Legislative Updates

Ben "Bone Crusher" Bowman Steps Into the Ring
April 10, 2024/by Rick MetsgerNew Oregon House Democrat Majority Leader once aspired to the squared circle. 

Campaign Cash, Like Water, Always Finds a Way
March 5, 2024/by Rick MetsgerWith a citizens' Initiative Petition (IP-9) to limit campaign contributions in Oregon politics steamrolling towards the November election ballot, legislators suddenly have decided to wrest control of the parade route.

Chance of NCAA stopping the Oregon Legislature— NIL!
February 21, 2024/by Rick MetsgerLawmakers tackle 'name, image, and likeness' payments in HB 4119.

Legislature cracks open "PERSdora's Box"
February 13, 2024/by Rick MetsgerFurther expanding top-tier beneficiaries could lead to massive consequences. 

Short Session Off to the Races with Big Agendas
February 12, 2024/by Ryan TribbettLegislators vow to focus on housing, homelessness, as Measure 110 looms large. 

Pac/West Lobby Group Adds Lena Prine to Legislative and Public Affairs Team
February 8, 2024/by Daniel WattenburgerPrine's wide range of experience in the legislature, business community, and working with natural resources will benefit Pac/West's clients. 

Pac/West Lobby Group Hires 2024 Interns to Increase Communications Capacity
January 29, 2024/by Daniel WattenburgerPac/West Lobby Group is adding to its creative communications team in 2024 with the hiring of interns Brayden Sparkman and Payton Schlag. 

Pac/West Lobby Group Adds Veteran Journalist to Communications Team
January 2, 2024/by Daniel Wattenburger
Pac/West Lobby Group is expanding its Communications team with the hire of George Plaven, a veteran in Oregon journalism who has covered some of the state's most important natural resource and agriculture issues over the past decade. 

Signaling S.O.S. in Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District
November 21, 2023/by Lynn Peterson has consistently performed, moving from transportation planner to county commissioner to state transportation director to Metro President.

Musical Chairs in Congressional District 5
November 7, 2023/by When it comes to musical chairs, political candidates are masters of the game. 

Total Recall: Holvey vs. UFCW
October 2, 2023/by In a forest of legislators, the majority of whom hadn’t yet been planted in their seats three years ago, Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) stands like an obelisk of petrified wood. 

Oregon Loses a Bright, Graceful, Dancing Daffodil
September 23, 2023/by Hope. If a life could be described in those four letters, Joanne Verger’s life would match like a fingerprint.

September 6, 2023/by Pac/West Lobby Group is pleased to announce the addition of Josie Hankins to the Association Management team as our Event Planning Director & Office Manager.

August 29, 2023/by Mike was a quiet mentor to all he worked with. He didn’t tell you how to do things, he showed you by the way he went about his work.

The Thrill of Being on a Team with Mike Donahue
August 28, 2023/by Mike may have been a quiet leader but his integrity and loyalty never wavered. He pushed management, often unsuccessfully, for maintaining a high standard of journalism quality. 

OHSU: Savior or Privateer?
August 23, 2023/by Oregon entered unchartered waters last week with the announcement that Legacy Health System, a private healthcare provider, would ‘merge’ with the state-sponsored Oregon Health and Science University. In this proposal, OHSU will be the surviving entity and will continue to be governed by its board of directors.

Eastern Oregon Economic Summit Brings Spotlight to Rural Issues
August 8, 2023/by The 2023 Eastern Oregon Economic Summit brought together about 280 business leaders, farmers, manufacturers, candidates, legislators, and state and local elected officials in Union County on August 3-4 to learn about the opportunities and challenges facing the expansive and diverse region.

Kotek Poll: A Cause for Gloom or Glee?
August 3, 2023/by Numbers may not lie, but our interpretation of their meaning is often critical. Kotek’s numbers in the poll show an approval rating of 45% and a disapproval rating of 39% for a net positive of six points.

The Tax Man Cometh
July 14, 2023/by The City Council voted this week to impose a payroll tax on all employees and independent contractors “for work performed within the Salem city limits.” The ordinance particularly calls out employees of the “State of Oregon” and “any political subdivision of the state.”

A Fond Farewell to My Friends at the Capitol
June 29, 2023/by Anne Johnson retires after 22 years in Oregon politics.

June 26, 2023/by 
It was a turbulent flight that ended with a rough landing, but the 2023 Oregon Legislative Session safely set down on Sunday as both chambers adjourned on the last possible day.

