Current Events: Oregon’s 2022 Short Legislative Session

The 2022 Oregon Regular Legislative Session: What is the long and short of it?

On February 1, 2022, the Oregon Legislative Assembly returned to the Capitol building in Salem for a 35-day session of introducing, debating, and passing legislation, as well as making “budget adjustments”. The Legislative Assembly, similar to the United States Congress, consists of two houses. There is the upper house, the Oregon State Senate, and the lower house, the Oregon House of Representatives. It was not that long ago, that these part time legislators would be back in their districts or at home, because 2022 is an even number year.  Initially, the Oregon Constitution, in Section 10 of Article IV established that the Legislative Assembly would meet in a regular session once every two years. Since the late 1800’s, that meant that the legislature’s regular sessions occurred in odd-number years, like most states who followed the biennial legislative session calendar. Things changed with the approval of a statewide ballot in November of 2010.

Measure 71, The Oregon Legislature Annual Sessions Amendment, a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, was ratified by the voters with roughly sixty-eight percent of the vote. The measure amended the state Constitution to require a 160-day session for the Legislative Assembly in odd-numbered years and 35-day session even-numbered years.  This change to the legislative calendar was a long time in the making. Two decades earlier voters rejected a similar measure and through the mid-2000’s legislators worked on, but could not agree to an annual structure. At the time of its ratification, Oregon was one of only five states left that had legislators meeting every other year.

As Measure 71 was being worked out in the legislature, a key component to the negotiations was the focus of the 35-day, ‘short’ session. Some argued that the short sessions should focus solely on budget adjustments and addressing emergency issues. This language was never included in the amendment itself, but a number of lawmakers still hold the view that these even-numbered sessions should limit its scope to addressing those issues, and not larger policy debates.

When reviewing the nearly three hundred introduced bills in this year’s legislative session, it is clear that many in the legislature hold a more expansive view on what could and should be covered in a short session. With bills ranging from Oregonians pumping their own gas, to school funding adjustments for those districts affected by past wildfires, to revamping overtime pay regulations for agricultural workers, the breadth of bills is as diverse as the state itself.

This week’s Current Events resources examine the 2022 Oregon Legislative Session, its short and long session origins and the bills that have been introduced. The resources shared provide information and context surrounding the Oregon Legislative Assembly. To see resources on last year’s Legislative session, check out our Current Event on the topic.

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Essential Questions, Vocabulary & Extend the Resources:

  • Where does the Oregon Legislature derive its power from?
  • What role does the Oregon Legislative Assembly play in the creation of new laws?
  • What roles do the OR House/Senate have in writing and ratifying bills? What role do committees play in the legislative process?
  • Why does the Oregon Legislature have a ‘long’ and ‘short’ session?
  • What are the pro’s and con’s associated with an annual legislative session? What are the pro’s and con’s associated with a biennial legislative session?
  • What role do citizens play in the Oregon legislative process?
  • In your opinion, does the current way Oregon creates law seem like the best system for the state? Explain. 

Click here for a hardcopy of the Essential Questions & 2022 Legislative Session Vocabulary

Click here for a hardcopy of the Extend the Resources handout with suggested lesson activities and extensions





Session highlights include budget tweaks, farm workers OT and pumping your own gas, OPB Politics Now, February 1, 2022

Legislators look ahead to 2022 session, Think Out Loud, February 1, 2022


Background Resources:

How Ideas Become Law, Oregon State Legislature

Oregon Legislature / 2022 / Regular Session, LegiScan 

Your Capitol – Your Oregon, Oregon State Legislature

2022 Regular SessionOregon State Legislature

Annual vs. Biennial Legislative Sessions, National Conference of State Legislatures, July 1, 2021


Images & Infographics:


Recent Articles:

Oregon legislators set to look at budget fixes, letting inmates vote — and self-service gasoline, OPB, January 31, 2022

Revenue forecast: Oregon lawmakers have $979M more to spend during legislative session, Statesman Journal, February 9, 2022

Farm owners and workers weigh in on overtime bill, KGW8, February 10, 2022

Bill ensuring funding for wildfire affected schools, one step closer to passing, KOBI5, February 9, 2022

Job training plan a focus of 2022 Oregon legislative session, The Newberg Graphic, January 25, 2022

Oregon overtime bill likely to pit agricultural workers against farmers, Statesman Journal, February 8, 2022

Fire-ravaged Oregon school districts could get a boost from state to offset enrollment drop, OPB, February 10, 2022


Recent Editorials:

Canzano: Oregon lawmakers going big with new sports bills in legislative session, The Oregonian, January 14, 2022

Opinion: SB 1511 offers a commonsense fix for unjust verdicts, The Oregonian, February 16, 2022

Oregon lawmakers deserve a pay raise, Mail Tribune, February 17, 2022

Overtime pay for farmworkers a matter of health equity, Sherwood Gazette, January 31, 2022

Column: Oregon Legislature facing tight timelines, The Chief, February 4, 2022


Lesson Plans:

“Why Compromise?”, National Conference of State Legislatures

Who Represents Me?, iCivics

How to Draft a Bill, Citizen Advocacy Center


Lesson Plans for Elementary Students:

School Lesson Plans, 4th Grade, Oregon State Legislature

Comparative Government in Oregon, PBS Learning Media

The roles of state and federal governments, Newsela

A Brief History of American Farm Labor, Newsela


Media & News Literacy Lesson Plans:

Media Literacy ResourcesNewseum

Resource LibraryNews Literacy Project

News & Media Literacy LessonsCommon Sense

Media Misinformation, Viral Deception, and “Fake News”University of Wyoming

Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake NewsNew York Times Lessons