Oregon Legislature Prepares for February Annual Session
January 9, 2012
January 10, 2012
February brings Oregon’s first constitutional annual session. Due to the legislative resolution that was referred to voters in the November 2010 general election, the state’s constitution was amended and the schedule of regular sessions changed from bi-annual to annual. With limited exceptions, the constitutional changes limit the length of legislative sessions beginning in odd-numbered years to 160 calendar days and sessions beginning in even-numbered years to 35 calendar days. The changes took effect with the 2011 session.
Legislators are now preparing for the short session beginning Feb. 1 and ending no later than March 6. Each legislator is limited to two bills for this session, which will include floor sessions in addition to regular committee hearings considering legislative proposals.
The 2012 session will mark the first in an even-numbered year since 1882, following the 2010 amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2010 requiring limited annual legislative sessions. Until this year, the Oregon Legislature had met every other year. From 1860 to 1882, lawmakers met in the fall of even-numbered years. Beginning in 1885, the Legislature met in odd-numbered years starting in January.
Building on the success of the 2011 session, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn, announced on Friday the membership of Senate committees for the 2012 session. Once again, the committees will have a decidedly bi-partisan design. Three committees will be chaired by members of the Republican minority, and three committees—Finance and Revenue; Business, Transportation and Economic Development; and Veterans and Military Affairs—will feature equal numbers of Democratic and Republican senators.
Steiner Hayward Chosen to Replace Bonamici
Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, won the appointment to Senate District 17, the seat vacated by Suzanne Bonamici as she runs for Congress. Steiner Hayward, a family physician at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), was selected by the Washington and Multnomah County Boards of Commissioners in a special joint meeting December 21 to fill the vacancy in Senate District 17, beating out Rep. Chris Harker. She was officially sworn into office by Gov. John Kitzhaber at the Oregon State Capitol Thursday afternoon, as Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland and Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, joined Courtney and Kitzhaber in welcoming Steiner Hayward with remarks.
Oregon Attorney General Field Narrows
Two main candidates are expected to run for the position of Oregon Attorney General following John Kroger’s announcement that he will not seek another term. Ellen Rosenblum, a former state Judge on the Court of Appeals, has announced her intention to run and has been endorsed by former Governor Barbara Roberts. Also expected to run is Dwight Holton, a Portland attorney who recently left his position with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Kroger said he has encouraged Holton to run to replace him in 2012.
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