2017 Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature

Oregon's 2015 Legislative Session

TWO BIG WINS, AND LOTS LEFT TO DO

The legislative session started with a bang. In fact, just 16 days in, Governor John Kitzhaber resigned and a new governor, then-Secretary of State Kate Brown, was sworn in. Governor Brown led an impressive transition, ensuring that the state budget process and legislative session moved forward smoothly.

An environmental priority since 2009, the Clean Fuels Program was set to expire in 2015. The program, designed to both reduce greenhouse gases from the transportation sector and kick-start local investments in the clean fuels industry, was at risk of becoming collateral damage as a priority of the former governor. Despite these challenges, thanks to the strong leadership of Senator Chris Edwards and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson, the bill passed in March. Governor Brown quickly signed SB 324 into law, which lifted the sunset on the Clean Fuels Program. (Usually, when a bill is signed into law, everyone moves on. Not with Clean Fuels. Read more.)

While Clean Fuels passed early in session, another big win had to wait until the second-to-last day. The Toxic-Free Kids Act, SB 478, was part of an OLCV Special Focus on Toxics Reduction. Many chemicals found in children’s products have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, but manufacturers are not required to disclose this information. SB 478 requires disclosure and also requires phase-out of toxics in those products most likely to cause harm. The vote was partisan and the debate fierce in the Senate, but in the House, it was a different story. The bill passed easily with bipartisan support throughout the floor debate. Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer and Senator Chris Edwards have earned our thanks for their leadership and commitment to Oregon kids.

Unfortunately, these big wins were two of only eight bills championed by the environmental community and passed by the Legislature. This session showed that certain industries continue to have outsized power at the Capitol. Whether it’s the utilities or timber, money talks – and a strong desire for consensus often trumps doing the right thing.

 
 

About OLCV

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization with a simple mission: to pass laws that protect Oregon's environmental legacy, elect pro-environment candidates to office, and hold all of our elected officials accountable.

For more information about OLCV, visit our website at olcv.org.

About the Scorecard

For more than 40 years, OLCV has protected Oregon's natural legacy. An essential part of our work is holding our elected officials accountable. The OLCV Environmental Scorecard is not only one of our most important accountability tools, but also a tradition. The first scorecard was published in 1973.

By sharing how each member of the Legislature voted on the most critical conservation bills, we help Oregonians understand whether legislators listened to their constituents, or if they listened to special interest groups instead. It also serves as a summary of environmental bills and includes special recognition of the legislative champions.