The 2021 Legislative Session commenced last week. Members were sworn in and the chambers introduced over 1,800 bills total. Leadership is already pushing back the beginning of virtual committee hearings next week due to Capitol building security concerns. Expect the theme of the first few months of session to be “change” as committees begin work and legislators figure out how to meet inside the Capitol for full meetings of the House and Senate.
OFS is already analyzing bills and determining how the process and political landscape will affect our mission and members. The first round already indicates legislators’ interest in pesticide application and licensing. While we are yet to see any proposals to ban products, there are likely over 1,000 more bills to come. OFS is already advocating for funds to find alternatives to chlorpyrifos for growers. HB 2229 looks to undo state pre-emption of GMO’s for Josephine County. Several bills propose new approaches to industry using the lens of environmental and racial justice. And finally, a litany of bills will look to shift recycling responsibility to a range of goods, with more to potentially to come, including household cleaning and pest products. OFS will continue to work with its board and members to analyze, prioritize and advocate on these bills and issues as the session unfolds.
The virtual session will bring significant challenges for access, transparency and advocacy within the policy-making process. At the same time, individuals and organizations will have unprecedented ability to sign up and testify on bills without making the trip to Salem. We hope you will stay closely engaged on issues of concern to OFS, and we will keep you updated on priority issues and opportunities for participation and input.