Hundreds of bills introduced as 2024 Legislative Session continues

SALEM, Ore.– Hundreds of bills were introduced in the Oregon Legislature Tuesday as this year’s short legislative session gets underway.

Most of this legislative session will be focused on revising Measure 110 and addressing the housing shortage.

But local legislators are working on securing wildfire prevention funding and bringing more medical examiners to Southern Oregon.

Ashland Democratic Senator Jeff Golden is looking to bring in more short term funding for wildfire prevention.

He said long-term funding solutions might not be possible until the longer 2025 session.

Golden said, “it’s estimated that the public cost of these fires is about 20 times what the suppression cost is. So generally we’ve been spending about $100 million a year to fight fires, multiply that by 20 and you’ve got $2 billion.”

Golden wants to spend an extra $30 million annually on fire suppression.

Medford Republican Representative Kim Wallan is also working to get a couple of her bills passed, including one that will give some insight into the state’s medical examiner system.

Wallan said, “it is asking the state police to do a study on our lack of medical examiners and just our medical examiner system in general in the state. It’s pretty disjointed. There’s a lot of play between counties and different agencies.”

Wallan also has a bill that aims to help the department of agriculture investigate marijuana and hemp grows.

But the short session means it is more difficult to get bills passed before the deadline.

When it comes to larger issues like Measure 110, both Wallan and Golden believe there is room for compromise.

They only have until March 10th to find a solution.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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