Member Calls to Action

At the heart of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s (“RACC”) service to its members and the Douglas County’s business community, is the government affairs and political advocacy work it does on behalf of business.

 

The mission of the RACC through its government affairs activities and political advocacy is to represent and protect the interests of the Douglas County business community. To this end, the chamber monitors issues and activities of local, state and federal government and, when appropriate takes positions of support or opposition on behalf of business.

 

Our members informed, educated and connected through monthly E-newsletter, E-news blasts, website, calls to action, position papers/fact sheets, membership luncheon programs and legislative session calls with our counties state delegation.

CALLS TO ACTION!  

THERE ARE NO CURRENT “CALLS TO ACTION.”

(Archived 3/31/22) Comments Needed on Oregon OSHA’s Proposed Heat & Smoke Rules

Over the last two years, OR-OSHA has announced an unprecedented number of regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.  Now, OR-OSHA is proposing the most aggressive wildfire smoke and heat illness prevention rules in the country, resulting in work stoppages for many employers across the state.  The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) maintains, smoke and heat are environmental risks, not occupational hazards, and it is inappropriate for the agency to propose rules that will shut down small businesses who cannot afford to comply. 

          Worker advocates are mobilizing to demand paid time off to deal with smoke and heat and other environmental hazards and local businesses need to weigh in!  Please send your personalized comments to OR-OSHA at OSHA.rulemaking@dcbs.oregon.gov by 5:00 PM on March 18. 

It is important the agency hears about how these overreaching rules will further burden local businesses in Oregon and particularly here in Douglas County.

         It’s important the agency hears about how these overreaching rules will further burden local businesses in Oregon.  The OSCC has prepared suggested comments here. We encourage you to personalize these comments for your business.

 

TAKE ACTION: Deadline March 18th, 5pm

          (1)  Submit comments from your business, using the suggested comments (link, above). Please personalize and send on your letterhead.

          (2)  The Oregon State Chamber has created an “Action Center” portal so your comments can be submitted by clicking here “SEND COMMENTS TODAY.”

Wildfire Smoke Rules (See proposed rules)

The basics:

  • When the air quality index (AQI) is 101, employees can choose to wear N95 respirator masks to protect themselves from wildfire smoke particulate. Employers are required provide these masks to employees.
  • When the AQI is 251, employees who are exposed to wildfire smoke are required to wear an N95 respirator, and employers are required to enforce that requirement, but employers are NOT required to implement a full respiratory protection program.
  • When AQI is above 500, respirators must be worn by all employees, but the respiratory protection rule is also triggered, meaning that all employees must undergo medical evaluations and fit testing (many employers will be forced to stop work because a company-wide respiratory protection program is not cost effective).

Heat Illness Prevention Rules (See proposed rules)

The basics:

  • The heat prevention rules apply in both indoor and outdoor environments.
  • At a heat index of 80 degrees: shade is required; sufficient water is required.
  • At a heat index of 90 degrees: shade and water are required; 10-minute cool down breaks are required every 2 hours; employees must be monitored for heat illness; communication with employees must be maintained; employers must have an emergency medical plan; employers must have an acclimatization plan in place for employees.
  • At and above a heat index of 95 degrees, the rules require paid rest breaks of between 15-45 mins per hour, depending on a variety of factors including work type and employee attire (many employers will be forced to stop work because the paid work-rest break schedule is cost prohibitive).

(Archived 3/1/22) Chamber Supports SB 1501 & SB 1502/ Oregon’s Private Forest Accord

UPDATE:  Pleased to update passage of Oregon’s Private Forest Accord.  Last year private forestry representatives, small forestland owners and conservation groups struck a historic agreement designed to end decades of nasty conflict and expensive lawsuits.

            The Private Forest Accord asks forest landowners and wood products manufacturers to make significant sacrifices, but here’s why the sacrifice is worth it:

For years, litigious environmental activists have threatened to lock up our forests with lawsuits over fish, salamanders and frogs. This compromise will put those fights to rest – for the next fifty years. So one of Oregon’s most important sectors can keep doing what it does best . . . actively manage our forests.

