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NewsForge: Lessons from Oregon's Open Source Bill

Nov 25, 2003, 02:00 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Barber)

"On March 5, Oregon became the first state in U.S. history to formally consider legislation relating to government acquisition of Open Source software. Within two weeks a similar bill was introduced into the Texas state legislature. Microsoft-funded lobbyists descended in swarms upon both capitols to destroy the proposals. Anyone interested in working for Open Source-related legislation elsewhere would do well to study what happened.

"State laws in the U.S. begin when a legislator introduces a bill, which is assigned a number and is sent to a committee for examination. After holding one or more hearings the committee decides whether to send the bill to the floor of its respective chamber (i.e., House of Representatives or Senate) for a vote. If the bill passes the floor vote, it then moves to the other chamber where it is again assigned to a committee and must undergo the same process it endured in the first chamber. Only a tiny handful of bills make it through this process; those that survive it go to the state governor for final approval (or a veto)..."

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