Senate Republicans Vote for Housing Regulation Transparency

SALEM, Ore. – Senate Republicans today moved to force a vote on Senate Bill 1537, a committee bill that would have measured the impact of regulations on housing costs.

“Since I was elected, I have heard almost daily that we are in a housing crisis,” said Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), the vice-chair of the Senate Housing Committee. “We spend all of our time debating how much money to spend on subsidies, but our housing policies need structural reform. That starts with understanding the consequences of our actions.”

SB 1537 attempted to update Housing Impact Statements, which are reports from agencies about the estimated housing cost impact of government policies and regulations.

Housing Cost Impact Statements have been law for 25 years, but they are not always being done or when they are done, they are not useful. SB 1537 would have modernized these reports so the public and policymakers can better understand what is contributing to the high cost of housing.

“The short session was made for tweaking laws and budgets,” Anderson continued. “It’s really about transparency. Policymakers and the public deserve to understand if our decisions are making housing more expensive or more affordable. If we are going to understand the root causes of our housing issues, this is a perfect place to start.”

According to Oregon Housing & Community Services’ Regional Housing Needs Interim Framework Report, Oregon has been dramatically underbuilding housing for decades, which has resulted in rising housing costs, more unhoused people, and fewer choices for individuals and families trying to make ends meet.

Senate Democrats voted down the motion along party lines, 7-17, and will remain dead in the Senate Rules committee.

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