03/24/2017 Legislative Update March 27
“We cannot get to the top of this hill.”Senate President Peter Courtney declares the transportation deal is dead for this session.
Sine Die Cliffhanger: Grand Bargain for Transportation Hits a Dead End
The bi-partisan group of negotiators working with Governor Brown on a revised transportation deal, reached a tentative agreement on a $343 million dollar package to fund transportation infrastructure on Wednesday. By Thursday, the bill died on the House floor. The bill was intensely controversial given the trade off; a repeal of the Clean Fuels program (to be replaced by other provisions) in exchange for new taxes and fees. Environmental advocates, a key constituency of the Democratic majority, strongly opposed the deal. The Governor and Senate President announced the bill is dead for this session but work will continue over the interim.
Landmark Decisions: Affordable Care Act Survives Supreme Court Challenge
By a 6-3 vote, a divided court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that the subsidies should be available in states where consumers rely on the federal government exchange. See link to the rest of the Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/?wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation
In a ruling this morning, they said state prohibitions on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gay-marriage-and-other-major-rulings-at-the-supreme-court/2015/06/25/ef75a120-1b6d-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html?wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation
Sine Die Countdown: Sine Die is Imminent
The Senate President and the House Speaker have declared that ‘sine die is imminent.’ That means committees hearings are now on one-hour notice as the legislature prepares to adjourn. The biggest agency budgets (Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services) are up for work sessions in full Ways and Means on Friday, clearing the path to adjournment.
Legislators and insiders are now predicting session will end July 2 or 3, in advance of the July 4th holiday.
Key Policy Initiatives this Week
Legislative Leadership wraps up their major policy initiatives in the last weeks of session. Here are some key bills that passed this week.
The Senate passed HB 2879 which will allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control. Upon passage of HB 2879, Oregon will join California as the only two states with laws allowing women to go directly to a pharmacist to get a prescription for birth control pills. HB 2879 will now go to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
HB 3100, the Public Health modernization bill, passed the House this week. This bill directs the Oregon Health Authority to develop a 10-year plan to provide core public health services for all Oregonians. The bill, which was introduced as a result of an task force, will receive $500,000 to start the work. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Thing to Know: Christmas Tree Bill
The Christmas Tree bill is one of the last bills passed during the legislative session and contains funding for special projects. It gains its name from the provisions or ‘ornaments’ that are attached and usually contains some element of surprise.
For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.