Gun control, cap-and-trade bills slowed ahead of procedural deadlines
Monday, April 8, 2019
With the first major deadline of the session looming, an increased sense of urgency crackled through the Capitol these past two weeks.
Adding to the excitement of the approaching first chamber deadline on Tuesday, April 9, the much-anticipated amendments to the cap-and-trade proposal were released and the first informational hearings on efforts to establish a Paid Family Medical Leave program took place. The Joint Committee on Student Success Revenue Subcommittee showed that it appears to prefer a modified commercial activities tax to support education.
Several high-profile gun control bills brought forward by student activists alongside the faith group Lift Every Voice are among the bills now considered dead. Senate Bill 501, which would limit magazine purchases to five rounds and ammo purchases to 30 rounds a month and would place tighter restrictions on background checks, was among the gun control bills not scheduled for a work session before the deadline. House Bill 2251 would limit the purchase of assault rifles to those over the age of 21, while SB 87 would prohibit gun show sales to anyone under 21.
The bills gained momentum through social media, and Senate President Peter Courtney or House Speaker Tina Kotek could revive the bills. There is still likely to be legislation this session to strengthen gun control.
Two bills to address teen suicide are also working forward. SB 707, sponsored by Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, would establish a permanent committee of health experts and members of the public that would propose recommendations for tackling teen suicide. SB 485 would mandate that mental health officials notify educators and drug treatment advisors of any teen suicide that has taken place in order to strengthen communications and increase awareness.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction discussed the much anticipated 129-page amendment package that would make several slight changes to HB 2020. Opponents recognized the attempt to address concerns raised and find a compromise, but it fell significantly short in addressing those concerns. Proponents felt as if the amendments provided giveaways to large polluters. To get support politically, more changes will be required to address natural gas rates and potential economic leakage from industries moving to a less regulated state.
Momentum to move legislation is increasing as frustration from Democratic legislators mounts due to slow progress on cap and trade. With the first deadline looming, legislators seem to be moving away from grand ideas in favor of buckling down to focus on their main priority bills.