Legislature adjourns, gives final approval to governance bills

On the final day of the 2013 Legislative Session, the Oregon Senate gave final approval to SB 270, adopting technical concurrence amendments by a vote of 25 to 4 with one member excused. The bill grants institutional boards for Oregon’s public universities. The Senate had previously voted to approve SB 270 on a vote of 23-7.

The House approved the measure 44-15-1 during a floor session on Saturday, June 6. The bill was carried on the floor by Ways and Means Co-Chair Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland). Oregon House Higher Education Committee Chair Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), and Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) spoke in support of the bill.

The Board of Trustees established under the final version of the bill will have the authority to hire or fire a university president, set tuition with up to a 5 percent increase without legislative approval, and issue revenue bonds. The bill specifies that the board will include a student, who will be a voting member.  The bill also requires the 11 to 15 member board to include a non-faculty employee and faculty member. The governor will determine if those members are voting or non-voting at the time of appointment. The university president is an ex-officio member of the board.  For more about the bill, see the article in AroundtheO.

The legislature also approved HB 3120, which creates a Higher Education Coordinating Commission for Oregon’s community colleges, student aid enterprises, and universities.