Oregon Legislature concludes session marked by huge spending, racial justice reforms

Oregon Legislature concludes session marked by huge spending, racial justice reforms

Oregon lawmakers wrapped up a five-month session Saturday evening, after passing a budget of historic proportions and major policy bills including police accountability reforms and a plan for the state to better prepare for wildfires. (Abigail Dollins/Statesman-Journal via AP) AP Oregon lawmakers wrapped up a five-month session marked by determined and at times contentious efforts to address long-standing inequities in the state and by staggering amounts of spending on infrastructure, the state’s wildfire response, support for vulnerable Oregonians and a host of other projects. The high-spending session, which ended Saturday evening, was made possible by an unexpectedly robust rebound in Oregon’s economy and an infusion of billions of dollars in federal recovery funds. Sweeping police accountability reforms, which some white lawmakers previously did not view as urgent , passed thanks to lawmakers’ heightened awareness of racial inequities and desire to address them. “We actually began to really, truly address some of the issues … that we’ve been trying to deal with for decades in this state,” said Sen. Lew Frederick, a Democrat from Portland. “We’ve now taken a huge step forward in really making a difference in a sense of safety for everyone in this state.” Frederick credited Rep. Janelle Bynum, a Happy Valley Democrat who is the only Black woman in the Legislature, and Rep. Ron Noble, the Republican former McMinnville police chief, who led the shaping of reforms that passed this year. He and other racial justice advocates said those bills were just the start. As a […]

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