Oh, yes — the Constitution!

Opinion - Capital Press


Oregon state senators who looked into funding a pesticide use reporting system deserve hearty thanks for getting back to procedural basics.

The Senate Revenue Committee started to hear testimony on a bill that would use revenue from a proposed increase in pesticide dealer fees to fund the use reporting system. The Legislature approved that system in 1999.

But Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, interrupted testimony last week to remind the revenue panel that because the measure was a revenue-raising bill, it must start in the Oregon House. That’s what the Oregon Constitution requires.

Slim chance in the House: Rep. Jeff Kropf, R-Sublimity, as chairman of the House agriculture committee already stopped a bill there. He has told proponents that he doesn’t think the plan took the right funding approach.

So opponents of the plan to raise dealer fees cheered the constitutional snag. Proponents searched for a new funding mechanism. That will be a big challenge.

And the episode raises another key constitutional point. The Oregon Constitution specifies that the Legislature shall first decide what needs to be done by the state, then raise the funds to pay for those programs.

Following the Constitution changed the course of a bill to fund pesticide use reporting. Maybe it could change the course of state budgeting and spending to help keep Oregon out of the hole in the future.


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