OR Lege: Hostages, Hatfield and other observations

Carla Axtman

Last week's legislative melodrama in which the Republicans have decided to simply abandon all common sense and overplay their hand on PERS with the Governor. The GOP is essentially holding hostage the tax for hospitals and long term care facilities that leverage a total of $2 billion worth of critical senior and health care services. Whether this will be resolved in time for the legislature to adjourn on time is anyone's guess. Certainly, pressure on the Senate Republicans to let this go will start to build pretty quickly.

Today, the House will address HB 2387 on the floor, a bill to put Mark Hatfield in Statuary Hall and replace Jason Lee (the missionary/explorer). I like Hatfield. He was pretty great. I don't get why we have to kick Jason Lee out tho. I feel like this might be a little bit like choosing between Team Edward and Team Jacob.

SB 558 is also on the House floor today. This is the bill applying mediation requirements to judicial foreclosures. This is one of those financial accountability bills that keeps banks from doing an end-run around other consumer laws around foreclosure.

Bills to keep an eye on in the House this week:

HB 2506 which establishing the Task Force on School Funding. This group will examine school funding formulas and make sure to help ensure we're finding the best ways to get dollars into the classroom.

SB 569: Telemedicine bill. Improves health care access in rural Oregon

Bills to watch in the Senate this week (besides the hospital tax situation)

HB 2545: Expands provisions on prevailing wage.

SB 132; Tightens up the requirements for opting out of immunizations.

On Tuesday the bereavement leave bill moving out of committee. A public hearing on cougar management on Wednesday as well as a committee hearing for a bill to require banks that owned foreclosed properties to attend to the appearance of the yard and house.

The Finance and Revenue Committee will move the bill to adopt Measure 85's corporate kicker diversion to the general fund early. It will go to the Joint Tax Credit committee so that lawmakers have flexibility to deal with this year's likely corporate kicker.

Also, don't forget to check out the current Blue Oregon Action petition on cushy tax breaks for developers.

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