Following on the heels of a large grassroots rally on Thursday of truckers, loggers, and farmers encouraging the defeat of Cap and Trade, Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger announced Friday morning that Senate Republicans will be returning to the Capitol Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. to power through remaining budget and policy bills over the weekend in order to meet the Constitutional sine die — midnight Sunday.
There are over 30 budgets and 140-plus policy bills remaining, so it will be a grueling weekend, likely devoid of long policy discussions. Each bill needs to be first, second, and third read in order for floor debate to occur. In order to facilitate this, Senate Republicans will allow for rules suspensions, either in a block or on a bill-by-bill basis. The Cap and Trade bill, House Bill 2020, while considered “dead,” will have to be dealt with one way or another. Procedurally, there are several options on how that will occur, subject to ongoing leadership negotiations. The order of which bills will be taken up first (budget vs. policy) is also still under negotiation. Suffice it to say, there are still some incredibly important policy bills remaining to be decided, below are just a sampling of some of the most impactful:
- House Bill 2270– Tobacco Tax
- House Bill 2007– Clean Diesel
- House Bill 2001– Speaker Kotek’s priority housing bill, eliminating single-family only zoning in certain cities
- House Bill 2164– Tax Credit Extensions and Gross Receipts Tax fixes
- House Bill 2005– Paid Family and Medical Leave
- House Bill 2449 – 9-1-1 Tax Increase
- House Joint Resolution 10– Referral to Voters on Unanimous Jury Verdicts
- House Bill 2015– Driver Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
- Senate Bill 123– Pay Equity Fix Bill
This has been one of the most difficult sessions in recent memory. Extremely contentious, extremely political and transactional, and light on in-depth policy discussions. Frankly, we are disappointed with the result of many of the budgets for core state-county shared services such as community corrections, mental health, individuals with developmental disabilities, and others. It’s clear more education is needed in the future to help the Legislature understand the role counties play and the fact we provide many critical services more efficiently and cost-effectively than the state. In the meantime, we can only hope this weekend goes smoothly and safely shuts down when the clock strikes midnight.
Contributed by: Mike Eliason | Interim Executive Director