Bill Post: New legislative body getting ready for 2021 session
It's been a while since I've written a column here. I don't write one in the months leading up to and during an election, as that would be unfair to any opponent. So, what's going on in the Oregon Legislature now that the elections are over?
In the "Every Vote Counts" category I want to tell you that there is still (as of writing this) a competitive House seat in the Hood River area, which is House District 52. There are fewer than 50 votes separating the incumbent from the challenger and will trigger an automatic recount.
With that district still to be decided, House Republicans picked up two seats, both on the Oregon Coast. They lost one in Bend for a net gain of one seat. The Senate Republicans lost one seat and gained one seat for a net zero. Therefore, the balance of power is still controlled by one party and Oregon remains to have a super majority.
In the House Republican caucus, leadership elections were recently held, and Rep. Christine Drazan of Canby remains the leader. In the House Democrat caucus there is a little more intrigue.
Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek was elected Speaker again by her caucus, but the full House must vote to affirm the Speaker position. Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley) has said publicly that she will be running for Speaker as well when the entire body convenes. In other words, the Speaker of the House position has yet to be decided for 2021.
Otherwise, life goes on as it were with the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many new members in the House due to retirements, members moving on to other offices and sadly at least one death. All members have the chance to pick an office, parking spot and floor desk. That is a wild time, as it's by seniority and alphabetical. What might amaze you is that I am now a "senior member" of the House Republican caucus after only five years! The alphabet got me, so I'm not moving offices; I'll still be in H-479 and I'm keeping same parking spot but moving to the back row of the House Chamber.
Outside of those moves, we are all moving forward toward the 2021 session with legislative drafts being written and submitted as pre-session deadlines arrive in December. There is a lot of discussion going on right now amongst the House and Senate leaders as to how the 2021 session will actually occur. Stay tuned as I believe it will be some sort of "hybrid" with virtual and in-person.
My biggest concern is that YOU the public are not locked out of the process. It is imperative that the public be allowed to testify and witness anything that goes on in the building. I am fully advocating on your behalf. I appreciate being allowed to write this column and look forward to each month's opportunity as the time draws nearer to 2021. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Bill Post is the Republican representative for House District 25, which includes Newberg, Keizer, St. Paul and the French Prairie region.
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