Legislative Advocacy

Legislative ADVOCACY:

The 2023 legislative session convenes in January and will conclude at the end of June.  Due to the rapidly evolving legislative activity, weekly legislative update Reports and Action Callouts are communicated to the ODA stakeholders and partners electronically. If you would like to be added to the communications list, contact OregonDestinationManager@gmail.com.

At the local level, tens of millions of dollars in lodging taxes are collected to support local governments, tourism facilities, and tourism promotion. Those dollars create stronger local economies throughout Oregon’s destination communities, which is why ODA, ORLA and Travel Oregon believe strongly in protecting these dedicated tourism funds. However, local lodging taxes in Oregon can be complicated, so ORLA’s created a 2-minute video to break down how these tax dollars can be spent based on state law. View the video here:  https://youtu.be/iSfwr7MKl4U

ODA ADVOCACY BLUEPRINT

Advocacy is a year-round endeavor and ODA is here to help your destination. We get it. Everyone is busy. You’re doing more with less, so taking time to initiate and develop relationships with elected officials may sound time consuming, exhausting, and a little intimidating. But the ROI is worth it, and the industry needs your voice.

There are legislative concepts in development that potentially threaten the foundation of HB 4146 and the current state statute governing the 70/30 transient room tax investments in destination stewardship. Destination organizations will need to align our messaging with Travel Oregon and Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association as the statewide voice of the industry. Your work is vital and your stories deserve to be heard by your local and state elected officials.

Now is the time to run through your DMO | RDMO strategies and advocacy priorities to ensure you are ready to support, protect and communicate the good work of your destination organization and statewide tourism initiatives to uphold HB 4146.

New to Destination Advocacy and ODA?:

ODA is here to help you get started and support you along the way. We’re glad to work with you to assess your goals and to build custom strategies that make sense for your destination. Contact:  oregondestinationmanager@gmail.com

Checklist for Getting in Touch:

  1. Build an Established, Trusted Relationship with your local legislators. Find your legislator(s) here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html
    1. Established means your elected officials know who you are and what you do.Established means your elected officials will reach out to you for input on public policy actions or activities impacting your destination and organization.
    2. Established means your elected officials are receptive to your phone calls and meeting requests because they know and respect the community-wide stakeholder base you represent, and that your destination stewardship work is important to your community.
    3. Established means your elected officials understand and will help you uphold HB 4146, the statewide transient lodging tax (TLT) statute, protecting the 70/30 TLT investment in state and local tourism stewardship. In 2016, HB 4146 passed, affecting the State’s TLT guidelines. In July 2020, the State TLT rate decreased to 1.5%. This bill also affected the State’s processes for evaluating TLT revenue requests and how the state could use its TLT revenue. It did not, however, affect local TLT rates, administration, or use of local TLT revenue.
  2. There is no better investment for the future and security of your destination. Your work is vital because:
    1. You deserve to be viewed by your elected partners as the industry leader and expert for your destination. You represent an important and far-reaching stakeholder (i.e., constituent) base for your elected officials, generating a critical economic impact for your destination and Oregon as a whole.
    2. You have important and compelling messages to share:
      1. Destination | Regional Strategic Plan
      2. Tourism Economic impact data
      3. Stakeholder stories of compelling impact projects
  3. Elected officials want to hear from their voting constituents. No voice carries more weight than YOURS (and your Stakeholders) as voting constituents:
    1. Research your elected officials. Who represents you at the City, County and state levels? Establish and update your contact database of elected officials.
    2. Reach out and make an introduction with an email and/or phone call. Provide a brief background about who you are and what you do.
    3. Ask for a meeting at the earliest convenience with your legislator(s). At those meetings, open by asking what you and your industry partners can do for the legislator to support their important work.
    4. Listen first and be prepared to provide a brief background about your Destination Organization and your program work.
    5. Educate your elected partners about the large constituency your destination organization represents and the key issues that are your priority.
    6. Leave behind a copy of your Annual Report summarizing your budget and program priorities.
    7. Follow up after your meeting and include a digital copy of your key materials.

Checklist for Staying in Touch:

  1. After the November election, do you have newly elected officials with whom you need to connect? https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html
  2. Are you regularly communicating your tourism project and stewardship ‘wins’ to your elected officials?
    1. Confirm that all your elected officials receive your eNewsletter distributions
    2. Confirm that all your elected officials receive your press release distribution
    3. Schedule (at minimum) twice-yearly in person check-ins (ideally fall / spring)
    4. Inquire about establishing regular (weekly or bi-monthly) check-ins with state legislators, especially during legislative sessions.
  3. Invite your elected officials to attend key industry events where large groups of constituents will be present. Introduce and thank all elected officials in attendance.
  4. Attend and engage with your elected officials when they hold constituent forums or public meetings in your community. Show up and be heard.
  5. Volunteer and engage in key community boards and commissions to broaden the reach and influence of your destination stewardship work in your community.
  6. Understand the priorities and pressures your local elected officials are managing and be visibly engaged as a partner and problem solver to help your community, region and state thrive.

Stay Connected with ODA. We exist to support your Destination.

OregonDestinationManager@gmail.com