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Your Voice Is Needed to Continue the Cultural Trust Tax Credit!

Your Voice Is Needed to Continue the Cultural Trust Tax Credit!

Hello Friends of Arts and Culture in Oregon!  The time to engage with policymakers is now!

We’ve been preparing for all the action in the 2019 legislative session and the opening move is coming on Monday, February 18th when the House Committee of Economic Development will hold a hearing on HB 2052 — a bill to extend the sunset on the cultural tax credit for the next ten years.  We hope you will contact your legislators to encourage them to support HB 2052 and to share with them the priority that you and other Oregonians put on access to creative expression in this state. 

Oregon is unique in the Nation in having the Cultural Trust but we are far from the $200 million fund that was originally envisioned.  We need to collectively raise our voices in support of building this fund and using tax incentives to help do it — remember dollars in the Cultural Trust are distributed to every county and to tribal partners.  This tax credit is an important engagement tool for this state and critical to our cultural ecosystem.  Please add your voice!  Best — Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Send your support letter for HB 2052 in by Friday, February 15th to:  [email protected]

Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon   

2019 is Critical for Arts and Culture Funding in Oregon

2019 is Critical for
Arts and Culture Funding in Oregon.

The month of December was busy for members of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition who were showcasing their holiday shows, exhibits, and events for Oregonians.  In addition, several of our board members traveled to Salem in December to share our funding priorities with Governor Kate Brown.  Together we face a critical year ahead in 2019 in that the cultural tax credit is set to expire and we are advocating for its renewal.

The month of December was busy for members of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition who were showcasing their holiday shows, exhibits, and events for Oregonians. In addition, several of our board members traveled to Salem in December to share our funding priorities with Governor Kate Brown. Together we face a critical year ahead in 2019 in that the cultural tax credit is set to expire and we are advocating for its renewal.

We are also advocating for renewal of important tax assessments on historic properties in Oregon, and several capital construction projects funded with lottery bonds representing small community theaters as well as major performing arts centers and museums.  We need every legislator to hear from the Coalition and our members about the need to support creative expression in this state and making sure every corner of Oregon has access to culture with the help of public funding.

The cultural community can’t be passive about our future. We can’t adopt a “wait and see” approach—or we will be overcome by other organizations, interests and influencers seeking public dollars. If you care about the future of our cause, we need you to add your voice to our message:  the Coalition will AMPLIFY that voice by showing strong statewide membership and support for public funding for arts and culture.

Take the time to act now. Please join us and learn how to get involved in 2019 by visiting our website at

Sue Hildick
Executive Director

P.S.  The cultural tax credit renewal is HB 2052; the extension of historical preservation assessments is SB 48.

Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon   

Oregon is one of the “Lucky 13” Pro-Arts States

Hi Friend of Arts and Culture in Oregon:

I’m pleased to share that Oregon is one of the “Lucky 13” states in the nation in which all 5 of our U.S. House members and both of our Senators received excellent pro-arts grades in the 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card published by the Americans for the Arts ACTION Fund.  Even better news:  Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici was the only Member of Congress to receive a perfect score!

Congress currently appropriates just 47 cents per person to support the arts across the country.  Yet a majority of Americans agree that Congress should double funding for the arts to $1 per person.  We still have work to do both at the state and federal level and Oregon’s Cultural Advocacy Coalition is here to help raise visibility of the cultural sector and to advocate for deeper access to the arts for all Oregonians.

Please join us in thanking the Oregon congressional delegation for their strong support!

Best — Sue Hildick

PS – Showing I’m a rookie, my last email blast was my first at the Coalition and contained a broken link.  Here is the photo it was supposed to have.  I look forward to meeting you!

Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon   

Sue Hildick New Cultural Advocacy Coalition Executive Director

Cultural                            Advocacy Coalition

Subject: Goodbye and Hello
Date: 23 Jul 2018

Dear Friends,
It has been a privilege to serve as the Executive Director of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition since 2011 and it is time for me to transition to new opportunities for service to my community and state. This role has allowed me to support creative work, community engagement, historic preservation and Oregon culture in the Oregon Legislature. With your help, we have protected and modernized the Oregon Cultural Trust, expanded investment in cultural infrastructure, protected Oregon’s percent for art program and supported the health of our sector in policy and funding bills at every opportunity. Thank you to the cultural community for your tireless commitment to your work, but also for your advocacy, community engagement and friendship.

