Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) reform legislation is headed to the Governor’s desk after a surprise twist to a long floor session on May 30.

Floor sessions are getting longer extending into nights and weekends as leadership is trying to clear the logjam of bills stacked up in the House chamber.

After robust debate from both opponents and proponents, bill carrier, Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) called out in his closing speech on the bill, “so many things have eaten away at the resources for public services, and yet, this body, since I’ve been here has not really done anything meaningful,” he said regarding the unfunded actuarial liability in the PERS system, now reaching $27 billion. Holvey further argued, “Senate Bill 1049 A is your cost containment to help stem these increases that are going to devastate local services and state services all together.”

At the close of speeches, the vote clocked in at 29-31. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) called for the House to stand at ease while the vote still open. Upon resumption of the floor session, two representatives changed their votes. Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) switched her ‘nay’ vote to an ‘aye, followed by Representative Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), solidifying the passage of the bill on a 31-29 vote.

The bill cleared the Senate on a 16-12 vote last week, and will soon head to the Governor’s desk for her signature.

To view a full Legislative Fiscal Office review of the policy in SB 1049 A, click here.

For additional reporting on Thursday’s floor session, click here.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate