2024 Legislative Session kicks off, housing and Measure 110 top priorities

SALEM, Ore.– The 2024 Legislative Session kicked off today in Salem.

Democrats and Republicans are both working to revise Measure 110 and address the housing crisis across the state.

This short session will only last 35 days, which makes it more difficult for legislators to get bills passed.

But some are hopeful they will be able to address some big issues by March 10th.

Ashland Democratic Senator Jeff Golden said, “we’re starting off with good energy for a productive session”

Legislators have just over a month to work with in this year’s short legislative session, which means they will have to work quickly on major issues like Measure 110 and housing.

Governor Tina Kotek has already proposed a $500 million housing bill that looks to fund infrastructure, as well as setting aside land to build on.

Kotek said, “we can do this. We can have a tool around urban growth boundary extensions that is targeted, that meets affordability goals, that protects our environment, and that is what is in this bill.”

Democrats and Republicans agree that increasing the housing supply is urgent, but how to go about that is up for debate.

Medford Republican Representative Kim Wallan said Kotek’s bill may need some amendments to pass.

Wallan said, “I know that the Farm Bureau said this morning that they aren’t going to support it and I know that the Oregon League of Conservation Voters said they won’t support it. Without the support of either of those groups, or neutrality from those groups, there won’t be enough votes to pass it.”

Each legislator is also allowed to bring two bills to the session.

Ashland Democratic Senator Jeff Golden is hoping to at least get some short term funding for wildfire suppression at this year’s session.

Golden said, “I’d like to increase what we’re spending for the community risk reduction, the protection for our community’s part of wildfire, by about $30 million per year.”

Senator Golden said he wants to work on long-term funding for wildfire prevention at the longer 2025 Legislative Session.

Representative Wallan is working on a bill to extend protections to the department of agriculture when they are investigating hemp or marijuana grows.

“We made huge inroads into illegal hemp growing in Southern Oregon, but we can’t take our foot off the gas,” Wallan said, “so having the law now not require that coordination among the agencies, was going to be a problem.”

Golden said he only expected the legislature to spend $200 to 300 million this session, but Kotek’s housing bill alone, far exceeds that.

Both Wallan and Golden expect there to be ongoing negotiations about revising Measure 110.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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