As Oregon Lawmakers Ramp Up Activity, They Are Also Considering Designating State Pets

In an example of legislative compromise, cats and dogs are on equal footing in House Concurrent Resolution 8.

The Ross Dog Park (Abby Gordon)

Oregon lawmakers have a lot on their plates this session. On Feb. 14, for instance, the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness will hold a public hearing on House Bill 2001, which directs the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services to produce a statewide report that lawmakers hope will be a foundation for aggressively increasing housing supply. (HB 2001 will include a number of proposals aimed at alleviating Oregon’s housing shortage. At a public hearing Feb. 14, lawmakers introduced some specifics, including funding for modular housing; a revolving loan fund for middle class housing; the expansion of Gov. Tina Kotek’s homeless state of emergency to all of Oregon; and, eviction reforms. More components will be added to the bill in coming weeks.)

Other committees are working to improve the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.

But legislating also includes less weighty topics, such as the quest to designate Oregon’s state pet. House Concurrent Resolution 8 would name “rescued shelter dogs and cats as official state pet.” (To be clear, the legislation does not seek to dethrone the beaver as Oregon’s state animal. A 2016 legislative effort to name the Newfoundland as state dog failed to gain traction.)

Unlike another somewhat whimsical piece of legislation, Salem Democratic state Rep. Paul Evans’ effort to get One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest named Oregon’s state film through House Concurrent Resolution 14, HCR 8 has, yes, legs.

While the Cuckoo’s Nest measure has drawn more notice on social media, it is still awaiting committee action. By contrast, the pet designation had a public hearing and work session in the House (more than 40 people submitted supportive testimony) and won overwhelming bipartisan approval in a House floor vote Jan. 31.

The bill now awaits further action in the Senate Rules Committee.

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