The first cut of bills took its toll Thursday, Feb. 13.
Most bills that were not voted out of committee in their chamber of origin (Senate for SB bills; House for HB bills) are, for all practical purposes, dead. Only joint committees and revenue and rules committees are exempt from the deadline.
OSBA is tracking education bills as they move to the next chamber, most importantly House Bill 4044 and Senate Bill 1522.
SB 1522 moved out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11, well before the deadline. SB 1522 was primarily created to modify some of the language in a law from last year to protect students from sexual conduct. It was amended to carry many small, technical changes to education laws, including adjusting physical education requirements, adding small schools funds and allowing executive sessions in certain circumstances. It will move to the Senate floor for a vote, and OSBA will continue to work hard to pass it into law.
HB 4044 is another OSBA priority. Some small rural and dorm schools, among the most remote in Oregon, require extra funding supports to provide a comprehensive education. The laws permitting the extra funding are about to sunset. HB 4044 would make permanent the supplemental funding weights that those schools receive in the State School Fund. The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Joint Ways and Means Committee.
OSBA also supported bills that would fund targeted help for certain populations and programs that benefit Oregon’s young people:
HB 4039, which would provide funding for programs to help unaccompanied homeless youths.
HB 4136, which would continue to fund existing supports for districts to operate “activity bus” runs.
HB 4098, which would require the Oregon Department of Education to create a plan for all students to have access to computer science classes.
All three of these bills moved from their committees to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, where they will wait to see if they get funding.
Some bills moved even though they will likely require further changes.
The House Education Committee moved HB 4139, which would require student-approved notification to parents in the course of bullying, harassment and cyber-bullying. The bill’s proponents would like to make sure parents are appropriately notified if their child is harassed or bullied, but some of the bill’s language needs refinement. The bill will head to the House floor for a vote, likely Wednesday, Feb. 19. If it is approved, then OSBA will continue to work in the Senate Education Committee to refine the bill’s language.
Finally, one notable bill did not get scheduled this session. HB 4094, which would have made class size a mandatory subject of labor negotiations, was not scheduled before the deadline.
OSBA has opposed this policy for many years. The committee did not directly address why the bill was not scheduled. It seems likely that this policy attempt will return in a future session, but for now it appears dead.
The next deadline is already fast upon us. Committees have until Thursday, Feb. 20, to post the second chamber bills (House bills for Senate committees and Senate bills for House committees) that they will consider voting on. Those votes must occur no later than Tuesday, Feb. 25.