What to watch for this week in the Oregon Legislature

SALEM — Here are four things to watch this week in the Oregon Legislature:

Driver's licenses

The House votes today on a bill that would allow people living in the country illegally to get short-term driver's licenses, partially reversing a 2008 law that required proof of citizenship to obtain driving privileges. Immigrants — and others who can't document their legal presence in the U.S. — could apply for driver's licenses if they've lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements. The driver's licenses would be valid for four years, and could be used only for driving privileges. The card could not be used to vote, board a plane or purchase a firearm, for example. The measure passed the Senate last week. Gov. John Kitzhaber is a supporter.

Racetrack betting

A proposal from the struggling Portland Meadows racetrack to add instant racing machines goes before the state House. Racetrack officials say the machines would attract younger people to horse racing, and authorization to use them is necessary to keep the sport viable in Oregon. The machines resemble slots and the bets are made on actual horse races from the past. The old races are on video, but horse names are withheld so bettors can't know the winner in advance.

Forest protests

The House also votes on a bill allowing loggers to sue people who chain themselves to equipment and block roads to stop logging on state forests. The bill was proposed by Rep. Wayne Krieger, a Republican from Gold Beach and a tree farmer. Krieger cited protests against logging on the Elliott State Forest in 2011 as the latest example of anti-logging protests that stretch back to the 1980s, when people began protesting logging old-growth forests on federal lands.

Feeding racoons

A House committee will hear public testimony on a Senate-passed bill that would outlaw feeding raccoons. The creatures would join bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves on a list of "potentially habituated wildlife" that citizens aren't allowed to feed. Officers would be allowed to issue a written notification requiring violators to remove food, garbage or other items attracting wildlife within two days.

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