As I prepare to move on, I am happy to report I am leaving you in truly excellent hands. The Coalition board has hired a new Executive Director and a new lobbyist to serve your interests in Salem. Paul Cosgrove a veteran lobbyist with ties to the Coalition’s formation, will lead the Coalition’s efforts to renew the Historic Property Special Assessment program and the tax credit that funds the Oregon Cultural Trust in 2019. You will meet him during next year’s advocacy day, if not sooner and I am confident you will find him knowledgeable, engaging and effective.

Sue Hildick will take over as Executive Director on September 1. Sue comes to the Coalition with substantial nonprofit and political experience and will be getting up to speed on the intricacies of the cultural sector’s funding and policy work over the course of the summer. Sue’s background is perfectly suited to this work and she is experienced in achieving ambitious political goals in collaboration with engaged stakeholders and sector leaders. Since 2003 Sue has led the Chalkboard Project, a collaboration among major foundations focus on education outcomes. Hildick, a fourth generation Oregonian is passionate about building Oregon’s quality of life through creative, innovative public policy-making and investment. She has worked in many different sectors – nonprofit, philanthropy, government – and has learned collaborative problem-solving and leveraging of state and federal resources. Sue has a BA in government from Georgetown University and a MBA from Marylhurst University. Hildick’s awards while at Chalkboard include being named Nonprofit CEO of the Year by the Portland Business Journal, twice recognized as one of Oregon’s Fifty Leaders to Watch by Oregon Business Magazine, and named one of Oregon’s Fifty Power Women by Willamette Week.

When asked why she wanted to work with the Coalition Sue said, “Oregon is a state rich in many ways and prime among those ways is in its cultural assets. Preserving them, supporting them and seeding the development of the next generation of these resources is important to building and maintaining the fabric of our state. These assets crosscut our educational and economic goals and can weave together the Oregon story for each one of us. Working to tell this story and to make sure our cultural resources are recognized for their value and contribution to our key quality of life goals as Oregonians is why cultural advocacy is so important.  I’m eager to work with the members of the CAC to learn more about their work and to help tell their story to policymakers.”

You can see why I am so confident you are going to love working with her.

Paul is equally passionate about the cultural sector, brings decades of experience and exceptional professional credentials. Born in Seattle, but raised in Klamath Falls and Clackamas County, Paul is an attorney licensed to practice in the states of Oregon (since 1981) and Washington (since 1984), Paul has been affiliated with Lindsay Hart, LLP since 1987.  Paul leads the Lindsay Hart State Government Affairs team.  The team represents leading national and local trade associations and companies before the Oregon Legislature, agencies and local governments. Paul attended Antioch College, Portland State University, and Western Washington University (Fairhaven College), where he got his BA with honors in 1974; he got his law degree from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1981. Paul has recently served as Chair of the Board of Directors of State Law Resources, an international network of independent law firms with special expertise in government affairs. He is a former President of the Capitol Club, the association of Oregon’s 400+ professional government relations advocates and has been named by Portland Magazine as one of Portland’s Best Lawyers in Government Affairs on every list published since 2008.

Paul and Sue will make an exceptional team and starting September 1, the Coalition will rest on their capable shoulders. Thanks again for your work and the opportunity to work with you to create a thriving environment for art, heritage and the humanities across Oregon.

All my best,
Christine Drazan
Executive Director
Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Cultural Advocacy coalition Celebrates $12M in New Funding!

cac logo online cultural advocacy coalition

As a member of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition for more than a dozen years, I have seen how the Coalition’s dedication to our future has made a difference in protecting funding and reinvesting in culture and preservation in Oregon.

This session, through the hard work of your Coalition and the tenacity of engaged advocates, the legislature approved over $12 million in support for arts and culture organizations and projects statewide–$12,295,000 to be precise!

The work supported by these public funds will restore historic landmarks, expand access, strengthen community engagement, support innovation and fuel the creative economy.

In honor of the legislature’s investment in culture: let’s invest in cultural advocacy.

Starting today, through the end of this month, I am going to match the first $1,229.50 of new or increased membership donations to the Coalition in celebration of this investment, which represents a renewed commitment to the work of cultural nonprofits across Oregon and a clear indicator of growing legislative awareness of the value of arts, heritage and the humanities.