          The Oregon Legislature needs to pass Senate Bill 1501 and Senate Bill 1502 to codify the agreement in state law.

            On February 23, the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce voiced its support and urged elected officials in Salem to vote “Yes” on SB 1501 and SB 1502, and put Oregon’s new Private Forest Accord into state law.

            In its urging for passage, the chamber expressed that we “understand that this Accord isn’t perfect. But the sacrifice is worth it to avoid unpredictable lawsuits over fish, salamanders and frogs that threaten to lock up our forests and create an uncertain and volatile future for important Oregon businesses and the tens of thousands of family-wage jobs they support.

            The chamber asked legislators to “please back this compromise. It’s time to move on from the timber wars of the past. Please support Senate Bill 1501 and Senate Bill 1502 and give the Private Forest Accord a chance to work.”

(Archived 3/1/22) Chamber Opposes HB 4002A/Ag Overtime Bill

UPDATE:  Unfortunately HB 4002A passed.  Overtime wages for agriculture workers – HB 4002A – continues to be the biggest labor debate of the 2022 session.  

            HB 4002A would require agricultural employers to pay farmworkers overtime payments for all hours worked over 40 per week by 2027. While this phase-in does include a tax credit that is phased-out at the same time, this is not a workable solution for those in agriculture. Our local farmers will be left without the resources they need to keep their business running or their workers employed.

            The agricultural community has come to the table to find a workable solution for both farmers and their employees; however, labor advocates have refused to negotiate.

          On February 23, the Roseburg Area Chamber urged legislators to OPPOSE HB 4002A.  UPDATE:  Unfortunately, the bill passed.  In a letter, the chamber asserted, that HB 4002A would “have a devastating impact on our local farms and rural communities. It has far-reaching impacts on so many of our essential industries, from dairies, to vineyards, to local berry farms and orchards.

            Farmers and their employees work unique hours in order to plant, harvest and maintain crops and livestock. This requires a flexible workforce, meaning a straight across 40-hours threshold simply does not work.

            Most farmers are price takers (not price makers) will not be able to afford the increased payroll costs. This will in turn hurt the very workers this bill proposes to help – providing them with fewer hours, fewer benefits, and fewer jobs. All this will lead to the loss of Oregon family farms and the deterioration of rural communities. 

            The agricultural community has offered several alternative solutions, but labor advocates have refused to come to the table.

            Oregon’s family farms are the heart of our rural communities and an important driver of our local economy. HB 4002A will cost jobs, loss of worker income and, in the end, mean the closure of family farms and ranches across the state.”

            The chamber asked legislators “to stand with our agricultural community and protect Oregon’s rural way of life. Please OPPOSE HB 4002A and work with farmers to find a lasting solution.”  

(Archived 12/21/21)  Submit Comments on Paid Family & Medical Leave

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) has published the first round of rules related to the paid family and medical leave program that will begin January 1, 2023. OED needs to hear from our members about how these rules will impact your business.

          OED has broken up the draft rules in four areas to review, Self Employed, Small Employers and Grants, Contributions and Wages, and Outreach. The proposed rules will significantly impact small businesses, including how employees are counted when determining the size of the employer and making it more difficult and costly to obtain an assistance grant.

          Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) has put together some talking points that may be helpful for some of the major issues related to the program. Written comments can be submitted by e-mail to OED_Rules@oregon.gov no later than Monday, December 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Oregon State Chamber Recaps Oregon’s 2021 Legislative Session

The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) works tirelessly, especially during Oregon’s legislative session to represent the interests of chambers and the business community in Oregon and support the work your chamber does on behalf of local business.  OSCC prepared a 2021 Legislative Session Report.  Click here to read the full report.  

