OR Lege: Go east, my friends

Carla Axtman

This week in the legislature, the Ways & Means Roadshow is in full swing and rolling east. Hearings are scheduled for Bend on Friday and for Hermiston on Saturday. Details here.

With the passage last week of PERS reforms in the Senate, the conversation moves over to the House. It looks as if Speaker Kotek is in no mood to move from what the Senate has already passed:

Harry Esteve, The Oregonian:

So far, Kotek has kept her foot on the air hose of the pension debate. She gave her early blessing to Senate Bill 822, a Public Employees Retirement System reform measure crafted by Democratic budget writers, and allowed no other proposal to move. With pressure mounting on multiple fronts -- school boards, business leaders, Republicans and even some fellow Democrats -- she has swatted down every attempt to go beyond the $810 million in PERS cuts and short-term savings offered in the bill.

"If I've been clear about anything, it's that 822 gets us there and I'm fine with 822 just the way it is," Kotek said in an interview with The Oregonian late last week. It was a classic Kotek line, spoken without embellishment or bluster and with a hint of a smile.

Despite what has to be immense pressure to cave to a greater overhaul of the system, Kotek seems ready to hold the line.

This may make the Senate's job of passing the $275 million revenue package passed by the House more difficult. Senate Republicans say that they won't vote for more revenue without greater cuts to PERS. It'll be very interesting to see how all this is reconciled.

Also in the House this week: beginning work on tackling off-shore tax havens, reducing tax breaks for the wealthiest Oregonians and adjustments to the corporate minimum tax. Monies from these savings are part of the plan to shore up funds for education. This will be the other big thing to watch this week.

Senate floor votes of note this week:

SB 605, which has to do with wave energy citing on the coast, is set to happen today.

SB 558 is scheduled for Tuesday. This is the bill reforming judicial disclosure, which has been very important to Senate Democrats.

Also on Tuesday is a Senate floor vote for a bill that would up the Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards.

Today in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, they'll be examining a couple of approaches to protect Oregon's rivers by cracking down on suction dredge mining. One of these bills will move out of committee and to the floor, over what has been vociferous opposition from Southern Oregon miners.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a work session on the four gun violence bills we've been discussing here at BlueOregon. Whatever comes out of that work session is expected to head to floor vote next week.

If you haven't already SIGNED THE PETITION in favor of passing these common sense, basic gun safety bills, this is a good time to do that.

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