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Oregon Lawmakers Wrap Session, Describe Mix Of Success And Failure

The Oregon Legislature on Friday finished a more than five-month session that left most participants with mixed emotions.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, told his colleagues "they would be remembered for doing pretty good things in an extraordinarily difficult time when everyone is divided."

Courtney gaveled the Senate into adjournment at 11:58 a.m. on the 157th day of the session after deciding not to wait for the House to finish.

The House was still debating a series of hot-button issues and did not adjourn until 3:26 p.m.

Legislative leaders usually like to simultaneously adjourn to ringing applause throughout the Capitol. But the ragged end was in keeping with the session’s up-and-down nature.

A $5.3 billion transportation bill won wide support. But Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a blueprint for raising some business taxes while cutting government overhead. That held down school spending.

In the last few days of the session, the Democratic majority did push through several priority bills on issues important to them — and particularly opposed by Republicans.

That last minute push included passage of a bill allowing judges to remove guns from someone deemed to be a danger to self or others as well as legislation providing health care for the children of undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Knute Buehler, a Bend Republican eyeing a run for governor, complained about a session he said was "rancorous" and "excessively partisan."

<p>Members of Oregon's House of Representatives meet during the last day of the 2017 legislative session on Friday, July 7, 2017.</p>

Andrew Selsky

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Members of Oregon's House of Representatives meet during the last day of the 2017 legislative session on Friday, July 7, 2017.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.