I believe that the potential for greater success lies ahead. But we need your support today to take the next steps and build on this session’s achievements. Will you help?

You don’t have to double your gift to take advantage of my offer. Just increase your membership by any amount, invite a friend or colleague to join the Coalition for the first time, or join as an individual if your organization or business is a member but you aren’t. Take advantage of my offer today! Let’s strengthen cultural advocacy and celebrate this shared achievement together.

If you joined us for Advocacy Day this year you know the interim is the best time to strengthen relationships with legislators. The final gavel just dropped to close out the 2017 Session–and the Coalition is already at work reaching out to legislators to thank them for their investment and build the case for more support for culture in 2018 and renewal of the Cultural Trust Tax Credit in 2019.

The end of session is the beginning of the work still ahead. I hope in this moment of celebration, you will hear your own call to action and give generously for this work that is so vital to all of us.

John Tess
President, Heritage Consulting Group
Member, Cultural Advocacy Coalition
Trustee, Oregon Cultural Trust

PS. The legislature’s investment of $12,295,000 comes at a significant moment for arts and culture across our state and nation. I am excited to celebrate this accomplishment with you. I hope you will take advantage of my offer to match your new or increased gift to the Coalition before July 31, 2017. Join the cultural community in celebrating this accomplishment—and help strengthen cultural advocacy with a gift today!

Help Pass Oregon’s First Ever “Equitable Access to Arts Education Task Force”

cac logo online cultural advocacy coalition
It has been a busy session and I wanted to start by saying: Thank you! We have asked you to show up and speak up, over and over this year. We know there are so many pressing issues right now in our communities, in our legislature and in our nation’s Capitol. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to continue to participate. Your voice, your story, your support for arts and culture in Oregon makes a difference. Which is why I am asking for your help once again– to shake a bill loose from committee that will advance discussions in support of equitable access to arts education.

The Cultural Advocacy Coalition worked with stakeholders this session to propose legislation to better understand who has access to an arts education in Oregon schools; identify barriers to access and recommend changes needed to encourage access to the arts within a well-rounded education. We are excited to report that SB 313, which creates Oregon’s first ever Task Force on Equitable Access to Arts Education has had a public hearing in the Oregon Senate and was moved to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for funding.

This is great progress, but since that time, the bill has stalled in committee. We have heard from leadership that the Arts Education Task Force may get lumped in with other, more expensive, task forces and left to languish in committee without further action. We have a brief window of time to get this legislation moving again. Please take a moment to send a pre-written note to the members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, or send a personalized message of your own, encouraging them to allow the bill to move forward.

Access to a quality arts education is central to a well-rounded education; raises graduation rates; lowers absenteeism; bolsters test scores and improves educational outcomes for low income and marginalized students.

Oregon’s first ever Task Force on Equitable Access to Arts Education would be made up of legislators, school leaders, parents, arts education providers, arts funders and teachers. This task force represents a first step toward improving access to arts education in Oregon, but without advocacy this bill won’t make it out of committee. We need advocacy now.

If you believe an arts education is important to a well-rounded, whole child education I hope you will take a moment to send a note to Members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee encouraging them to allow the bill to move.

With appreciation,
Christine Drazan
Executive Director

P.S. The legislation which creates the Equitable Access to Arts Education Task Force can be found here. To find out which arts disciplines are offered in your school district check here.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon   

Cultural Advocacy Colatition to Fight for Arts Funding in Salem on Arts and Culture Advocacy Day 2017

Cultural Advocacy Coalition Advocacy Day 2017

By now we have all heard about President Trump’s push to eliminate federal funding for a host of cultural agencies and nonprofits. Last week, President Trump doubled down, and proposed additional cuts the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—in the current budget year. These cuts would hit in the final six months of the budget cycle, crippling grants and programs that are planned and approved this year.

Oregon Humanities depends on the NEH for almost half of our funding. Thanks to this funding, we are able to work with hundreds of organizations around the state in communities large and small, urban and rural. The federal dollars that come to Oregon Humanities from the NEH make it possible for people from Klamath Falls to Portland and Enterprise to Astoria to do the ongoing work of building trust and strengthening community.

In addition to my work as Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, I serve on the board of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition. The Coalition is Oregon’s only statewide advocacy organization that lobbies legislators on behalf of the cultural community, and defends funding for the Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, State Historic Preservation Office and Oregon Humanities.

