"Short" Session Adjourns Early
The 2022 “Short” Legislative Session came to a close, three days ahead of the Constitutional deadline.
Concerns of a walkout proved unfounded, as both Democrats and Republicans stuck around until the gavel fell, just after noon.
Senate President Peter Courtney Expresses Frustration During the Early Days of the Short Session
Democrats got their wishes, with passage of $400 million for housing programs, $200 million for the Governor’s “Future Ready Oregon” workforce bill, $75 million to retain and reward public school teachers, and many more. Republicans secured an additional $100 million for investments in rural infrastructure programs, in an olive branch extended by new House Speaker Dan Rayfield. All told, Legislators authorized a total of $5.8 billion in state (and federal matching) funds and distribution of remaining federal ARPA funds. But even with this remarkable level of spending, the state will return more than $1 billion to the taxpayers in 2023 as the 2022 Kicker, and still be left with $2.7 billion in reserves (by far the most ever).
The biggest news out of the session may be the record number of legislators calling it quits. Three well respected House Democrats - - Rep. Anna Williams (Hood River), Rep. Rachel Prusak (West Linn) and Karin Power (Milwaukie) - - surprised the Capitol with their join announcement that they would not seek re-election because the $33,000 pay isn’t sufficient for a job which has become more than full time, and has taken them away from their families for months at a time. COVID closures and major partisan battles have also contributed to a growing level of frustration among legislators (and advocates and the public as well). All told, there could very likely be close to 30 brand new legislators at the beginning of of the 2023 Session, fully a third of the legislature. In the Senate, it’s likely that perhaps half of the 30 Senators will enter the 2023 Session either brand new, or with less than 4 years of experience. In the House, only 4 of 60 members will have a decade of legislative experience. There will be a new Senate President (as Peter Courtney is retiring after 38 years), and Oregon will also have a new Governor, and that race appears to be very much up in the air.
With the dramatic turnover comes a need for us to ramp up our outreach and education efforts. That will be a focus for us in the next 9 months, and we’ll reach out to all of you very soon to enlist your support!
Thanks to all of you for staying engaged. We appreciate the partnership!
Keep in touch!