Legislators in Oregon are considering whether to allow the state’s Department of Agriculture to increase fees for food safety program fees.

The bill in question, Senate Bill 33, has the backing of Gov. Kate Brown. In addition to the fee increases the bill would declare an emergency in relation to the food safety programs, according to the summary of the bill.

“This 2021 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2021 Act takes effect on its passage,” states Section 2 of the bill.

The bill involves 15 percent increases in the next two state fiscal years for food safety program fees. It specifically states that it does not alter or effect the agriculture department’s authority to adopt rules imposing additional license fees.

If approved by the Oregon lawmakers, the legislation would allow the agriculture department to increase the program fees by 15 percent in each of the two coming fiscal years, which begin on July 1 in 2022 and 2023. 

The emergency declaration in the proposed legislation would become effective immediately upon the bill’s approval.

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