Key Malheur County bill passes Oregon House

Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, speaks on the floor of the Oregon House recently. Findley sponsored a bill to boost the number of secondary math, science and career and technical teachers in Malheur County. The bill passed the House and will now go to the Senate. (Submitted photo).

SALEM – A proposed law to boost the number of secondary math, science and career and technical teachers available for Malheur County schools cleared its first major hurdle Tuesday.

House Bill 2457 passed the House unanimously and will now go to the Senate. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale.

The proposal is the first of five pushed by the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board, a seven-member group of local people created by the Oregon Legislature in 2017. The board is designed to spark job growth and economic development along the border with Idaho in Malheur County.

“Our board is very pleased and encouraged by the support in Salem and we continue to work on moving the rest of our legislative concepts through the process,” said Shawna Peterson, border board chair.

The legislation directs the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission to review licensing criteria and determine whether they could be waived or modified to match the requirements in Idaho. The bill aims to make teaching slots in Malheur County “more competitive to similar positions across the (Idaho) border.”

“We are very pleased. We are confident in the concepts we are advancing, but to get a unanimous vote is a very big deal for us,” said Peterson.

Other bills sponsored by Findley and promoted by the border board run the gamut from allowing the county to rezone lands from exclusive farm to residential use to the creation of a marketing plan to promote the border region as a great place to live and work.

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