Light enters narrow windows surrounding a floral motif on the ceiling of the Oregon Capitol building.

The interior ceiling of the Oregon Capitol.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Oregon lawmakers want their constituents to know more about how the legislative process works.

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That’s one of the goals of Senate Bill 513, which was approved in the state Senate Wednesday. It would require public high school students to take at least one semester of civics in order to graduate.

Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, said Oregonians sometimes think the state legislature functions like a television show. “Often I have to explain to people what we’re dealing with in our political life, that the state government is not the ‘West Wing.’ It is also not ‘Survivor’ or ‘The Game Of Thrones,’ he said.

The bill had bipartisan support, and was sponsored by the Senate Republican leader, Fred Girod, R-Lyons.

“As a legislative body, we very well know how government works,” Girod said. “It is our duty and responsibility to make sure the generations after us do as well.”

The civics class requirement would take effect starting in 2026. The measure passed 25-to-3 and now heads to the Oregon House.

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