Oregon Legislative Week in Review
May 31, 2011
May 31, 2011
Legislative leadership has indicated that the legislature remains on track to end the session on time at the end of June. However, unconfirmed rumors continue to circulate that the legislature may attempt to adjourn by June 17.
Committees have until June 1 to hold work sessions for second chamber measures. The last day to schedule these work sessions was Monday, May 23. If a bill in its second chamber was not scheduled for a work session this week, the bill is considered dead. However, the deadline does not apply to fiscal issues moving through the Ways & Means or Revenue Committees, and is not applicable to Rules Committee or committees dealing with redistricting.
The state’s budget-writing panel aims to finish its work by June 6 or 7. It will then take another 10 days or so to process all the floor votes and paperwork. A complication is that only one major general fund budget—the one for K-12 education—has moved on both the House and Senate floors. In the House, the school budget passed by a 32-28 vote when both caucuses agreed to provide the necessary 16 votes to secure passage. The same could happen for other general fund budgets, including those for higher education, law enforcement, prisons, and human services. Finally, Democrats and Republicans have not yet agreed to a redistricting plan.
Credit Union Legislation
Last week the House General Government & Consumer Protection Committee held a work session on Senate Bill 177. The bill was heard earlier in the month, where a panel of credit union supporters testified in support of the bill and answered a number of questions from the committee. In total, the committee spent about 45 minutes deliberating the bill, with most of the committee’s questions related to CUSOs including questions related to service offerings and tax structure.
After several weeks of working behind the scenes to get the bill moved out of the committee, the Co-Chairs finally scheduled a work session, resulting in a strong 8-0 vote. Two committee members, Representative Paul Holvey (D-Springfield) and Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland), had lingering questions about CUSOs and required substantial follow-up. After the Association met with them and answered their questions they agreed to move the bill.
The bill should be heard on the House floor in the next few days.
Both the House and Senate have passed House Bill 3543, a bill that proposes to change the kicker tax rebate to Oregonians. Senator Frank Morse (R-Albany) was the only Republican to vote for the bill on the floor. Once the bill is signed by Governor Kitzhaber, future tax rebates will be in the form of a credit against the following year’s taxes owed instead of a check.
First Congressional Race
Ryan Deckert has announced that he will not run against Oregon’s 1st Congressional District incumbent David Wu in the Democratic primary. Deckert is the President of the Oregon Business Association and a former state Senator. Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, is the only Democrat to have officially announced his candidacy against Wu thus far. State Rep. Brad Witt and state Senator Suzanne Bonamici are also potential candidates along with former Rep. Greg McPherson.