2015 legislative session wraps up

Lawmakers push through measures before adjourning for the summer.

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Oregon lawmakers pushed through several measures before adjourning for the summer Monday.

In the final hours of the session, the legislature approved a bonding package for construction projects, a tax-credit extension for low-income residents, and a new Department of Veteran Affairs position to assist LGBT vets.

But with many lawmakers becoming increasingly antsy to adjourn, majority Democrats also dropped two bills Monday that Senate Republicans were unwilling to consider on an expedited schedule.

The bills were the implementation policy for $40 million in state bonds that lawmakers approved for new subsidized apartments around the state, and a policy designed to make it easier for friends to lend each other guns under Oregon’s expanded background checks law. Both are expected to be revisited in next year’s short session.

(SOURCE: Register-Guard)

After the conclusion of the session, Republicans lamented what they consider an increasingly partisan legislature.

The final bills marked the end of a session that House Republicans called “the most partisan in recent memory.”

“It’s a shame that Democrats prioritized donor paybacks over the needs of our state and constituents,” House Minority Leader Mike McLane, of Powell Butte, said in a statement.

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

Democrats unsurprisingly disagreed with that assessment, arguing it was a successful session that yielded victories for several groups of people.

“We told people we’d support working families, prioritize schools and public safety,” said Rep. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas. “I know it sounds like the standard talking points, but we did that, and I feel good about it.”

The sprint to the finish line was threatened only briefly Monday when Senate Republicans seized on legislation, House Bill 2198, that would have laid down guidelines for how to spend $40 million that Brown requested for affordable housing. Democrats dropped the bill, saying they’d revisit it next year, and continued on.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

“This session will be remembered as the year we put opportunity for working families first,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek in a news release. “We made education a top priority because every Oregonian deserves a fair chance to succeed. We focused on leveling the playing field because too many women and working families have been left behind by the economic recovery. Together, the legislature made progress that will benefit families in every corner of Oregon.”

The day ended with end-of-session commendations and shows of gratitude.

Both the House and Senate paused often to honor staff members who keep things running at the Capitol, from committee services to legislative counsel to I.T. Senate Republican Leader Ferrioli gave Senate President Courtney a pair of Adidas running shoes made from the Portland International Airport carpet.

“Don’t take this personally: Get out of town. Here’s the shoes,” Ferrioli joked.

(SOURCE: Statesman Journal)


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