SB 422: Get Your Motor Runnin’

Usually, every good bill is defeated at this point in the legislative session. The only bills that would have normally advanced are those that impose more harm to society than help.

That remains mostly true this year, yet I’ve found something good to write about. SB 422 will reduce traffic on our freeways by allowing motorcycles to travel between lanes when congested. This policy is also safer for motorcyclists. When the I-5 becomes a parking lot, drivers not paying attention sometimes rear-end the vehicle at the end of the queue. If that vehicle is a car or a truck, it’s just a fender-bender. If that vehicle is a motorcycle, it can be fatal.

This bill is kind of a no-brainer. Yet when passed by the legislature in 2021, then-Governor Brown strangely vetoed it. It has passed the Oregon Senate a second time this year by a margin of 27-2.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this bill is the people who vote against it. Why did they? The two nays were Senate President Rob Wagner and Senator Lynn Findley: a Democrat and a Republican. This bill has both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition.

If SB 422 clears the Oregon House, will our new Governor veto it? Unlikely, she voted for it two years ago.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.