Oregon Senate Republicans protest for seventh consecutive day
SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Tuesday marks one week without reaching a quorum on the Senate floor in Salem. This comes as Senate Republicans continue to refuse to show up for session.
Nine Republican senators and one Independent senator had unexcused absences Tuesday.
This boycott has Senate Democrats repeatedly referring to a ballot measure passed last November. It says any legislator with 10 unexcused absences will not be allowed to run for re-election.
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp said they questioned its constitutionality, but Senate President Rob Wagner said Republicans are ignoring voters by walking out.
“I’m disappointed that we’re in this position today. Oregon voters were very clear when they passed Measure 113 that elected leaders should be at the capitol doing their jobs,” Wagner said.
At first, Senator Knopp said their protest was about the way several bills’ summaries were written. However, Wagner said they’re trying to delay a vote on HB 2002, which would protect Oregonians’ access to abortions and gender-affirming care.
“Now that the Senate Republicans have admitted to the media that their walkout was always about the Reproductive Health and Access to Care bill, let me be clear: House Bill 2002 is not up for negotiation,” Wagner said.
In a statement, Knopp said the protest will continue until substantive conversations and negotiations happen. “This session is all about process, and President Wagner has led his party in abusing the process every step of the way,” he said. “It would be a shame if President Wagner prevented us from doing the important work that still needs to be done this session.”
Governor Tina Kotek hasn’t said much about this week-old stalemate but did make a few comments today. She said she spoke with Knopp last week, saying the people’s work needs to continue in the Senate.
“I am watching and hopefully things will improve, if not, I will get involved,” Kotek said. “It is true they have not spoken but they’re adults, they have to figure out how to get together and get back to work.”
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