Oregon Legislature

CLP Current Event: March 12, 2019

State legislatures are uniquely the “voice of the people” and laboratories of democracy and not dull! Find your topic of interest at the Oregon Legislature.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

News Sources

Official state pet? Plastic straw ban? 20 eye-catching Oregon bills introduced in 2019, by Jim Ryan, The Oregonian, February 21, 2019
“One proposal would designate the border collie as Oregon’s official state dog. Another would call basin wildrye our state grass. A third attempts to prohibit restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws — unless, of course, a customer asks for one.”

Oregon Legislative Preview: Democrats In Charge With Ambitious Agenda, by Dirk VanderHart, OPB, January 18, 2019
“Democrats come into Salem enjoying the most significant advantage they’ve seen in decades: They have newly won supermajorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives and a just re-elected governor who never plans to run another campaign.”

Rent Control (1 total)
Oregon Oks 1st statewide US mandatory rent control law, by Sarah Zimmerman, The Salt Lake Tribune, March 1, 2019
“A state report estimated that a renter would need to work 77 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. One in three renters in Oregon pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent, far higher than the Congressional-set definition of housing affordability, which suggests setting aside 30 percent toward rent.”

Working Conditions (2 total)
Courtney takes medical leave from Oregon Senate, by Mark Miller, Aubrey Wieber, and Claire Withycombe, Salem Reporter, March 5, 2019
“Currie said Courtney’s doctors have been after him to take some time and rest for a couple weeks now. She said his issues include a ‘flare up’ of his Graves Disease — an autoimmune disorder that impacts the thyroid gland.”

Greenlick, Post stripped of committees amid Capitol culture change, by Aubrey Wieber and Claire Withycombe, Portland Tribune, February 21, 2019
“Legislators came into the session already under a cloud because of behavior relating to complaints and investigations of harassment of legislative employees and others. Legislative leaders were sued twice in the past week for overlooking harassment allegations by employees.”

Climate Concerns (1 total)
More than 70 Oregon Scientists and Researchers Urge Oregon Legislature to Take Strong Climate Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, March 3, 2019
“The signers include experts in science, economics, public health and engineering, including Jane Lubchenco, distinguished professor in Marine Studies at Oregon State University who formerly served as the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and Martin Donohoe, adjunct faculty member in the School of Community Health at Portland State University and senior physician at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Hospital.”

Education (2 total)
Holocaust education bill advances in Senate, would be needed for Oregon graduation, by Natalie Pate, Statesman Journal, February 27, 2019
“’Learning about the Holocaust is not just a chapter in recent history, but a derived lesson how to be more tolerant, more loving and that hatred is, eventually, self-destructive,’ Wiener told lawmakers in September.”

Oregon lawmakers eye more than $3.5 billion in school improvements, by Betsy Hammond, Oregon Live, December 14, 2018
“The most expensive items on the bipartisan committee’s list of desired school improvements are largely the same ones Gov. Kate Brown stressed in her re-election campaign: Add 10 days to the school year (estimated to cost $516 million over two years), lower class sizes in the first four grades ($164 million), and improve recruitment, training and support for teachers ($61 million to more than $500 million).”

Daylight Saving Time (2 total)
Bill would keep daylight saving time permanent in Oregon, by Michael Rollins, KGW, March 9, 2019
“A bill that would keep daylight saving time permanent in Oregon is scheduled for a public hearing and work session just days after this year’s actual time change on March 10.
Senate Bill 320 would continue daylight saving time at 2 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2021, with a final decision made by voters in the November 2022 general election.”

Could daylight saving time 2019 be one of the final time changes for Oregon?, by Lizzy Acker, Oregon Live, March 6, 2019
“Are tidal waves of anti-time change sentiment taking shape on the coasts, ready to inundate the country with a nationwide permanent daylight saving time? Stay tuned. But don’t forget how you feel after losing an hour when you head to work Monday morning, if for no other reason than to have a story to tell your grandchildren about the olden days of daylight saving time.”

Questions to Consider

  • How does the Oregon Legislature represent the citizens of Oregon?
  • How independent is the Legislative branch? Do the initiative and referendum options limit or enhance legislative actions?
  • What are the most important issues on the 2019 agenda?
  • Which items reflect concern for students?
  • How does revenue influence decision making?
  • Why is the agenda called “ambitious”?
  • How do the executive and judicial branches connect with the legislative branch?
  • Does the Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches enhance the prospects for action on matters they favor?
  • What is the role of the Republican minority?
  • What is the “Capitol culture”? Why do words and actions matter? How do respect and civil discourse affect legislative action?
  • Who are the key players in the Oregon Legislature?
  • What role do lobbyists play at the Oregon Legislature? Are lobbyists part of the voice of the people? Are lobbyists special interests?
  • What is mandatory “rent control”? Does rent control help or hurt the renter? The owners of rental property? The homeless? Why is Oregon the only state in the United States to enact rent control?

Background and More

Lawmakers come and go, but the lobby remains a powerful constant in Oregon, by Claire Withycombe, Aubrey Weiber and Paris Achen, Salem Reporter, March 1, 2019

Legislative Glossary, Oregon State Legislature

Lesson Plans

There Ought To Be a Law, Oregon State Legislature
CLP: Middle School

Legislators in the Classroom: Teaching Democracy Appreciation A Legislative Appropriations Committee Simulation, by Alan Rosenthal, NCSL
CLP: High School

Your Ideas Count!, by Angela Andrews, NCSL
CLP: Elementary and high school plans

Constitutional and Legal Connections

Article IV, Oregon Constitution

Oregon Connections

All of this week.

Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
HS.28 Evaluate how governments interact at the local, state, tribal, national, and global levels.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race, poverty, gender and age), recognizing issues of equity, and evaluating need for change.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.

We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 34: What is the importance of civic engagement to American constitutional democracy?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 37: What key challenges does the United States face in the future?