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.
Discussions on Cannabis Tourism and Licensing Fee Increase
On a quarterly basis, ORLA has the opportunity to participate in meetings with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to address issues impacting our industry. As members often have questions relating to licensing and other liquor or marijuana issues, ORLA appreciates the open lines of communications with the agency and the Commissioners.
At a recent OLCC Commissioners meeting, ORLA presented on cannabis tourism and the challenges our industry faces with OLCC licensees not being able to host cannabis events on site without giving up their OLCC license. Executive Director Steve Marks clarified that OLCC licensees are not able to hold cannabis-related events as the agency has defined a licensee’s entire property as being part of the license.
ORLA asked for consideration and discussion around the issue as cannabis-related tourism is a growing segment of the industry. Commissioner Matt Maletis reinforced the opportunities available to cannabis-related tourism and expressed his appreciation for ORLA addressing the issue.
At the request of Governor Kate Brown for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), SB 248 was introduced which would increase all licensing fees including those for breweries, wineries, distilleries and retailers. The increase is needed to upgrade technology and software for the agency to help increase efficiency and productivity. ORLA has been in discussions with the OLCC about the increase and received assurances from the agency that as part of the increased fees, OLCC would make a change in administrative rules to allow for two-year licenses.
The two-year license is something ORLA has heard members are interested in to help them save time and money by only having to apply for renewals every two years instead of annually.
There would be exceptions to the two-year license offering which may include first-time applicants and applicants who have had a violation in the last 12 months. Details are still being worked on at this time and ORLA will share updates with members as they come.
If you have questions relating to OLCC licensing or other issues, feel free to reach out to me at Astley@OregonRLA.org. | Greg Astley
Restaurants Who Sell Elouan Wine Should Consider Risks
The OLCC has determined wine producer Copper Cane of California to be misrepresenting Oregon wine geographic designations on its Elouan packaging and sales material, recommending revocation of their Certificate to ship wine into Oregon for resale. Widespread news reports now give restaurateurs knowledge of these misrepresentations and thus liability under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The wines are made in California and are not legally eligible to state or infer Oregon American Viticultural Areas on their labels, packaging or advertising material. You may want to consider this risk in selling this product in your restaurants.
Oregon Legislature to consider laws protecting wine industry (1.14.19 - Capital Press)
Copper Cane Controversy (11.1.18 - Oregon Wine Press)