Legislature now in second month of busy session
As the fourth week of session comes to a close, cap and trade and rent control have proven to be the most controversial issues as of yet. The cap and trade bill (LC 894) was originally 98 pages and has now been turned into House Bill 2020 and is 55 pages long.
The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction has been meeting on Monday and Fridays to work on HB 2020 and to hear from interested parties.
The committee is comprised of 14 state senators and representatives with eight Democrats and six Republicans. Much like the transportation package from 2017, the committee will be taking this bill around the state to have hearings and listen to local input.
Senate Bill 608 is the rent control bill. This bill was pushed very quickly through the Senate chamber and had a public hearing in the House Committee on Human Services and Housing on Feb. 18 and was scheduled for a possible work session on Feb. 20.
From what I have observed in watching much of the testimony, the biggest concern was the no-cause eviction portion, which I would guess 90 percent of the testimony approved of that portion of the bill.
I believe if SB 608 just addressed no-cause evictions, this would be a bipartisan bill and potentially pass unanimously through both chambers as many of us agree that no-cause evictions are unfair.
The most contentious part of the bill relates to rent control, which has proven not to work. In fact, in the only places where rent control has been used, large metropolitan cities, it has been significantly scaled back from the original concept.
Landlord constituents have reached out to me and shared their opposition to SB 608, but they also recognize this bill will allow them to raise rent 7 percent per year, which is typically unheard of to raise rent that high.
These two bills have been at the height of discussion, but what I believe should be our first priority is passing funding for education before anything else. It was great to see educators and students at the capitol on Presidents Days, with an estimated of 4,000 in attendance. Their message was to fully fund schools and I agree. In order to do this, we need to pass the K-12 budget. School districts need the certainty of knowing what their budget will be and that's why this issue should be our very first priority every session. Let's not wait until the end of session, we need to invest now.
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with and questions or concerns. Your comments and input are greatly appreciated.
Bill Post is state representative for House District 25