Education, climate change, health care on lawmakers’ agenda

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Legislature, having convened for the 2019 session, will now aim to improve the state’s lagging public schools — and find the revenue to accomplish that, address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promote access to health care.

The session began Tuesday. Democrats who control both the Senate and the House of Representatives have stretched out a hand to Republicans to bridge the divide.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, for example, said lawmakers are building consensus on land use in Republican-dominated eastern Oregon. He highlighted a Senate bill on Tuesday that allows counties there to designate up to 50 acres outside urban growth boundaries for industrial and other employment uses.

The bill was sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, and Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena.