A Powerful Voice on Key Industry Issues
ORLA’s government affairs team is dedicated to promoting and protecting the foodservice and lodging industries of Oregon. By advocating for public policies that sustain our industry, and by working on behalf of local businesses, we are the voice of hospitality at the local, state and national levels.
Fighting Against Additional Labor Regulations
Small businesses in Oregon are still adjusting to increasing minimum wage rates, paid sick leave, and Oregon’s new scheduling law. As a result, ORLA will fight any attempts to implement Paid Family Leave during the 2018 session. Laws relating to Paid Family Leave are currently on the books in both Washington and California and Oregon’s legislative leadership have signaled an interest in implementing paid family leave legislation.
Fair Payment of Lodging Taxes by Lodging Intermediaries
ORLA, in partnership with the League of Oregon Cities, will be pursuing a legislative fix to make sure online travel platforms like Airbnb pay all applicable lodging taxes when they are collecting payment for the lodging stays. The legislative fix would treat online travel platforms the same way as other lodging companies collecting revenue for lodging stays including other online travel companies like Expedia and Priceline.
Advocating for Oregon’s Tourism Investment Plans
ORLA continues to fight for the appropriate use of lodging tax dollars at the local, county, and statewide levels as required by law. Since July 1, 2003, 70% of any new or increased portion of lodging taxes must fund tourism promotion or tourism related facilities. The remaining 30% can be spent on general fund expenses as designated by the taxing jurisdiction. ORLA believes in the full preservation of the 2003 law and will protect its integrity as one of our most crucial tools in growing and enhancing Oregon’s tourism export economy.
Fighting for Tip Pooling
Tip pooling has become a legal spider web, given the complicated state-by-state variations. In a move to further clarify the law, restaurant industry trade associations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) asserting the DOL has overstepped its bounds in revising regulations on tip pooling. Although the DOL has announced they propose to rescind the regulations that bar tip sharing, we continue to work with the National Restaurant Association and other partners to take our case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ensuring Fairness for Short-Term Rentals
Illegal short-term rentals endanger customers’ lives, ignore existing laws and it’s unknown whether they are reporting and remitting the proper lodging taxes. The State of Oregon should pass legislation that requires short-term home rental properties to register with their local taxing authority before they are marketed through online exchange sites. Additionally, for jurisdictions that have a business-licensing program in place, operators should secure the proper licenses and report and remit their room tax collections.
In partnership with Oregon Winegrowers, ORLA will be pursuing stronger protections for restaurant operations against predatory music licensing investigators. In order to make sure restaurants are paying appropriate fees for licensed music playing in their establishment, music licensing companies enlist the help of investigators who have been reported to harass and threaten restaurant operators. ORLA is interested in tightening up rules and regulations for how operators can be approached about their music licensing arrangements to assist in the amicable resolution of laws governing the commercial use of copyrighted music.
Advocating for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Comprehensive immigration reform must include all aspects of immigration issues—border security, worker supply and employee verification—which means that Congress is the only political body which can actually solve the immigration problem. State and local governments only make a solution more complex by trying to pass their own laws. ORLA is opposed to random, individual pieces of immigration reform and supports Congress working together on a national level to enact comprehensive reform.
Defending Lottery Retailers and Commission Rates
ORLA is the only major trade association in the state that has defended lottery retailers since the introduction of video lottery in Oregon. ORLA defends commission rates and protects against extreme regulatory attacks, such as increased casino expansions off tribal reservations. ORLA is supportive of gaming as entertainment, adjunct to the hospitality industry.
Protecting Small Businesses from Local Jurisdictional Control
One of the biggest threats to independent businesses in Oregon is the desire by local governments to control private employer-employee relationships. By creating laws that mandate employee benefits within the boundaries of a city or county, businesses face a patchwork of regulations that differ from one location to another, and workplace fairness is compromised. ORLA believes that enacting a preemption that labor practices are set at the state level gives businesses stability and offers a better environment for economic growth.
Strengthening Oregon’s Roads and Bridges
ORLA believes in the importance of a comprehensive transportation plan that funds needed infrastructure projects throughout Oregon. The flow of people, goods, and services is crucial to the success of Oregon’s hospitality industry and the experience of Oregon’s visitors.
Stay up-to-date at OregonRLA.org/GA.