SALEM, OR (KPTV) - Supporters of Republicans who have walked off the Senate floor gathered for a rally on the steps of the State Capitol Thursday morning.
Farmers, ranchers, truckers and loggers from all across the state attended the rally to show their opposition to House Bill 2020, which they say would bring higher fuel prices and job cuts.
They also wanted to be at the Capitol to show support for the Senate Republicans who have walked off the Senate floor and fled the state - a tactic to stop HB 2020 from passing by the Democratic majority.
"We want to support the 11 senators who took the courageous step to shut this thing down and give people time to think. This bill affects everyone. It's not just the timber industry. The price of goods and services all go up when you start raising the price of fuel" said logger Jon Golly.
Long lines of truckers, loggers, farmers and ranchers are showing up in Salem ahead of a rally planned on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol to express opposition to #HB2020 & in support of the @ORSenateRs that have walked out to prevent the bill from passing. #ORleg #ORpol pic.twitter.com/DH5YAONdMk— Tyler Dumont (@TylerDumontNews) June 27, 2019
"Today we're here for the cap-and-trade bill which is going to destroy rural Oregon. We're good, hardworking people, we're stewards of the ground. If this passes, you may as well wipe up off the map," said Mike Pihl with Mike Pihl Logging. "We understand there's a global warming issue, but this is not the way to address it."
The rally on the Capitol Steps began at 9 a.m. and drew a huge crowd.
On Thursday morning, there was still no indication when the Republican walkout would be over.
Despite an announcement from Senate President Peter Courtney on Tuesday that indicated the cap-and-trade bill no longer had enough Democratic support on the floor, the 11 Senate Republicans have not returned.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Republicans said there still has been no deal. They said that's because they want a guarantee Democrats will not pull a bait and switch, and still try to push HB 2020 through on the Senate floor or in committee.
"The people who think it's a trap. I can understand," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, Oregon Senate Majority Leader. "What we know now, is that we have in front of us some very important policy bills. We have budget bills and we were elected to deal with these issues. If the Republicans continue to abscond from their jobs, we will not be able to do that. And, that's very serious."
Senate Republicans have also again echoed their request that the House, Senate Democrats and Governor Kate Brown agree to send any type of carbon bill to the ballot for a public vote.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the more than 100 other bills still pending - including dozens of crucial budget bills - lawmakers have until Sunday night to pass any of them for this year.
If Senate Republicans do not return, all bills from this session - including HB 2020 - would die.
Gov. Brown has sent Oregon State Police troopers after Senate Republicans to get them back to the floor. They only need two of them back to meet quorum. So far, none have returned.
Because of that, they are still being fined $500 each day they are absent. So far, together, they've racked up more than $13,000 in fines.
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