Legislative Update – June 14, 2021

By Al Elkins (Alvinelkins@yahoo.com) & Amy Patrick (amy@oregonhunters.org), OHA Lobbyists

Bill Action as of 6/14/21:

SB 289 Bias Crime 

This bill prohibits a person convicted of bias crime committed while on state waters or publicly owned outdoor recreation land from entering area under jurisdiction of State Parks and Recreation Department. Gives the State Marine Board authority to revoke certain privileges from a person convicted of bias crime committed while on state waters or publicly owned outdoor recreation land. Adds bias crime conviction to circumstances in which court may order State Fish and Wildlife Commission to revoke licenses, tags, and permits.

Update: The bill has passed the House and the Senate.  Awaiting signature of Governor.  


SB 761 Elk Control 

This bill expands pilot programs for urban deer population control in Oregon to include elk.

Update: The bill has been signed by the Governor.  The bill goes into effect January 1, 2022.  


HB 2548 Wildlife Corridor Funding

Directs the Legislative Policy and Research Office to study issues related to funding construction of wildlife corridor road crossings and report to legislature its findings on or before Sept. 15, 2022. 

Update: The bill had a work session in March in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.  A committee has been formed to have further discussions on the bill.  The Committee will continue to meet throughout the interim.  


HB 2728 Coyote Contests 

It is back! However, this version has an amendment that protects certain aspects of nonprofit contests (Section 5 of the bill lines 17-19). The bill prohibits a person from conducting or participating in a contest, competition, tournament, or derby that has the objective of taking coyotes for cash or prizes. Provides that prohibition does not apply to raffles conducted by nonprofit organizations if the organization does not award raffle prizes based on number, weight or size of coyotes taken. Punishes violation of prohibition by maximum fine of $2,000.

Update: The original bill is dead.  We may see the bill again in another form before the end of the Legislative Session. 


HB 3152 Wildlife Inspection Points

This is an OHA bill. This bill gives ODFW authority to operate wildlife inspection points for purposes of preventing the spread of infections or infestations harmful to wildlife and to further wildlife management efforts.

Update: The bill passed the House and the Senate.  The bill has been signed by the Governor. The bill goes into effect January 1, 2022. 


HB 3163 Residency Requirements 

This is an OHA bill. The bill makes a change in residency requirements for purposes of licenses, tags, and permits related to wildlife. Through discussions with law enforcement, it was discovered that prosecuting offenders with dual state residencies had become a concern of Oregon District Attorneys and they had become reluctant to prosecute wildlife offenders that fit into the dual state category.

The new language in the bill changes the residency definition s that a resident is a person who has physically resided in Oregon for not less than six consecutive months immediately prior to the date of making application for a license, tag, or permit issued by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission.  It further defines a resident as not someone who merely owns real property or pays property taxes in this state; or who has resident privileges in another state or county for any purpose.   

Update: The bill passed the House and the Senate.  The bill has been signed by the Governor.  The bill goes into effect January 1, 2022. 


Action on Gun Bills in June 2021 – Gun Bills Combined and Watered Down

The House Rules Committee has combined SB 544 and HB 2510 into one bill.  The provisions in SB 544, which would have banned guns in state buildings and allow local governments to pass their own bans were curbed significantly.  The amended bill would limit a new ban to the state Capitol, and only allow K-12 schools, community colleges and universities to enact bans.  Local governments would not have that ability.   Guns are already prohibited in most public buildings in Oregon, but an exemption exists for concealed handgun licenses (CHL).  It is those permit holders that the new provisions would impact.

The penalty for a violation was reduced from a class C felony to a class A misdemeanor.  The fee for renewal of a concealed handgun license was reduced from $100 to $75.  

The provisions of HB-2510, the so called “safe storage bill” which were amended into the combined bill, were also modified.  The new amendments remove the “strict liability” standard for lawsuits that result from a stolen gun being used to cause injuries or deaths if the theft was not reported.  The new requirements require plaintiffs to demonstrate more elements to prevail in a lawsuit against gun owners.  The revised bill also spells out the storage requirements without any involvement of the Oregon Health Authority.  The original bill put them in charge of specifying how to store a gun.  Minors use of firearms is still regulated, with limited exemptions for hunting and target shooting.

Hunters will want to play close attention to the provisions for safe transportation, transfers and use by minors.  

The combined bill, SB-544 with the A-36 amendments was adopted by a 4-3 vote and will become SB-544-B.  It will be considered in the House, and then must be returned to the Senate for concurrence.  At this point it appears that Democrats will have the votes to pass the revised bill.  Is it a good bill? NO.  But it could have been much worse.

Update: The bill has passed the House and Senate. The bill has been signed by the Governor.  This 2021 Act takes effect on the 91st day after the date on which the 2021 regular session of the Eighty-first Legislative Assembly adjourns.


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