SALEM — The Oregon House approved a bill Monday that removes a two-year residency requirement for recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers, but first lawmakers had to read the bill.
All 51 pages.
The extraordinary narration — which after a few minutes made for an effective sleep aid — resulted from a rarely used procedural move deployed by Republicans during the Legislature’s 35-day session:
Each bill must be read aloud, in its entirety, no matter how long it takes.
And so it went. One after the other, lawmakers took turns reciting House Bill 4014. Some stopped to sip water. Others tried to speed read or worked to deliver dry legal language with flair. Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sun River, stumbled over “cannabis,” calling it “cannibal.”
Another lawmaker, Rep. Carla Piluso, D-Gresham, too, struggled with pronunciation.
“Cannabinoid?” the former police chief asked, looking up from the bill. “Is that how you say that?”
The drawn-out House vote, which began in the morning and extended well into the afternoon, marked the second carnival-like floor session in the past three business days. On Thursday, Senate Republicans used a blizzard of procedural moves to stretch a vote on the minimum wage to more than six hours.
Republicans in both chambers, upset that Democrats were packing so many complicated and politically contentious issues into the session, made it known on the first day that they would be far stingier with the courtesies and constitutional waivers they normally supply without a hitch.
It took almost two hours to get a little more than halfway through the marijuana bill, one of several pot-related proposals moving through the Legislature. House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, spared the chamber’s clerks and spread the pain by asking lawmakers to read the legislation — a move widely seen as unprecedented.
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