Oregon Republicans Again Walk off the Job to Thwart Cap-and-Trade Bill

For the fourth time in two years, Oregon Republican senators bolted from the Capitol Monday to derail a green house emission bill backed by the Democrat majority, according to The Oregonian.  

Quorum Denied: Just one Republican, Sen. Tim Knopp of Bend, showed up Monday morning, causing Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, to adjourn the chamber until Tuesday, The Oregonian reported.  The Oregon Constitution requires the presence of two thirds of senators in order to vote on bills.   

According to the Oregonian, “Senate Republicans shut down business twice last year by walking out, first to stall a business tax and kill vaccine and gun control bills,  to help kill the 2019 version of cap-and-trade.”  

Senate Bill 1530 would phase in tighter restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.   

Republicans objected to Courtney joining the Legislature’s Joint  Committee on Ways and Means on Monday to provide the go ahead vote to move SB 1530 to the Senate floor. Courtney faced a defection from Democratic co-chair of the Ways and Means, Betsy Johnson of Scappoose. Johnson voted with Republicans “first to refer the measure to the voters, then to kill it.”.  

Republican Leader Says No Other Option: Senator Courtney’s actions leave no other option for Senate Republicans but to boycott and deny a quorum because cap and trade is on its way to the Senate floor, “said Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. of Grants Pass in a written statement.  

Walking out on the job is a dereliction of duty,” said Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick of Portland.  

Based on Census Bureau estimates the 11 Republicans who walked out represent 36 percent of the state’s population, according to The Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond and Hillary Borrud, who reported the story Monday   

There are two weeks left in the legislative session. Among bills that won’t pass if Republicans do not return is $12 million in funding for Eastern Oregon communities damaged in severe flooding.  

Gov. Kate Brown said she might call lawmakers back for a special session later to revive bills stalled by the Republican walkout, according to the Oregonian.  

By Larry Coonrod