The even-numbered short legislative session convened last Monday February 5th with the annual “State of the State” address from Governor Kate Brown, followed by committees convening for their initial meetings. The short session is always a sprint and this one is proving to be no exception. The first week has seen hearings on weighty issues such as Cap and Trade and Cleaner Air Oregon environmental policy, guns, and universal health care. The depth and breadth of the issues being considered in a 35-day time span has led many to re-assess the value of the short session, and at minimum has led to a desire to further limit the number of bills and types of issues that can be considered.
The AOC policy team has been hard at work, lobbying on a broad range of critical issues including MERS, PERS, and everything in between. AOC introduced a bill this session (HB 4069) to address shortfalls in county video lottery funding. A hearing on House Bill 4069 was held the first day of session and included excellent testimony from Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken and Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson. Other interesting issues for counties this session include broadband expansion (HB 4023), accessory dwelling units (HB 4034) and building codes (HB 4086). The deadline for bills to move successfully out of their committee of origin is Thursday February 15th.
Contributed by: Mike Eliason | AOC Legislative Director