Category Archives: Oregon Legislature

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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…


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Contentious legislation arrives early into session

While the gubernatorial transition has gone smoother than most people anticipated, the stress of losing a governor continues to send shockwaves throughout the Capitol. We are seeing a surge of activity on contentious legislation in committees as well as on the chamber floors, something normally expected in the latter months of session, not the opening weeks. Read more…


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Dust begins to settle in Salem

The atmosphere at the Capitol this week appeared to be back to business-as-usual, despite the unprecedented events of the past several weeks and the swearing in of a new governor while session was already underway. Without all of the media attention and a brief delay for the swearing-in ceremony, you hardly would have noticed a change in the building. Committees continued to work through their policy agendas and the chamber floors deliberated on contentious issues. In fact, two of the most provocative pieces of legislation this year, the low carbon fuel standard and “motor voter registration,” were passed out of chambers this week. Read more…


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Oregon dodges personal income tax kicker threshold, for now …

The economic recovery in Oregon is continuing to show progress across nearly all economic sectors on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the Great Recession. During a joint meeting of the House and Senate revenue committees, state economists asserted that employment figures have not returned to their pre-recession levels but are expected to before the 2015-17 biennium begins. As a result of Oregon’s economic dependence on the traded and natural resource sectors, the recession and recovery reflect more of a boom and bust cycle than many other states. Read more…