No More Fuming at the Fuel Pump for Randy Miller
June 22, 2023/by On Wednesday, the Senate moved the final passage of HB 2426 by one vote to end the prohibition on self-serve gas stations – allowing Oregonians to pump their own gas.

House Nears Sine Die with Senate Still in Limbo
June 12, 2023/by 
There were rumblings of movement on the ongoing Senate Republican Caucus walkout last week, but still no clear path to a finish line of the 2023 Legislative Session before sine die. While Democrats in the Senate continue to look for ways to coerce or demand Republicans’ return to the floor, their colleagues in the House have nearly completed their work and may call their own sine die before June 25.

June 8, 2023/by Facing a housing crisis, the Oregon Legislature is spending a lot of time choosing “bucket solutions”—making plans that address symptoms rather than root causes while wasting precious resources like time and tax dollars to do it.

Senate Moves Closer to Implosion
May 30, 2023/by The political stalemate in the Oregon Senate is showing no signs of breaking in time for a normal conclusion to the 2023 Legislative Session. If anything, leadership is moving further away from resolution by the day.

May 22, 2023/by Daniel Wattenburger
Throughout our history there have been legislative issues that have deeply divided the Oregon assembly. Should our Democratic Republic survive, there will be many more. Democracy survives only by engagement, not withdrawal.

May 22, 2023/by Daniel WattenburgerThe sprint toward the finish line begins this week in the Oregon Legislature, but nobody is quite sure where the finish line will be.

May Revenue Forecast Turns Attention to State Budget
May 19, 2023/by Phil Scheuers
The May Economic & Revenue Forecast released this week presents a favorable picture of expected revenue and economic conditions for Oregon in the next biennium as lawmakers get ready to write the state budget.

The Doctor Will See You Now
May 16, 2023/by Rick Metsger
Now an 11-year veteran of the Oregon Senate, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner keeps her own firm grip on the legislative process as co-chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee. And she gets plenty of hands extended from all the new friends her position attracts. 

Ryan Tribbett Joins Salem City Club Board of Directors
May 12, 2023/by Admin
Pac/West Lobby Group President Ryan Tribbett was recently elected to the Salem City Club Board of Directors.

Readin’, ‘Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic
May 9, 2023/by Rick Metsger
Democrats and Republicans alike continue to counter each other’s tactics to grind the legislative process down to a crawl. From a robotic voice to read bills to the Flesch Kincaid Reading Test to calculating how many days they can stay away from Senate proceedings to deny a quorum, the ultimate game plan of either party is unknown. Crystal clear, however, is that the sand in the hourglass on this constitutionally restricted session is sifting quickly. 

Hectic Week Adds Tension to Session
May 8, 2023/by Ryan Tribbett
A political version of an ‘atmospheric river’ descended over the Oregon Capitol this week, threatening to grind the legislative session to a halt and endangering a plethora of bills awaiting action in the Senate. The week kicked off with the stunning news that Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was resigning after a slew of reports surfaced about moonlighting as a cannabis consultant that conflicted with her public responsibilities. 

Secretary of State Revelations May Fuel Legislative Divide
May 1, 2023/by Ryan Tribbett
Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was thrust into the media spotlight last week when it was revealed she has been moonlighting as a consultant for a cannabis company that has been under legal and political fire in Oregon.

Economists Dust off Darts for Revenue Forecast
April 27, 2023/by Rick Metsger
In less than three weeks, the state economists will chop their formulas, dice their dot charts, flow analysis, and multiple-colored lines of deviation, turn the blender on high, and, voila! They will pour a financial cocktail for legislators to taste just how much revenue will come into state coffers for the next two years.

Committees Refocus as Floor Logjam Clears
April 25, 2023/by After two weeks of full floor sessions, legislators returned their focus to committees last week as they began ramping up for the second committee deadlines. These next two weeks will be critical as bills must be posted for a work session by May 5 and heard by May 19 as we prepare for the final push.

WHOOOO is Running Oregon Forest Policy?
April 19, 2023/by The Oregon Board of Forestry is on the verge of finalizing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) with the federal government that has fostered distrust and dismay in rural communities again. The HCP provides new governance for state forest lands that will dramatically reduce timber harvests below already low levels.

Pigskin and Politics
April 11, 2023/by Oregon’s Legislature has hit the two-month warning mark, and the fans are getting restless. First downs are critical to keeping the chains moving on the remaining bills moving toward the goal line. But Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) is not panicking. She trusts her training and her preparation. Forty miles to the South in Eugene, her son Ellis has taken a page from her playbook. He is a freshman running back for the University of Oregon football team.

