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Bill Deadline Passes As Oregon Legislature Reaches Halfway Point

The 762 chairs set up on the Capitol Mall Wednesday represented the number of Oregonians who died by suicide in 2015.
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
The 762 chairs set up on the Capitol Mall Wednesday represented the number of Oregonians who died by suicide in 2015.

A key deadline for measures to advance in the Oregon Legislature has passed. That means Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of what's remaining on their agenda.

Hundreds of bills -- some of which enjoyed bipartisan support -- are no longer in play.

For example, a measure championed by Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, and Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, would have had the state distribute suicide-prevention materials at gun shops.

On Tuesday, with the deadline imminent, the bill was tabled with little explanation in the House Judiciary Committee. Steiner Hayward isn't sure why.

"I think there were a variety of factors in play. It's a little unclear to me and I'm trying to get more information," she said before addressing a small crowd at a ceremony on the Capitol Mall to remember Oregonians who have died by suicide.

"Representative Buehler and I are very hopeful we can resurrect it," Steiner Hayward said. "We feel really strongly that it's important to offer firearms dealers to provide education. Not a mandate, but just an opportunity to provide information that's evidence-based."

Other bills that didn't make it past the deadline include a measure to regulate ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft statewide. And a bill that would have allowed cities and counties to ban genetically engineered crops failed to make the cut.

Lawmakers have until early July to wrap up their work on legislation that's still alive. That includes bills related to the state budget.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.