you want to engage with the Oregon State Legislature during Session, the first
place you should start is the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). On OLIS you can
search for bills in the current or past Sessions by bill number, bill sponsor,
or key words and phrases that appear in the bill. You can also watch committee
hearings and floor sessions live or recorded afterward. Because information is
constantly being updated on OLIS during Session, using the “e-subscribe” button at the top right
hand side of the bill and committee pages to receive email updates is very
helpful in staying informed about what you care about most.
you decide to engage with the Legislature during Session it is important to be
aware of the steps in the process of how an idea becomes a law. There are a lot of ways
to engage along the way through that process, but I would encourage you to
reach out to your legislator first to let them know how you feel about a bill
and ask if there are any particular ways to engage best on that bill. If the
bill is a House Bill (HB), reach out to your Representative. If the bill is a
Senate Bill (SB), reach out to your Senator. If you want to make sure you’re
reaching out to the right legislators, you can use this map to find your legislators.
you’ve reached out to your legislator to let them know your opinion on the bill,
you can reach out to the Chair of the committee the bill you are watching is
assigned to and voice your concerns or support for the bill to them. The Chair
of the committee has the power to schedule, or not schedule, the bill for a
public hearing or work session to move the bill through the legislative
process. Once a public hearing is scheduled you can sign up to testify in front
of the committee or submit written testimony. Submitting testimony in
addition to emailing your legislator and the other legislators on the committee
is important because that testimony is tied to the bill throughout the rest of
the process. Other legislators who may have the opportunity to vote on the bill
will be able to look up your testimony and all of the other public testimony
given on the bill in order to influence their decision.
the bill is successfully voted out of the first chamber, that means you can
start this process again in the other chamber. Throughout Session there are deadlines that need to be met as
bills progress through the process in order to keep going. If a bill does not
meet these deadlines it is dead and must be introduced again the next session,
or in very rare cases, the concept is introduced again the same session into
another bill through the amendment process. Remember, many hands make light
work. Whether you are supporting or opposing a bill, this process can be a lot
of work. Get the word out to other likeminded individuals and help them make
their voice heard in the legislative process.
is no age limit on who can and cannot testify in a public hearing, but another
fun way to get to know the legislative process is to apply to be an Honorary Page. The Office of the Chief Clerk has worked hard to run
this educational program and develop other opportunities for students to
experience the legislative process during Session. Unfortunately, these
programs have been canceled for the 2021 Session due to COVID-19, but it is
still a good idea to take a look at the programs and see if you are interested
in applying for future Sessions. Jessica
and I look forward to giving you a tour of the Capitol ourselves, but for now
you can take a virtual tour.
helpful information and resources are always being added to the Oregon Legislature’s website.
you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office by
email at Rep.JamiCate@OregonLegislature.gov or by giving my office a
call at 503-986-1417.