Legislative Bottleneck Follows First Deadline
April 10, 2023/by Most committees worked at full speed for weeks ahead of the April 4 deadline to fill the funnel with bills. At our count, the Monday before the deadline, there were 682 bills heard or voted on in the previous seven days. Now it is up to the Senate and House to approve that committee-stamped legislation and send it across the building to the other chamber. 

From Boone Ferry to Boondoggle
April 4, 2023/by The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is set to begin tolling bridges in the South Metro area next year and then install additional per-mile tolls all along I-5 and I-205. That adds up to about 40 or more tolls motorists will face when they utilize the not-so-freeways in the Portland area.

Flight Gets Bumpy As Deadline Nears
April 3, 2023/by After a smooth takeoff and efficient ascension to cruising altitude, the 2023 Oregon Legislative session is beginning to run into turbulence. In recent sessions, bipartisan friction has worked its way into the process from the beginning. However, this year, new leadership in both chambers and the governor’s office helped align priorities early on. But disagreements between the aisles threaten to re-route the flight of some legislation as we pass the first major deadline.

Of Scarecrows, Theorems & Oregon’s Isosceles Triangle
March 27, 2023/by Students today face a more complex world, especially in navigating the tar pits of personal finance, asset management, and risk aversion. Oregon has not required a semester of personal finance in a quarter of a century in public high schools. Financial literacy has been in a decades-long courtship with the Oregon Legislature, only to see the nuptials continuously disrupted on the altar by Sine Die. This session, fueled by legislative leadership, teachers, school board members, and committed advocates, we may finally witness the tying of the knot.

Beware of The Ides of March
March 15, 2023/by In the ancient Roman calendar — a mix of math and politics all on its own — the Ides represent the middle of the month. It marked the day that all debts must be paid. At the Oregon Capitol, the Ides falls on March 17 this year. On this day, hundreds of bills filled with the hopes and dreams of legislators and lobbyists alike will be interned together in the legislative boneyard if they haven’t been scheduled for a committee vote.

Pappy Van Winkle (AKA Kevin Mannix) is Back
February 28, 2023/by At 73 years old, Kevin Mannix is an unlikely rookie in the 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly. But as Pappy Van Winkle is to bourbon, Mannix is a scarcity among legislators across the country. Both were aged 23 years. The last time he patrolled the legislative chamber Bill Clinton was president, and flip phones were all the rage. Why come off the shelf now? 

Construction Leader Mark Long Joins Pac/West Lobby Group
February 2, 2023/by Mark Long, outgoing executive director of the Oregon Home Builders Association and former director of the Oregon Building Codes Division, has joined Pac/West Lobby Group as Vice President of Construction Policy & Regulatory Affairs.

My New Perspective on Health Care
February 1, 2023/by Health care isn’t something younger people think about much. Like retirement savings, it’s often something you put off for later. Then, out of nowhere comes the wake-up call. I got mine earlier this month.

Pac/West Lobby Group Adds Whitley Sullivan as Housing and Rural Development Director
January 5, 2023/by Pac/West Lobby Group is pleased to welcome Whitley Sullivan back to its government affairs team as the Director of Housing and Rural Development.

How One Vote Shaped Two Remarkable Oregon Political Careers
December 28, 2022/by Two remarkable careers will take their final curtain call in January 2023, bringing an end to a political performance that has run on Oregon’s biggest stage for almost two decades.

Measure 113 Cocktail Is One Part Ambiguity, One Part Irony
October 20, 2022/by Ballot measures in Oregon are like cocktails. At first glance they can appear refreshing and stimulating. But if you are not careful, you may find yourself disoriented, stumbling, and wondering how you got your kisser stuck to a light pole.

Ag Communications Leader Amanda Spoo Joins Pac/West Lobby Group
September 6, 2022/by Pac/West Lobby Group is expanding its Communications department with the hire of Amanda Spoo, an Eastern Oregon native with more than a decade of professional experience in agriculture. 

PW Lobby Group Hires Bar-Licensed Attorney to Enhance Bill Drafting Services
April 7, 2022/by  

Legislature Funds Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Center In Partnership with Hermiston School District
March 31, 2022/by 

Former Federal Financial Regulatory Chief Rick Metsger Joins Pac/West Lobby Group
September 2, 2021/by