News of the week: A Presidential Visit

President Barack Obama came to Portland for a fundraiser and an appearance at NIKE this week. He was greeted at the airport by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Representatives Blumenauer and Bonamici and Portland Mayor Hales.

In Salem, legislators again spent much of their mornings and sometimes afternoons on their chamber floors debating bills. The House Health Care Committee met for five minutes on Monday to gavel in, carry all the bills over to Wednesday and to gavel out again. The Friday meeting was canceled. 


The big bill this week: Background Checks on Private Gun Sales Passes the House

The House spent over four hours debating SB 41, which would require background checks on private gun sales.The final vote was 32-28. Governor Brown has indicated she will sign the bill into law.


The big hearing this week: Universal Health Care

The Senate Health Care Committee held a hearing on the issue of universal health care on Monday. The panel was lead by Sen. Michael Dembrow, who testified about the need to study the financing for ways the state could fund health care for all citizens. This is addressed in a separate study bill HB 2828.


Ahead next week: The State Revenue Forecast and budget implications

Next Thursday, the State Economist will release the May Revenue forecast which is a critical piece to wrapping up the 2015-2017 budgets. Legislators on the Ways and Means Committees determine 90 different budgets for all of the state agencies and boards. The education budget was completed in March to give schools certainty for the upcoming school year. The funding in the bill gives schools a ‘floor’ -- they will also receive 40 percent of all new revenue identified. 

The March 4 revenue forecast presented some challenges, including a $140 million gap in the Human Services Ways and Means subcommittee budget. If the forecast is up by $150-$200 million, there could be additional funding for services. The kicker will likely kick, unless the May forecast is down, which is unlikely.


The next deadline: May 22 – Deadline for Chairs to SCHEDULE Work Sessions for Second Chamber Measures 

Policy committee Chairs must post agendas with the second chamber measures that they intend to hold a work session on before the May 22 deadline. This does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees. 


P2 Hearings Next Week

SB 71 Work Session: requires pharmacies to report to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program within 72 hours.

SB 227 Work Session: Establishes Brain Injury Trauma Registry

HB 2294 Public Hearing and Possible Work Session: Establishes the OHA Health Information Technology Program


Thing to Know: Enrolled Bill

An enrolled bill has passed both chambers of the Legislature and has been reprinted for the signatures of the House Speaker, the Senate President and the Governor. Bills printed as enrolled will appear as SB 1 EN on trackers. 

For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.

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