The New Year is off to a busy start already with major political updates this week. First, Senate President Peter Courtney announced that he will retire at the end of this year (meaning a vacancy next year in his Senate seat and the Senate Presidency). Speaker of the House Tina Kotek contradicted her prior position by announcing her resignation before next month’s legislative session to focus on her campaign for Governor. In related Gubernatorial news, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan determined that New York Times Columnist, Nicolas Kristoff, is ineligible to run because he voted in New York in 2020. Kristoff is likely to appeal the decision to the courts.
OFS is gearing up for the 2022 Legislative Session, which will be a short session, scheduled for 35 days between February 1st and March 7th. The Senate President’s office has announced that all hearings will again be held virtually, due to the surge in COVID cases and ongoing construction in the Capitol. This will mean continued challenges accessing legislators in person. Legislators will still be required to meet on the floor for bill introduction and votes.
The legislature is in significant upheaval, with Tina Kotek stepping aside on January 21st and no clear successor to lead the House. The primary issues we expect to see this session impacting our sectors are overtime pay for agricultural workers and the codification of the Private Forest Accord. OFS will be supporting a minor change to pesticide licensing and classification that will allow more flexible license types. The rapidly changing landscape of legislators, districts and politics will hopefully allow for less, rather than more, legislation to gain traction in 2022’s short session.
OFS has been working with partners to develop comments on Oregon DEQ’s renewal of the 2300A Pesticide General Permit. Comments are due Monday January 10th.
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