The New Year is off to a fast start for the OFS team. This week we met with a range of our timber and ag partner organizations to share information on draft bills and concepts that we are aware of, and start prioritizing work for the upcoming 2024 Legislative session.
This year’s 35-day session doesn’t start until February 5th, but the legislature will convene next week for “Legislative Days,” where interim committees meet and discuss concepts of interest. This is when we will start seeing bills that members and committees drafted last fall.
We expect the committees working on agriculture/natural resource issues to introduce bills related to wildfire, water quality and infrastructure, and of course canola. In the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Committee we’ll hear about the plan for addressing wildfire funding, a topic critical to many of our members who own land and pay fees for these costs. The same committee will also hear an update about the ODA-led canola workgroup, which is wrapping up its work this week. On the House side, we’ll hear about the FEMA Biop (related to the National Flood Insurance Program), approaches to abandoned wells, and groundwater issues in the Lower Umatilla basin. Most critically, we’ll get a preview of the bills these committees and its members plan to introduce.
Finally, the Senate will approve a slate of new board and commission members, as well as likely confirming Lisa Hanson as the new Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. While we continue to closely track the issues most critical to our members, we anticipate the major themes next week (and for the short session as a whole) to focus on housing, land-use, behavioral health and of course drug treatment and enforcement.
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