Legislative seats continue to shuffle as February session comes into focus
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The Legislature will return to Salem Jan. 13-16 for the last meetings prior to the 2020 session. Committees have begun posting meeting agendas, a clue about upcoming bills.
The Senate Interim Education Committee agenda, for instance, includes the “Introduction of Committee Legislative Concepts.” A legislative concept, or “LC” in legislative slang, is the first draft of the document that eventually becomes a bill. This work session satisfies procedural posting requirements.
After introduction, the committee will vote on whether to accept the LC. If approved, it will become a bill. These legislative days are the first opportunity for the public, including lobbyists and advocates, to see some of the main topics for the 2020 session.
Sen. Rob Wagner, chair of the Senate Education Committee and the Lake Oswego School Board, previewed his 2020 goals in the Lake Oswego Review. Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, said he plans to focus his committee on Student Success Act implementation and community-college completion “through an equity lens.” Implementation is the first item on his committee agenda, with presentations by the Oregon Department of Education, the Early Learning Division and the Youth Development Division.
In other legislator news, Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, announced that she will not seek reelection in 2020. Doherty will serve out her term, including the 2020 legislative session in February. She has chaired the House Education Committee since 2015. Doherty is a former teacher and Oregon Education Association employee. In the Legislature, she has been a fierce advocate for students, educators and the education system, although sometimes she was at odds with OSBA positions. However, Doherty set an example as a committed, principled and honest legislator. She took time to work with advocates and members of the public, she answered questions in a straightforward fashion, and she took the responsibilities of her office seriously. She frequently spoke with OSBA members and presented at conventions. Her dedication and statesmanship will be missed.
Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, also left the House, resigning her seat Dec. 30 to run for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. Williamson, whose seat in House District 36 spans much of Southwest Portland, is the former House majority leader. Her successor will be appointed Jan. 16 by the Multnomah County commissioners.