So, while we continue to pressure Congress to reject budget proposals which harm community-based programs like Oregon Humanities’ Conversation Projects and others, we are also in the midst of a challenging session here in Oregon—and we need your help!

We hope you will consider taking a few hours out of your day on Monday, April 24, 2017 to join us in Salem for Arts and Culture Advocacy Day 2017, at the Oregon State Capitol.

By visiting right now you can sign up–and then immediately request a constituent meeting with your own legislators. If you have already registered, be sure you take a moment to request your constituent meeting, then help spread the word by sharing the link with friends and colleagues!

If you can’t make Advocacy Day, and are not yet a Coalition member, please consider joining with a membership gift of $50, $100 or $250 today to help preserve arts, heritage and the humanities, promote the creative economy and protect Oregon’s cultural life.

With your help, the Cultural Advocacy Coalition will continue to speak to those in power on behalf of our values; protecting and amplifying the voices of artists, historians, storytellers, community-builders and creatives whose essential work enriches our lives. With your help, we will withstand these very real threats to veterans’ programs in Central Oregon and North Portland, education programs for low income adults and the rich exploration of individual and community values facilitated by Oregon Humanities through community conversations throughout our state.

Can we count on you to join us April 24, 2017 for Advocacy Day, and to join the Coalition with a membership gift today?

It will take all of us working together, participating in the legislative process and communicating with our elected representatives to protect arts and culture in Oregon and across the nation. Please take the time to join us.

With gratitude,
Adam Davis
Executive Director, Oregon Humanities
Board Member, Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Click the link below to register for the event:

Take Action: Arts Advocacy Needed

cac logo online cultural advocacy coalition

Last week I sent an email about the state’s daunting $1.8 billion shortfall. Arts Advocacy Needed – This week we have an opportunity to do something about it. Please consider attending a public hearing near you and tell budget-writers to protect arts and culture when they work to balance the budget.

The legislature’s Ways and Means Committee is taking a road trip and traveling across Oregon to invite public comment on possible budget cuts and spending priorities. Concerned Oregonians will be there to speak up for senior services, public safety, education and roads. Will you stand for the arts?

We know that targeted cuts or attempts to tap the Oregon Cultural Trust would deteriorate public funding for arts and culture in Oregon to levels which could cause lasting harm to the state’s cultural economy.

Given the budget crisis and the risk that arts, humanities and public broadcasting may face at the federal level, we must do all we can to protect current funding for arts and culture here in Oregon.

Please consider voicing your support at one of the following meetings:

Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at:
Oregon State Capitol
Hearing Room F
900 Court Street NE

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017
12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at:
Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus
Amo DeBernardis College Center
12000 SW 49th Ave.

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at:
Hermiston High School
Main Commons
600 S 1st Street

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at:
Madras Performing Arts Center
412 SE Bluff Street

**Friday, February 24, 2017
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at:
Southern Oregon University
Stevenson Union, Rogue River Room
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at:
Lane Community College
Forum (Building 17), Rooms 308-309
4000 E 30th Ave.

Friday, March 3, 2017
6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at:
Port of Tillamook Bay
Officers Mess Hall
6825 Officers Row

Will you help protect public funding for arts, heritage and the humanities in Oregon? Let’s work together to protect the values that connect us, move us forward and enrich our lives. Your voice matters! Legislators are asking to hear from you. Thank you for all you do to support and strengthen creativity and culture in Oregon, and for using this opportunity to tell budget writers we must protect funding for arts and culture in Oregon.

Additional Resources:

  • Big picture on arts and culture in Oregon? Take a look at this.
  • Current arts & culture funding in Oregon? Here you go!
  • Who received arts grants in your community? And how much was the grant? Check here.
  • Have a specific question? Let us know!

Christine Drazan
Executive Director
Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Uncertainty and Opportunity – Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Oregon’s legislative session is officially underway.

Budget-writers estimate that the state is $1.8 billion short of the money it needs to fund everything that state government currently pays for.

The governor’s budget has already proposed reducing funding for the Oregon Arts Commission, and while that is a tough place to start budget negotiations from, we are working with legislators to protect full funding for our arts and culture agencies, in this daunting budget environment.

But, it won’t be easy. A budget gap of $1.8 billion will put pressure on interests across the political spectrum. Arts and culture budgets may be at risk, not because legislators are against us–but because the budget must balance. Without bi-partisan support for new revenues, it could be a tough session for existing programs and a tougher session for new spending.

