Hill to Hall April 8–13

April 8: Oregon Senate rejects bill to lower Oregon’s drunk driving limit

A bill that would have lowered Oregon’s drunk driving limit from .08% to .05% died in session. Senate Bill 7 was proposed by Sen. President Peter Courtney, D–Ore., at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session in January of 2019. The only state to have successfully passed a law lowering the blood alcohol content limit is Utah in 2017, though Michigan is currently attempting to pass a similar law. The bill received support from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown but was opposed by the alcohol lobby. Courtney plans to keep pushing for the bill’s success in further sessions.

April 9: Oregon considers switching to popular vote model

The Oregon Senate determined Oregon will join the National Vote Interstate Compact in a 17-12 vote. The compact is a way for Oregon to bypass the electoral college in the future by pledging to give all seven electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote. If passed, Oregon would be the 16th state to join the movement. The compact would go into effect after 280 votes—the threshold to win the presidential election.

April 10: Portland educators lobby for education funding

An estimated 700–1,000 Portland teachers filled Pioneer Courthouse Square on April 10 to lobby for more funding for schools. The event was hosted by Schools Oregon Students  Deserve, a collection of Portland teacher’s unions. The rally is in response to a new tax proposal that would add $2 billion for Oregon schools. Schools Oregon Students Deserve aims to increase this funding while also pushing for more funding for special education and higher education—which is not included in the tax proposal.

April 12: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler responds to President Trump’s threats

President Trump stated in a tweet he has considered transporting undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities as a retaliation against Democrats’ unwillingness to support stricter immigration measures such as the border wall. Last November, Oregonians voted against a measure that would reverse the sanctuary laws in Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler has since responded to these threats, stating that he denounces the idea and called it an “unconscionable consideration.”