Official: Breakthrough on 2 Kitzhaber bills

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Legislators have reached an agreement to advance two of the governor's three initiatives that have been stalled in legislative committees.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kitzhaber said Wednesday that committees will advance the governor's proposal to streamline early childhood education programs and a measure implementing a health insurance exchange. The exchange would be an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses could shop for health insurance.

Officials say the bill will be changed to allow school districts to get employee health coverage through the exchange instead of a state insurance pool.

Legislative action would be a significant step forward after days of negotiation between Republicans and Democrats with little apparent progress.

Kitzhaber's proposal to create achievement compacts with school districts remains mired in negotiations.