Oregon Lawmakers Discuss Budget, Safety

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon legislators could unveil a new budget plan as early as Monday, which could give a big boost to schools.

Budget writers are working on a two-year spending plan and say this plan will include at least an additional billion dollars for schools in the state. Some say it could be enough to make up for the budget cuts hitting schools right now, but it would also mean a rearrangement of money more to classrooms and less on benefits.

Oregon lawmakers are also discussing a bill aimed at keeping students safe. The bill would require all schools to perform two lock-down drills per year. Representative Betty Komp sponsored the bill because she says the recent school shootings highlighted the importance of protecting our students. The Oregon House Education Committee is currently looking at the bill before it moves forward.

Some say studded tires tear up state roads every winter, racking up thousands of dollars in damages. This week at the capitol, a House committee will talk about three potential bills that would require a paid permit or set a fee for using studded tires as a way to make up for those damages, but studded tire supporters say new designs are less damaging to roads.

The Oregon House has approved a bill allowing police to use photo radar in highway work-zones, even when workers aren’t there. Lawmakers voted in 2007 to allow photo radar, but only when crews were present. That law expires next year. This new bill would make the law permanent. ODOT says speeding fell by 23% when photo radar was used in construction zones.