74th Oregon Legislative Assembly
|74th Oregon Legislative Assembly|
Renovations of the Capitol Building during the session
|Jurisdiction||Oregon, United States|
|Meeting place||Oregon State Capitol|
|Oregon State Senate|
|Senate President||Peter Courtney|
|Majority Leader||Kate Brown|
|Minority Leader||Ted Ferrioli|
|Party control||Democratic Party|
|Oregon House of Representatives|
|Speaker of the House||Jeff Merkley|
|Majority Leader||Dave Hunt|
|Minority Leader||Wayne Scott,
|Party control||Democratic Party|
The Seventy-fourth Oregon Legislative Assembly was the Oregon Legislative Assembly (OLA)'s period from 2007 to 2008. (The Legislative Assembly is the legislative body of the U.S. state of Oregon, composed of the Oregon State Senate and the Oregon House of Representatives.) There was a regular session in 2007, and a shorter special session in 2008.
The 74th was the first Oregon legislature since 1989 in which both its houses were controlled by the Democratic Party of Oregon, which won a one-seat majority in the House in the 2006 elections. (Democrats had previously taken control of the Senate in 2004, and retained it in the 2006 elections.) Democrats took credit for addressing a number of issues, and for adjourning a day before a self-imposed deadline (and before Independence Day, for the first time since 1995). Republican legislators, however, noted that there were no tax reforms to accompany the $15.1 billion (21%) increases in spending over the prior two-year budget. Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski did not veto any bills during the session, and expressed general approval of the session. In August, after the session's conclusion, he did veto one bill which would have allocated $4.6 million in Portland General Electric ratepayers' fees to pay off a loan on behalf of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
The Statesman Journal praised Kulongoski for being more engaged with the legislative process than he had been in the past. The paper also criticized the legislature for failing to take action on two critical issues, instead referring them to popular vote.
Oregon is one of only six states where the legislature meets only once every two years. The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature, established during the prior legislative session, recommended that the state move to annual sessions after 2009. In preparation for that change, the legislature scheduled a session for 2008. This was technically a special session, but lawmakers referred to it as a supplemental session to the 2007 session.
The 2007 regular session lasted 172 days, and the 2008 session was scheduled for February 4–29, but was adjourned February 22, for a total of 19 days. During the 2007 portion of the session, a total of 2,744 bills were introduced, with 910 passing and becoming Oregon law.
Both chambers took measures to limit the number of bills introduced in the 2008 session; the Senate limited individual members to introducing a single bill, and the House permitted only committee-sponsored bills.
The Oregon Constitution dictates that the legislature must meet only in biennial regular sessions, and that special sessions must be held only in response to a specific emergency. Senator Larry George sought an injunction based on this law. The Marion County Circuit Court judge who considered the case agreed that there were some concerns, but determined that the session was legal.
2007 regular session
The Healthy Oregon Act (Senate Bill 329) was passed. Proposed by the Senate Commission on Health Care Access & Affordability (co-chaired by Alan Bates and Ben Westlund), the act also included amendments promoted by former governor John Kitzhaber and the Archimedes Movement. It is intended to lay a foundation for lower costs, improved quality of health care, and availability of low-cost health insurance for all Oregonians. (Senate Bill 27 of 2007, known as Oregon Better Health Act and promoted by the Archimedes Movement, did not pass.)
The legislature passed two LGBT rights bills: the Oregon Equality Act, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the Oregon Family Fairness Act, creating domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Updated ethics rules, which increased the financial disclosure requirements on local officials and commission members, proved controversial; 239 officials around the state resigned their positions the following April, when the rules took effect. Legislators and Governor Kulongoski are exploring ways to reform the ethics rules in the 2009 session.
A new law will eliminate the "worst" junk food from public school vending machines and cafeterias.
The legislature established a rainy-day fund, but did not raise the corporate minimum tax, which the Statesman Journal called "absurdly low."
A modification to the Oregon Bottle Bill, adding water bottles to the list of containers with mandatory deposits, was passed. This was the first modification to the Bottle Bill since it was first passed in 1971. The legislature also formed a task force that will explore further modifications to the bill.
Funding for legislative staffing between sessions was doubled from the $4.2 million previously allocated.
Starting in January 2009, smoking will no longer be permitted in most bars.
Drivers under age 18 may be fined for talking on cell phones.
The Bend Bulletin criticized the legislature for failing to pass mandatory audits for local school districts, a measure advocated by the Chalkboard Project, which works for education policy reform.
The legislature referred two bills to popular vote: Measure 49 that amends 2004's Measure 37, which had limited land use regulation, and Measure 50 which would have increased the tobacco tax to provide health insurance for children.
2008 supplemental session
The supplemental, or special, session of 2008 opened with little fanfare in the Senate, but with charges of partisan gamesmanship in the House. The legislature was criticized for preparing bills in secrecy, without posting draft legislation on its web site. Senate President Peter Courtney expressed satisfaction with the session's work, citing laws benefitting senior citizens, children in foster care, people with disabilities, and patients at the Oregon State Hospital.
During the special session, lawmakers established a tax force to explore ways to reform Oregon's medical liability limits, in response to a December 2007 Oregon Supreme Court ruling. The task force will be headed by Senator Floyd Prozanski and Representative Suzanne Bonamici.
