Surfrider Oregon chapters are off to a fast start with the 2019 Legislative session, this year with a whole suite of opportunities to further ocean protection, protect our beaches, lessen our contributions to climate change and further our fight against plastic pollution. Through our myriad of local grassroots campaigns efforts, legislators took note and reached out to volunteers early in 2018 to support pre-filing many of these legislative efforts before session started, giving them all a leg up for scheduling for committee hearings and floor votes. There are lots of great ways to join our volunteers, members and chapters this session as we work together to better protections for our oceans waves and beaches – whether you attend our Ocean Lobby Day and Rise Above Plastics Day on March 14th, join our Policy Manager for legislative hearings, or help with legislative and media outreach, there’s lots of ways to get involved – contact Charlie Plybon (cplybon@surfrider.org) for more details.

Surfrider Foundation 2019 Legislative Roundup:

Below is a quick round-up of the bills we’re working on (additions/deletions will be thorough until our first legislative deadlines in March). You can track a bill and provide written testimony through each of the links provided:

SB 256: Oil and Gas Moratorium – Lifts sunset on moratorium (set to expire this year) on oil, gas and sulfur drilling and exploration in our territorial sea (from shore out to three nautical miles). Extends protections against offshore oil drilling activities impacting state waters. A key campaign of Surfrider Foundation, learn more about getting involved on Surfrider’s Oregon Oil and Gas Campaign page.

SB 260 Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia – Monitoring, economic and ecosystem resilience, public information investments – $1.9 biennium. Surfrider Foundation supports these investments in critical ocean health and climate change science.

HB 2221 Ocean Beach Fund – Revived by Representative Brock Smith (South Coast – Coos/Curry Co.) is our Long Live Oregon Beaches campaign.  Allows Oregon Parks and Recreation to retain transient lodging tax dollars collected at ocean shore campgrounds. Establishes an Ocean Beach Fund to support parks management along ocean shore. We’ve got an uphill battle and will need to work with the travel industry.

HB 2376 Beach Safety – Directs money to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for outreach and education signs warning public about natural dangers of ocean beaches. We didn’t request this one but we don’t think it’s a bad idea! We’ll be tracking and gauging how we may support this.

SB 90/HB 2670 Plastic Straw Bill – Restricts the use of plastic straws at restaurants unless consumer requests. Built on the backbone of our Ditch The Straw work, learn more about getting involved on Surfrider’s campaign page.

HB 2509 Plastic Bag Bill – We are dubbing this the “Sustainable Shopping Initiative”. Builds off our immense grassroots efforts in cities over the past 7 years in Oregon, has the support of the grocery industry. Major elements – bans plastic bags, provides a fee on paper and the thicker “plastic reusable” bags thus eliminating loophole, defines single use and reusable clearly. Learn more about getting involved on Surfrider’s campaign page.

Other Plastic Bag Bills :

HB 2766 Plastic Bag Tax – We do not support this bill…a bit of a wildcard.

HB2653 Plastic Bag Ban – We expect this bill’s sponsor to drop it and join forces with HB 2509

Note: This list is subject to change! We do expect more filings of bills this legislative session, some that we’ll support and some we’ll likely have to oppose! And yes, there’s the BIG climate bill this session – we’re supporting that effort but so are many other organizations, unlike our ocean initiatives that we’re spearheading this session.