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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Governor Wants To Require Schools To Test For Lead And Share Results


Oregon schools could soon be required to test for the presence of lead in drinking water, paint and even dirt. That's according to a set of rules proposed Tuesday by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. It adds to a list that already included radon and other chemicals.

The draft directive would order every public and charter school in the state to conduct lead testing to make sure their buildings are safe for students and employees. Districts would have to come up with a plan by October on how they intend to accomplish this.

The move comes after several Portland schools found high lead levels in drinking fountains and faucets. The rules would also require school districts to report their findings and actions to the public. It's not clear how much this will cost, but legislative leaders have signaled they intend to at least partly reimburse districts for the cost of lead testing.

The governor's directive will be presented to the Oregon Board of Education on Thursday but the rule won't be finalized until later this summer.