CALLS TO ACTION!  (Archived)

Call to Action! Stop Surprise Tax Increase on Oregon Businesses…Hearing TODAY

SB 137-2 would require forgiven PPP loan amounts in excess of $100,000 be added back as “taxable income” for Oregon businesses that used the program exactly the way it was intended. It is an unfair, retroactive tax increase on Oregon businesses at time when Oregon is already projected to bring in more revenue than ever before. The Legislative Revenue Office estimates this unnecessary tax increase will cost Oregon businesses $450-$600 million.

          Oregon does not need the money.  The May Revenue Forecast was incredibly strong, projecting a $2.8 billion positive ending balance. This amounts to a $1.1 billion increase from the March Revenue Forecast and a $2.3 billion increase from the 2019 Close of Session Forecast. The state has also been allocated $2.6 billion in direct financial aid from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, in addition to ARPA funds for local jurisdictions. Given this, there is no budgetary justification for tax increases of any sort, including taxation of forgiven PPP loans.

 

Weigh in to make your voice heard at TODAY’S hearing:

Senate Committee On Finance and Revenue

Tuesday, May 25th, 3:15pm

STOP the Surprise Tax Increase

  How to Submit Testimony

  1. Provide your letter of testimony on your Chamber letterhead. Please provide specific, local examples where possible. You will want to create a PDF of your letter to upload.
  2. Submit your letter through the Testimony Portal on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). You will find this link at the bottom of the committee page on the “Click to Submit Testimony”
  3. When submitting testimony, you will need to: 

You can also register to testify remotely. You MUST register in order to testify. Registration closes at the time the meeting begins. 

Comments Needed to Oregon OSHA by April 2 

Local businesses have borne the brunt of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers have been tasked with enforcing the Governor’s mask mandate, enforcing the 6-foot social distancing requirements, among countless other mandates. 

            Now, OR-OSHA is considering the adoption of permanent COVID-19 Workplace Rules that layer new regulations on local employers nearly 14-months into the pandemic. 

            OR-OSHA should be providing workers and local businesses with certainty that their efforts to vaccinate and social distance are acknowledged, not creating new mandates that add costs as we work to reopen the economy.

            OR-OSHA needs to hear from concerned employers and workers about the proposed scope COVID-19 workplace rules.  Urge OR-OSHA to reset their approach to this pandemic.  Our local employers and workers should not be further penalized by government overreach.   Please also consider sending a copy of your comments to your local state legislator here:  Find Your Legislator

            To submit written comments, put your letter of comments on your business letter. If possible, provide specific examples related to your business or general local business examples.  You can download talking/comment points here

            Submit written comments by April 2, 2021.  Three options to send your comments to OR OSHA:

            Email:             Administrator Michael Wood:  tech.web@oregon.gov

            Mail:               Administrator Michael Wood

                                    Department of Consumer Business Services

                                    Oregon OSHA

                                    P.O. Box 14480

                                    Salem, OR  97309

            Online:            Oregon State Chamber of Commerce’s Action Center

                                    SEND YOUR MESSAGE TODAY

 

           For up-to-date information on chamber testimony and positions on proposed legislation during Oregon’s 2021 session, check out our “Current News” online.

Tell Congress Small Businesses Need Unrestricted Grants to Survive!

Your chamber continues to work with the nationwide Save Small Business Coalition to bring attention to our congressional leaders that many small businesses cannot take on more debt and they need grant funding; grants that provide flexibility so businesses can use the funds as they see fit. One of the goals is to help newer businesses and under-resourced businesses who have fallen through the cracks.  With one click . . . okay, two clicks, you can add your voice to thousands across the country in support of our local businesses, by sending this message to Congress!

Submit Testimony in Support of HB 3177 Today!

          HB 3177, The COVID Business Equity Act would, if passed, prevent the Governor from shutting down restaurants and gyms in any further emergency declaration. CLICK HERE TO READ THE BILL

            HB 3177 has a hearing before the House Committee on Economic Recovery and Prosperity on Thursday, February 25.  Written testimony from the public in support of this bill is immensely important.  So many of these small businesses, and the citizens they employ, have been adversely impacted in our community and across the state.  Please take a few minutes to show your support of our small local businesses, by submitting written testimony in support of HB 3177.

