Legislative Ag update Feb 24

By Oregonians for Food and Shelter


The 2024 Legislative Session crossed the halfway point this week and jettisoned a number of bills after passing the first significant deadline. Legislative leadership continues to wrangle over Measure 110, housing, the budget, and potentially campaign finance reform, all of which will require bipartisanship.


The collaboration between Republicans and Democrats hit a snag Thursday as legislators on the House floor debated HB 4059, which would maintain a 500-acre restriction on growing canola in the Willamette Valley through 2028. Led by Rep. Anna Scharf (R-Yamhill/Polk Counties), Republicans did all they could to stop the bill, including offering their own science-backed approach to co-existence, aligned with Oregon State University and Oregon Department of Agriculture recommendations. Ultimately, House Democrats passed the bill on party lines (with one Democrat opposing), ignoring the research the Legislature paid Oregon State University to complete and extending an arbitrary restriction for four more years without basis.


Other issues OFS is tracking remain in play, including the wildfire funding stabilization effort (HB 4133) and the proposed study of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Oregon biosolids, soils, and crops (HB 4049); their chances for passage unclear until later in session.


Other Updates


This week, OFS was also busy with outreach and speaking events. On Wednesday, OFS presented to the Oregon Vegetation Management Association at their 2024 Conference. Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the ongoing debate over canola is that it has finally put roadside weed management on the legislative radar as a funding priority.

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