The Capitol Mourns the Loss of a True Stateswoman
Last Wednesday business came to a halt in the Capitol as the news that long-time Senator Jackie Winters had passed away was announced by Speaker Kotek on the House floor. Sen. Winters had served in the Legislature since 1999, but her days in the Capitol date back to the McCall administration. She has long been a true bipartisan policymaker and her passing comes less than a week after passage of the juvenile justice reform package she championed. In a press release from her bedside, she described it as her “crowning legislative achievement.”
With policy committees shutdown, House leadership took the opportunity to schedule extended floor sessions morning, afternoon and into the evening hours to get through the backlog of bills. This was in response to House Republicans not suspending a rule that require bills to be read in their entirety. This stall tactic came to an end on Wednesday when Reps Post (R-Salem) and Nearman (R-Dallas) voted with Democrats to suspend the rule.
With the House back in business, the PERS bill (SB 1049) was up for a House vote on Thursday. The bill nearly died on its initial vote as nine Democrats cast their vote against the bill sponsored by Speaker Kotek (predictably all House Republicans voted in opposition as “not enough”). As the House stood at ease, Rep. Greenlick (D-Portland) and Rep Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) were summoned to the Speaker’s office and returned to the floor to change their vote to “aye.” It now heads to the Governor’s desk where she has signaled she will sign it.