From bills on cougars to the homeless, it’s not as though the troubles of the governor have kept Oregon legislators from adding to the pile of proposed laws. The mountain of legislation keeps growing, even though most of the new bills stand little chance.
There is, for example, this year’s attempt by Rep, Sherrie Springer, R-Scio, to let hunters use dogs to go after mountain lions. Years ago the voters twice said this should not be allowed. But HB 3000, introduced Thursday by Sprenger and several others, calls on the state to launch a pilot program to allow cougar hunting with dogs. The bill would sunset in 2020.
Self-service gas stations are another cause that keeps coming up. HB 3011 would allow people to pump their own gas at stations in “low-population areas” of the state when no owner or employee is at the station to do the job. Low-population areas are not defined.
Democrats have been frustrated that the constitution now requires a three-fifths vote in both houses to increase taxes. So they’ve proposed, also on Thursday, HJR 26, an amendment to allow tax increases on corporations, but only on corporations, by simple majority vote. The change would need the voters’ OK in a statewide election.
Among new bills in the Senate, there is SB 629, the “Right to Rest Act.” It would prohibit the authorities and anyone else from harassing people who sit or lie anywhere on public property. It would also ban any action against people living in their vehicles as long as they are parked on public property.
The ACLU has asked for SB 639, a bill to restrict the use of “license plate surveillance cameras.” Red-light and speed-control cameras are exempted from the bill. The measure spells out countless other ways in which this surveillance technique could still be used, as in efforts to catch fugitive criminals or in kidnap cases, for example. It’s hard to tell at a glance just what uses would be banned, but presumably there are some, otherwise the ACLU would not have asked for the bill.
So if you’re worried that lawmakers are not giving themselves enough to do, don’t. (hh)