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Oregon Open Source Bill Pushes Forward

Aug 20, 2003, 17:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Efforts to push through an open-source software bill in the Oregon legislature will make some significant progress this week in the Oregon state Senate.

According to Cooper Stevenson, coordinator of the Mid-Willamette Valley LUG and staunch supporter of the bill, the legislation will be heard in a public Senate committee hearing on Thursday, August 21.

The bill, innocuously labeled SB 941, proposes that all future procurements of software in Oregon will consider open-source software during the purchase process.

The Senate Rules Committee hearing is a big step forward for the bill, according to Stevenson. In Oregon, bills up for consideration in the legislature typically go through a process where a Senate or House committee debates the bill, with input from all interested parties. From there, a work session may be scheduled to enter any modifications or compromises into the bill that came up during the committee hearings.

Once the compromises are made, the committee will vote to recommend the bill for a Senate or House floor vote.

"While it seems like a lot, this is a huge step, especially as [the bill] was heard already heard in the House. If the 'powers that be' decide to simply move it through, they may simply go to a House vote from the Senate, I think," Stevenson explained.

If all goes well for the bill, it could be passed into a law in as early as two weeks.

Opposition for the bill does exist, most notably in the form of lobbyists from Microsoft, the Business Software Alliance, and the American Electronics Association. These detractors have termed such a bill as "preferential" for open-source, and have played up the added burden of more red tape to enforce these procedures should they become law.

All interested parties will have a chance to have their objections or support for the bill heard at the Aug. 21 meeting, to be held at 1:30 PM PDT in Hearing Room B of the Oregon State House. Online audio feed for tomorrow's Senate Rules Committee Hearing at 1:30 p.m on SB 941 may be heard at http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/listenset.htm.

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