2023-24 Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature

Environmental and Climate Progress: Despite Longest Republican Walkout in Oregon’s History

To say that the 2023 Legislative Session was challenging would be an understatement. Ten Senate Republicans staged the longest walkout in Oregon history, nearly grinding the legislature to a halt. Their walkout made an already tough session nearly impossible. Moving forward to the 2024 short session, the reverberations from the Republican senators’ walkout continued. The 2024 session was highly negotiated with the Republicans largely dictating what could be accomplished. While they stayed in the building, and we made some collective progress on key environmental issues, we left a lot on the table in terms of progress on climate change, wildlife conservation, and we even lost ground on Oregon’s iconic land use laws.

Despite the incredible challenges caused by the walkout, one of our biggest wins in the 2023 Legislative Session was the comprehensive Climate Resiliency Package, which provides $90 million in funding for more than a dozen climate bills. During the 2024 session, we made small but important progress on climate, including passing nearly $20 million for programs that help low income Oregonians lower their energy bills while increasing energy efficiency and clean energy.

Unfortunately, in 2023 and 2024, defending against bad bills took more work than it should have. In 2023, six bills were designated as Major Threats and there was a slew of bad bills that would have undercut Oregon’s iconic land use laws. One of those bills, HB 3414 was a housing bill that became a bad land use bill in the last days of session. The bill was one of Governor Kotek’s priorities for the 2023 session, but once an urban growth expansion was added to the bill we had to designate it a Major Threat to a Healthy Oregon, and our efforts along with our partners led to the bill dying on the Senate Floor by one single vote.

The fight to protect our urban growth boundaries continued into the 2024 session in the next version of the Governor’s housing bill, SB 1537. Even with some important improvements made by the governor, this bill started off as a Major Threat. However, the work of OLCV, our members, and our partners got the bill improved enough for the Major Threat to be removed. To be clear, allowing Oregon cities to expand by 50 to 100 acres without adequate process is bad policy, and sets a dubious precedent, but after intense negotiations and getting the acreage reduced we needed to acknowledge the progress made, which is why we did not score this bill. Housing policies this year also provided millions of dollars of much needed infrastructure funding to municipalities to make the available land inside UGBs ready for development–– which is a huge win on multiple fronts.

In the 2023 and 2024 sessions, we also made progress on reducing waste from plastics and e-waste, improving protections against toxics in children’s products and personal care products, strengthening our marine reserves, divesting Oregon’s investments from coal, and initial steps to help unlock clean energy projects in Oregon. There is more work ahead, especially to ensure that every single year Oregon is taking significant action on climate change.

Thanks to all our efforts alongside our partners, and OLCV’s amazing volunteers and members, not a single Major Threat passed the last two sessions, and we had some significant wins. Please check out our updated 2023-24 Legislative Scorecard to learn more about the session and to see how your lawmakers fared on the climate and environment.

More from the scorecard:

What next?

  1. Tell your legislators you know the score.
  2. Spread the word: #orleg #olcvscore
  3. Donate.

Tell your legislators you know the score. It only takes a minute to say thanks — or no thanks — to your legislators. Then, share this scorecard with your friends, family, and neighbors so they can find out their elected officials’ results. Finally, because we could not accomplish our mission without the generous help of our members, please make a donation so that we can continue the fight to address climate change and protect Oregon’s natural beauty.

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Explore the bills:

Bill Graveyard

We had a lot of big wins in the last two session—on climate, public health, and waste reduction—but a lot of good bills were stalled due to the Senate Republican walkout or (in 2024) from the reverberations of that walkout. And, as in past sessions, we were forced to spend far too much time defending against bad bills and rollbacks to our previous hard fought victories. Read more in the Bill Graveyard


About OLCV

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization with a simple mission: to pass laws that protect Oregon's environmental legacy, elect pro-environment candidates to office, and hold all of our elected officials accountable.

For more information about OLCV, visit our website at olcv.org.

About the Scorecard

For more than 40 years, OLCV has protected Oregon's natural legacy. An essential part of our work is holding our elected officials accountable. The OLCV Environmental Scorecard is not only one of our most important accountability tools, but also a tradition. The first scorecard was published in 1973.

By sharing how each member of the Legislature voted on the most critical conservation bills, we help Oregonians understand whether legislators listened to their constituents, or if they listened to special interest groups instead. It also serves as a summary of environmental bills and includes special recognition of the legislative champions.