Room 114
216 SE 4th St., Pendleton
Industry members are encouraged to attend a meeting and/ or sharing your comments / concerns with County Commissioners on this proposal.
We’re Not Convinced Lodging Operators Want A County TLT
To date, there is no evidence that lodging operators are asking Umatilla County to assist them in growing their revenue and their bottom line by implementing this new tax. We question the need for the tax to be considered in the first place.
For questions, contact Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs.