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Lawmakers make mad dash to keep bills alive

Tuesday was 'moving' day at the Oregon State Capitol as legislative deadline loomed.

Tuesday was moving day in the Oregon State Capitol, putting House and Senate committees in a mad dash to pass as many bills as possible before the cutoff.

About two dozen committee meetings were held across Monday and Tuesday alone for the purpose of advancing bills to the floor or to another committee for further consideration. Hundreds of bills were quickly passed along, many with amendments, some of them substantial.

It's a tedious ritual at the Capitol, with lawmakers rushing to abide by the strictures of the legislative calendar. The House Business and Labor Committee alone considered roughly 30 bills across two meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening, voting them out of committee one by one.

Not every bill made it out of its originating committee by the end of Tuesday. Those bills — except any bills parked in the Rules and Revenue committees or any of the joint House and Senate committees — are considered "dead" for the remainder of this legislative session.

And, of course, not every bill that survived the Tuesday deadline will continue its progression either. Rules committees and the Joint Ways and Means Committee are notorious "graveyards," and many bills that have been referred there — Rules tending to deal with more complicated and far-reaching bills, Ways and Means dealing with bills that have budgetary ramifications — won't end up making it to the floor before adjournment. Others may keep moving but undergo significant changes.

This week marked the halfway point in the session.