It's Monday! The February legislative session is nearing its end--it could be wrapped up as soon as this Wednesday. That short timeline is putting the pressure on key bills. More details have emerged about the budget compromise, which spares K12 and senior services from further cuts.
On Sunday, the Oregonian published an article comparing legislative contributions between banks and credit unions. Curiously, despite straightforward information in the article showing that banks are outspending credit unions, the headline was the exact opposite.
With three days left, lawmakers have full schedules
"The Oregon Legislature's short, month-long session is in its final days – lawmakers are hoping to adjourn by Wednesday – but there are still some big items left to pass before legislators head home. Lawmakers met Saturday for a brief session to keep things moving on time, still proposals to reform the state's education and health care systems are among the bills that have yet to get final floors votes."
Oregon 2012 Legislature starts final week (maybe) with jobs bills still very much in debate
"Jobs. The word is repeated so often in Oregon's Capitol that it's almost a mantra. Yet as the 2012 Legislature draws to a close this week, how to create more jobs has sparked heated disagreements and even stalled work on unrelated proposals. It was good news when Oregon's unemployment rate finally dropped below 9 percent in December. But the state remains higher than the national average; more than 175,000 Oregonians are still looking for work."
Salem 2012: Democrats, GOP offer agendas
"Republicans call their 2012 agenda aggressive -- so aggressive that it had to be split into two parts. The first, "50,000 Jobs in Five Years," explains seven ways to put Oregonians back to work. It calls for tax relief for Oregon families, tax incentives for businesses and putting Oregonians back to work in state forests. The second, "Reform Oregon," lists nine areas they want to reform including health insurance, business taxes and education. "Certainly we are hoping the Republican agenda will pass," Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, said as the session began. "We tried to be very specific even though that opens for us a lot of criticism and questions.""
Oregon lawmakers, governor reach budget agreement: An inside look at the numbers
"The biggest surprise of the revised state budget, which got the nod this week from Oregon legislative leaders and Gov. John Kitzhaber, is not what's being cut, but rather what's not. Using a dizzying combination of one-time windfalls, money shifts and a promise of future reductions in the ranks of agency managers, the new, $14.7 billion spending plan leaves K-12 schools and social service programs largely intact. It even leaves a comfortable cushion of reserves, in case the economy tanks again."
Prison spared closure, but other services cut in state budget deal
"Human services, including home and community care for seniors and people with disabilities, are affected by spending cuts in a budget-rebalancing plan that awaits legislative approval. Details were released today in a memo from the Legislature’s chief budget writers to the top leaders. Faced with $340 million less than projected in tax collections and lottery proceeds in the original two-year budget, lawmakers have to rebalance the budget by adjournment of the session. The target day is Wednesday."
Oregon budget deal reached, school bills pending
"Time is running out for Oregon lawmakers to tackle education bills endorsed by Governor John Kitzhaber before the legistlative session ends. The Governor made a public appeal Friday during a news conference in Salem, packed with children, parents and educators. Earlier, key legislative leaders agreed not to close prisons or cut funding for schools, but a compromise budget plan would lay off state police detectives and further tighten the belt on safety-net programs for needy families. The finalized budget outline would not tap reserves or raise taxes. Kitzhaber would sign budget bills if they reached his desk, spokesman Tim Raphael said."
Legislators say senior care cuts avoided
"Budget cuts will not mean a reduction in services for seniors who get publicly funded long-term care, key Oregon legislators said Friday. A budget compromise released this week would reduce state funding for the program, but legislators said they are very confident that another funding source will fill in the gap."