State Rep. Brad Witt

State Rep. Brad Witt speaking at the Columbia City 2019 Memorial Day Ceremony.

The House has approved HB 2005 which would create a statewide family and medical leave insurance program. Starting in 2023 the paid-leave bill would allow Oregon workers up to 12 weeks away from work for family leave, medical leave or to address a domestic violence situation.

The program’s operation will be similar to unemployment insurance, but the cost will be split 60-40 between workers and employers, with a contribution exemption for businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

The House approved HB 2005 on a bi-partisan 43 to 15 vote. It now heads to the Senate and an uncertain future. If the bill passes, the leave cannot exceed 16 weeks in a year or 18 weeks for women who have experienced complications due to pregnancy. The rate of pay an employee receives during their leave is based on their wages.

Another bill that will significantly benefit families is HB 2346 establishing a Task Force on Access to Quality Affordable Child Care. This legislation seeks to improve the current childcare system for families, child care providers and to support the workforce and their employers. The Task Force on Access to Quality Affordable Child Care will evaluate current systems and resources, then

develop recommendations for improving access, affordability and quality by 2025. I support this bill, and the formation of this task force received a 56 to 1 House Floor vote and now moves to the Senate.

HB 2312 relates to flood insurance and requires a property seller disclosure form include information regarding flood insurance. This issue impacts many people in House District 31. Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for all federal or federally related financial assistance for properties located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. For those in a moderate-to-low risk area, it may not be required by federal law, but can still be required by a lender. Floodplain status should be disclosed by sellers, and failure to accurately disclose flood-risk and flood insurance costs at the start of a property transaction creates an imbalance of information between buyers and sellers.

HB 2313 would improve transparency and fairness during a real estate transaction of properties at-risk of flooding. I voted in favor of this bill because it improves transparency and fairness during real estate transactions. This bill was approved in both the House and Senate Chambers and now moves to the Governor’s office.

This past week, while the House of Representatives continued to push bills through the process, work in the Oregon Senate came to a stop, as Senate Republicans “left the building” to protest legislation they were unwilling to support. Chief among the bills they found objectionable was HB 2020 the Cap and Trade Carbon Tax bill.

There are 18 Senate Democrats, but 20 senators are needed to have a quorum so until at least two Republican Senators return to the Capitol, the Senate will be unable to continue their work.

By law, the 2019 Oregon Legislative session will end on June 30 at 11:59 pm, at that time any bill that has not been approved in both chambers is considered dead, and the concept behind the bill will need to be reintroduced in a future legislative session and start the process at the very beginning.

Representative Brad Witt represents House District 31. He may be reached at Rep.BradWitt@oregonlegislature.gov, or at 503-986-1431.

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