As the end of the legislative session approaches, the Oregon House of Representatives late yesterday approved House Bill 2005, a bill that would mandate 12 weeks of paid family medical leave, and sent it along to the senate. As passed by the house, the proposal allows for 12 weeks of paid leave – negotiated down from the original 32 weeks that had been proposed – and funds the benefit with the addition of a new payroll tax, up to 1 percent and split between employer and employee. Employers with more than 25 employees will be on the hook for 40 percent of the tax, while smaller businesses will not be required to participate, but could participate and become eligible for grants to help defray costs of replacement workers. To be eligible to participate in the insurance program, an employee would only have had to earn $1,000 in a calendar year. Although there is no specific time for the senate to take action, the legislative session is scheduled to end June 30. To add a little intrigue to the issue, Oregon is one of those states that can be held hostage if enough legislators do not attend, and republicans have walked off the job in protest of climate change legislation making its way through the process. If they’re not back in time, the paid family medical leave bill could be one of many legislative casualties. Due to the republican walkout, Governor Kate Brown may call a special legislative session for the first week in July. Oregon State Police have been ordered to get the representatives back to work.