Time to look ahead because session didn’t offer much to look back upon
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
The legislative session ended without even a sputter, unable to muster a vote for sine die.
Little got done and both sides are pointing fingers over the Republican walkout that ground all business to a halt. The chatter in the Capitol has turned to the Legislature’s future, including how to take up necessary bills that died in the legislative shutdown.
Even a week into the walkout, committees continued to meet and move bills through the process. Some committees were focused on how to deal with walkouts. Democratic legislators were interested in changing the quorum required to do House and Senate business. They talked about use of campaign money to fund trips out of state during a walkout and discussed how to counter future walkouts.
So what happens now? No one really knows.
Gov. Kate Brown could call a special session to do essential budget adjustments and compromises on some policy bills.
Calling a special session, though, requires both parties to talk about the session’s goal and agree to terms.
That raises the question of when the governor would call the special session. After the May primary, as not to impact the election process, or immediately to fund those agencies that need a budget rebalancing?
A news release from offices of the Senate president and the speaker of the House highlighted some of the policy work and budget items that were lost. Important policy issues include housing, forest management, health services and emergency preparedness.
For education, some bills blocked by the shutdown were needed to keep schools from being in violation of the law. OSBA will work with the Oregon Department of Education to see what can be done to help districts.
OSBA will turn its focus to agenda building for the 2021 regular session. OSBA’s Legislative Policy Committee has met once to begin developing the 2021-22 legislative agenda. The committee will meet again in May to finalize a draft of the priorities and principles for the association membership to provide feedback.
OSBA Fall Regionals that begin in late September and run through October will offer attendees the opportunity to hear the plans and ask questions.