Some of the threats on the horizon are visible from here, but some will surprise us. Which is why building a strong coalition now is so important. In the face of uncertainty at the state and federal level, we need your help.

Will you help us meet the challenges ahead? Will you join now with a membership donation?

This time of uncertainty is rich with opportunity. The fight, if there must be one, is still ahead. Will you help us use this time to plan, to prepare, to lay the groundwork for success, and work together to protect the values that connect us, move us forward and enrich our lives?

Your annual membership gift, or monthly giving in any amount, ensures that advocacy in Oregon is coordinated with advocates across the nation for greater impact at the state and federal levels.

Will you help today?

  • Join or renew your membership in the Cultural Advocacy Coalition.
  • Register to attend Advocacy Day 2017 in our State Capitol.
  • Send your member of Congress an email opposing potential cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • Sign up for federal updates through the Arts Action Fund E-Advocacy Alerts.

For all you do to support and strengthen creativity and culture in Oregon, and for the positive difference you are making by engaging in the advocacy work before us—thank you.

My best,

Christine Drazan
Executive Director

Cultural Advocacy Coalition 2015 Legislative Report

2015 Legislative Report

On July 6, 2015, at 6:04 p.m. the 79th Session of the Oregon Legislature adjourned “Sine Die.”  Over the 155 days of the session, the 90 elected members of the Oregon Legislative Assembly convened the 2015 Legislative Session amid uncertainty around the strength of the Oregon economy, a looming Supreme Court decision regarding the PERS reforms adopted by the legislature in 2014 and investigations into possible misconduct by Governor John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes.  Eleven days after the start of session, Governor Kitzhaber announced his resignation and five days later Secretary of State Kate Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s 38th Governor. While most pundits expected chaos and a rough leadership transition to ensue, Governor Brown moved quickly to solidify her leadership team and to partner with Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney.

Culture in the 2015 Legislative Session

Overall this was a very successful legislative session for culture in Oregon—we were able to increase available funding in budget bills and stop legislation that would have harmed the cultural sector. An overview of policy and funding legislation is below.

SB 441 – Cultural Trust Modernization – Enacted

SB 441 made technical changes to the statutory language guiding the Trust, changed the method for determining how much of Trust revenues and earnings should be distributed, added staff and increased funding for administration. The bill replaced the current 7.5% of distributions that were dedicated to Trust administration with $400,000, adjusted annually by an index. This legislation did not impact Cultural license plate revenues, which will continue to generate approximately $400,000 annually to market and promote the Trust. The bill clarified ambiguity in existing law, to allow the Trust board of directors to solicit contributions and invest trust funds.

The bill allows the Trust board to distribute between 50% and 60% of monies raised for and earned from the Trust. The bill also changed the formula for the distribution of the earnings once the board has determined the percentage to be distributed. As a result of the bill:

  • 50% of the amount disbursed goes to the Cultural Development Grant Program;
  • 25% is distributed to Oregon Counties and Tribes through the Community Cultural Participation Grant Program; and
  • 25% is distributed among statewide cultural partners

HB 5030 – Cultural Resources Economic Fund and Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grants – Enacted

HB 5030 funds $2.5 million in new grants for the OREGON MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION GRANT PROGRAM, to be administered by the State Historic Preservation Office.

As it relates to cultural infrastructure, the Coalition worked with the co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee to continue previous legislative efforts to fund cultural infrastructure projects. This year’s funding is another step toward a long-term goal of establishing an ongoing commitment in the legislature to fund cultural capital construction projects in each biennium that the state invests in economic development through lottery-backed bonds. During the 2013 Legislative Session the legislature created the Cultural Resources Economic Fund and provided $1.5 million in funding for the Confluence Project’s interpretative art installation at Celilo Falls and $250,000 to the High Desert Museum in Bend.

The legislature indicated that the purpose of these grants would be to leverage art and cultural resources to create vibrant public spaces that integrate art and cultural and natural amenities, sustain Oregon’s rich arts and cultural experiences and enhance a strong sense of place and community identity; and to create jobs, expand business and tax revenues and enhance the economic vitality of Oregon communities, in keeping with the purpose of the Oregon Lottery.

