Annual Session Referral Bill Passes Senate

SJR 41 would ask Oregonians to approve annual sessions in November election
By Senate Democrat Office,

SALEM””The Senate voted this morning to send a referral to voter’s asking them to approve one of the most important changes to the Oregon’s constitution since statehood with a 24-6 vote. Senate Joint Resolution would place on the November 2010 ballot a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to meet yearly for limited-length sessions.

“When the Oregon Constitution outlined how the Legislature would work, Oregon was very much a horse and buggy state,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin), who co-carried the bill on the floor with Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point). “Times have changed and the Legislature ought to reflect that. SJR 41 would allow the Legislature to effectively execute the responsibilities that require ongoing presence, leadership, and oversight while making better use of taxpayer dollars.”

Under SJR, the Legislature would meet for up to 135 days in odd-numbered years and 45 days in even-numbered years, and for a total of 180 days over a two year period. The change to annual sessions is not expected to incur considerable expense because the total days spent in session over the two year period would be less than in recent history. The average days in session over the last ten years is 191 days and some bienniums have required as many as five special sessions to resolve the pressing issues of the state. Supporters of annual sessions argue that those unplanned special sessions are neither effective nor efficient means of doing the people’s business.

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn) said because the Legislature is only in session a few months every other year, it is no longer a co-equal branch of government.

“Our state is being governed, more and more, by the executive branch and agency heads, the courts, the initiative process and, yes, even lobbyists and the media,” Courtney said. “Annual sessions will allow the Legislature to provide the proper oversight of agencies, manage the budget better and to respond to emerging issues in a timely manner. It will give the people the opportunity to take back the Statehouse.”

Including Oregon, there are only five state legislatures that meet only once every other year. The bill will now go to the House for consideration.

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Posted by at 07:57 | Posted in Measure 37 | 12 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jim Ray

    Hell NO!

    • Anonymous

      that’s two of us

  • jim karlock

    How about a compromise:

    Limit the session’s length and have sessions every second year?


  • Jim Ray

    Senate Joint Resolution 41

    02/17 (S) Final reading. Carried by Devlin, Atkinson. Adopted. Ayes, 24; nays, 6–Boquist, Ferrioli, George, Girod, Kruse, Whitsett.

    Good ‘ol Brucie Starr, Jason Atkinson, and Jackie Winters vote in favor of Annual Sessions. (Full time Government employees)

  • Steve Plunk

    They can’t get it right every other year why give then an additional year to foul things up? No annual sessions, I can’t keep one hand on my wallet all the time.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    There is absolutely nothing that compares to the safety one feels when congress is out of session, the president is on a holiday some place far away and the Oregon legislature is in an off year.

    Please, for the love of God, in a major recession where everyone is feeling some pain and spirits generally are down, can’t we keep some joy in peoples lives?

    The hope one feels when the legislature is not in session is palpable. Lets not rob people of one of the few remaining gems in Oregon government – the security of knowing the effort in Salem to destroy abates somewhat every other year.

  • Mark Goodnow

    This is a good thing. The people must work harder for us. And we must pay them more to do so. They are on per diems, so watch them rake in the $ while pretending to help Oregon.

    What a joke.

  • Sybella

    We definitely do not need an annual session. These nitwits do enough damage every other year. I guarantee you, I for one will vote agains annual sessions. They were never hired to see how many new laws they could create. They were hired to represent us, the voters. Absolutely I will not vote for annual gathering of the nitwits

  • Nota Nice Guy

    Fat Ass Richard Devlin supports this garbage! Too bad he’s UNION SHILL who hasn’t held a real job in over a decade.Full time employment for FAT ASS RICHARD. And why the beard Richard? Do you think it makes you look “Less Fat”?
    Oh – and don’t let your constituents find out that you’re also a COLLEGE DROPOUT. Bye FAT ASS DEVLIN!

    • valley p

      What happened to the Catalyst policy on personal insults?

      • village pee

        If you knew Richard, you would know that was no insult.

        That was a compliment.

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