UO's 2016 Legislative Recap

Operating Funds    

Universities set a goal to increase state funding above the current 2015-17 biennial appropriation of $665 million in the Public University Support Fund ($61 million to UO). Universities worked with the Co-Chairs of Ways & Means, legislative leadership, and stakeholders groups prior to session to advocate for a $15 million investment for student completion initiatives. 

Despite a concerted effort, no additional operating funds were allocated to universities this biennium. In large part, this was the result of flat revenue forecasts that gave lawmakers very little extra money to distribute. However, public universities used this session to lay the groundwork for the 2017-19 budget and will refocus on reaching our goal of increasing state resources for higher education. 


Universities’ Authority to Invest – HJR 203 and HB 4092

Refers a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot asking to allow universities to invest in equities to reduce risk and increase financial returns for students. HB 4092 is the companion ballot title bill to HJR 203.


University Venture Development Fund Reauthorization – HB 4072

Extends the UVDF tax credit for six years, enabling donors to receive tax benefits for contributions to a fund that supports the transition of university inventions from the laboratory to marketplace.


Statewide Transient Lodging Tax – HB 4146

Increases the statewide transient lodging tax to 1.8% through 2020 and to 1.5% thereafter. The Oregon Tourism Commission (OTC) will distribute funds to tourism and marketing-related projects, events, and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) statewide. Track Town USA will seek a portion of these funds to support the 2021 World Track & Field Championships held in Eugene.


Minimum Wage – SB 1532

Raises the base minimum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2022 (Eugene is subject to this wage). Establishes a higher wage ($14.75 by 2022) for employees working within urban growth boundary of Portland metro area and a lower wage ($12.50 by 2022) for those working in 18 nonurban counties. When fully implemented, it will cost UO an additional $13.4 million each biennium.


Privacy of Student Health Records – SB 1558

Limits disclosure of records of college or university student health center, mental health center or counseling center, or records of health professional retained by college or university. 


Voter Registration on College Campuses – SB 1586

Requires universities to undertake a number of activities to encourage students to register to vote. 


Study Bill for Student Loan Refinancing – HB 4021

Directs the State Treasurer to study possible refinancing mechanisms for student loans and report back to the Legislature. 


Study Bill to Increase Math-Related Majors – HB 1540

Directs the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to conduct an evaluation on providing tuition waivers for students at community colleges and public universities pursuing math-related degrees and report back to the Legislature.


Oregon Student Access Commission/Degree Authorization – HB 4019

Requires universities to provide in-state tuition to dependents of Oregon residents who leave the state to serve in public service organizations. 


Establishment of Legislative Policy and Research Committee – HB 1569

A Legislative and Policy Research Committee which will oversee and direct an increased capacity in the legislature for conducting research and policy analysis.  This bill provides universities opportunities to collaborate with the legislature on policy matters.