- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon lawmakers return to Salem next week for three days of meetings.

Lawmakers can’t pass legislation during the quarterly “legislative days,” but committees will meet and lawmakers will get briefings on topics from income inequality to traffic congestion.

The meetings begin Monday morning and last through Wednesday.

The Legislature will begin a five-week session - when they can pass laws and tweak the budget, if needed - on Feb. 1.

Here’s a look at some of the presentations on the agenda next week:



MONDAY:

- Economists from several state agencies and from Oregon State University make presentations on trends in employment and wages; income inequality; and demographic trends in rural Oregon.

- Ben Cannon, director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, provides an update on implementation of a policy known as the “Oregon Promise,” which waives community college tuition for a small number of low-income students.

- Advocates for people with disabilities discuss a recent settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, in which the state agreed to scale back support for segregated workplaces where people with mental disabilities often do menial work for pay below minimum wage.

TUESDAY:

- Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the state police and other organizations discuss major road construction projects, traffic safety and the impacts of congestion.

- Health officials discuss the looming “Cadillac tax” on high-end health plans under President Barack Obama’s health care law, which could affect health care provided to government employees. Lawmakers also get an update on the transition of the failed Cover Oregon health insurance exchange from an independent organization to a state agency overseen by the governor and Legislature.

WEDNESDAY

- The Ways and Means Committee gets an update on issues affecting the budget and considers requests for state agencies to apply for grants.

- Local government officials from Oregon’s coastal counties give a presentation on their challenges in preparing for a disaster.

- Government officials and representatives of the nascent marijuana industry discuss the preparations for legal marijuana sales. A temporary sales program begins Oct. 1 with limited products, with the permanent regulations and full line of products expected to begin in about a year.

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