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Education Bills Moving In The Oregon Legislature

With committee deadlines approaching in the Oregon Legislature, lawmakers moved two bills Wednesday aimed at changing oversight of higher education.

Lawmakers are debating what roles, responsibilities — and members — a state Higher Education Coordinating Commission should have. In large part, the commission would oversee public universities, community colleges, and student financial aid.

Republican Representative Mark Johnson says that since lawmakers plan to consolidate power into one commission, who the commissioners are is really important.

“The more stakeholders we place on that board — i.e. people that are there primarily because they’re representing a group, or a group of individuals — I think it becomes more problematic.”

The bill made it out of committee — on a party-line vote.

At the same time legislators are looking to consolidate higher ed oversight, they may give more autonomy to Oregon’s largest public universities.

A bill to create independent university boards made it out of the higher ed committee, but without an approval recommendation. The senate has a similar bill on university boards.

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