It's early in the legislative session, which means it's time for what legislators like to call "cats and dogs" — bills on matters that are somewhat less weighty than measures to, say, balance the state's budget. These cats and dogs scurry around underfoot in the state Capitol until somebody spays or neuters them.
One surprise in this year's batch of cats and dogs is that many of them involve actual cats and dogs.
Take a gander at these (we're indebted to The Oregonian, which herded some of these critters into a readable list):
• House Bill 2683 would prohibit landlords who allow pets from charging tenants additional rent or fees based on possession of pets. Our hunch here is that the bill would be counterproductive, in that landlords overall would become somewhat less likely to allow pets in the first place.
• House Bill 2758 would make it a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, to misrepresent an animal as an assistance animal in hopes of bringing the animal into a place of public accommodation. We have noticed an increase in the number of these assistance animals, but it never had occurred to us that some of them might not be officially sanctioned.
• House Concurrent Resolution 7 would designate the border collie as the state's official dog. The resolution makes a strong case for the border collie, citing the breed's intelligence and unstoppable work ethic. Although no one has anything bad to say about border collies (so cute! so much energy!), this is the kind of measure that can draw some controversy. Just ask Sen. Fred Girod of Stayton, who got into a fight in 2017 over a proposal to designate the osprey the state bird, which would have deposed the western meadowlark. Eventually, though, a measure to name the osprey the official state raptor passed the Legislature.
• House Concurrent Resolution 12 would designate rescued shelter dogs and cats as the "official state pet." Rep. Dan Rayfield of Corvallis is among the 21 listed sponsors of this resolution, which should have a good chance of passing, even though the measure's language sometimes lays it on a little thick: At one point, it states that "like Oregonians, shelter dogs and cats are eager to leave their indoor confines and join their friends in the freedom, beauty and adventure of Oregon's great outdoors." Well, we can't speak for those rescue dogs, but we do know that one of our rescue cats has positioned herself right above a heat vent in the house and shows no signs of moving until May. (mm)
About the Oscars
Sunday's "Think Too Much" column will predict the winners in all 24 Academy Award categories, from best picture all the way down to the categories that actually determine who wins the pool, such as live-action short. This is an annual service the column offers to readers who are struggling with their Oscar pools.
In a typical year, the column might be correct on anywhere between 17 and 20 categories. But let's make this interesting: Email your Oscar picks to email@example.com. (Entries must be emailed by 5 p.m. Sunday, when the ceremony begins.)
At the end of the ceremony, we'll look for entries that beat the column in terms of predicting the winners. We'll randomly pick one of those entries to win a $25 gift certificate to the movie house of the winner's choice. (In the case of a tie, we'll still draw for the gift certificate.)
You don't need to make a pick in all 24 categories, of course, but doing so gives you a better chance of besting the column's predictions, because we're scoring on the simple metric of most correct predictions.
Here are a couple of sure things to get you going: "Shallow" will win an Oscar. "Bohemian Rhapsody" will not win best picture. (mm)