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Having worked in the Oregon Senate for six years, I have several comments to add, joining the arguments opposed to this measure:
1: This measure should appeal to those too intellectually lazy to review the extensive reform discussions by the Public Commission on the Legislature (PCOL), mentioned in earlier comments.
2. The actual workflow of the legislature depends on the close proximity of the legislators to each other and to support and committee staff. During the session, everyone is multi-tasking continuously. Committee meetings and floor sessions may end and begin seconds apart, and you will need the full complement of resource material for each, some of which may have been updated just minutes before, somewhere else in the building, and by more than one source.
The surest way to keep your legislator out of the loop and behind everyone else is to require him or her to be someplace out of the building.
3. Among the PCOL reform recommendations already enacted is the expansion of live streaming and archived video of all committee hearings and floor sessions. If a citizen isn't using this resource, then he or she is probably not engaged enough to understand how the legislative process works (see intellectually lazy comment above) in the first place, much less able to understand the impact of a radical change in structure.
4. With a couple of thousand bills in the system at any given time, and having the responsibility as a legislator to keep track of what is changing and what is not, updated daily, sometimes more often than that, the notion that this essential part of legislating can be done remotely or by a third party is nonsense.
5. The nature of the legislative process is not constant, as the measure's authors presume. The various bill introduction and committee closing deadlines, along with the quarterly revenue forecasts, drive much of the action. The closer the legislature gets to the end of session, the greater the pressure, and your most important bills can and do die if you are not physically present to manage them.
6. Conversely, if you are serious about opposing any given bill, you will want your legislator on the job, in the building, working to defeat it.
posted 3 years, 6 months ago
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