Legislature off to bumpy start

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By Oregonians for Food and Shelter,

The 2021 Legislative Session is off to a start – a slow and bumpy one. This week the Legislature delayed its opening for two days to avoid any security concerns in the State Capitol during the Presidential inauguration. Once work started Thursday, the state’s legislative information system experienced a few glitches and at least one committee meeting video feed went down.

Over the week, OFS has poured through newly introduced bills, met with partners and agriculture and forestry, talked with legislators, and gathered information and intel. We will start the session closely watching several bills implicating pesticides; specifically, a proposal to create a pesticide review panel at Oregon Health Authority (HB 2192), Dept of Ag’s proposed update to licensed applicator certification and training requirements (HB 2031), and pesticide restrictions on homes (HB 2409) and schools districts (HB 2406). We will continue efforts to preempt local regulations on ag and forestry practices by opposing (HB 2229), which would allow Josephine County to ban GMO crops. Finally, with recycling emerging as a major theme in 2021, OFS is working with other trade associations on proposed private sector recycling programs for household products (HB HB 2955 and packaging in general HB 2065, HB 2592).

The virtual nature of the 2021 session has not slowed the introduction of bills affecting OFS members. But if the first week is any indication, the bandwidth to consider so many bills and make necessary changes may be limited. Your support and outreach to your legislators on these issues will be critical in the coming months.

Tips To Navigate Session

The 2021 Oregon Legislative Session has convened!! With approximately 2,000 Bills already introduced and more anticipated, you might have some questions about where to find Bill text and how to understand what you are reading. We thought the following information might be helpful to you!

Bills the legislature will be considering are posted to the Oregon Legislature website at https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/. Once you get to the website, you will see the Bill icon on the top right of the page. Bills can be searched by Bill Number, Bill Text or Bill Sponsor. Text of each Bill can be found on Bill Overview page under the Text tab.

Once you find Bill text, this handy guide will help you understand the layout and information contained in the Bill text.

In order to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, entry to the Oregon State Capitol is closed to the public. The Oregon Legislative Assembly has established a process to accept remote verbal public testimony on bills by video or phone during this time, in addition to written public testimony. Written testimony will be accepted two ways, through the OLIS system and by mail. You must register in advance to provide verbal testimony during a committee or subcommittee meeting. Registration closes at the start of the meeting. Complete instructions on how to submit written comments and provide verbal testimony can be found here

If you’d simply like to watch a committee meeting, the list of scheduled meetings and links to view these meetings can be found here

As always, we are here to help! If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Have a good weekend!

Katie, Diann and Angi