2024 Oregon Legislative Session Summary

The 2024 Oregon Legislative short session started February 5th and wrapped up a few days early on March 7th.

Leading up to and during the session the Sierra Club Oregon Chapter met with dozens of legislators, texted thousands of members, sent hundreds of emails to lawmakers, and submitted testimony on many bills. We are proud to say we made some big impacts this session that will shape Oregon’s future for decades to come. There are many important bills that didn’t make it across the finish line this session, and plenty more work to do in 2025.

Stay tuned for a big push on transportation policy, but for now we are happy to celebrate some significant wins. If you are interested in joining our legislative advocacy work, please fill out this interest form. Thanks to all the members and volunteers that took action!

Good bills that you helped get passed this session:

  • SB 1530 We successfully lobbied for $15 million in funding for the Healthy Homes Repair Fund and $4 million for the Residential Heat Pump fund. These funds are a critical piece of our efforts to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions created by gas-fired home appliances.
  • HB 4083 The COAL Divestment Act will phase out state pension fund investments in publicly-traded coal assets and direct the Oregon Treasury to accelerate efforts to divest all retirement funds from coal.
  • SB 1596 Right to Repair saves money and reduces waste by allowing people to repair their electronic devices (laptops, phones, and tablets) on their own or with a service provider rather than just the original manufacturer.
  • HB 4132 Protects Oregon’s Marine Reserves by funding and planning for the continued conservation of these valuable and unique natural places.
  • HB 4080 Creates a roadmap for stakeholder engagement and fair labor standards in the event that floating offshore wind energy is developed off the south coast near Coos Bay and Brookings.
  • HB 4024 establishes first-ever campaign finance limits for Oregon. Starting in 2027, individuals and corporations will only be able to give up to $3,300 to a candidate per election cycle. Political parties and membership groups will have slightly higher limits. Oregon’s current laws place no caps or restrictions on campaign contributions. The Sierra Club sees HB 4024 as a much-needed and long-overdue improvement to our state’s democracy.
  • HB 4059 will extend limitations on the planting of genetically engineered canola in the Willamette Valley, which can have devastating and difficult-to-reverse impacts to other crops and the ecosystem. 
  • SB1576 helps preserve public access to beaches and trails by limiting the legal liability of landowners who open up their land to the public. The bill clears up some legal ambiguities and defines the situations where this law applies. A temporary bill, this issue will need to be revisited by the 2025 Legislature.

Progress we made on a difficult issue:

  • SB 1537 was Governor Kotek's housing development bill, which passed after amendments. Sierra Club supported many components of the bill but strongly opposed a section of the bill that allowed cities to use a one-time tool to expand their urban growth boundaries, which will lead to expensive, harmful, and unnecessary sprawl. Thanks in part to our advocacy, we helped reduce by 1/3 the urban growth boundary expansion that bypasses Oregon’s land use laws. We maintain that we can and must focus on responsible housing development that improves affordable housing access without paving over green spaces that sequester carbon, create clean air, and benefit public health.

Good bills that unfortunately didn’t pass this session:

  • SB 1559 Strengthening our climate change goals. Although this didn’t pass, we hope it will come back and pass next session. 
  • SB 1593 We continue to advocate for the reinstatement of a timber severance tax (a percentage tax based on the value of lumber harvested) to make timber companies pay their fair share to help fund wildfire response and community resilience. We hope to bring similar legislation back in future sessions for passage.
  • Electric vehicle rebates for low-income and middle-income households didn’t get the $20 million in funding we were asking for, but the program has enough funding to run from April 3 to June 3 in 2024 and we hope these rebates will be funded again in future sessions.  

Bad bills that you helped us to stop:

  • HB 4133 We helped stop this bad bill that would shift more of the costs of wildfire suppression to the public while reducing what Wall Street-owned investment companies would pay. We believe that the largest timberland owners should pay their fair share to the state’s wildfire preparedness and defense funds.
  • HB 4090 By stopping this bill we helped protect state environmental review of energy projects. This bill would have removed Oregon from reviewing any energy projects or transmission lines proposed on federal lands. Because federal and state review processes are currently being reformed and streamlined, this bill was poorly-timed. The Sierra Club welcomes discussion and policy that accelerates clean energy development without sacrificing Oregonians’ ability to weigh in on projects and identify mitigation strategies to protect wildlife and natural and cultural resources.