The 2020 Oregon Legislature ended its so-called "short session" March 5 after a Republican walkout that prevented passage of most bills, including a bill to ban coyote-killing contests and other animal-related bills (some good, some bad and some neutral).
The short session is held in even-numbered years. Limited to 35 days, it has strict limits on how many bills each legislator can introduce. Thus, it typically involves only a few issues. This year's Republican walkout, which prevented the legislature from having the two-thirds quorum necessary to conduct business, was primarily to stop a bill that would have limited greenhouse gas emissions from certain industries and required them to purchase credits to offset their emissions.
The bill to ban coyote-killing contests, House Bill 4075, passed the 60-member House of Representatives by a vote of 42-16 (with two members excused). Several Republicans as well as Democrats voted in favor of the bill after a stirring debate on the House floor. We supported the bill in a committee hearing and spent significant time talking to lawmakers to help win support. The bill then went to the Senate Committee on Rules where it stalled after the Republican walkout.
We also worked on a number of bills related to large-scale "confined animal feeding operations" or "CAFOs." In the wake of Lost Valley Farm, the failed mega-dairy near Boardman, Senate Bill 1513 would have made modest changes to the permitting system for new CAFOS. As part of a coalition of environmental, animal welfare and family farm groups, we opposed the bill on grounds it didn't go nearly far enough. The bill was nevertheless approved by two Senate committees and the Joint Committee on Ways and Means but died waiting for votes by the full House and Senate.
We also joined with other groups to weigh in on Senate Bill 1530, the bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We praised efforts to address the problem, which is hurting animals as well as people in many ways, but pointed out that animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions but would not have been covered by the bill. We also pointed out that incentives in the proposed legislation for the "capture" of methane from animal manure may actually make climate change worse by providing more money to factory farms.
For a complete list of the bills we were watching, our position, the reasons for our position, and the final outcome, go here. To see the full text of a bill, along with its history and other information, click on the bill number in our list. You can contact your state legislators at any time about any of these issues. Click here to find out who your legislators are (if you don't already know). You have one senator and one representative.
Thank you for your interest in animal welfare!