Ways and Means Committee passes governance bills SB 270A and HB 3120A

On June 28, the Ways and Means Committee passed SB 270 A, a bill that establishes institutional boards for Oregon’s public universities with only one committee member objecting. The Board of Trustees established under the bill will have the authority to hire or fire a university president, set tuition with up to a 5 percent increase, and issue revenue bonds. The bill specifies that the board will include a student, who will be a voting member.  As amended, the bill requires the 11 to 15 board to include as members 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. A round of amendments adopted by the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education prior to full committee and Senate approval provides a clear process for Oregon’s regional and technical universities to also establish boards of trustees.

The Full Senate will likely consider the bill Monday, July 1. State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), who chairs the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee and led the drafting effort for the bill, will carry the bill on the floor. The Legislature will offer a live stream of the vote.

Also on June 28, the Committee voted to approve HB 3120 A, which restructures Oregon’s system of higher education. The bill creates a Higher Education Coordinating Commission for Oregon’s community colleges, student aid enterprises, and universities. State Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), who chairs the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and led the work group that produced HB 3120 A, will carry the bill to the House floor.  The full House is expected to consider the bill next week. . The Legislature will offer a live stream of the vote.