Mar 1, 2024 - Politics

Oregon lawmakers push drug re-criminalization forward

A screenshot of the vote count on Oregon House Bill 4002, showing 51 Yea votes and 7 Nays.

A screenshot shows how Oregon House lawmakers voted on HB 4002. Photo: Courtesy of the Oregon State Legislature

Oregon lawmakers have a little over a week to wrap up the short session and bills are moving quickly between both chambers before the March 10 deadline.

Here's what we're watching:

💊 Drug intervention: Legislators in the House passed legislation Thursday that would effectively roll back key components of Measure 110, which voters approved in 2020 and decriminalized illicit drug possession.

  • HB 4002 (and its budget companion bill HB 5204) adds a new class of misdemeanor for possession but encourages people to enter probation-required treatment rather than face jail time. It also invests $211 million in drug treatment clinics, staff training and deflection programs.
  • The bills now head to the Senate floor.

🏡 Housing: The Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development approved $376 million in investments for the Emergency Housing Stability and Production Package, including money to build 1,000 housing units in Albina, a historically Black neighborhood in NE Portland.

  • The package of bills now goes to the full House and Senate for votes.

👾 AI controls: A bill that would require political campaigns in Oregon to disclose the use of audio or imagery generated by artificial intelligence in voter outreach materials — such as a recent robocall impersonating President Biden — passed the Senate Monday.

  • The measure now heads to the House for consideration.

📚 Book bans: Also passing the Senate and moving to the House is a bill that would prohibit politically-motivated book bans. It would block school boards and other officials from removing or refusing to offer library books or textbooks because they were by or for protected minorities.

🚲 E-bikes: A House bill to update laws around electric bicycles passed Tuesday and heads to the Senate.

  • The bill comes after 15-year-old Trenton Burger was killed while riding his e-bike in Bend last summer, and would create three new classes of electric bikes based on the kinds of motor they have and how fast they can go.

📱Right to repair: On Wednesday, a "Right to Repair" measure made it through a House committee. It aims to make fixing electronics easier and cheaper rather than having to go through the original manufacturer.

  • A vote on the House floor is possible this week, and if the chamber passes it without amendment it will go to the governor.
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