Oregon Farm Bills
HB 2222- The Family Farm Act- which through a combination of waived fees, tax breaks, expanded representation and expanded raw milk sales opportunities would have eased the tremendous financial for the next generation of small farmers- never made it past the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, where it received a public hearing in early February before being shelved.
HB 2800- This current session’s version of Farm to School legislation, which created a grant program through the Oregon Department of Education to reimburse school districts the extra costs of purchasing locally produced food from Oregon growers and processors, received bipartisan support while being hurriedly worked on during the Legislature’s last month. After a flurry of activity, the Farm to School legislation was passed on the last day of the session.
HB 2336- The Farm Direct Bill, which clarifies the statutory guidance for regulations of farmers markets and CSAs while also exempting small-scale food processors from food safety licensing requirements, received bipartisan support as it wound its way through both sides of the Capitol and eventually signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber on June 9th.
HB 2975 and HB 2976- These two bills were companion pieces of legislation to restore funding to such critical nutritional programs as the Women Infant and Children (WIC) program, and the Senior SNAP voucher program. However, despite being recommended out of the joint Ways and Means Committee, neither bill received a full floor debate before the Legislative session came to a close.
HB 2868- The Temporary Restaurant Bill extended the temporary license for farmers market vendors and other food vendors at multiple public gatherings to 90 days with each renewal, which drastically reduced the inspection costs for vendors. This piece of legislation received a similar flurry of activity in the Legislature’s final month as the Farm to School legislation did, eventually being signed by both Co-Speakers Hanna and Roblan and Senate President Courtney in the final week of the session.
HB 3452- Although Ted Wheeler’s proposal for a virtual Oregon State Bank isn’t exactly a food-related piece of legislation per se, it did receive tremendous amount of support from food advocacy groups. However, this legislation was still working its way through committee- Rules on the House side, and just getting out of Finance Committee on the Senate side- when the legislation session came to a close.