Oregon's 77th legislative session begins

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's 77th legislative session gets under way Monday.

Three weeks after taking office, lawmakers will begin their five-month push to write a new budget and enact dozens, maybe hundreds, of other initiatives.

The budget is always their top priority. Lawmakers will decide how much money goes to schools, universities and safety-net programs. Gov. John Kitzhaber wants major changes to public pensions and sentencing laws.

Democrats running the House and Senate say they're focused on jobs and the economy. But they'll also be pushing legislation on housing, immigration and the environment.

Republicans will be in the minority, but they may be able to team with centrist Democrats in the Senate to block certain measures.

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