Legislative Session Update

The Capitol Building in Salem is aligning itself for the end-of-session deal making.

With many legislative deadlines behind us, legislators and lobbyists alike are now waiting eagerly for next week’s Revenue Forecast (to be issued Tuesday). As the final forecast before the end of session, this report will inform on what details have yet to be worked out at top levels of legislative leadership in order to negotiate an end to the session (an agreement on balancing revenue with the state’s budget is key to ending the session, which must end by July 10). This will also have effects on issues ORCOPS is following, such as our advocacy for east county gang enforcement funding (which is not its own bill but a line item in the larger public safety budget) and the financial cost of some measures which ORCOPS supports… and some we oppose.

This past week, ORCOPS had several meetings with legislators on the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee regarding the possible recording of Grand Jury proceedings. ORCOPS is opposing the legislation, in most part due to a provision that essentially makes the recording a public record when the target of a grand jury is a police officer. Luckily, this is an issue ORCOPS specifically discussed with candidates during the 2016 election cycle, so we have commitments from a number of legislators to oppose such a provision.

Although some other ORCOPS-supported measures, such as a PERS fix for OHSU officers, were not able to beat the initial session deadlines, ORCOPS is waiting for an opportunity to amend these concepts into broader pieces of legislation. It is not uncommon for the last weeks of the legislative session to see “omnibus” bills that contain a number of different elements as a result of last-minute deals.

Lastly, even though the bulk of the ill-intentioned PERS “reform” measures did not pass, we remain cautious because they, too, might be resurrected as amendments if we’re not vigilant. We should not count on the Supreme Court to protect our pension agreements, so we have been holding the line in the Capitol alongside other public sector employees.

Look for things to pick up after next week once the revenue forecast is set!

Stay safe out there.

Daryl Turner, President