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Legislative Report - Week of 2/26

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By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator, and Team

Campaign Finance

During the 2/29 public hearing on the -3 amendment to this placeholder bill, HB 4024, good government groups severely criticized the amendment for leaving huge loopholes for special interest organizations to still make 6-figure campaign contributions. See the League’s written testimony. After a week of private negotiations, a new -5 amendment was posted just minutes before a deadline before an 8 am Monday 3/4 hearing and possible work session. The good government groups have not yet had a chance to analyze this 48-page amendment. Stay tuned!


Other Governance Bills

HB 4021, which requires the Governor to fill a vacancy in the office of U.S. Senator by appointment within 30 days until a special election can fill the vacancy, had a public hearing and a work session is awaiting action on the House floor.

HB 4026, which was a placeholder bill related to elections, was amended in House Rules to retroactively prohibit the use of a referendum on any urban growth boundary expansion. This would block a referendum in the City of North Plains in Washington County. The LWVOR submitted written testimony opposing the amendment, saying the bill is likely unconstitutional and may invite a lawsuit. The bill passed the House 49 to 5 and is now awaiting Senate action.

HB 4031 was amended in House Revenue to protect taxpayer information from disclosure. It now awaits House floor action.

HB 4032, which removes the requirement that the word “incumbent” appear on the ballot with the name of incumbent candidates for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Oregon Tax Court, and circuit court, had a public hearing but no further action yet in House Rules.

HB 4117, which authorizes the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to issue advisory opinions on the application of the public meetings law, and which is a correction to a bill passed in 2023 session, passed the House immediately and unanimously. The bill then had a hearing and work session in Senate Rules and now awaits Senate floor action.

SB 1502 requires public schools and college boards to live stream their meetings and post the meeting recordings on their websites and social media sites. It allows remote testimony for most school and college board meetings. The bill passed the Senate 29 to 1. The bill had a hearing and work session in House Education, which recommended “Do Pass” for the House floor.

SB 1538 A, an election law clean-up bill that makes many changes, was passed by the Senate as amended on a 20 to 10 vote. The House Rules held a hearing and a work session, which recommended a “Do Pass” House floor action.


Privacy & AI, Elections, & In Memoriam for Alice Bartelt

By Rebecca Gladstone

Late breaking: the Oregonian invited submission for this March 3rd Op-Ed: Opinion: Oregonians should not fall for Legislature’s fake campaign finance reform. A public hearing for HB 4024 -5, the bill mentioned in the Op-Ed was set after going to press, for 8am Monday March 4 in House Rules. An Action Alert is being prepared. 

Our Legislature went into Sine Die, 1-hour notice for bill hearings, on Feb 27, becoming both a sprint and a marathon. Rumor predicts that the last day will be Friday, 3/8. 

AI, synthetic media in campaign SB 1571 A: This was presented in House Rules after passing unanimously in the Senate. We updated and presented supportive verbal testimony, see video, first bill on the agenda. We expect a work session and passage in the final days.

The Senate Memorial Commemoration for Alice Bartelt, SCR 203, was heard and passed unanimously from the Senate floor on Feb. 28. See the video, at 20 minutes for the presentation and vote. Our thanks to Senators Deb Patterson, Lew Frederick, and Rob Wagner for supportive comments, especially for Alice’s daughters, unable to attend, and for the League (look in the gallery). LWVOR researched and wrote this resolution at sponsor Senate President Sen. Rob Wagner’s request. See League testimony. It was heard in House Rules, and we expect a work session and passage in the final days.

Increase Voters’ Pamphlet languages SB 1533: This bill to increase the number of languages other than English for State Voters’ Pamphlets passed unanimously on the House floor and has been sent to the Senate, with supportive League testimony. We expect a work session and passage in the final days.

Automatic Voter Registration for students SB 1577 -3. This bill to expand automatic voter registration for higher ed students, through the Dept of Revenue, was amended to require the Legislative Policy and Research Director to study its viability, benefits and challenges. After passing from Senate Veterans on a 3 to 2 partisan vote, it still awaits action in Joint W&Ms. 

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