Political wrangling slowing end of legislative session
In case you missed it, Sine Die has been declared imminent by both the Senate and House leadership … meaning notice to announce work sessions in order to further legislation is now suspended.
In other words, legislation can move very quickly and the 80th legislative session is getting closer to adjournment. Constitutionally, the session needs to adjourn by June 30.
I've been asked many times what's taking so long to adjourn with a super majority, especially considering that Washington adjourned almost two months ago and with a $52.4 billion budget … double the size of Oregon's budget.
Most of the contentious bills have already passed this session: Senate Bill 1008 (Measure 11 reform), House Bill 2015 (allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license), HB 3427 (education funding tax), SB 870 (national popular vote), etc.
Probably the most heated discussion this year was on cap and trade. House Bill 2020 (100 pages long) passed in the House chamber last week. The bill now goes to the Senate chamber.
Currently, the Senate Republicans are threatening to walk out if the bill moves to the Senate floor for a vote. The Senate Republicans agreed to vote on any budget bill, but will not be voting on HB 2020.
The governor has announced that if the Senate Republicans do walk out she will hold a special session the first week in July and order the Oregon State Police to bring the Senate Republicans back to the capitol.
So, as of right now, the Legislature has not adjourned because of the HB 2020 debacle and we still have budget bills to pass. Interestingly enough, HB 5048 has already been signed by the governor, which ensures that any state agency with no budget before July 1, remains at current service levels. In other words, if no other budget bills were to pass by the end of session, the Legislature would still meet its obligations of a balanced budget.
I also believe the other two controversial bills holding up adjournment are HB 2270 (raising tobacco taxes by $2 per pack) and HB 2005 (extending paid family leave benefits).
On a personal note: the bills that I was most passionate fared about 50/50. Daylight saving time passed and was signed by the governor last week (but still must pass California's Senate and be approved by Congress to take effect). The "Sudafed" bill is dead.
To find out more about this session and specifics on bills, keep an eye out for my town hall, coming soon at a date and location to be determined.
State Rep. Bill Post represents House District 25, which includes St. Paul and Newberg
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