In its first committee meeting, Tuesday afternoon, the Senate committee on environment and natural resources began its first round of hearings on SB 1530, the cap and trade proposal for the 2020 Legislative Session.

In his introduction to the bill, chair Michael Dembrow (D- Portland) reported that prior to the Session, proponents of the bill engaged in discussions with lawmakers and workgroups, making several modifications to the bill first highlighted during the January Legislative Days. He also noted, “we also were responding to a large amount of written testimony that has come in. Before the beginning of this session, we had already received 1,200-1,500 different pieces of written testimony.”

The 86-page bill’s first set of amendments were unveiled late Monday evening. The -2 amendment, requested by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) contains 30 pages of modifications to the bill. Just three hours before the hearing, a new amendment requested by Courtney was released to the public, the -27 amendment, 32-pages long.

Prior to public testimony, Legislative Counsel Maureen McGee, lead drafter of the bill, was called on to present a section-by-section overview of the impact of the amendments. In her explanation, she noted, the -27 amendment was introduced to address two items “erroneously omitted from the -2 amendments-” those were called out as section 95 a. and 95 b. Committee members then commented on the challenges of a tight timeline to review amendments.

Following the overview, advocates and opponents testified on the bill until late into the evening.

Two more hearings are scheduled on the bill on February 6 and February 8. 

Additional amendments are anticipated. The bill will move quickly with Session deadlines looming. Bills in policy committees must be scheduled for a work session by February 7 in their chamber of origin in order to advance. 

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate