Gov. Kate Brown has released a list of potential vetoes of legislation that passed in the recently concluded 2019 session.
The list is short, which isn't surprising. Brown, a Democrat, is largely in sync with the Democratic super-majorities in both legislative chambers.
Possible vetoes, as The Oregonian first reported, include a proposal in House Bill 2377 to sweep $5 million from the Oregon Medical Board's reserves into the state's general fund, which Brown says would be unfair. She said she'll also probably veto a separate $500,000 grant for Eastern Oregon cities to do planning regarding their urban growth boundaries, which Brown says duplicates other funding.
The more interesting items are House Bill 2437, which would provide a 60-fold expansion of the amount of material farmers could excavate from streams and ditches. As WW reported earlier, the Wetlands Conservancy, a conservation group, strongly opposed the bill, which it said would accelerate the destruction of the very wetlands Brown has pledged to protect. The bill had strong support from Oregon's agricultural industry, which tends to support Republicans.
Brown thinks the wetlands bill unnecessarily reduces consultation with wildlife agencies and by allowing the placement of excavated materials on wetlands, conflicts with state policy.
Brown also says she's likely to veto a $4 million appropriation to pay for design and permitting for replacing the Big Creek Dams in Newport. That funding was included in House Bill 5050, the so-called "Christmas Tree bill" which includes money for specific projects around the state. The veto is interesting because Newport is in the Senate district represented by state Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), who was one of three Democratic senators who opposed House Bill 2020, the controversial climate bill that cause a GOP walkout and failed to pass.
There are numerous other dams around the state in worse or equally bad shape and so Brown says she would prefer to draw up a list and prioritize the work, rather than cherry-picking projects.
Brown's spokeswoman, Kate Kondayen, says the governor made her veto decisions on the basis of policy without regard to personalities or politics.
"The overall focus was on the wise use of taxpayer dollars," Kondayen tells WW in an email.