Feb 5, 2024 - Politics

What's upcoming at the Oregon Legislature

Photo illustration of Oregon Governor Tina Kotek with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images

The Oregon Legislature opens its 2024 session Monday.

Why it matters: Every two years, the short, monthlong session is used to tweak the two-year state budget and address pressing issues, this time housing and public safety.

Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek is backing Senate Bill 1537, which seeks to make it easier to build housing in Oregon.

  • She will ask the state Legislature to approve $500 million, in addition to $100 million for shelter capacity and short-term rental assistance, through mid-2025 to fund the measure.

What they're saying: Kotek says the measure is her "top priority" this session.

  • The bill would provide a "one-time tool for cities in need of land and affordable housing to add land for housing to their urban growth boundary."
  • Such expansion would need to have 30% of its new developments be affordable housing, instead of the usual 10-20%.

Don't forget: Republicans and Democrats have signaled they want to walk back parts of Measure 110, which decriminalized use of small amounts of Class A drugs like fentanyl and meth.

Senate Democratic leaders, who hold the majority in both the Senate and the House, have proposed House Bill 4002, which would make it easier to get treatment for drug addiction and to prosecute drug traffickers.

The other side: Republicans on the Joint Interim Committee On Addiction and Community Safety Response have introduced a bill seeking to "end" Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of hard drugs for personal use and aimed to funnel tax dollars into recovery programs instead of law enforcement.

What's next: The state economic and revenue forecast, which guides politicians' spending, comes out Feb. 7.

The short session lasts a maximum of 35 days.


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