SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon’s 2017 Legislative session has passed its first major deadline, marking its official halfway point.
With a few exceptions, measures that did not make it out of committee in their chamber of origin by Tuesday night are considered dead.
High-profile losers include:
- A slew of environmental legislation, including bills that would regulate air contaminant emissions from large dairies; tighten rules around aerial pesticide spraying; and restore local control over GMO crops.
- A measure that would ban the use of methods to physically restrain schoolchildren or confine them in seclusion rooms.
- A bill that aimed to reduce antibiotic-resistant superbugs by restricting their routine use on animals meant for food.
The rule doesn’t apply to measures in the Joint Committee on Ways & Means, other joint committees, or the House and Senate rules and revenue committees.
Many measures have ended up in those committees over the past week, as time ran out to finalize amendments and get them drafted.
Among them: Senate Bill 557, a controversial measure that would put a price on carbon emissions.
“This is not a bill that in its current form is ready for the floor,” Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, said during a work session on the bill. “It is ready for ongoing conversation. Once we get past the deadline, we’re going to have the luxury of coming back to some of these conversations.”
More than 2,700 measures have been introduced this session. As of Tuesday, Gov. Kate Brown had signed 14. Nine already have taken effect.
In addition to considering bills, lawmakers are working behind the scenes on the session’s larger issues:
Earlier this week, more information was released about how the 2017-19 budget would look without any new revenue. The Legislature is facing a $1.6 billion shortfall. Conversations about what form that new revenue could take are continuing, House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, told reporters Monday.
And a bill putting forth a transportation infrastructure funding package is expected in the next week or so, Kotek said. It, too, will identify new revenue sources, which could include a gas tax increase, highway tolls, or higher license and registration fees.
The Legislature’s next big deadline is June 2, when policy committees must move measures that originated in the opposite chamber out of committee.
Constitutional sine die, the latest the session can end, is July 10.
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