Session Effectively Over? Government Shutdown Looming?

Date: June 03, 2023

Senate walkout continues to have State Capitol in its vise. $325-a-day fines levied

State Director Anthony Smith reports from Salem on the small-business agenda as of June 2

Friday, June 2, was Day 137 of the 2023 regular session of the 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly, which means there are just 23 days left until the Legislature must adjourn. It’s looking more and more like this session is over as a matter of practicality, so this update will be briefer than usual.

The Oregon House is still passing bills and sending them to the Senate, and budgets are advancing through the committee process, but with 10 senators continuing to protest floor sessions, there does not appear to be a path forward for any single piece of legislation that hasn’t already made it through both chambers and on to the governor’s desk.

That being the case, not a lot has happened since our last update two weeks ago. Committees continue to meet, and NFIB has continued to weigh-in on a rapidly dwindling number of bills that remain alive, but the stalemate in the Senate means that these bills, like many others, are not likely to pass this session.

Senate Republicans and Independents have officially committed to returning on Sunday, June 25 (the last day of session) to pass bi-partisan budgets and policy bills, but Senate Democrats have rejected that offer since it would kill several high-profile bills unlikely to receive a bipartisan vote. Raising the stakes on June 1, Senate Democrats voted to impose a $325 per day penalty for any senator that is unexcused from floor sessions, starting June 5.

A summer special session is the probable outcome at this point, but with the ongoing seismic resiliency construction project scheduled to further disrupt accessibility to the Capitol in the next couple of months, it’s unclear when, and possibly where, the special session will take place.

Another unanswered question is whether an agreement can be reached about what bills would be considered during the special session. Budget bills alone? Budget bills and bi-partisan policy bills? Partisan priorities too?

And now we’re back to where things sit currently – no quorum, no session. Something must give by September, or Oregon’s state government will shut down. Implementing a government shutdown would fall on Gov. Tina Kotek and her team, coinciding with the start of a new school year. Major public employee union contracts are also presently up for renewal.

The pressure cooker is heating up for sure, but it’s anybody’s guess whether there’s a release valve to be found. If you’d like to read more, here are a few interesting news stories:

Previous Bi-Monthly Reports and Related Information

Photo snip courtesy of the Oregon State Senate website


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