By editorial board • 

Limit the mischief from short legislative session

Take heart, job creation advocates. Three dozen state legislative bodies convene in January and six more in February, including Oregon’s. And they all, no doubt, will be hiring aides and analysts.

We are being facetious, but truth be told, we sometimes think more jobs are created through direct legislative hiring than through legislative attempts to spur private-sector hiring.

Oregon’s even-year sessions, a recent innovation, are limited to 35 days. That seems ample in a year when 75 of its 90 members are up for election, a distraction of no small dimension. Wyoming, Arkansas, New Mexico and North Carolina will limit their 2014 sessions in similar fashion.

At the other end of the spectrum, sessions in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio will run up to 11 months, with Pennsylvania close behind. That strikes us as a terrible idea.

So, what do Oregon’s 90 lawmakers hope to accomplish during their dash toward mid-March?

Most important is that they resist the urge to jam many laws through a short session with inadequate time for full debate and careful consideration. They need to balance the budget, handle time-sensitive emergencies and set the agenda for a full 2015 legislative session.

The Democratic majorities in the 16-14 Senate and 34-26 House are hoping to cover a loophole in gun registration laws, provided Betsy Johnson of rural Columbia County doesn’t once again knot the count at 15-15 on the Senate side. They want to span the Columbia River with a new bridge, provided fiscal opposition in Oregon and political objections in Washington don’t once again sink them. And they are looking to cover their tracks on the Cover Oregon debacle, possibly by dumping their sky’s-the-limit software for something more down to earth.

Overhaul the tax code? Not a chance. In today’s political climate, that’s too ambitious even for a full-length session.

But legalize marijuana? Expand neighborhood access to hard liquor? Apparently that’s fair game even in an abbreviated election-year session.

In addition to leading the gun registration campaign, it seems Eugene’s Sen. Floyd Prozanski will be asking lawmakers to craft a marijuana measure for presentation to the electorate. We understand his reasoning. If the Legislature doesn’t put a measure on the ballot, Oregon’s legions of pot proponents will, and their version undoubtedly will be more sweeping.

Still, we think lawmakers would be best advised to stand aside and trust the judgment of Oregon voters. In our view, the jury is still out — way out. We’d prefer to see how marijuana legalization plays out in Colorado and Washington before considering such a plunge.

A similar strategy debate involves distilled spirits, long under total rule of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Fearing that private grocer interests will seize control of liquor sales via the ballot box, the OLCC now proposes to allow sale of state-owned distilled spirits in grocery stores larger than 10,000 square feet.

Lawmaking in Oregon often involves a legislative tug-of-war with forces that have, or may, saddle us with poorly written initiative petitions, and these debates about intoxicants are just the latest examples.



You provide a guide as to exactly what they should do which even touches on why Oregonians voted for the even year sessions, (handling financial problems previously entrusted to the "emergency board). Then you follow up with an absolute example of "failure" to resist - "The Democratic majorities ….loophole in gun registration laws, provided Betsy Johnson of rural Columbia County doesn’t once again knot the count at 15-15 on the Senate side."
Betsy Johnson is doing just exactly what her constituents want her to do and she has the courage to stand up for them. Sen. Prozanski doesn't have the political courage to sponsor the bill, that is why he pushed it through the work session on the 17th as LC 154. This way it will show it is sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee and not him or Giny Burdick (or Former Mayor Blumberg.)
Prozanski threw out numbers Friday that, if checked by Politi-Fact would probably rate a "Pants on Fire". Where are the prosecutions for these people who "illegally" attempted to purchase a firearm?
There really is no "loop hole". Johnny Fence on the corner with the gun store in the trunk of his car will NOT be calling OSP FICS.
• It is against the law for a felon to purchase a firearm.
• It is against the law for a felon to be in possession of a firearm.
• It is against the law to use a firearm in the commission of a crime.
• It is against the law to purchase a firearm via internet / mail (and that inclued Craigs List) contrary to Prozanski's statement.
Remember, Sen Prozanski is the City Prosecutor who abused a state law and a city ordinance to prosecute a Florence resident after the State of Oregon said NO. He starved the man into a headline plea deal to dismiss the charges after 6 months had passed.

Take a day to read ORS 166.


I was running out of room above, but I do wish to quote Sen. Prozanski which seems to contradict "gun registration" in your opinion:
“I do not support and will not support gun registration,” Prozanski said.

The bill is pretty interesting though. If it passes, in its current form, Uncle John will be able to transfer a firearm to his nieces and nephews, but they WON'T be able to give it back to Uncle John without running the background check on him.


It seems after last nights city council meeting, The council members feel their more qualified to think for Oregonians. Their going to ban marijuana dispensaries in McMinnville. They would of done it last night but from my point of view, they are giving a perfunctory public hearing in the interest who knows what. It was obvious that their minds were made up.
I can handle my own child. I don't need you to do it for me. It's pompous and a arrogant of any municipality to put up road blocks for cannabis users. The people in McMinnville and surrounding areas have paid money to the state to secure their right to use cannabis. Take care of the library and the streets and sewers. Don't regulate the morals of human beings. Your know better than anyone I know. Or me for that matter. We are not second class citizens. It's discrimination at this point. That's right, you are discriminating!
Maybe the council will just try and ordinance them out of the area by putting an extra 1000' around any park in McMinnville. There are empty buildings with for rent sings all over town. money being lost because of what.
I see all kinds of people and talk to them about cannabis. They alleviate symptoms that range from a whole gamete of reasons. I will tell the gal with her cancer that comes to seek relief that, when she wakes up and is feeling nauseous, that she will need to travel outside the town or even outside the county (depending on what the county does) to get the relief she is looking for. Thanks to her local city council and county commissioners.


Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.

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