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Oregon State Legislature Legislative Process

 gavel​Legislative Process


For reference assistance, questions about the legislature, legislative process, or other government agencies, please email, or call 1-800-332-2313.  


The Oregon State Legislature convenes annually in January at the State Capitol in Salem, but sessions may not exceed 160 days in odd-numbered years and 35 days in even-numbered years. Five-day extensions are allowed by a two-thirds vote in each house.

In odd-numbered years, the Legislative Assembly convenes on the second Monday in January, to swear-in newly elected officials, elect legislative leaders, adopt rules, organize and appoint committees, and begin introducing bills.

If an emergency arises during the interim period when the legislature is not in session, the Governor or a majority of both houses of the legislature may call a special session.  Special sessions have been called as recently as 2012. 

In 1976, a constitutional amendment was passed, authorizing the legislature to call itself into special session.

Effective Dates of Legislation

In accordance with ORS 171.022, “Except as otherwise provided in the Act, an Act of the Legislative Assembly takes effect on January 1 of the year after passage of the Act.” Some bills contain a clause which specify a particular effective date. Still others may have emergency, sunset, or referendum clauses attached.

Executive Appointments

The Oregon Constitution states that the Governor’s appointments may be subject to Senate confirmation and that appointees are not eligible to serve until confirmed in the manner required by law.

The Senate convenes at the call of the Senate President to act on executive appointments made during legislative interim periods, generally on a quarterly basis.

Gubernatorial appointments made during a regular or special session of the legislature are considered during that session by the Senate. Any appointments not acted upon prior to adjournment must be resubmitted for consideration by the interim committee on executive appointments.

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