“My vision is of an Oregon where we increase economic prosperity, and do it in a way that ensures prosperity is inclusive — an Oregon where everyone is given the same fair shot at building a better life for themselves and for their children,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.
A short legislative session starts Monday in Salem, and Oregon lawmakers have 35 days to make some very big decisions. House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and House Minority Leader Mike McLane joined KATU’s Steve Dunn to discuss what they are facing through the next several weeks, and how it will impact the public.
Part of the thing that the state of Oregon needs to do is to be ready to help pick up some of the slack the Federal Government is likely to impose on families that temporarily need help to bridge things between one job and the next, or emergencies and other things,” said Representative Barnhart. Barnhart will also be working on a clean energy jobs bill, along with an amendment proposal to make health care a universal right.
McLane opposes work on the legislation during this session for two main reasons. One, he contends it is too large in scope and has too much of an impact to be addressed during the 35-day session. “In five weeks, there is not sufficient time to pass one of the most significant changes in tax laws,” he said. “Those who are pushing it claim that it has been discussed for multiple sessions, and I don’t dispute that, but it’s not an existing law, and it is a significant impact to Oregon.”
Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, a chief sponsor on the bill, told the Statesman Journal class size is his top priority this session. But he doesn’t have a strong idea yet whether the bill will pass. “It is unacceptable when there are more students than desks,” he said. “I want (families and educators) in there complaining about class size. “It should be the highest priority of the district. Everything else should come second,” he said. “And then, if they say, great, now we don’t have enough money, I’m happy to fight for more money.” Clem said this is one option the state can take, but it isn’t the only one. “It doesn’t get them more money, but it does put them in the middle of the conversation,” he said.
Graser-Lindsey previously served on Clackamas County’s Transportation System Plan committee for two years. During her one year on the county’s Traffic Safety Commission, she advocated for rural road safety by pointing out ditches along roads, the lack of turnouts and blind hills with fatal crashes.
The Oregon Legislature convenes in Salem today with an agenda that risks trying to cram 10 weeks’ worth of business into a five-week calendar. Lawmakers should bear in mind the reasoning that led voters to approve annual legislative sessions in 2010, after rejecting the concept three times before: The 35-day sessions in even-numbered years were advertised as being needed for housekeeping and budget-balancing purposes — substantive policy-making was to be reserved for the 160-day sessions in odd-numbered years.
Speaking of momentum, the banner year enjoyed by the stock market in 2017 cleared away $3 billion of the pension system’s unfunded liability. But you might recall how system officials recently dialed down the estimated rate of return from the system’s investments, and it would be crazy now to revisit that number. After all, part of the PERS problem is that state officials for years overestimated that rate of return. There’s no need to repeat that mistake, and the market’s performance last week offered everyone a vivid reminder that what goes up also can go down.