Stupidity isn't limited to one political party, for sure. There's plenty of dumb moves made by both Democrats and Republicans.
But I've got to give the award for the most egregious display of political cluelessness in the Oregon legislative session that concluded yesterday to four Republican senators and one independent, who I assume was Brian Boquist, as he used to be a Republican.
For even though the six-week walkout by Senate Republicans had ended after Democrats agreed to water down two bills dealing with abortion and gun control, those five senators didn't attend the last day of the session yesterday, Sunday, June 25.
As the Oregonian reports in "Oregon bill to accelerate housing development with change to urban growth boundaries fails by 1 vote," their absence doomed House Bill 3414, a Republican priority.
A contentious bill to increase Oregon’s supply of affordable housing failed Sunday by a single vote in the waning hours of the 2023 legislative session as five lawmakers who might have supported it remained out of the building.
House Bill 3414, introduced at the request of Gov. Tina Kotek, sought to accelerate housing development by streamlining planning and permitting, allowing variances to a variety of building requirements, and establishing a new state office to hold local jurisdictions accountable for meeting their communities’ housing needs.
The key, controversial provision added in recent days also would have allowed cities to expand their urban growth boundaries by up to 150 acres to accommodate more housing, provided some of it was highly affordable, without the usual process.
...The bill had unanimous support from Republicans present for the vote Sunday, but fell one vote short of the 16 it needed to pass the Senate on a day when four Republican lawmakers and one independent were absent following their walkout this session. Ten Democrats in the Senate also opposed the bill.
This was a golden opportunity for Republicans to pass a bill that weakened Oregon's land use system, which is much beloved by Democrats and environmentalists who favor strong urban growth boundaries the protect farm and forest land from unnecessary development.
But I guess the four Republican senators and one independent were so enamored with their previous walkout -- which was the longest in Oregon history and the second longest in the nation -- that they couldn't resist staying away from their legislative duties until the session ended.
Since House Bill 3414 was supported by homebuilders, realtors, and chambers of commerce, who are typically backers of Republican candidates, I suspect those five senators who tanked the bill by their absence on Sunday are going to hear some well-deserved criticism from their usual allies.
Though House Bill 3414 had a laudable aim, increasing the supply of affordable housing, throwing in the one-time 150 acre exemption from land use laws in order to expand the urban growth boundary in cities outside of the metro area at the last moment wasn't a smart move either.
Probably this was done as part of the negotiations between Democrats and Republicans that ended the walkout. Likely House Bill 3414 would have passed if that exemption hadn't been added as an amendment.
However, it would have passed with the amendment if those five conservative senators hadn't grandstanded one day too long, extending their walkout through the last day of the session when just one vote from any of them would have enabled House Bill 3414 to pass.