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Oregon State Legislature sent this bulletin at 01/28/2019 02:16 PM PST


January 28, 2019

Dear Neighbors and Friends:

Well, the first week of the 2019 Legislative Session is over—and I’m exhausted already!  That’s worrying, especially if you consider that it was only a four-day week! (We started on Tuesday because Monday was the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.)  And even more so when I remind myself that we are embarking on a LONG session, lasting until the end of June. Gotta think marathon!

In these weekly updates, I’ll try to bring you inside the legislative process, introduce you to my staff and cadre of interns, report on what’s going on in the committees that I chair or serve on, give you little tidbits of life in the Capitol, and steer you towards resources that can help keep you abreast of what’s going on.  Remember, though, that our office is always at your disposal (well, certainly if you’re a constituent and as time permits if you’re not) to answer questions and hear your suggestions.  Remember, things are not always as they appear!  Before you worry too much (or conversely become too excited), reach out and find out if there’s more to the bill or the story than meets the eye.

My Committees This Session

It almost always happens that our committee assignments change to some degree with each session.  Scheduling constraints, conflicting requests, and changes in committee focus are usually the cause of these changes.  That’s why we have to be prepared to be generalists to some extent.  Actually, this kind of change can be useful for legislators.  Since we’re ultimately going to have to vote on all the bills that come to the floor, it’s good to have some background in as many sectors as possible.  Here are my committee assignments this session (the first two are continuing assignments, the latter two are new ones for me):

  • Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Chair. This committee will deal with issues related to air and water quality, water quantity, land use, energy, agriculture and forestry, wildlife and wildlife habitat.

  • Joint Senate/House Committee on Carbon Reduction, Senate Chair. This is a continuation of the interim committee that was established to address climate action, notably the final drafting of the “Clean Energy Jobs” climate-action legislation that will cap greenhouse-gas emissions as well as invest in ways to counter the ongoing effects of climate change (e.g., making our forests healthier and our communities more resilient) and transition to a cleaner-energy future in a way that benefits Oregonians and our economy.

  • Senate Committee on Rules, member. Rules handles a variety of issues: elections, confirmation of Governor appointees, and a number of issues that can’t be resolved in their original committees.  We often say that it’s the committee where bills go to die—or to be reborn!  It becomes especially important as we move towards the closing weeks of session. I was on Rules during my time in the House, but this is my first stint as a senator.

  • Senate Committee on Business and General Government, member. This is a new committee, combining work that was previously done by two separate committees.  We’ll be addressing issues related to business practices and regulation, as well as the structure and authorities of different state agencies.

Following the Legislature on OLIS

Every year we try to make it easier for the public to follow and participate in the work of the Legislature.  A primary vehicle for doing so is our online Oregon Legislative Information Service--OLIS (  You can get to OLIS directly at or via the main legislative website:

Thanks to the legislative website, you can follow the work of all the committees and bills, from this session and others.  You can watch committee meetings and floor sessions via live stream or archived. You can subscribe to follow the work of a committee or the trajectory of a bill (see below).  You can submit written testimony on a bill (via the web page of the committee to which it has been assigned). You can get the email addresses of all legislators, committee administrators, and a variety of legislative offices.

Want to follow a bill or committee?

If there’s a bill that you know you want to follow, you can easily do so by going to OLIS (, and click on the box in the upper right hand corner.  Click on “Bill,” and you’ll be able to search by bill number, bill text (search by topic) or sponsor.  You can also get there by going to the Legislature’s main page:

Once you get to the webpage for the bill you want, you can click on “Follow this bill: e-subscribe” up at the top right of the page.  You’ll then be notified of any upcoming hearings or other action on that bill.  If there’s a hearing, you’ll be able to watch it live or after the fact, submit written testimony, or read any meeting materials (testimony and reports) related to the bill.

By the way if there’s a committee whose work you’d like to follow, you can do the same thing: go to that committee’s webpage and click on “Follow: e-subscribe” up at the top right, and you’ll be sent the committee’s meeting agendas as they come out. 

If you run into any snags in negotiating the system, call or email my office and we’ll get you straightened out.

Caucus Agenda

In the months leading up to each session, or at least each long session, each caucus prepares a set of priorities for the upcoming session.  I’m part of the group of Senate Democrats that developed ours.  We released the agenda last week and shared it with the press.  You can view it here.

As you’ll see, we’re focusing on five broad areas:

  • Supporting Oregon’s Environment and Natural Resources

  • Investing in Educational Opportunities for all Oregonians

  • Encouraging Healthy Communities to Thrive

  • Advancing Government Accountability and Transparency

  • Promoting Public and Workplace Safety

Within those categories you’ll see examples of some of the general issues where we have broad consensus within the caucus. In some cases members already have legislation introduced to address them; in other cases the legislation is still being drafted.

Climate Action Committee begins its work

On Friday we had our first meeting of the 2019 Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction.  It’s largely the same group that has been working on developing Oregon’s strategies for climate action during the interim, though with a few new members--Reps Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) and Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), and Senators Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland).  Rep Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) and I are the committee chairs, and our Republican colleagues Rep David Brock Smith from Gold Beach and Senator Cliff Bentz from Ontario are the vice chairs.

We began the work of the committee with reports from Oregon’s Global Warming Commission and from our scientific advisory body, the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, with presentations by Commission Chair Angus Duncan and Institute Director Phil Mote from OSU.  Angus shared with us the latest emissions trends and climate-change impacts for Oregon, while Dr. Mote expanded on those findings with scenarios and projections based on leading scientific consensus.  Both presentations pointed to progress in some ways—notably wider adoption (and lowered costs) of renewables in the electricity system—but overall their messages were sobering and full of urgency: we need to ramp up both our emissions-reduction strategies and our adaptation/resiliency efforts as soon as possible.  Oregonians need to step up and help lead the way for other states to follow.

You can find their presentations here.  If you’re interested in watching the hearing, it’s archived here.

The revised Clean Energy Jobs bill draft is being finalized by Legislative Counsel and will be available towards the end of this week.  You’ll find it posted on our committee website as part of the meeting materials for our February 1 meeting.  On February 1 Legislative Counsel will walk us through the bill, and members of the joint committee will be able to ask questions and have preliminary discussion.  We’ll then move into two weeks of public comment on the bill, which will almost certainly result in a series of amendments.  Stay tuned for further updates.

If you’d like to subscribe to receive updates and messages automatically from the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, go to the committee website and click “e-subscribe” in the upper right-hand corner.

Saturday: Constituent Coffee

During the session, I'll continue to hold my first-Saturday-of-the-month constituent coffees.  The next one is this Saturday, February 2nd at 9am at the Hollywood Senior Center (1820 NE 40th Ave.).  I'll have updates on all of this and more, so I hope to see you there.

dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

phone: 503-986-1723
mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301

michael_dembrow_s_newsletter_january_31_2019.txt · Last modified: 2019/02/16 01:34 by admin