OR-Lege: Getting down to work

Carla Axtman

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the Oregon Legislature as they've ramped up this session. With Democrats firmly in control, we'll be seeing their Senate and House priorities begin to wind their way through the process. Below are some of the highlights. Obviously I'm not covering everything, so please feel free to add additional information on legislation in comments.

On the Senate side, Sen. Steiner Hayward’s (D-Portland) SB 440 passed out of committee. The bill will expand access to the state’s primary care provider loan repayment program, which gives health care providers incentive to practice in rural and underserved areas. The goal is to put $4 million in the program to expand access to preventative care across Oregon.

The Oregon Conservation Network released their legislative priorities, accompanied by Senator Bates (D-Medford). Bates is the champion of SB 401, which would curb the practice of suction dredge mining in Oregon’s rivers by expanding the state’s Scenic Waterways Program.

Over on the House side: Tuition Equity is taking center stage. Today, the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee is expected to pass HB 2787 out of committee. The bill would allow in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who have been in school in the country for at least 5 years. Students would also need to have studied at an Oregon high school for at least 3 years and graduated, as well as show intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

It also looks like it's going to be tough for any of the Governor's PERS reforms to hold up to any significant legal challenge.

Finally, Oregon's revenue forecast took a decidedly brighter turn. Projected revenues for the 2013-15 biennium are up by a net $87.1 million over previous estimates.

Oh...and what are the Republicans making their priority? Trying to loosen federal gun regulation (probably Unconstitutional) and trying to overturn the state's ban on using Native American names as school mascots.

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