Oregon State Senate
|Oregon State Senate|
|Oregon Legislative Assembly|
New session started
|January 12, 2015|
President pro Tempore
Length of term
|Authority||Article IV, Oregon Constitution|
|Salary||$21,612/year + per diem|
|November 4, 2014
|November 8, 2016
|State Senate Chamber
Oregon State Capitol
|Oregon State Senate|
The Oregon State Senate is the upper house of the statewide legislature for the US state of Oregon. Along with the lower chamber Oregon House of Representatives it makes up the Oregon Legislative Assembly. There are 30 members of the State Senate, representing 30 districts across the state, each with a population of 114,000. The State Senate meets at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Oregon State Senators serve four-year terms without term limits. In 2002, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the decade-old Oregon Ballot Measure 3, that had restricted State Senators to two terms (eight years) on procedural grounds.
Like certain other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the State Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to state departments, commissions, boards, and other state governmental agencies.
Oregon, along with Arizona, Maine, and Wyoming, is one of the four U.S. states to have abolished the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a position which for most upper houses of state legislatures and indeed for the U.S. Congress (with the Vice President) is the head of the legislative body and holder of the casting vote in the event of a tie. Instead, a separate position of Senate President is in place, removed from the state executive branch. If the chamber is tied, legislators must devise their own methods of resolving the impasse. In 2002, for example, Oregon's state senators entered into a power sharing contract whereby Democratic senators nominated the Senate President while Republican senators chaired key committees.
Kathryn Clarke was the first woman to serve in Oregon's Senate. Women became eligible to run for the Oregon state legislature in 1914 and later that year Clarke was appointed to fill a vacant seat in Douglas county by her cousin, governor Oswald West. Following some controversy concerning whether West had the authority to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, Clarke campaigned and was elected by voters in 1915. She took office five years before the 19th Amendment to the US constitution protected the right of all US women to vote.
In 1982, Mae Yih became the first Chinese American elected to a state senate in the United States.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of 75th legislature||18||12||30||0|
|Begin 78th (2015)||18||12||30||0|
|Latest voting share||60%||40%|
During the 2011 legislative session, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 989, which implemented new legislative districts for the 2012 elections and beyond.
The 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly, which holds its regular session from 2015 to 2016, has the following leadership:
- President of the Senate: Peter Courtney (D-11 Salem)
- President Pro Tem: Ginny Burdick (D-18 Portland)
- Majority Leader: Diane Rosenbaum (D-21 Portland)
- Minority Leader: Ted Ferrioli (R-30 John Day)
- List of Presidents of the Oregon State Senate
- 77th Oregon Legislative Assembly (2013 and 2014 sessions)
- 76th Oregon Legislative Assembly (2011 and 2012 sessions)
- Oregon legislative elections, 2014
- Oregon legislative elections, 2012
- Green, Ashbel S.; Lisa Grace Lednicer (January 17, 2006). "State high court strikes term limits". Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Oregonian Publishing). pp. A1.
- Oregon Blue Book: Senate Presidents of Oregon
- National Conference of State Legislatures. "In Case of a Tie......". Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Kimberly Jensen. "Kathryn Clarke". The Oregon Encyclopedia.