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Oregon Legislature Prompts Mixed Reviews

Oregon Lawmakers

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon’s lawmakers are giving mixed reviews to the most recently concluded session of the Oregon Legislature. While democrats are praising progress this year, house republicans say it was partisanship as usual.

The highlights of this session include re-upping investment in education to $6.7 billion, about a billion more than last year, at the expense of PERS funding. Lawmakers also increased funding for services for seniors and those with developmental disabilities by about 8%.

We also saw about $45 million invested in drug and alcohol programs and nearly $50 million is going to new construction projects at SOU and Rogue Community College. But how those investments got approved, is being viewed differently on both sides of the aisle.

“I’ve been going up there since 2000, so I’ve been going up there for 13 years,” Senator Alan Bates said. “I’ve never had a session this good for Oregon before.”

“A lot of things were done, like ways and means things, we had no finger on that pulse whatsoever,” Representative Sal Esquivel commented. “Whatever came out, that’s what you had.”

Both sides say they regret making little progress in finding a way to sustain PERS funds and both parties say they failed to reach a compromise on a way to support public safety or ease jail overcrowding.