The sprint toward the finish line begins this week in the Oregon Legislature, but nobody is quite sure where the finish line will be.
Friday was the second and final chamber deadline, and any policy bill that hadn’t been heard by the end of the day has been scrapped for this session. The caveats are bills that found their way to referral to a non-deadline committee or will be amended onto other legislation before final passage.
Leadership’s targeted Sine Die on June 15 looks unlikely, as Republican senators have pushed their walkout past the point of no return — 10 senators have 10 or more unexcused absences. That’s the threshold for the new voter-approved law that would bar them from running for another term, and the incentive for returning sooner than necessary is low.
Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) released a statement on Thursday saying Republicans will return to the Capitol to pass bipartisan budgets and bills, but that will almost certainly take place with 24-48 hours before the constitutional Sine Die on June 25.
Pac/West Lobby Group Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Rick Metsger wrote about the potential abuse of Measure 113 before the election, and we’re seeing the ramifications play out now, just six months later.
Revenue and Budgets
The work of policy committees is largely complete for 2023, and attention turns now to the Ways & Means committees and chamber floors.
Budget writers received positive news in last week’s revenue forecast, as Oregon’s economy continues to perform well. Legislators will now work through agency budgets, policy bills with fiscal impacts, and capital improvement projects — in that order. You can read the report from Pac/West Lobby Group’s state budget and revenue expert Phil Scheuers here.