Oregon State Legislature

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Oregon State Legislature

Seal of Oregon.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   February 4, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Peter Courtney (D)
House Speaker:  Arnie Roblan (D)
Bruce Hanna (R)
Majority Leader:   Diane Rosenbaum (D) (Senate),
Tina Kotek, (D)
Kevin Cameron (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Ted Ferrioli (R) (Senate)
Members:  30 (Senate), 60 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art IV, Oregon Constitution
Salary:   $21,936/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
14 seats (Senate)
60 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Oregon Legislature has control
The Oregon Legislative Assembly is the state legislature for the state of Oregon. The Legislative Assembly is a bicameral consisting of an upper house, the Oregon State Senate, and a lower house, the Oregon House of Representatives. There are no term limits for either house in the Legislative Assembly.

The legislature is a citizens' assembly (meaning that most legislators have other jobs.)

As of April 2015, Oregon is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.


Article IV of the Oregon Constitution establishes when the Legislature is to meet. Section 10 of Article IV states that the Legislature will meet in regular session once every two years. The section goes on to establish starting dates for these sessions, but these dates have been changed by law (as the section allows). Under current law, sessions convene on the second Monday in January of all odd years.[1]

Section 10 of Article IV also requires the presiding officers of both legislative houses to convene an emergency session of the Legislature when a majority of the members of each house request an emergency session.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from February 4 through June 21 (estimated).

Major issues

Major issues for 2013 include in-state tuition and driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. Both measures have been hotly debated in recent sessions but have not passed.[2] They are also expected to take up background checks for guns.[3]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 1 through March 6.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from February 1 through June 30. [4]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature did not hold a regular session. However, the Legislature was in special session from February 1st to February 25th.[5]


The Oregon State Senate is the upper house of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. There are 30 members of the State Senate, representing 30 districts across the state. Each member represents an average of 127,702 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[6] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 114,047.[7] Each Senate district is composed of exactly two House districts: Senate District 1 contains House Districts 1 and 2, SD 2 contains HD 3 and HD 4, and so on.

Oregon State Senators serve four year terms without term limits. In 2002, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the decade-old law, Oregon Ballot Measure 3 (1992), that had restricted State Senators to two terms (eight years) on procedural grounds.

Like certain other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the State Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to state departments, commissions, boards, and other state governmental agencies.

Oregon, along with Arizona, Maine, and Wyoming, is one of the four U.S. states to have abolished the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a position which for most upper houses of state legislatures and indeed for the U.S. Congress (with the Vice President) is the head of the legislative body. Instead, a separate position of Senate President is in place, removed from the Oregonian executive branch.

Current Make-up

The latest elections for the Oregon State Senate occurred on November 7, 2006. 15 of the Senate's 30 seats were open for election. The Democratic Party retained their majority, with no loss or gain of seats for any party. Shortly after the 2006 election, Senator Ben Westlund, whose seat was not up for election in 2006, announced his party change from Independent to the Democratic Party. His switch resulted in the current make-up of 18 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 1 Independent.

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 18
     Republican Party 12
Total 30

House of Representatives

The Oregon House of Representatives is the lower house of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. There are 60 members of the House, representing 60 districts across the state. Each member represents an average of 63,851 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[8] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 57,023.[9]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 35
     Republican Party 25
Total 60


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Oregon’’
Partisan breakdown of the Oregon legislature from 1992-2013

Oregon State Senate: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Oregon State Senate for 12 years while the Republicans were the majority for eight years. Oregon was under a Democratic trifecta the final year of the study.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Oregon State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Oregon State House of Representatives for five years while the Republicans were the majority for 15 years. Oregon was under a Democratic trifecta for the final year of the study.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Oregon, the Oregon State Senate and the Oregon House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Oregon state government(1992-2013).PNG



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Oregon Legislature are paid $21,936/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive $123/day per diem tied to the federal rate.[10]

The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate receive twice as much salary as other legislators. These salaries have been determined by statute. [11]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Oregon legislators assume office the second Monday in January.

Joint Legislative Committees

There are 7 joint legislative committees in the Oregon State Legislature:

Decommissioned Joint Committees:

External links