Oregon Legislature: What they did - and what they didn't do

The Oregon Capitol

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon lawmakers closed the annual legislative session Friday, passing a number of bills on the final day.

Among the measures that passed:

HEALTH CARE FOR KIDS: State-sponsored health care will be accessible for more than 14,000 undocumented children in Oregon who were brought to the U.S. illegally. The House voted 37 to 23.

A Roseburg Republican warned the legislation might run afoul of federal rules on medicaid coverage.

"So you're not just expanding Medicaid but you're taking a risk of not having federal funding coming, because of some of the agenda items that were passed in the legislation," Rep. Cedric Haydn said.

ABORTION: A bill passed Wednesday requires insurance companies to cover abortions at no cost to the patient. People in the country illegally who are ineligible for Medicaid could have costs of abortions and other reproductive health care services paid by the state.

GRAND JURY RECORDINGS: Lawmakers passed a bill to mandate audio recordings of all county grand jury proceedings. Oregon is one of 2 states not to follow that protocol.

"We're very concerned on making certain that we have the integrity of the criminal justice system maintained by having a recording, so we know accurately what was said," Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, said.

"It's a situation where we're going to expose an officer and public servant to civil liability," Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, said in opposition

TRANSPORTATION: Despite divisions on taxes and other issues, the legislature found common ground on roads and infrastructure. Lawmakers on Thursday passed a $5.3 billion transportation plan that will probably cost you some money.

"The one that will prove to be controversial is a very tiny payroll tax statewide to support transit," Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, predicted. "It's one tenth of 1 percent."

State gas taxes at the pump will rise 4 cents a gallon next January, with smaller increases every other year. Vehicle registration fees will be bumped up.

But Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, left Salem disappointed.

"Two huge failures of the legislature have been its failure to actually deal with school funding in a way that gets us to the point where we have the schools that we need for our kids," he said.

The other failure? No movement on stabilizing tuition costs for students at public universities.

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