The 2014 Legislative Session opened Monday morning with the traditional organizational floor session and swearing-in of new members. The 35-day session that takes place in even-numbered years like 2014 can be best characterized as a sprint to the finish. Committees are already on 1-hour notice for hearings and work sessions, keeping legislators and lobbyists on high alert at all times. Thus far, more than 250 bills have already been introduced, with more certain to follow in the week ahead. One bill of considerable interest to AGC addresses the addition of apprenticeship to Oregon’s 40-40-20 education goals. This bill is seen as a critical component to the growing of the construction industry’s future workforce.
One of AGC’s top priorities for the session is addressing legislation proposed by the Infrastructure Task Force that would create a state agency with the authority to screen large projects and recommend they proceed as public-private partnerships. AGC is opposed to the legislation as currently drafted. However, we continue to work with the Governor’s office on substantial amendments that would address AGC’s concerns while keeping the issue of infrastructure funding moving forward. One other issue will be potentially seeking an additional appropriation to support Career Technical Education (CTE) which will be subject to the whims of next week’s revenue forecast and other funding priorities. Talks also continue behind the scenes on reviving the now Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing project, in what is seen as a “last chance” for the project.
The AGC blog will be your primary source of legislative news throughout the session, so check back here for updates. If you would like additional information on AGC’s legislative priorities and core issue positions, please click here. If you have further questions, please contact Public and Strategic Affairs Director John Rakowitz at 503-317-1781.