Oregon’s Republican senators walked out of the Capitol building in Salem on Thursday,and have not returned since then.Their absence has led to the cancellation of a vote on Sunday.Oregon Senate has 30 seats,18 of them held by Democrats.But at least 20 senators have to be present for a vote to take place.Senate Republicans failed to show up and failed to do their jobs.Governor Kate Brown has authorized state police to find the missing senators.But so far none has been tracked down.
We have avoided being within the state boundaries where the governor can exercise at her prerogative---the state troopers that call us back to the State Capitol.The Republican senators fiercely opposed the bill which aims to encourage businesses to switch to green technology.The Democrat backed plan is to slash emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.But Republicans say the ensuing gas and diesel price hikes would disproportionately affect rural Oregonians.They want a statewide referendum on the plan.I am doing the work of my constituents by avoiding saddling all Oregonians with this horrid piece of legislation.
The walkout over the climate change bill affects more than 120 other bills since no votes can be made until the missing Republicans return.Oregon’s Senate President on Sunday appealed to the fugitive lawmakers to return.This is the saddest day of my legislative life.But the Republicans point out that in 2001 House Democrats then a minority staged a five-day walkout to block a Republican bill.It would seem to be hypocritical of the Democrats to use the same,basically the same procedure that we were using,now and then when we use it,they say that it’s not appropriate.The missing senators have been ordered to pay a$500 fine for every day of absence from work.Their supporters have set up an online fundraiser to pay those fines.
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