The Oregon Legislature is set to enter its 2012 session later this week. The state is newly experimenting with annual legislative sessions and this “off-year” calendar is scripted to be a very short 30 day session. With narrow timelines and a cap on the number of bills that any legislator can drop, expectations for the session are modest. Gov. John Kitzhaber has outlined his goals for the session hoping to make progress in early education as well as K-12. Furthermore, he wants to prioritize healthcare costs and to get Oregon’s health insurance exchange implemented. Proactive energy efficiency legislation isn’t anticipated this year, so NEEC’s governmental affairs work will focus on defense. We will be attentive to any efforts to de-fund or otherwise appropriate funding for the Energy Trust of Oregon. We will watch for any attempts to further erode the already reduced business energy tax credit that has been responsible for stimulating so much of that state’s investment in energy savings projects. NEEC members may also want to track House Bill 4040 (Rep. Tobias Reed) that would establish an Oregon Growth Fund – a broad effort to encourage businesses, especially new ones, in key technology areas.
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