Governor John Kitzhaber speaks at a state capitol press conference. Photo by Chris Lehman
SALEM, Ore. – With less than a week to go in the legislative session, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is stepping up the pressure on lawmakers to act soon on his major policy proposals. At least one of his key initiatives gained final approval Thursday, but three more are stalled.
The governor came into this session pushing four bills — two related to health care, two to education. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn next Wednesday. So the Democrat stepped up to the mic to urge lawmakers to act, especially in the evenly divided House.
Kitzhaber said lawmakers were able to set aside their differences last year when they laid the groundwork for his health care and education agenda.
"This year we have the opportunity to move that important work forward with the same spirit of bi-partisanship," Kitzhaber said. "I think Oregonians expect no less."
Just hours after the governor spoke, lawmakers did give the final approval to one measure, his plan to overhaul the way health care is managed for low-income Oregonians.
The top Republican in the House, Bruce Hanna, said he's optimistic that Kitzhaber and GOP leaders can overcome disagreements on the remaining bills on the governor's agenda. But Hanna also said he won't give in on key issues simply because time is running out during the session.
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Gov. Kitzhaber's legislative priorities:
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