Speaker Merkley Announces Changes to House Rules

January 08, 2007

OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER
Representative Jeff Merkley
State Capitol, Room 269
Salem, Oregon

January 8, 2007
Contact: Russ Kelley (503) 986-1210

Speaker Merkley Announces Changes to House Rules

SALEM^0TMThe Oregon House of Representatives today adopted changes to its rules for the 74th Legislative Assembly. The rules changes will foster a more open legislative process and grant more power to the minority party than in recent legislative sessions.

^0These rule changes will make the House more transparent and collaborative,^0+/- Merkley said. ^0We ought to encourage every member to use their voice on behalf of their constituents, regardless of their party affiliation (R)C and these new rules will help us accomplish that.^0+/-

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^0 72 HOUR NOTICE FOR COMMITTEE HEARINGS (R)C We will require that all committee chairs give 72 hours
notice before they hold the first hearing on any bill. This will give more Oregonians an
opportunity to travel to Salem to be heard on the issues that matter to them.

^0 CONTENT OF HEARING NOTICES (R)C When notice of a hearing is given for a bill, that notice must
contain the bill number and a description of the content of the bill. This rule applies to all
budget bills as well.

^0 PUBLIC RECORDS RETENTION (R)C Records that contain information relating to the conduct of the
public^0Os business must be retained by legislators for a period of one year.

^0 PRIORITY CONSIDERATION FOR BIPARTISAN BILLS (R)C Each member may designate up to two bills for
priority consideration by the House. These bills, which must have at least two chief sponsors
from each party, will be guaranteed a committee hearing and a work session.

^0 PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION ON COMMITTEES (R)C We will restore the proportionality of the Ways and
Means committee and the Emergency Board to reflect the representation of the two parties in the
House.

^0 INDEPENDENT PARLIAMENTARIAN (R)C The Parliamentarian plays an essential role in interpreting and
enforcing the rules of the House. We will restore the independence of the Parliamentarian by
vesting the authority to hire or terminate the Parliamentarian with the entire body, not just
the Speaker.

^0 ROBUST RULE OF 31 (R)C In a democratic body, a majority of members ought to be able to set the
agenda. We will restore the provision that allows a majority of 31 members to bring a bill to
the floor for consideration, and we will restore the supermajority requirement for changing that
rule.

^0 SPONSORSHIP OF BILLS (R)C Any member may sign on as a sponsor of a bill and will no longer be
required to secure the permission of the Chief Sponsor before doing so.

^0 BILL REFERRALS (R)C Bills must be referred to the committee of jurisdiction within seven calendar
days. This shortens the referral period which previously stood at seven session days.

^0 CONFERENCE COMMITTEE SCOPE OF AUTHORITY (R)C The scope of authority for conference committees will
be limited to the difference between the two versions of a bill. This brings the House in line
with the customs of the Senate, and will prevent last minute bill substitutions that have not
been heard by and vetted through the committee process.

^0 ELIMINATING FINES TO COMPEL ATTENDANCE (R)C The $1000 per day penalty for failure to attend the
legislative session will be eliminated. As has historically been the case, the Sergeant-at-Arms
and the Oregon State Police will once again enforce attendance policies.

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