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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.

Kitzhaber Signs Special Session Bills, Unions Plan Challenge

Photo courtesy of the Governor's office.

Five bills approved by Oregon lawmakers during a special session last week are now law. Gov. John Kitzhaber signed the legislation Tuesday. But the future of one of those measures is in doubt.

Public employee unions plan a legal challenge. 

It's not a matter of if, but how. That's what an attorney who's led several public pension lawsuits in Oregon says about the chances of a legal challenge to the measure just signed by Kitzhaber. 

The law reduces the cost-of-living increases for most retired public employees.

Lawmakers passed a similar measure earlier this year. That one is currently under review by the Oregon Supreme Court.

The new law makes even deeper cuts, and Portland attorney Greg Hartman says the only question at this point is whether unions will amend their current lawsuit or file a separate one.

Oral arguments have not been scheduled yet in the original case.

The public pension measure was part of a cost-cutting deal approved by lawmakers during a three-day special session last week. The agreement also included some targeted tax hikes and tax breaks.

On the Web:

Oregon Senate Bill 861: