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Special session wraps up as 'Grand Bargain' approved

 Posted: 5:30 PM October 02, 2013

The Oregon Legislature approved a series of bills on pensions, taxes and genetically modified crops, then adjourned a special session after three days of work.

The decision delivered a hard-fought victory to Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has been working for a year to convince lawmakers to stem the growing costs of public-employee pensions. To gather support in the Legislature, the pension cuts were packaged with changes to the tax code and a bill prohibiting local governments from banning genetically modified crops.

Five bills cleared the House and Senate, most of them by the narrowest of margins.

The Oregon Senate approved the final two pieces of the "Grand Bargain" special session, meaning all five pieces of legislation have passed both houses and are on their way to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature.

The measures reduce some of the costs of public employee pension funds, raise taxes on some high income individuals and businesses and reduce taxes on some smaller businesses. One measure prohibits local regulation of genetically modified plants, but does not affect a planned vote in May 2014 on banning GMOs in Jackson County.

Kitzhaber said he would sign the measures only if all five passed.

— Staff and wire reports

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