The Portland Business Alliance's request for a loosening of sidewalk rules, in hopes of reviving something like Portland's old (and unconstitutional) "sit-lie" law, is still alive. Today, on the last day this session for bills stuck in committee to be scheduled for a vote lest they die, HB 2963 was placed on the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee's May 30 agenda. It lives another day.
That hearing now looms as the next make-or-break point for the legislation. A vote of assent by the committee would send the bill to the Senate floor. And state senators would then seem likely to approve it, just as their counterparts in the House did late last month.
It'll be interesting to hear what Judiciary Chairman Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, has to say about the bill's chances. I've left a message with his office seeking comment. As I wrote in Hall Monitor this week, it was by his urging early this month that the bill was even placed in limbo in the first place. He offered some tart words for the PBA and demanded court files related to the sit-lie constitutional fight—a request that would days to fulfill, even as today's deadline for action loomed.
Prozanski, from famously tolerant Eugene, sounded a lot like the advocates battling the bill when he made the point that if all the PBA wants is a conversation about sidewalk rules that aren't working, then nothing is stopping them.
"It doesn't seem like the bill addressed [the desire for] a discussion," he said at the hearing. "It's giving a sanction based on whatever might come out of those discussions."
Critics of the bill have liked what they've heard, so far, from Prozanski. Will that continue?