The legislature voted to fund the following projects within the Cultural Resources Economic Fund in 2015:

OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL in the amount of $2 million for a multi-theatre renovation and modernization project that will improve access to the Festival’s two oldest theatres and provide improved access to free public performances on The Bricks for all visitors, regardless of mobility.

PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDENS in the amount of $1.5 million to expand its visitor and educational facilities in its Cultural Crossing project that will incorporate new gardens, state-of-the-art educational facilities and other visitor amenities.

OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING in the amount of $600,000 to renovate its facility to include more flexible, accessible multi-purpose space; new radio studios; and the construction of a multi-media studio to allow OPB the flexibility needed to create video and audio programming such as debates, town halls and musical performances.

AURORA COLONY HISTORICAL SOCIETY in the amount of $400,000 to finance the construction of a storage facility for historical artifacts.

SB 5502 – Department of Administrative Services – Enacted

The Department of Administrative Services provided special appropriation funding to OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING in the amount of $750,000 and OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY in the amount of $1,125,000.

SB 5525 – Business Oregon Budget – Oregon Arts Commission – Enacted

Business Oregon’s budget appropriated $4,115,924 for the OREGON ARTS COMMISSION and set an expenditure limitation for the OREGON CULTURAL TRUST at $8,260,870. In addition, the budget approved a new permanent position to support the Percent for Art program. An additional position for the Cultural Trust was funded in SB441.

SB 5528 – State Parks and Recreation Department – Enacted

This budget contains the STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE and the HERITAGE COMMISSION, which manages various heritage and preservation programs and provides grants and technical assistance for heritage and historic preservation efforts statewide. The portion of the budget directly lined out as supporting heritage/historic preservation programs was $6,400,000, including FTE and grant programs. Related bills that expanded historic preservation efforts for historic commercial areas were HB5030 and HB 3526. Membership in the Oregon Main Street Network, which is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, is a requirement for funding through the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Program, administered by SHPO. Additional staffing was provided to launch and administer this program.


It was an active session for moving policies that strengthen arts and culture in Oregon and stopping legislation that would harm the sector.

HB 699 – Exemptions to Cosmetology Regulation – Enacted

Representative Jennifer Williamson introduced legislation to expand an existing exemption that allows combing hair or applying hair spray without a cosmetology license while preparing an individual for a theatrical performance, to also be able to style hair through the use of a comb, brush, blow dryer or curling iron, or by any other method. The proposed exemption did not adequately cover current practice. Working with Rep. Williamson and Rep. Paul Holvey, the bill was expanded to allow the application of temporary makeup and styling hair by any method needed to prepare an individual for a professional film or video performance or a theatrical performance without requiring a cosmetology license or being subject to the regulation of the Health Licensing Office or Board of Cosmetology. Whatever the current practice is, the law now allows these practices to be used without the possibility of a fine. It does, however allow the Health Licensing Office or Board of Cosmetology to disseminate guidelines to offer guidance on sanitation and hygiene best practices.

HB 3042 – Designates April 14 of each year as Honorary Artists of Oregon Day – Enacted

This bill was introduced by Representative Debby Boone at the request of a burgeoning high school artist who felt that having a day to celebrate artists would encourage more young people to pursue artistic endeavors.   The chosen date, April 14, happens to be the student’s birthday.

HB 3526 – Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program – Enacted

HB 3526 establishes the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program Fund in the State Parks and Recreation Department for the purpose of providing grants on an annual, competitive basis with the purpose of funding efforts to acquire, rehabilitate and construct buildings on properties in designated downtown areas statewide in the hope that the facilitation of community revitalization efforts will lead to private investment, job creation or retention, establishing or expanding viable businesses or creating a stronger tax base. All grant recipients must be members of the Oregon Main Street Network, which is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office. The bill directs the department to make the funds available statewide while concentrating funds and resources in those areas of the state with the greatest need for main street revitalization and economic development, with a minimum of 50 percent of the funds being reserved for projects in rural areas. The department must give priority to grant proposals for projects that are located in traditionally underserved communities, including rural areas and communities that demonstrate significant financial barriers to efforts to redevelop or rehabilitate downtown areas.


This session there were a handful of measures that had the potential for adverse impacts on the cultural community. Although some were introduced in complete ignorance of these potential impacts, we were able to engage in the process and either amend the bills to eliminate our concerns or to prevent the bills from moving forward in the process.