The legislature passed a law requiring proof of residence in order to obtain an Oregon drivers license, in order to comply with the Federal Real ID law. The legislature was criticized, however, for failing to take on an idea, previously advanced by Governor Kulongoski, to provide for an alternate "driving only" card.
The Oregon State Senate, which had been controlled by Democrats since 2005, had a Democratic majority ranging between 17 and 19 of its 30 members during the 2007 and 2008 sessions (due to the party changes of two senators).
The Oregon House of Representatives had a Democratic majority of 31-29 during the 2007 and 2008 sessions. The narrow majority did not allow Democrats to pass any tax increases, due to the state's supermajority requirement.
Speaker: Jeff Merkley (D-47 Portland)
Speaker Pro Tem: Diane Rosenbaum (D-42 Portland)
Majority Leader: Dave Hunt (D-40 Clackamas County)
Majority Whip: Phil Barnhart (D-11 Linn/Lane)
Republican Minority Leader: Wayne Scott (R-39 Oregon City), then Bruce Hanna
Deputy Republican Leader: Bruce Hanna (R-7 Roseburg)
Republican Whip: Dennis Richardson (R-4 Central Point)
Deputy Republican Whip: Gene Whisnant (R-53 Sunriver)
- Seventy-third Oregon Legislative Assembly
- Oregon's statewide elections, 2006
- Oregon legislative elections, 2008
- Capitol Insider article, Oregon State Bar
- Hogan, Dave (June 29, 2007). "Session over with money, time saved". The Oregonian.
- photo caption from The Oregonian, June 30, 2007
- Har, Janie (August 10, 2007). "Disputed OMSI bailout vetoed". The Oregonian.
- "2007 Legislature: Winners and losers". The Statesman Journal. June 29, 2007.
- Wong, Peter (December 30, 2007). "Lawmakers set schedule for February". Statesman Journal.
- Sinks, James (February 24, 2008). "Successes for region in special session, but some legislators are unimpressed". The Bulletin.
- Kenagy, David R. (Winter 2007). "The Oregon Law Commission at Ten: Finding Vision for the Future in the Functions of the Past". Willamette Law Review. Willamette University College of Law. 44: 169.
- editorial (February 3, 2008). "Who calls special session?". The Register-Guard.
- Jepsen, Don (May 27, 2007). "Health bills work their way through Legislature". The Mail Tribune.
- Sinks, James (August 12, 2008). "Resignations over ethics rules topic of meeting". The Bend Bulletin.
- Sinks, James (July 26, 2008). "A new look at the bottle bill". Bend Bulletin.
- Esteve, Harry (June 29, 2007). "Inside the Capitol: Nepotism, new offices: Membership has its privileges". The Oregonian.
- "A banner session". The Register-Guard. June 29, 2007.
- "Audits a must". The Bend Bulletin. June 22, 2007.
- "Speedy session must not come at cost of fairness". The Statesman Journal. February 5, 2008.
- "Legislature should post bills for public". The Bulletin. February 7, 2008.
- "It was no 'Seinfeld' session after all". The Oregonian. February 23, 2008.
- Har, Janie (February 21, 2008). "Task force will study medical liability caps". The Oregonian.
- "Price of surrender for the Legislature". The Bend Bulletin. June 26, 2008.
- Tucker, Libby (February 21, 2008). "Pot bill in Oregon gets smoked in special session". Daily Journal of Commerce.
- "Taking license with reality". The Register-Guard. February 15, 2008.
- "Salem surrenders". The Bend Bulletin. February 14, 2008.
- Green, Ashbel S. (February 23, 2008). "Crime measures will fight it out come fall". The Oregonian.
- Sullivan, Ed (April 10, 2008). "Commentary: Supplemental session goes smoothly". Daily Journal of Commerce.
- Resigned January 2008.
- Appointed January 2008.
- Resigned October 2007.
- Appointed November 2007.
- "It's official: Hass to replace Deckert". The Oregonian. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- Gorman, Kathleen (2008-04-30). "Bonamici to replace Avakian for Senate seat". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- Cole, Michelle (August 31, 2007). "Hanna elected new leader of House Republican caucus". The Oregonian.
- "Rep. Sherrie Sprenger sworn into office" (PDF) (Press release). February 4, 2008.
- Vic Gilliam was selected by the Boards of Commissioners of Clackamas and Marion Counties to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Mac Sumner (R-Molalla), who resigned due to illness.
"Vic Gilliam selected to serve House District 18". Statesman Journal. December 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-28.[dead link]
- Resigned April 2008.
- "Washington County commissioners pick Harker for HD34". OregonLive.com. 2008-06-05. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Sinks, James (September 14, 2007). "State lawmaker, appointed to seat, now seeks election". The Bend Bulletin.
- "Attorney Cliff Bentz to finish Butler's term". OregonLive.com. 2008-01-22. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Chronology of regular legislative sessions from Oregon Blue Book
- Chronology of special legislative sessions from Blue Book
- List of members of 2007 session from Oregon State Archives
- Committee assignments, 2007–2008 interim, from oregonlive.com. (August 14, 2007)
- Committee assignments
- Official summary of bills considered in the 2007 regular session
- Official summary of bills considered in the 2008 special session
Seventy-fourth Oregon Legislative Assembly