Oregon Lawmakers Wrap Session, Describe Mix Of Success And Failure

Jul 8, 2017
Originally published on July 7, 2017 3:44 pm

The Oregon Legislature on Friday finished a more than five-month session that left most participants with mixed emotions.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, told his colleagues "they would be remembered for doing pretty good things in an extraordinarily difficult time when everyone is divided."

Courtney gaveled the Senate into adjournment at 11:58 a.m. on the 157th day of the session after deciding not to wait for the House to finish.

The House was still debating a series of hot-button issues and did not adjourn until 3:26 p.m.

Legislative leaders usually like to simultaneously adjourn to ringing applause throughout the Capitol. But the ragged end was in keeping with the session’s up-and-down nature.

A $5.3 billion transportation bill won wide support. But Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a blueprint for raising some business taxes while cutting government overhead. That held down school spending.

In the last few days of the session, the Democratic majority did push through several priority bills on issues important to them — and particularly opposed by Republicans.

That last minute push included passage of a bill allowing judges to remove guns from someone deemed to be a danger to self or others as well as legislation providing health care for the children of undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Knute Buehler, a Bend Republican eyeing a run for governor, complained about a session he said was "rancorous" and "excessively partisan."

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.