LOC News

Short Session Ends Abruptly

The 2020 legislative session came to an end Thursday afternoon following a flurry of activity from leadership in the House and Senate.

House and Senate Republicans had been away from the Capitol for 11 days, and earlier this week the possibility of a return hit a wall when House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney announced in a joint press release they would not negotiate a conditional return by Republicans.  In Oregon, the standard for a quorum is two-thirds of both chambers, and democratic leadership is short two members for each chamber for complete control.  Oregon is one of only four states with a quorum standard above 50%.

Early Thursday, Republican leadership announced they would return Sunday to move budget bills forward.  In response, Speaker Kotek stated there would be no negotiation for a return based on conditions and that all bills deserved a floor vote.  Thursday afternoon, both chambers convened to announce adjournment.

To fill some of the immediate budget needs, Governor Brown may well call for a special session sometime before the start of the 2021 legislative session.  The governor also announced Thursday afternoon that her office is exploring an executive action to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The state’s Emergency Board (E-board) will convene on Monday to allocate funds to address coronavirus, Umatilla floods, and wildfire needs for the Oregon Department of Forestry, but that process has a spending cap of $70 million, well below critical spending needs identified for services.  A joint news release from the leadership offices in the Senate and House provides a range of budget impacts.

Contact:  Jim McCauley Legislative Director - jmccauley@orcities.org

Last Updated 3/6/20

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