What a complete non-surprise.
Eleven Republican members of the Oregon Senate have walked out to deny Democrats a quorum needed to pass House Bill 2020, much-needed legislation to reduce carbon pollution in this state.
Many, if not most, have travelled out of state, which puts them outside the reach of state troopers Governor Kate Brown has ordered to bring them back.
Back in May I predicted bad things would happen after GOP members of the Oregon Senate pulled the same stunt, minus the going out of state part.
I was so irritated at how the Democrats caved, agreeing to kill two high priority bills in order to entice the Senate Republicans back to work, that I called my post, "Oregon Dems surrender to Republicans like scared little mice." I love to quote myself, so I will.
Disgusting. Horrible. Shameful.
Those are the non-profane words I can use to describe how Governor Brown, Senate President Courtney, and House Speaker Kotek caved in to the walkout of Senate Republicans without putting up any fight at all.
...Actually what happened here is that Democrats gave in to a ransom request by Republicans. Not surprisingly, we can expect that since the GOP ploy worked, they're going to try it again.
Now, I admit that what I was thinking of when I said "they're going to try it again" was that the House Republicans would stage a walkout, since the Senate Republicans promised to play nice for the rest of the legislative session if the pro-vaccination and gun control bills opposed by the GOP were killed.
They just broke that promise. And why not?
Senate Republicans saw how weak the Governor and Democratic legislative leaders were in May, so they understandably expect that they'll be able to get away with a June walkout also.
This is what happens when Democrats fail to act like the supermajority in both chambers that voters entrusted them with in the 2018 election. Instead of seizing the reins of power to make life better for all Oregonians, they bent over backward to give the Republican minority what they wanted.
Sure, the Senate Republicans are acting like jerks. That's what Republicans are good at -- using every political tool at their disposal to get their way to the greatest extent possible.
It's astoundingly irritating to read the crap that is coming out of Senate Republican mouths. Which likely are situated in Washington and Idaho, or maybe even Hawaii, since they could be on vacation from their legislator jobs for most of the rest of the summer.
Voters rejected giving Republicans the majority in both the state House and Senate.
But I've got to give the GOP credit for acting like they're in control, rather than being the minority. Here's some quotes from an Oregonian story, "What happens if Oregon Senate Republicans don't come back?"
Senate Republicans have left the Oregon Capitol with no apparent plans to return. Their absence puts into doubt whether Democrats will finish their business during the 2019 legislative session, which has to conclude by June 30.
The GOP protest stems from Republican’s staunch opposition to House Bill 2020, a massive proposal to regulate carbon emissions. A vote on the measure had been scheduled for Thursday.
...the walkout threatens the future of dozens of other bills and puts funding for several large state agencies in jeopardy.
The list of legislation that would die if Senate Republicans don’t return includes several Democratic priorities, including a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get legal driver’s licenses, a bill to modify the state’s death penalty, a bill that would refer an increase in the cigarette tax to voters, and a bill that would allow duplexes in single-family zoned neighborhoods in some cities.
...Knopp said the timing of his return would depend upon what bills Brown and Democratic legislative leaders schedule for consideration. On Wednesday, the governor said she was preparing to call a special session on July 2. But there is no guarantee Senate Republicans would show up.
“I feel no constitutional obligation to stand around so they can pass their leftist progressive agenda for Multnomah County that my constituents don’t happen to agree with,” Knopp said. “I think that’s true for every other Senate district that’s out there that’s represented by Republicans.”
What would meet Knopp’s bar to return to Salem?
Budget bills, legislation to address workplace harassment at the Legislature, and a paid family and medical leave insurance plan negotiated with businesses’ and Republicans' input. It passed the House on Thursday with bipartisan support. Knopp said not all Senate Republicans might agree to return to vote on the family and medical leave proposal, although Republican leaders listed its passage among their demands to return from the first walkout in May.
If Democrats had threatened to walk out and prevent a Republican majority in the legislature and Governor's office from passing its top priorities, the GOP would have had state troopers following the Dem legislators around to prevent them from heading out of the state.
But since Oregon Democrats are used to acting like scared little mice, there's a good chance Republicans are, once again, going to get their way after walking out.
The only bright side to all this is that I don't have to search Google Images again. I already have an illustration of Democrat leaders in this state.