Oregon Legislature Round-Up – Transformational for Oregon’s Film, TV, and Digital Media Industry

On Monday July 8, the 2013 Oregon Legislative session wrapped up, and it has proven to be a landmark legislative session.  On Monday morning the House concurred with the amendments the Senate passed for HB 3367 over the weekend resulting in an increase annual allocation for the Oregon Production Investment Fund tax credit.  The allocation in OPIF will go from $6million a year to $10million a year.  Other important legislation that will positively affect Oregon’s film, television, and digital media industry includes HB 5028 which allows the Oregon Innovation Council to fund the Oregon Story Board, and SB 836 which exempts film, tv and theartical hair, and make-up professionals from certain cosmetology regulations.  Below is a more detailed information on the bills.

HB 3367 – This bill became the home of several tax credits including the Oregon Cultural Trust tax credit.  Regarding OPIF, not only does the bill increase the annual cap to $10million a year, but it expands the local filmmaker program (commonly known as iOPIF) to include “Media Production Service Companies” (this is defined as post production and video game development projects).  It also lifts the threshold for out of state projects to $1million of spend in Oregon.  For iOPIF the spending threshold will now be $75,000 on the low end and up to the first $1million of a project.  All other rules with OPIF and iOPIF will still apply.  It’s important to note that the bill can not become law before the 91st day following adjournment sine die (early October).  Stay tuned for more information on OPIF and iOPIF soon as we sort out everything and figure out how to open up the application process.

HB 2505 – This bill directs money to the Oregon Business Development Department including a fantastic program called the Oregon Innovation Council which provides funding for several initiatives cross industry.  Oregon Inc. received sufficient funding to fund a new project designed to grow and incubate Oregon’s digital media industry.  The Oregon Story Board has already been at work on a few projects but with this funding, OSB will be moving into the world of incubating and accelerating digital media companies in Oregon.  Contracts still need to be signed and formal plans finalized, but funding for OSB should begin later in the fall.

SB 836 – This bill came together very quickly earlier in the session when it became known that current Oregon statutes technically required professionals in the film and television industry that apply make-up or hair styling services to get a cosmetology license.  SB 836 exempts film, TV, and theatrical professionals from this requirement as it applies to working on productions.  This bill has already been signed by the Governor.

In short, this session proved to be a truly transformational one for Oregon’s film, TV and digital media industry.  Hopefully we all will look back and consider this moment as a needle moving moment.  With these new laws though comes great responsibility.  We all must double our efforts to make sure these programs build the industry into something much bigger than it is today.  At the film office we will be committed to finding ways to make sure this money is spent in the most efficient way.  We will not rest on our laurels and will make sure we are a part of Oregon’s unique path towards building a world class creative industry cluster.

A huge thank you is in order to Governor Kitzhaber, all the supportive legislators, the coalition that formed to support the bills, and of course all of you that make Oregon a great place to produce creative projects!

-Vince Porter

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