Oregon’s 80th legislative assembly convenes

On January 22nd, the Oregon Legislature convened for its 80th session. It has until June 30th to complete all its policy work and set the state’s budget for the next two years. New members were sworn in on January 14th, with the bulk of policy development and deliberation happening during February, March, April, and May.

Democrats walked away from the 2018 mid-term elections with the governorship and supermajorities in the House (38 Democrats and 22 Republicans) and Senate (18 Democrats and 12 Republicans). With these strongholds, Oregonians can expect to see lawmakers put forward a progressive agenda in areas such as criminal justice reform, climate change mitigation, expansion of benefits for working families, affordable housing and homelessness, and revenue reform to expand investments in public education.

More than 1,400 bills have been introduced, many of which impact higher education. Lawmakers are expected to debate issues related to credit transfer, textbook affordability, campus safety, accelerated credit, research and economic development, and much more.

In addition to public policy bills, the UO is laser focused on increasing operating funding to limit tuition increases and expand student success programs that improve graduate rates, career readiness, and reduce debt. All seven Oregon univeristies need at least a $120 million increase in funding this biennium to keep tuition increases at or below 5% for the next two years. Without increased revenue through tax reform, Governor Brown’s Recommended Budget (GRB) flat-funded universities, which would force the UO to consider double-digit tuition increases, budget cuts, or both. You can read more about what was in the GRB here. Advocacy efforts are underway to make sure university students, faculty, and staff see more investment from the state this biennium.

The Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS)) allows you to track bills and receive alerts as they move through the legislative process.

Click here for a refresher on the UO’s 2019 legislative agenda, which is focused on reducing student debt, investing in key capital construction projects, and expanding academic programs that positively impact communities statewide.