"Sine die is imminent," declared Senate President Peter Courtney on Tuesday, using one of the secret decoder ring-needed terms of the Oregon Legislature.
Translation: We're almost through for 2021.
But not so close you can't pop a last-minute bill into the hopper, which Courtney did Tuesday morning with a bill to ban horse racing in Oregon.
With just 25 days left before the Oregon constitution requires the Legislature to shut down the 2021 session, Courtney's dual actions reflected the frenzy of sometimes contrary activity in the House and Senate.
A day after Salem hit a record 96 degrees, the House and Senate were back to turn up the heat on the pace of legal manufacturing.
Gov. Kate Brown was signing bills at a steady pace, including a new concealed weapons ban for the Capitol. The announcement came as the Secretary of State issued a notification a proposed referendum for the 2022 ballot that would undo the law.
The House had 78 bills and resolutions scheduled for a final vote on Wednesday. House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, called a double session, with House members called to the floor at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Committee meetings began at 8 a.m. with some scheduled to start as late as 5:30 p.m.
The Senate moved at a more sedate pace, with just 16 bills handled in a morning session. But it has 22 more scheduled for Thursday.
Courtney used a quote from Florence Nightingale, the nurse and social reformer born in 1820, to send the message he wanted lawmakers to cooperate on getting through the session without any more delaying tactics.
"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse," Courtney said.
In an unusually late move, two bills were introduced. Senate Bill 871 would essentially bar horse racing in Oregon. Senate Bill 870, authored by Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, would revise disclosures on campaign finance contributions.
Courtney's office did not explain how the bills might be considered this late in the session.
The legislation became a blur on Tuesday and Wednesday, as bills churned out by the dozens. A tiny sample of topics included extending approval of take-out cocktail sales, residential rent assistance, extending a moratorium on foreclosures and scores of other issues.