Help Us Make A Better BMTD!

BMTD is starting the year off by seeking legislative changes to common problems that the District has been facing for 4 decades. Thanks to help from Senator Cliff Bentz (R-30, Ontario), we are submitting 3 bills in the 2019 Regular Session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Citizens interested in seeing our bills passed can help us by calling their legislators and asking that they support our legislation. Please contact:

Baker County

Union County

Senate Bill 394 – Passed!

Senate Bill 394 concerns technological upgrades that will allow BMTD to offer a better service in our community. The most popular provision in this bill would allow BMTD to begin transmitting local emergency alerts on our signals, and we are thankful that this provision is supported by the Union County Farm Bureau, as well as the Rural Fire Protection Districts serving Haines, Imbler, Keating, La Grande Rural, Medical Springs, North Powder, and Union. Additional provisions would allow BMTD to upgrade to the next standard for digital broadcasting (ATSC 3.0), as well as own and operate our own channel! BMTD hopes that a local channel will allow us to broadcast hyper-local news and information, and create additional revenue opportunities through the sale of advertisements for local businesses. SB 394 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Business & General Government. We thank the cities of Baker City, Elgin, Haines, Imbler, Island City, and North Powder for their support of SB 394, along with Baker and Union Counties. Additional thanks to Rep. Greg Barreto for co-sponsoring and Rep. Lynn Findley for carrying the bill on the floor of the House. For more information on bill progress, visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB394.

Status: Passed by Oregon Legislature on May 29, 2019.

Senate Bill 393

Senate Bill 393 has 3 key provisions: allowing financial supporters who live in incorporated cities to serve on BMTD’s Board, allowing voters in cities to consider annexation into the District, and exempting state properties from district service charges. Currently, BMTD may not include incorporated cities into its boundaries, so 10 cities in Baker and Union Counties are blank spots in the middle of our map. As a result, financial supporters of BMTD who live within city limits are not permitted to serve on our board of Directors. Additionally, BMTD is currently required to physically inspect properties in these cities prior to sending a service charge letter, but we do not possess the resources to continuously search 10 cities to find new antennas. Following a survey of cities in Baker and Union Counties last year, BMTD sent over 320 service charge letters to the owners of properties where an antenna was discovered. SB 393 will solve the problem of preventing members in cities from serving on our board, and allow city voters to weigh in on limiting our administrative difficulties related to billing properties in their communities. We thank the cities of Elgin, Haines, Imbler, and North Powder for their support of SB 393 as introduced, along with Baker and Union Counties. SB 393 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Business & General Government. For more information on bill progress, visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB393#.

Status: Approved by Senate Committee on Business & General Government on February 26, 2019; referred to Senate Committee on Finance & Revenue on March 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 901

Senate Bill 901 primarily focuses on revenue. Our current service charge system would be improved via 2 potential partnerships with cities: municipal code enforcement officers could inspect properties for antennas, and cities could collect BMTD service charges on utility bills.

This bill also allows BMTD voters to consider a property tax levy to replace the service charge system. BMTD was permitted to levy property taxes from 1978-1979, when the legislature abolished this revenue option and declared that the service charge system had voter approval. SB 901 seeks to finally submit the question of revenue to voters after 40 years. Property tax ballot measures would be required to be held in the all of Presidential years, when voters are most likely to vote. 

For more information on bill progress, visit https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB901.