Ore. lawmakers advance 2 stalled Kitzhaber bills

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Legislature has taken the first official step toward enacting legislation that has been stalled for weeks. But there was still no agreement to advance the budget or one of Gov. John Kitzhaber's education priorities.

A legislative panel advanced two Kitzhaber initiatives to the full budget committee Thursday, setting the stage for votes in the full House and Senate as soon as Friday.

Legislators pushed forward the governor's proposals to streamline early childhood education programs and to implement a health insurance exchange. They also advanced three other measures intended to help counties struggling with the decline of Oregon's timber industry.

Kitzhaber's proposal to require school districts, colleges and universities to sign achievement compacts with the state is still being negotiated by Republicans and Democrats in the House.