Mar 12, 2024 - News

Legislature wraps up and new laws are coming to Oregon

Photo illustration of the Oregon State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Oregon Legislature's 2024 short session wrapped up last week and more than 100 bills are now headed to Gov. Tina Kotek.

Why it matters: After 2023's walkouts and delays, this short session saw little conflict and delivered several bills along bipartisan lines.

What they're saying: "We did these things by putting people over politics," said House Speaker Dan Rayfield, a Democrat from Corvallis.

Here's a closer look at some of what passed.

Housing and drug treatment

Kotek said before the session began that her priority was a $500 million housing production bill. The Legislature only approved $376 million, including $100 million for homelessness programs like more shelter beds.

Measure 110, the voter-approved drug decriminalization bill of 2020, will be rolled back if a new law is signed by the governor, making possession of small amounts of illicit drugs a crime again.

  • Bipartisan lawmakers created an unclassified misdemeanor for possession which carries a maximum of six months in jail, with no fines and a chance of "deflection" to treatment.

Also, lawmakers approved a measure that would make consuming drugs on buses and trains a drug-designated Class A misdemeanor.

  • Transit workers have complained about fentanyl fumes and the errant behavior of public drug users.

Child-centered changes

Drivers of vehicles that pass school buses while students are boarding could be videotaped, charged and fined up to $2,000 under one measure lawmakers approved.

  • The bill, if signed by Kotek, would allow schools to install video cameras on school buses.

A bill to support survivors of child abuse and domestic and sexual violence will help fund Oregon's child advocacy centers so they can meet escalating behavioral health needs.

Artificial intelligence

Two artificial intelligence bills are headed to the governor:

  • One would require political campaigns in Oregon to disclose the use of AI-generated audio or imagery in voter communications materials.
  • Another would establish a task force to identify terms and definitions related to artificial intelligence that may be used in future laws.

Other key bills

A measure passed that would make it easier to reach out of pocket maximums for prescription drugs, and cap insulin charges at $35 per month or $105 for a 90-day supply.

Lawmakers limited political campaign contributions effective 2027, capping individuals and corporations at $3,300 per election cycle, or $6,600 for a candidate on both a primary and general election ballot.

  • The rule would bring state and federal rules into line, although super political action committee donations would remain unlimited.

A bill to adopt permanent Pacific Standard Time in most of Oregon, contingent on Washington and Oregon doing the same, died.

What we're watching: Kotek has 30 days to sign or veto the bills.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that while significant portions of Measure 110 were rolled back, the measure was not repealed.

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