Sine Die Declared Imminent in House and Senate
On Tuesday, May 23rd, both chambers announced that sine die is imminent. This announcement typically marks the final weeks of the legislative session because it suspends the session posting requirements and expedites movement of bills. The Senate is now on 1-hour notice for hearings and work sessions. The House is on 24-hour notice for hearings and is “post and go” for work sessions. Joint committees including Ways and Means follow the most restrictive guidelines, which in this case, are the Senate guidelines.
Legislative Deadlines/Walkout Update
Thursday was the 22nd day of the Senate Republican walkout denying Senate floor quorum. As a result, the Senate hasn’t been able to advance any legislation since May 3rd. The Governor has been meeting with both Republicans and Democrats and those meetings haven’t been going well.
In the meantime, state agency budgets continue to move forward along with a handful of policy bills. There are at least three potential outcomes regarding next steps:
- Bills make it “as far as they can” in a queued/teed up fashion in the event Senate Republicans return to pass bills. Senate Republicans have indicated that they plan to return on the last day of session (June 25th) to pass “lawful, substantially bipartisan budgets and bills.”
- The Legislature adjourns. Functionally, one chamber cannot adjourn sine die unless they are within the three-day window prior to June 25th; as a result, sine die adjournment couldn’t occur for several weeks. Some interest groups believe that this is the proper course of action and will prevent Republicans from dictating and/or picking or choosing which bills can live or die by returning on the final day of the Legislative session.
- Article IV, Section 11. Legislative officers; rules of proceedings; adjournments. Each house when assembled, shall choose its own officers, judge of the election, qualifications, and returns of its own members; determine its own rules of proceeding, and sit upon its own adjournments; but neither house shall without the concurrence of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which it may be sitting.
- Legislative leaders come to an agreement that results in the Legislature returning to its “regularly scheduled programming” and the legislative session proceeds in its normal fashion and form.
Of the 13 Republicans and Independents Senators, all but Fred Girod (Stayton), David Brock Smith (Port Orford), and Dick Anderson (Lincoln City), have accrued ten or more unexcused absences which may prevent them from holding office in a future election.
K-12 Budget Moves Forward
In the 2021-23 budget K-12 was allotted $9.3 billion. The Governor’s recommended budget increased that amount to $9.5 billion in 2023-2025. Next week the school budget will move forward with a record double digit $10.2 billion allocation (9.7% increase from the previous biennium).
Senate Revenue Committee to Hear Kicker Repeal
On Wednesday May 31st, the Senate Revenue Committee will hear a series of bills related to the repeal and/or referral of a repeal of the personal kicker. Oregon’s kicker is the result of a 1980 ballot measure that is triggered when the state’s revenue for a two-year budget is 2% higher than forecasted. In 2000, voters added the kicker law into Oregon’s Constitution. The corporate kicker was suspended in 2005-07. In 2012, a new measure dedicated to the state’s General Fund for K-12 public education and not back to corporations. Current projections are that Oregonians will share a $5.5 billion kicker (tax credit vs an actual refund check) when they file 2024 tax returns. Governor Kotek was recently quoted as saying she “has no plans to change” any of the current kicker laws.
UFCW Announces Recall of Speaker Pro Tem
The United Commercial Food Workers (UFCW) announced this week that they plan to attempt to recall House Democrat Paul Holvey (D-Eugene). Holvey is a union carpenter and is one of the most labor friendly Democrats in the House of Representatives. UFCW is unhappy that their priority bill allowing for unionization of cannabis workers failed to move forward in Holvey’s committee.