Representatively Speaking – March 2024

By Representative Rob Nosse

Long time readers know I have to submit this column the week before it goes to print. Normally in politics, that is not too much of a problem, as very rarely am I talking/writing about something that is going to be resolved by the first of the month. But the short session is a glaring exception, given that I am actively legislating as I submit this. The constitutional sine die (the legislature’s fancy Latin phrase for end of business) is March 11, which is practically a lifetime away. Then, the filing deadline to run for office is the next day, March 12.
It can be dangerous to make predictions in politics when things are still actively being worked on, but I cannot resist. I can also correct the record or, hopefully, brag about my accuracy (crossing my fingers that is the case for my column in April). I will also make no predictions about who is running for office and who is not.
Here are some things I am sure we will do. First up, we will give you the “right to repair” your iPhone. We will likely spend more money on summer learning and on ERDC (Employment Related Day Care), and thus take steps to address our childcare shortage. We will pass a bill to help struggling college students access food stamps and Medicaid and other safety net benefits—something I could not have imagined needing to do when I was a college student in the 1980s and just becoming politically active. We will pass the COAL act which makes it easier for the state treasurer to divest Oregon’s treasury from fossil fuel companies.
I will predict that the arts will get something out of what is a tough session budgetarily. Yes, we have some extra money available to spend, although not as much as I would like in light of a $5 billion in kicker refunds being sent back to voters.
Here are some things I am predicting that will not get done. We will fail to aggressively regulate PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers). More to come on that one in 2025. We also will not fix school funding issues. There is a lot more to do about this and it will need to be taken up in 2025. We will need to take steps to fix up and make SE Powell Blvd. safer in 2025, as well.
No bills that target transgender people for discrimination will even get a hearing. Those were sent to the committee that I chair, where they were quietly allowed to die without a hearing.
I cannot predict what will happen with daylight savings or with campaign finance reform. We voted on a bill to have permanent daylight savings a few years ago, but we need Congress to act in order for the bill to come into effect–um, no comment. The Senate voted on, but did not pass, a bill to have permanent standard time. They may take a vote to reconsider the idea. Just the other night my husband of 31 years threatened to leave me if I voted for that, so I’m clearly torn. He is still upset that I voted “no” on self-serve gas. He wanted it, and finally got it. I miss full serve gas as I hate having to pump my own gas and yet I find myself doing it more and more all the time.
Regarding campaign finance reform, I know we need it. There are dueling ballot measures coming to try to address it. There might be momentum to solve that problem but given that we are trying to land a lot of other bills and budgets, it’s hard to think that in the remaining two weeks we will also solve this thorny issue.
There will not be a walk out. Us Democrats are trying really hard to work with the Republicans, who thankfully don’t seem to be in the mood to walk off in light of our efforts to be bipartisan and the important work we have to do.
I think we will be allowed to make Representative Julie Fahey out of West Eugene our speaker outright at the end of the session. But even if that option is something we cannot make happen by the end of the session, she will be the House Democrat’s nominee, and everyone will know it, and the job will be hers to lose in the fall after the November elections are done. I will also predict that State Senator Rob Wagner out of Lake Oswego will remain the Senate President.
Lastly, I predict that we will pass some version of SB 1537, the housing bill, which does many things, including a one-time limited expansion of UGBs (urban growth boundaries). We will also pass some version of SB 1530, a bill that provides for all kinds of housing and rental assistance and housing supports. The Oregon legislature will also pass some version of HB 4002, the measure aimed at changing some of the aspects of BM 110, including bringing back some criminal penalties for using and dealing illegal drugs openly in public. This will hopefully help us to avoid a nasty ballot measure fight to repeal BM 110 outright in November. Lastly, Oppenheimer will win the Oscar for best picture in 2023.

Representatively Speaking – March 2024

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