Annual Sessions!

Earlier today, the Oregon House voted 46-11 to approve annual sessions. Technically, the resolution is just a one-time special session, but legislators intend to use it as a one-time test of annual sessions - with an eye toward sending voters a constitutional amendment for permanent annual sessions.

From the announcement:

“The world is a very different place today than it was 148 years ago,” [Speaker Jeff] Merkley said.... “As the pace of economic change and the depth of economic complexity have evolved, the number of legislative issues before this chamber has increased exponentially.” ...

“Our constitution was written at a time when Oregon had a population of 50,000 and a biennial budget of less than $50,000, so this is a change we have to consider making,” Merkley said. “The state of Oregon will benefit from this experiment in building a 21st century legislative structure to address the pace and substance of 21st century challenges.”

For what it's worth, BlueOregon readers overwhelmingly supported annual sessions in our buzz poll - with 262 votes in favor, and only 39 against (as of 9 p.m. tonight.)


  • (Show?)

    Congratulations to the legislature. A long overdue change to Oregon's governing institutions.

  • LT (unverified)

    With the speeches in favor by Berger, Morgan, Buckley, Esquivel, it is hard to see how the opponents can claim that it was either a partisan vote or the folks from the Willamette Valley ganging up on those from the rest of the state.

    I wonder how many of the opponents either contacted members of PCOL (wasn't Pryor from E. Oregon?) with their complaints, or whether they were just being contrary.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Only if each session in an even-numbered year can be dedicated to repealing rather than passing laws.

    Bob Tiernan

  • (Show?)

    The newish and seemingly right-leaning "" posted this editorial from the weekend from some of the legislators who voted no. They're calling constitutional foul. And they seem to have a technical point, although the term "emergency session" is broad enough to suggest the idea is within at least the letter if not spirit of the law.

  • LT (unverified)

    But if you actually talk to some of the legislators who voted no or their staffs, they don't seem to have an answer for why Laura Pryor of Gilliam County is hurting rural members by being the co-chair of the commission which suggested the short 2008 session, why Gary Wilhelms as the other co-chair (and former Minnis Chief of Staff) and the 2 former state supreme court justices would sign onto something they knew to be unconstitutional. Could it possibly be that the Public Comm. on the Legislature got different legal advice than these members?

    The responses all sound very "talking point" or like the returning members don't realize how refreshingly open the PCOL was compared to the last few sessions. Must be some powerful people who want to remain in the shadows but who are worried about changing the status quo.

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