Legislature passes bill on banning pot shops

Legislature passes bill on banning pot shops
Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, speaks on the House floor on Monday, March 3, 2014 at the state Capitol in Salem, Ore. The Legislature delayed voting on a bill that would grant local governments the power to forbid medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate voted Friday to let local governments temporarily ban medical marijuana stores.

The decision came as lawmakers pushed to finish the state budget and adjourn.

The pot bill now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Meanwhile, the state House sent Kitzhaber a measure allowing the general public to hire home-care workers from a list of unionized aids who serve low-income people with publicly funded assistance.

Left on the agenda was a package of bills to rebalance the budget, including adding money for prisons and social services, and for construction projects around the state.

Under the proposals, Oregon Health & Science University would get $200 million for cancer research facilities, a jump start toward $500 million the school has agreed to raise in order to secure a match of the same size from Nike founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny Knight.

Lawmakers were also considering a request by State Treasurer Ted Wheeler to restructure the investment division, but some lawmakers were concerned that the Legislature wouldn't have enough control.

The five-week legislative session has been particularly notable for what didn't happen. Lawmakers did not approve funding for a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River or requirements that gun-buyers undergo a background check.

Efforts to avoid ballot measures on marijuana and liquor regulations never gained steam, nor did a proposal to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Democrats fell one vote short in their effort to use unclaimed judgments in class-action lawsuits to fund legal assistance for the poor. They also were unable to get support for a push to rewrite the ballot title on a referendum granting driving privileges to people who can't prove they're legally in the United States.

Both those measures passed the House but couldn't get past the more conservative Democrats in the Senate.

Lawmakers did ease up on a ban on Native American mascots, opening the door for some schools to keep them. They passed a handful of bills aimed at easing the pain of the failures at Cover Oregon, the state's health insurance exchange, although they mostly ordered Cover Oregon to take actions it's already taking.

They also extended a telecommunications tax that funds 911 services to prepaid cell phones — a goal that had vexed the Legislature for years.

The session lasted 33 days — two shy of the maximum under the state constitution. It was the second even-year session since voters decided in 2010 that lawmakers should meet annually.