August 22, 2003

Second Oregon Open Source bill: a report

- by Ken Barber -
Salem, Oregon, August 21 - Today was a big day in Oregon. President Bush flew in to promote
his Healthy Forests Initiative, and had to make a detour because
of a forest fire. And the state Senate Rules Committee held a
hearing for the second Oregon Open Source bill, SB 941.

The hearing room was packed with anti-PATRIOT-act protesters,
there for another bill being heard in the same meeting. It was
very surreal.

Today's Open Source hearing was shorter and more to the point than
the first hearing in a House committee meeting a few months ago.
This time around, we knew what the opposition was going to say
(in Oregon, the opponents always get the last word) so we were
ready for them. Only one lobbyist showed up to oppose the bill:
Jim Craven of the American Electronics Association, the same
lobbyist who killed the first Open Source bill after his lobby
made approximately $400,000 in campaign donations to members of
the legislature's majority party.

Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene), the sponsor of the first Open
Source bill, spoke first of governments that have already
implemented Open Source. Then I spoke, refuting the arguments
that we knew were going to come from the opposition. Then David
Pool, an open source activist who lives in the Senate President's
district, spoke of the business case for Open Source. Cooper
Stevenson, who with Pool lobbied hard to get SB 941 introduced,
wrapped it up with all of the points that the rest of us missed.

Craven testified last with pretty much the same arguments that he
and his friends had presented in the first hearing, and became
visibly nervous under intense questioning from Sen. Tony Corcoran
(D-Cottage Grove). In the end, it was a great hearing and the
anti-PATRIOT-act people loved us.

The bill is still likely to die. The legislature's budget impasse
was broken yesterday, and they are expecting to adjourn within two
or three business days -- not enough time to get a bill the rest
of the way through the process.

After adjournment, I plan to write a comprehensive piece about
Oregon's Open Source bills, with a guide to other states who wish
to take up the cause in future legislative sessions.

And here in Oregon, perhaps next we'll work on a bill expanding
the duck hunting regulations to include spammers....

Ken Barber is the original author of Oregon HB 2892, the first "open source bill" to be introduced in the state legislature there. Opinions in this article are the author's, and may not reflect those of OSDN editors or management.

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