HB 2137 – Imposes sales tax on sale, transfer or display of works of art priced at or above $250,000 – Failed

This bill had disastrous potential to stifle the purchase and public viewing of fine art. The bill would have placed an 8.75% sales tax on the storage, use or other consumption in this state of any work of art having a sales price of $250,000 or higher. As many museums in Oregon work with private collectors across the nation to exhibit their rare pieces, that practice would effectively end if the legislation passed. Stopping this bill was an early and ongoing effort of the session. We were able to share the ramifications of the bill with the House Revenue Committee Chair, who sponsored the bill, and the members of the committee. Those efforts effectively stifled the bill. However, because the bill remained in the Revenue Committee and potentially could have moved at any time throughout the session, this legislation was closely monitored until Sine Die.

SB 913 – Creates offense of trafficking in animal parts – Failed

This bill created a ban on and criminal offense for the sale or transfer or any item containing ivory, black rhino horn or mammoth tusk. This created an unintentional problem for musicians who, as they progress in skill, seek out finer instruments to match their abilities. Many of these instruments are old and possess fittings of ivory. We were able to work with the proponents of the bill to get a broad exemption for transactions involving a musical instrument, pick, bow or other item designed for playing a musical instrument that contains ivory or ivory product if the ivory or ivory product is less than 20 percent of the musical instrument or item by volume. Ultimately the bill failed due to opposition by the National Rifle Association and an insufficient exemption for knives and guns. If the issue arises in future sessions, proponents of the bill are aware of our concerns and will start with language that provides a workable exemption for instruments.

SB 105 – Sunset Advisory Committee – Failed

SB 105 was one of a handful of bills intended to create a legislative review and oversite committee over for the State’s boards and commissions. SB 105 sunsetted the statutory language that created each board and commission according to a rotating schedule. In short, the board or commission would be eliminated unless the legislature affirmatively acted to continue the board or commission. The boards of both the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust were included in the bill. The bill was not able to gain momentum due to the potential fiscal impact of the review process and by the efforts of a number of boards and commissions, as well as ourselves, in reaching out to key legislators to make sure none of these bills moved forward.


This session saw a significant number of bills aimed at businesses. The issue with the broadest statewide impact was paid sick leave.

SB 454 – Statewide Mandatory Paid Sick Leave – Enacted

This bill requires employers who have at least 10 employees to provide 40 hours paid sick time for those employees, beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The bill requires employers with fewer than 10 employees to implement a 40-hour unpaid sick time program for employees. Portland is the exception and will maintain its current standard of paid time off for six employees or more. If an employee leaves employment within 91 days of being hired, but returns to work with the same employer within 180 days, the employer is required to restore all unused accrued sick leave.

The bill sets a minimum rate of accrual at one hour sick leave for every 30 hours worked and it requires that an employee to be allowed to earn and use up to 40 hours sick leave per year. The bill allows for these hours to rollover to the following year and allows the employer to cap paid sick leave in a given year to 40 hours and cap available sick leave to 80 hours in total. Alternately the employer can cash out unused sick leave at the end of the year, rather than allow employees to rollover their paid sick leave.

The bill requires employees give advance notice of intent to use paid sick leave, under certain circumstances, and allows the employer to require medical verification, under certain circumstances, provided the employer is willing to cover the costs of the medical verification. In addition, the bill includes provisions that prohibit an employer from retaliating or discriminating against employees who inquire about or use sick leave.

The bill classifies violations as unlawful practices under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, provides for a private right of action and preempts local governmental authority on matters related to sick leave. Businesses with 10 or more employees must implement a paid sick leave program by January 1, 2016 or already have in place an equivalent paid sick time program. Fines and civil penalties through BOLI will not be assessed until 2017.

The 2015 session proved to be a strong one for the cultural community, despite political upheaval and budgeting uncertainties. In addition to our priority legislation, which modernized the Cultural Trust, we amended a number of bills that, left unattended, could have had negative consequences on the cultural community. We successfully advanced needed staffing increases in partner agencies, garnered additional funding for capital construction projects and passed bills that supported arts and culture in Oregon.

The Cultural Advocacy Coalition is a 501c(4) member-funded, non-partisan advocacy organization formed to lobby in Salem to create a thriving environment for art, heritage and the humanities throughout Oregon. The Coalition is led by a volunteer board representing a broad cross-section of the statewide cultural community and is represented in Salem by veteran lobbyists, the Victory Group.