Gov. Brown’s secret Special Session: Bills hidden from public

Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Last Tuesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a Special Legislative Session will be called on Monday December 21st giving the public only 6 days notice.

With just 72 hours before the politicians gather to start voting on our taxes, our liberties and our future, there are no legislative bills listed on the official State Capitol website where traditionally all the bills are put in one place for the public to see what the politicians may be voting on.  Instead, the public has to hunt committee by committee for what bills are being considered which is very unfriendly to everyday citizens (and friendly to insider lobbyists) . The draft bills under consideration were circulated on Tuesday, but these bills are anonymous which means the author is hidden at this point.  The official staff measure summary from the State of Oregon (on what the bill does) apparently did not emerge until later last night, roughly 3 days prior to vote.

Governor Kate Brown did suggest the Legislature approve $800 million dollars in news spending, but provided no details.

Furthermore, the public is being blocked from the State Capitol because of COVID.

So at the time when the public is being limited their access to their State Capitol, the same elected leaders are rushing bills through by not using the same transparency guidelines (staff measure summaries were late, anonymous bill authors, lack of advanced notice, centralized bill section not used, and a lack of traditional First Reading process, lack of utilizing both Chambers in favor of the shortcut Joint Committee process) as previous Legislative Sessions.

As of today, mere three days before voting, the public has little clue on what the lawmakers are voting on and the public has no meaningful way to add their voice to support or oppose what is going on because they are unable to be in the building and are unable to read the bills quickly enough before they have a hearing.

This is becoming a secret Legislative Session where the public is being denied a chance to participate.

They shouldn’t do it this way especially since they are approaching the upcoming regular Special Session that begins in 2021.

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— Article update, 10:00am