The 2023 Legislative Session is now at peak intensity.
With over 3,000 bills in play, committees are considering a full slate of policy while on a tight timeline. For a bill to be heard in committee by the first chamber deadline (April 4), it must be posted on an agenda for a work session by March 17. Reminder, this does not apply to Rules, Revenue, or Joint Committees.
One unique feather of the 2023 session thus far is the massive amount of so-called “placeholder” bills. Many concepts have not been vetted or worked out during the interim — and legislators are rapidly working to try and flush out details on the different policies they’d like to advance. This has created a rather chaotic approach to legislating, especially in some key areas like energy policy where there are an infinite number of vague “green” policies but no clear direction or priority for take-home policies.
Several controversial bills relating to guns, abortion, legislator pay, changes to statewide rent control, and more are in play. Senate Republicans have required bills to be read in full prior to a vote from the start of this session in hopes of pushing Democratic leadership to negotiate on these bills. Bill reading and other parliamentary delay tactics will likely be on full display as these bills begin to move, which will also slow down the process for all unrelated legislation as well.
After the passage of Measure 113 (2022), Republicans’ ability to block legislation via denying quorum has been largely taken away. Any legislator with 10 or more unexcused absences in a single session will be prohibited from running for re-election. Additionally, Republicans have seen previous walkouts hinder their candidates in swing seats the last two election cycles, making a walkout to block these bills highly unlikely.
This Week’s Schedule
SB 704 – Establishes Universal Health Plan Governance Board and directs that board to create a comprehensive plan for implementing Universal Health Plan beginning in 2027.
SB 56 – Requires closed-captioned television receivers in public areas within places of public accommodation to display closed captioning unless an exception applies.
SB 418 – Requires subject employers to adopt policy allowing subject workers paid time off during shifts to receive medical services related to worker’s compensable injury or occupational disease.
HB 5019 – Appropriates moneys from General Fund for biennial expenses.
HB 2001 – Establishes Oregon Housing Needs Analysis in Oregon Department of Administrative Services.
Concerning Bills We’re Following
HB 2396 – This job-killing bill would authorize the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to create an “indirect source” review program that would regulate projects that promote vehicle traffic or require off-road engines.
HB 3152 – Begins the process of a statewide ban on the use of natural gas in the residential housing sector.
HB 3158 – Would create a slew of new taxes and fees to fund an incentive program for non-road diesel vehicles. Among other things, the bill puts a new tax on tires and on the purchase and rental of diesel equipment.
How to Participate in the Session
Although created by the House Majority Office, we’ve recently been provided an excellent engagement tool for those wishing to participate in the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session. Access this Legislative Session Participation Guide to find information and directions on navigating the Oregon Legislative Information System, providing testimony, accessing the State Capitol, and more.