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Will Oregon House members work together across the aisle in Salem or be run by strict party politics? After our show on political compromise, Rep. Jules Bailey told me the survival or death of the "Rule of 31" will set the tone.
That rule allows for "a majority of 31 members to bring a bill to the floor for consideration" no matter how many are from what party. It was part of the 2007 House rules and applied to sessions since then. It may or may not return in January.
Bailey says the Rule of 31 is important because it allows legislators who have found common ground to bring a bill up for a vote, even if the Speaker of the House or party leadership doesn't want to allow it. Power sharing in the now evenly divided House is still being negotiated. Bailey worries if there are two Speakers with equal authority — to veto any agenda item or other action — the Rule of 31 might disappear. And with it, he says, a great tool for progress through compromise.
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