Higher education governance bills receive hearings

On May 23 and again on May 29, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education held public hearings on SB 270 and HB 3120. SB 270 establishes institutional boards at certain Oregon University System universities, and HB 3120 restructures Oregon’s  higher education, creating a Higher Education Coordinating Council to oversee Oregon’s community colleges, student aid enterprises, and universities.

The hearings were meant to review the fiscal impact of the bills. The May 23 hearing included presentations from the bills’ authors and key stakeholder groups. State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), chair of the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, and State Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), chair of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, introduced the bills to subcommittee, describing the drafting process and guiding principles. The Governor’s education policy advisor, Ben Cannon, offered a presentation on the overall structure of higher education under the two bills and a timeline for Implementation. The remainder of the May 23 and May 29 hearings was spent on public testimony. Representatives of student organizations, unions, and faculty associates offered testimony. The recording of the hearing and written testimony are available on the subcommittee’s website.