Legislative scheduling notes
This year’s legislative session ends next week, on March 7. Any bill not voted on by both chambers of the Oregon State Legislature by next Monday is effectively extinct. A legislator can propose it again during the next legislative session, which isn’t scheduled until 2023 (although special sessions have been convened multiple times in the past two years).
Most committees faced a deadline last Thursday by which all bills had to receive a vote if they were going to move forward. There are a few committees exempt from the deadline, which all have packed schedules for the next week.
- HB 4002 — Provides overtime compensation for farmworkers. The Oregon State House of Representatives created a special committee to work on this bill. The bill has passed out of committee and could be up for a vote in the State House as early as today. House Republicans have threatened a walk out over the bill.
- HB 4008 and HB 4131 — Rolls back limits on using chemical weapons and munitions against protesters. After rescheduling public hearings last week, the House Committee on Rules has canceled public testimony on HB 4131 and the bill may not be moving forward. However, the same rollbacks have been added to HB 4008 as amendment A11. HB 4008 is currently in front of the Senate Committee on Rules, which will vote on the bill during their work session this morning, with no opportunity for public testimony.
- HB 4133 — Improves online voter registration system. Passed in the Oregon State Senate on last Thursday and is now waiting for Governor Kate Brown’s signature.
- SB 1511 — Offers people convicted with non-unanimous juries ways to request new trials. Around 200 people are currently incarcerated in Oregon despite their trials being ruled unconstitutional, who this bill could help (although an amendment means that only a portion of those incarcerated would be eligible). The bill is currently stuck in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means with no further action scheduled. Still in Prison is coordinating an effort to reach out to members of the committee to move the bill forward.
- SB 1521 — Protects superintendents from being fired for following state or federal law. Passed in the State House of Representatives last Tuesday with amendments and now must go back to the State Senate for a vote on the amended version. That vote is scheduled for today.
- State Senator Dallas Heard once again refused to wear a mask in the State Senate. Senators voted to temporary expel Heard from the building, though Heard can end the expulsion by agreeing to wear a mask. Otherwise, Heard will be unable to participate in debates or votes, though he’ll still be able to participate in virtual committee meetings. However, Heard has not voted on bills or attended floor sessions throughout this legislative session as his response to state mask mandates.