For legislators, moving bills out of committees and approving them on the chamber floor is like walking and chewing gum—difficult to do at the same time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the work week, and legislators can’t be in committee meetings and on the chamber floors at the same time.
After two weeks of fully loaded floor sessions following April’s first chamber deadlines, legislators returned their focus to committees last week as they began ramping up for the second committee deadlines. Many were excused from their floor voting duties to attend to committee business. These next two weeks will be critical as bills must be posted for a work session by May 5 and heard by May 19 as we prepare for the final push.
The legislative logjam from the first deadline has cleared, but the pressure is mounting. An accelerated Sine Die deadline of June 15 is less than two months away, and the immense task of developing a state budget is only just beginning. Along with second committee deadlines, May brings the revenue forecast that will determine what funds are available for agency budgets, legislative fiscal impacts, and capital construction requests.
As April winds down, we’ll get a clear picture of how this new leadership guides its first legislative session toward the finish line.
Gorsek Remains on Leave
A few weeks ago we reported on the impending return of Sen. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) from an extended medical absence. While there is no official word from his office on his status, it’s worth noting that Senate President Rob Wagner has replaced Sen. Gorsek with Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) as co-chair of the Joint Transportation Committee.
With a narrow two-vote Democratic majority in the Senate, his absence will continue to affect the course of the session. We continue to wish Sen. Gorsek a smooth recovery.