Oregon’s Voice for Gun Rights
- Legislative Report: Week 13 (April 27-May 1)
The end of last week felt like “half time” for many players in the legislative process. With the chamber of origin deadline now distant in the rear-view mirror and nearly half of all introduced bills dead, this week brought a narrowed focus to legislators and lobbyists alike. Policy committees began scheduling many of the less controversial measures sent to them from their counterparts in the opposite chamber. Meanwhile, anyone wanting a good debate had to look no further than floor action in both chambers, as many of the more contentious measures that were passed out of policy committee just prior to the chamber deadline were up on the floor this week.
Many observers thought this week’s headlines from Salem would be focused on the anticipated floor vote for SB 941, the controversial gun background check bill. However, the House vote on SB 941 never came, due to a rumored lack of votes needed to pass it. Instead, the topic of the week was a decision made outside the Capitol, just a stone’s throw away at the Oregon Supreme Court, where a decision was made that struck down much of the special session PERS reforms.
After the climax of the chamber of origin deadline, the pace of session slowed down for about a week and a half in what felt like a “calm before the storm.” This relative lull in activity will come to an end next week as the second chamber deadline, floor debates, and an increasingly complicated balancing act over the budget consume the building.
- Legislative Report: Week 12 (April 20-24)
The stakes are always high in the Capitol, but never more than this week. Tuesday was the chamber of origin deadline, marking the first mass extinction of bills this session. Any bill not voted out of its originating committee by close of business Tuesday is effectively dead.
The function of this deadline is similar to the second chamber deadline, which falls on June 5. At this time, all bills not voted out of committee in the second chamber will perish. Most committees completely close down after the second chamber deadline, and do not take action on any legislation for the remainder of the session.
But, like everything in politics, there are exceptions to these rules. Several committees are not bound by the chamber of origin deadline. The Revenue committees, Rules committees and the Joint Ways and Means budget-writing committees can take action on legislation at any time, and are only limited by when the gavel drops on the entire session to adjourn sine die.
As you might expect, this looming deadline has jammed up committee agendas for several weeks. Agendas that normally feature four to six bills were overloaded—crammed with 10, 15 or even more than 20 bills. Meetings were held at a frenetic pace, and in turn, the overall process seemed to accelerate to warp speed. With only two hours per committee meeting, most bills received very little, if any, substantive discussion prior to a vote. Most hearings amounted to a few simple questions. Are the amendments ready? Have we received the fiscal impact statement? Okay, the Chair will accept a motion.
The numbers tell the story: 2,609 bills have been introduced since session convened, 1,472 bills have advanced beyond their originating committee and 1,137 bills died this week.