2019 Legislative Session Roundup

The Street Trust began the 2019 legislative session with an ambitious agenda, and even through two Senate Republican walkouts, our advocacy alongside strong partnerships across the state and the support of our volunteers and members helped to pass many of our priorities for this session. There is much more left to do in the transportation space in Salem, but we are proud of the strong slate of legislation we were able to get through this long session! 

Legislative Wins this Session 

In the 2019 legislative session, we supported the following bills through to passage:  

  • Lanes in the Intersection (HB 2682) - Provides clarification that bike lanes do continue through the intersection even when the painted lines do not. This was The Street Trust’s priority piece of legislation this session, to address several local district court cases where the judge ruled that bike lanes to  Passage of HB 2682 will help prevent unfair rulings in the future and the legal clarity it provides is crucial to maintaining the integrity of our safety laws. 

  • Idaho Stop (SB 998) - Allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, decriminalizing what is already common practice on our roads. 

  • Driver’s Licenses for All (HB 2015) - Allows for undocumented Oregonians to obtain a driver’s license. More people driving with a driver’s license increases safety for everyone on our roads. With the passage of this bill, all Oregonians now also have access to get to where they work, learn, pray and play. 

  • Stable Homes (SB 608) - Provides renter protections against no-cause evictions and puts in place a cap on rent increases. Oregon is now the first state in the country to have statewide rent control. We know that this is one step closer towards all renters being able to afford housing in communities where there is easy access to walking, biking and public transit. 

  • Middle Housing (HB 2001) - Re-legalizes duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and cottage clusters in areas that are zoned for single-family housing. The more options for higher density housing, the more people are able to live in areas with easy access to walking, biking and transit.

  • Clean Up Diesel (HB 2007) - Phases out dirty diesel trucks and authorizes use of funds from the Volkswagon Settlement to help replace dirty old diesel trucks. By cleaning up our fleet alongside increasing opportunity for walking, biking and taking transit, we can make significant progress in combating climate change and poor air quality in our region. 

We also successfully opposed the following legislation this session: 

  • Lyft/Uber Bill (HB 3023) - Would have removed local cities’ ability to regulate Transportation Network Companies like Lyft and Uber. Had it passed, this legislation could have put restrictions on regulating TNCs to do things like treat their workers fairly, cap their emissions and protect customers who use these services. 

What work still lies ahead

  • Clean Energy Jobs (HB 2020) - Would have put in place a phasing cap on carbon emissions in Oregon and making polluters pay for permits to offset emissions they did produce. Part of the revenue generated from this process could have been used for active transportation investments across the state. Due to the Senate Republican walkouts, Clean Energy Jobs did not pass this session.

  • Expand Driver Education (SB 746) - Would have required education and testing upon every driver’s license renewal.

  • Safe Speeds (HB 2702) - Would have given cities the ability to set speed limits on roads they own. 

  • Safe Community Highways (HB 2846) -  Would have set up a process for jurisdictional transfer of some orphan highways in the state from the state to the city, including 82nd Avenue in Portland. Transfer of roads like 82nd Ave could help to expedite the safety improvements that benefit low-income and communities of color who live, work and play nearby. 

  • Student Success Act Amendment (to HB 3427) - An amendment added to a K-12 education funding bill this session includes a requirement that commercial taxes can only be put in place at the state level, not locally. We will be monitoring and advocating for exemptions to maintain local control of these decisions. 

  • Safe Routes to School (SB 561) - Would have reduced the match requirement for receiving funding for Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects, making funds more accessible for communities that need them most. 

Reflections from the Capitol 

The Street Trust staff and members worked hard this session to push a legislative agenda that captures the needs of our transportation as a whole: equitable, safe transportation options for everyone, especially those who have been historically underserved by our transportation systems, and provisions that move towards housing justice so people can get to where they need to go from wherever they live. We participated in lobby days, wrote our legislators, asked you to write our legislators and spent time meeting with and educating legislators on the importance of some of these issues.  

While we joined our partners in celebrating many successes this legislative session, it is clear that there is a need for more education and stronger leadership in Salem on transportation issues - not all legislators understand the opportunities that active transportation, affordable housing and climate action bring to our state and Oregonians. We are excited to see what we can accomplish next session on this front! Stay tuned.

Click here for the 2019 legislative agenda.