            A reminder of how we submit public testimony during COVID: 

  • CLICK HERE for the link that will take you to the House Committee on Economic Recovery and Prosperity. 
  • Scroll to the bottom of the webpage and click on the link that says, “Click to Submit Testimony” or Click Here to go directly to that page. 
  • Once there, click on the circle next to HB 3177 under “Choose the bill for your testimony.”
  • Then proceed to fill out the necessary information, whether you SUPPORT or oppose the bill. You will then have the opportunity to either upload a PDF or click the TEXT bubble to draft your testimony or cut and paste it in the space provided.
  • After you are finished with your testimony, make sure you hit the “SUBMIT TESTIMONY” button at the bottom of the page. 

           For up-to-date information on chamber testimony and positions on proposed legislation during Oregon’s 2021 session, check out our “Current News” online.

Chamber Testimony Supporting HB 2638 in Defense of Local Businesses

          The Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce submitted written testimony in support of HB 2638, COVID Liability Protections for Business, which would offer COVID liability protection for businesses, frontline medical providers and other entities.  HB 2638 would ensure that businesses acting in good faith would be protected from unwarranted lawsuits. It recognizes the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 emergency and provides timely and targeetd protections for businesses at a time when they need it most. CLICK HERE TO READ THE BILL

            HB 2638 is being heard by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Law on Wednesday , February 24.  

           For up-to-date information on chamber testimony and positions on proposed legislation during Oregon’s 2021 session, check out our “Current News” online.

Oppose HB 2205

       HB 2205 would establish a procedure for any person to bring action in the name of the state to recover civil penalties for violation of state law. CLICK HERE TO READ THE BILL

           HB 2205 has a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Law on Wednesday, February 24.  This bill creates a mechanism that allows for private lawsuits on behalf of the State for the potential violation of ANY Oregon statute.  This is a citizen suit provision on steroids, hiding under the guise of assisting state agencies with enforcing their rules and laws or providing justice to workers. If history tells us anything, neither of those outcomes is likely to occur, although local businesses will suffer greatly.

          The endless lawsuits proposed in HB 2205 threaten every employer in Oregon. Only one state has adopted similar policy, and California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) has devastated the state’s business community. Each year in California, businesses face approximately 4,000 PAGA lawsuits, forcing employers into costly settlements, and many for minor or innocent mistakes. Note that California’s PAGA law only applies to labor policy and is still incredibly damaging. HB 2205 applies to every law on the books in Oregon.

          This extreme proposal couldn’t come at a worse time for Oregon businesses. Oregon employers have been tasked with implementing and enforcing Oregon’s long list of continuously changing COVID-19 mandates and guidelines. They must consistently monitor evolving guidance and rules at the local, state, and federal levels and implement those changes on the ground. Unfortunately, in this rapidly changing regulatory landscape, minor mistakes do occur. However, HB 2205 offers employers no grace and allows anyone to sue for an alleged violation on behalf of the State of Oregon.

          Ask your legislators and the Subcommittee on Civil Law to OPPOSE HB 2205 and any PAGA-related bills.  A reminder of how we submit public testimony during COVID: 

Testimony in Support of SB 531!

          The Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce submitted written testimony in support of SB 531, which would establish a right to reimbursement for actual damages resulting from cessation of business operations required by emergency rules or orders.  The written testimony was presented to Oregon’s Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness at its February 18, 2021 hearing.  

Let’s Make Sure the Voice of Businesses in Rural Oregon are Heard!

          It is so important that our members testify on bills that are important to them, their industry(ies) and our local, rural business community. The Oregon Legislative Assembly has established a process to accept remote verbal public testimony on bills by video or phone during this time, in addition to written public testimony.

          Detailed information about how to testify in the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session is outlined in this “How to Testify” guideline.  Be sure and download it for use during the session!