Oregon State Senate

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Oregon State Senate
Oregon Legislative Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 12, 2015
Peter Courtney (D)
Since January 13, 2003
President pro Tempore
Ginny Burdick (D)
Since January 10, 2011
Majority Leader
Diane Rosenbaum (D)
Since January 10, 2011
Minority Leader
Ted Ferrioli (R)
Since January 8, 2007
Seats 30
Oregon state legislature diagram senate.svg
Political groups
Governing Party

Opposition Party

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article IV, Oregon Constitution
Salary $21,612/year + per diem
Last election
November 4, 2014
(14 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2016
(16 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
Oregon State Capitol
Salem, Oregon
Oregon State Senate

The Oregon State Senate is the upper house of the statewide legislature for the US state of Oregon. Along with the lower chamber Oregon House of Representatives it makes up the Oregon Legislative Assembly. There are 30 members of the State Senate, representing 30 districts across the state, each with a population of 114,000. The State Senate meets at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Oregon State Senators serve four-year terms without term limits. In 2002, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the decade-old Oregon Ballot Measure 3, that had restricted State Senators to two terms (eight years) on procedural grounds.[1]

Like certain other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the State Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to state departments, commissions, boards, and other state governmental agencies.

The current Senate President is Peter Courtney of Salem.[2]

Oregon, along with Arizona, Maine, and Wyoming, is one of the four U.S. states to have abolished the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, a position which for most upper houses of state legislatures and indeed for the U.S. Congress (with the Vice President) is the head of the legislative body and holder of the casting vote in the event of a tie. Instead, a separate position of Senate President is in place, removed from the state executive branch. If the chamber is tied, legislators must devise their own methods of resolving the impasse. In 2002, for example, Oregon's state senators entered into a power sharing contract whereby Democratic senators nominated the Senate President while Republican senators chaired key committees.[3]


Kathryn Clarke was the first woman to serve in Oregon's Senate. Women became eligible to run for the Oregon state legislature in 1914 and later that year Clarke was appointed to fill a vacant seat in Douglas county by her cousin, governor Oswald West. Following some controversy concerning whether West had the authority to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, Clarke campaigned and was elected by voters in 1915.[4] She took office five years before the 19th Amendment to the US constitution protected the right of all US women to vote.

In 1982, Mae Yih became the first Chinese American elected to a state senate in the United States.


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of 75th legislature (2010) 18 12 30 0
Begin 76th (2011) 16 14 30 0
End (2012)
Begin 77th (2013) 16 14 30 0
End (2014)
Begin 78th (2015) 18 12 30 0
Latest voting share 60% 40%


During the 2011 legislative session, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 989, which implemented new legislative districts for the 2012 elections and beyond.

Statewide view of 2012 Senate Districts
Portland Metro Area view of 2012 Senate Districts

78th Senate

The 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly, which holds its regular session from 2015 to 2016, has the following leadership:

See also


  1. Green, Ashbel S.; Lisa Grace Lednicer (January 17, 2006). "State high court strikes term limits". Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Oregonian Publishing. pp. A1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Oregon Blue Book: Senate Presidents of Oregon
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures. "In Case of a Tie..." Retrieved November 3, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Kimberly Jensen. "Kathryn Clarke". The Oregon Encyclopedia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links