Legislature acts on cultural trust, Bach Festival recognition, and other issues

The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on July 8. Other articles in this UO Public and Government Affairs Update detail the Legislature’s action on higher education governance, the Oregon University System budget and capital construction projects, student aid and life, and research. This article details other areas of interest to the University of Oregon that the Legislature worked on this session.

Oregon Cultural Trust: The Legislature approved a six year extension of a tax credit for contributions to the Oregon Cultural Trust in HB 3367. Representatives from the UO Libraries, the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the Oregon Folklife Network submitted testimony in support of the extension.

Oregon Bach Festival recognition: State Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene), with the Lane County delegation, introduced, and the Legislature passed, two resolutions honoring the founders of the Oregon Bach Festival. HCR 21 “honors [the] achievements of Helmuth Rilling in [the] 44th and culminating year of his artistic directorship of [the] Oregon Bach Festival.” HCR 22 honors Director Emeritus H. Royce Saltzman for his work on the Oregon Bach Festival.

Prevailing wage: The Legislature approved HB 2646, which applies prevailing wage provisions to all projects for construction, reconstruction, painting or major renovation on real property owned by Oregon University System or an institution of Oregon University System.  The University of Oregon pays or requires payment of prevailing wage on its construction projects, including lease agreement projects.

Public Contracting Exemption: The Legislature considered but did not pass HB 2653, which would have removed the Oregon University System’s exemption from the Public Contracting code.

Act of Admission trust funds returned to universities:  The Legislature passed and the Governor signed HB 2033, which abolishes accounts controlled by the office of the State Treasurer for use of University of Oregon and Oregon State University.  The accounts, created by the Oregon Admission Acts, which admitted Oregon into the Union, were previously held and loaned out by the Department of State Lands. HB 2033 transfers the remaining funds (about $110,000) to the University of Oregon to use for student scholarships.

HB 3524:  The House Rules Committee briefly considered a bill that would have held an athletic coach at public university who intentionally or recklessly commits or causes to be committed a major violation of the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association liable for university's actual damages and attorney fees.  The committee did not act on the bill.