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SB 5529 Passed the Senate Floor With a Vote of 19-11

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SB 5529, the budget bill that will iincrease medical marijuana patient fees by 100-1000%, passed the Senate vote with a vote of 19-11. The increased fees are expected to take effect on July 1, 2011 if it passes the House and is approved by the Governor.

Sen. Shields questioned the effect the increased fees would have on the low-income patients, after he received multiple inquiries from concerned constituents.

Sen. Bates responded that the "disabled" would still receive the reduced fee of $20, but those on Oregon Health Plan and food stamps would pay the increased fee of $200. He used the term "disabled" to allude to specifically the definition under SSI, which refers to a person's determined "inability to work." However, all patients on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program must have a "debilitating medical condition" in order to qualify.

Sen. Bates stated that the actual fee increases occurred elsewhere, specifically in Administrative Rules, seemingly minimzing the effect that SB 5529 would have on the proposed increases to fees. Sen. Shields initially voted yes, to support the expenditure of funds outlined in SB 5529; however, he amended to a no vote after the vote on SB 5030, even though it would have "no effect" on the outcome.

SB 5529 will now move to the House Floor for a vote, and upon passage at the House, it will move to the Governor's desk.

Previously in Chambers, prior to the vote on SB 5529, the Senators approved SB 5520, which is a budget bill to increase the Legislative Funding by 10%, in order to increase professional staff to accomodate the annual legislative sessions. In the midst of the vote on SB 5520, Senators unexpectedly adjorned to a "watercooler caucus" for quite some time.

Upon return to the record, SB 5520 was overwhelmingly passed, with multiple Senators offering a "vote explanation" to elaborate on their apparent discomfort with the vote, but voting favorably.

Sen. Monnes-Anderson further elaborated that SB 5520 was not a bill to increase their personal wages, but instead to fund additional staff that were necessary for annual sessions.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: examiner.com
Author: Jennifer Alexander
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Copyright: Clarity Digital Group LLC
Website: SB 5529 passed the Senate Floor with a vote of 19-11
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