About the 1973 Legislative Session
This video compiles interviews from previous oral histories. Excerpts of interview from Rep Gary Wilhelms, Sen. Stephen Kafoury, Rep. Vera Katz, Janet McLennan, Pat McCormick, Rep. Nancie Peacocke Fadeley, Sen. John Burns, Sen. Ted Hallock, Fred VanNatta, Sen. Betty Roberts, Rep. Bill McCoy and Sen. Jane Cease are used. Together, they tell the history behind Oregon’s 1973 legislative session.
“There never had been before and I don’t think has been since a session like the 1973 session,” Sen. Stephen Kafoury remarked.
The session changed the demography of the legislature. There were new district boundaries for the session, resulting in 28 freshmen in the House of Representatives filling vacancies. “The feminist movement was erupting, and so the fact that women were running was really an important elements,” Rep. Vera Katz detailed. More women were elected than ever before. Also, Rep. Bill McCoy was the first Black man to be elected to the legislature. The Democrats held both the Senate and the House for the first time in a decade.
Also during the session, important pieces of legislation were passed. Senate Bill 100, Statewide Land Use Planning, created a commission to oversee compliance of local planning with statewide goals. Other prominent pieces of legislation included the Equal Rights Amendment, ratification of the 14th amendment along with the decriminalization of marijuana. Rep. Gary Wilhelms sums up the video, saying, “1973 was a significant session for legislation that was futuristic.”