New Tools and Guidance On Remote Legislative Engagement from OLIS

Posted by on Jan 11, 2021

January 11th, 2021 marks the first official day of the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session. Though bills are being released for review and other familiar processes are moving forward, this is not business-as-usual. The 2021 Session will take place in a mostly virtual fashion–there will be little human presence in the state capitol building, and legislative activities from committee hearings to lobbying will take place remotely.

The Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) has long been an excellent resource to find out what’s going on in Oregon’s legislative process. For example, you can view a calendar of events on the pgage, and access each legislator’s profile, contact information, district served, and personal statement. All bills and legislative concepts, past and present, can be searched on OLIS. Now that we have officially started the 2021 legislative session, OLIS has also put together some information and resources to help Oregonians know how to get involved in this new virtual environment.

Start with their collection of guidance under “Citizen Engagement.” You will find the following categories:

  • Building Information
  • Committee Information, Agendas, and Schedules
  • Legislator Contact Information
  • Process

Under “Building Information,” you can find information on how to request an ADA accommodation:

To request ADA accommodations, email or call 503-986-1373. Requests for accommodation should be made at least 72 hours in advance. For more information, visit the Oregon State Legislature Universal Access Page.

Legislative Committees are the first place that bills are heard and considered by legislators. They work through the major issues before the legislature and process them for eventual vote by both House and Senate. The “Committee Information, Agendas, and Schedules” tab has all the information the title promises. For example, “How do I find Committee Members For A Specific Legislative Committee?”:

The Committees tab on the Legislative Website has committee member information. Committee assignments are listed by member or committee under the Committee Assignments heading on the sidebar.If you have trouble finding information, contact the Legislative Policy and Research Office at 503-986-1813 or 800-332-2313 for assistance. 

Under “Legislator Contact Information,” they have included this incredibly useful search tool:

Enter your address using the Find Your District Legislator Tool to find your State Senate and State House districts. 

​​​The “Process” section includes a variety of important information–how to follow a bill, how to access information on work sessions, and this link under “Is It Possible To Watch Meetings Remotely?”:

Yes, stream committee hearings, committee work sessions, and floor sessions on the Legisl​ative Video page. ​

As we walk through the opening days of the 2021 Legislative Session against the back-drop of the COVID-19 pandemic and instances and threats of violent insurrection, active engagement and close attention is required from each one of us, as citizens. We will continue to share resources and information as we face these challenges together.