A huge thanks to Indivisible OR-2 for this material, which we’ve used mostly verbatim with a few minor changes:
The Oregon State Legislature is up and running for the next five months -- and Indivisible groups across the state will be tracking bills, votes, and the legislators who represent you in Salem.
Here are a few things you need to know:
- First, our legislature meets every year for either a short, 35-day session, or a long, 160-day session. This year, it’s a long session, so they will be there, making laws, through the end of June.
- Just like Congress, the legislature is divided into two sections: the Senate and the House. Bills can originate on either side -- or from a joint Senate/House committee -- and must be passed by both and signed by the governor to become law.
- There are 30 Senate districts and each one is divided into two House districts, To see maps of how the state is divided, go here for Senate and here for House maps. They may look a bit gerrymandered and odd-sized, but Oregon’s population is a bit scattered. Just know that each House district represents the same number of people: 57,000.
- To find out who represents you, the Legislature has a great website that you should probably bookmark. You’re going to want to go there a lot. It will help you find your legislators, track bills, watch meetings and see what’s next on the calendar. On the INCO website, we’ve also listed contact information for the legislators who represent Clatsop County—another great page to bookmark!
The good news is that Democrats have a “supermajority” in both the House and the Senate, and a Democratic governor. So we have the opportunity to make a lot of change in a lot of areas. The not-so-good-news is to make that change, lawmakers will need to sift through and consider more than 4,000 bills that could become laws.
INCO will be working with a coalition of other Indivisible groups across Oregon to also evaluate those bills. We’ll try to decide which ones best reflect our progressive values and which ones don’t. Then, when the timing is right, we’ll call on you to raise your voices -- just as you have over the past two years on federal issues. Watch our newsletter, our Facebook group, and our website. It will be up to you to call, email or caravan to Salem when we need Indivisible people power.
Issues we expect to see in the coming months include Clean Energy Jobs, Common Sense Gun Control, Campaign Finance Reform, Affordable Housing, Prescription Drug Prices, and remedies like Higher Corporate Taxes to make up for the state’s budget shortfall. To learn more about these issues, read this story by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
For an Indivisible calendar of upcoming Lobby Days, bookmark this page:
And, finally, if you have ideas for new bills or concerns about bills that have already been written, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch with our Advocacy Team.
This is the best chance we’ve had in years to shape Oregon’s future. Are you ready?