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Government and Politics
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.

Bill Deadline Passes As Oregon Legislature Reaches Halfway Point

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Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
The 762 chairs set up on the Capitol Mall Wednesday represented the number of Oregonians who died by suicide in 2015.

A key deadline for measures to advance in the Oregon Legislature has passed. That means Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of what's remaining on their agenda.

Hundreds of bills -- some of which enjoyed bipartisan support -- are no longer in play.

For example, a measure championed by Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, and Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, would have had the state distribute suicide-prevention materials at gun shops.

On Tuesday, with the deadline imminent, the bill was tabled with little explanation in the House Judiciary Committee. Steiner Hayward isn't sure why.

"I think there were a variety of factors in play. It's a little unclear to me and I'm trying to get more information," she said before addressing a small crowd at a ceremony on the Capitol Mall to remember Oregonians who have died by suicide.

"Representative Buehler and I are very hopeful we can resurrect it," Steiner Hayward said. "We feel really strongly that it's important to offer firearms dealers to provide education. Not a mandate, but just an opportunity to provide information that's evidence-based."

Other bills that didn't make it past the deadline include a measure to regulate ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft statewide. And a bill that would have allowed cities and counties to ban genetically engineered crops failed to make the cut.

Lawmakers have until early July to wrap up their work on legislation that's still alive. That includes bills related to the state budget.