oregon legislature

End-Game Negotiations Remain Unsolved

Legislators, lobbyists and staff celebrated sine die with their traditional “end of session” party this week, but it’s becoming clear that adjournment continues to be in flux. Policy committees have shut down for the year, while some highly negotiated bills continue to trickle through the process. However, there’s no such thing as smooth sailing to sine die anymore and sensitive negotiations have hit stumbling blocks. Read more…


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The Final Countdown

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Today marked the second major deadline of the legislative session, the appropriately named Second Chamber Deadline. The deadline operates much like the previous Chamber of Origin Deadline (on April 21), and means a bill is effectively dead if it has not advanced from the committee it was referred to in the second chamber. The same committees that were exempt from the Chamber of Origin Deadline are also exempt from the Second Chamber Deadline—Rules, Revenue, and Ways & Means. The Second Chamber Deadline is perhaps more rigid than the first, for the simple fact that policy committees completely close immediately following the Second Chamber Deadline, and can no longer take action on any House or Senate bill for the remainder of session.

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economists

State economists project $477.5 million income tax refund

Today, state economists released the final economic and revenue forecast of the 2013-15 biennium. Throughout the course of the past year, economists have cautioned the reality of a relatively small personal income tax kicker for the current biennium as a result of the economic recovery and minor changes to the state’s tax regime. Earlier this year, the forecast projected a $349.3 million refund being issued to personal income taxpayers by the end of the biennium. Today’s release increased the value of this payment by approximately $128 million, with an average refund of $284 per taxpayer. Read more…


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Lawmakers scramble to beat the first deadline of session

The scramble to beat the first major deadline of the legislative session was in full force last week. The chamber of origin deadline of Tuesday, April 21, when bills must move out of their originating chamber, caused a scurry of committee hearings throughout the week as chairs asserted the power of their gavel to keep bills alive. Once the deadline comes to pass, bills remaining in the policy committees will be effectively dead barring intervention from leadership to place legislation on life support. While the stride of the building was at its highest velocity this week, there was far more drama than simply the looming deadline. Read more…


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Looming chamber of origin deadline brings an end to many bills, but the games have only just begun

Today marks the first significant deadline of the current legislature. If a bill has not been scheduled for a work session in its originating chamber by the close of business today, it will be considered effectively dead. The revenue, rules and budget-writing committees do not abide by the same deadlines as other policy committees, and therefore, serve as a “life support” mechanism for leadership if they feel the need to keep a bill alive. However, most bills not moved out of their originating chambers will be considered out of play for the rest of session, finally bringing some sense of ease to the building. Do not mistake this to mean that concerns will not continue to run rampant throughout the building—the games have only just begun. Read more…


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It’s March Madness in Salem and, no, we’re not talking college basketball!

The “unfinished business” chapter of this year’s legislative session appears to be nearing its end. Over the past several months, we have seen a surge of carryover issues from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. Class action reform, the low carbon fuel standard extension removal, voter registration and central assessment were all remnants of past sessions that are now completed. While there remain a select few remaining matters from the past to address, such as the measures proposed to gun control and the state-local economic development partnership known as Gain Share, the next chapter is about to begin. Read more…


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Leadership works well together, despite tribulations

This week, the legislature returned to its usual chaotic pace. Although many legislators and lobbyists continued business as usual throughout the transition, a morose temperament lingers in the building. Irrespective of the upheaval in the chief executive’s office, leadership has been able to move several significant agenda items through the process with relative ease. The most notable examples include the low carbon fuel standard, voter registration and class action reform. Read more…