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Important Legislative Updates—Changes to Oregon School District Meetings and Public Contracting Code



Although the 2024 legislative short session was dominated by affordable housing and social services, several bills of interest to school districts were enacted in the 2024 and 2023 legislative sessions and will require some implementation.

Recording Public Meetings (SB 1502, 2024)

SB 1502 amended the Public Meetings Law to require school districts, education service districts, community college districts, and public universities to make a video recording of all of their meetings and then post the video recording on the body’s website or social media within seven days of the meeting. If an educational body lacks broadband internet access, it can comply by posting an audio recording. This requirement does not apply to executive sessions or to school districts with a resident average daily membership of fewer than 50 students.

These requirements go into effect on January 1, 2025, so districts have some time to implement the required technology.

Architects/Engineers’ Duty to Defend (SB 1575, 2024)

SB 1575 prohibits public contracts with architects, engineers, surveyors, or an entity providing photogrammetric mapping or transportation services, from including a duty to defend the public body against claims for professional negligence except to the extent that the person’s or entity’s liability or fault is determined by adjudication, alternative dispute resolution, or otherwise resolved by settlement agreement. This law applies to contracts entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2025, and sunsets on January 1, 2035.

Increased Procurement Thresholds (SB 1047, 2023)

Although enacted in the 2023 session, the following changes became effective on January 1, 2024. For goods and services contract procurements conducted under ORS 279B, a contracting agency is permitted to award a public contract:

  • By direct selection or award, provided that the contract price does not exceed $25,000 (previously, the threshold was $10,000).
  • Using intermediate procurement procedures, provided that the contract price does not exceed $250,000 (previously, the threshold was $150,000).

For public improvement contract procurements conducted under ORS 279C, a contracting agency is permitted to award a public contract without soliciting competitive bids provided that the contract price is under $25,000 (previously, the threshold was $10,000).

SB 1047 adds additional requirements, however, for state contracting agencies that conduct direct or intermediate procurements using the methods described above. The state contracting agencies are required to document the actions that the state contracting agency takes to comply with ORS 200.035 and to invite or consider businesses or enterprises that the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity certifies under ORS 200.055. Note that these additional documentation requirements apply only to state contracting agencies.

This article is provided for informational purposes only—it does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader. Readers should consult legal counsel before taking action relating to the subject matter of this article.

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