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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 Lawmakers Use 'Lateral Pass' To Beat Bill Deadline

Edmund Garman

Oregon lawmakers are rushing to beat a Tuesday deadline for legislation to advance. But there's an old saying around the state capitol: No bill is truly dead until the final gavel falls.

If the legislature was a football game, moving a bill to the Rules Committee would be the equivalent of a lateral pass. The Rules Committee isn't subject to most deadlines so moving a bill there keeps it alive.

That's what just the House Business and Labor Committee did with a series of measures to increase the state's minimum wage. Democratic Chair Paul Holvey told lawmakers that a vote to move the bill to the Rules Committee is not the same as voting to raise the minimum wage.

"It's not indicating that you support or oppose the bill, generally,” he said.

Republican Jim Weidner disagreed with that assessment, saying, ”Keeping it alive would actually show a little bit of support, would it not?"

In the end, the minimum wage bills stayed alive on party line votes.