Monthly Archives: February 2014

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In Salem, Lawmakers Prepare to Adjourn

The tides of the legislature were in full force this week as lawmakers begin to negotiate and move forward on end-of-session issues. Typically, the halls of the Capitol draw quiet in the final days of session as policy committees close and the scope of work for lawmakers is narrowed to only a handful of issues. As February comes to a close and we begin counting down the days until the final gavels are dropped and the legislature adjourns, there remain several significant pieces of legislation pending approval. Read more…


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Short Session Becomes Front Line of the Campaign Cycle

When the constitutional amendment for annual legislative sessions was referred to Oregon voters in 2010, lawmakers advocated that the 35-day “short sessions” would be used to make necessary program changes and re-balance the budget. Nevertheless, the short session has become another venue for lawmakers to introduce substantial policy that would typically appear during the five-month “long session,” such as changing the process for class-action proceeds to be returned to corporations in litigation, an affirmation of a land-use position for the Portland metropolitan area, and the end of marijuana prohibition. Read more…


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Oregon Lawmakers Race to Meet Deadline

The snow storm last week that brought the Capitol to a standstill made for a high-speed race to the first official deadline of the 2014 Legislative Session. On Thursday, any bill that was not moved out of the policy committee in the chamber in which it was introduced became effectively dead. The deadline led to a multitude of high profile issues being scheduled for hearings within a three hour window. Issues such as the Columbia River Crossing, Cover Oregon, a labeling requirement for genetically modified foods, changes to the Strategic Investment Program, marijuana legalization, and a requirement for background checks on certain firearm sales, were all heard in committee on Wednesday. Read more…


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Oregon creeping out of recession, state economists say

On Wednesday, state economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner from the Office of Economic Analysis presented the March 2014 Economic and Revenue Forecast to the House Revenue Committee and the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. Neither the economy nor state revenues have changed considerably since the close of session projections. This is both good and bad news. Accurate projections suggest that the economy is stabilizing as it continues to emerge from the recession; however, the economy stabilizing at current levels indicates temperate growth, which can affect state revenues in future years, as expected since the economic forecasts of 2010. Read more…


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2014 Session: Recap of the first week

Lawmakers in Oregon began the 2014 Legislative Session, a 35-day “short” session, with a full plate of more than 300 bills ranging from technical fixes to the creation of new programs. Interestingly, when voters approved annual sessions, the idea was never for them to emulate the long sessions (introducing monumental policy changes and creating new programs). The intention of the short sessions was to provide lawmakers time to approve program changes and re-balance the budget in order to improve government efficiency. Nevertheless, the short session has become a vibrant political playing field as legislators enter the election cycle. Read more…