Oregon Republicans boycott legislative sessions to derail Dem bills  #Oregon #Republicans #boycott #legislative #sessions #derail #Dem #bills #englishheadline


Republican state senators in Oregon are putting their careers in jeopardy in an attempt to stymie Democrat-led bills on gun control, gender-affirming care and abortion rights by refusing to come into work. 

The statehouse boycott, which entered its ninth consecutive day on Friday, prevents the Democratic-controlled Senate from having the required two-thirds of lawmakers present to pass legislation. 

However, lawmakers with 10 unexcused absences are banned from re-election under a constitutional amendment passed last November.

Leaders from both parties met behind closed doors Friday to negotiate ways to get the legislative body back to business, and Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner agreed to cancel sessions through the weekend as talks continue. 

“Conversations are ongoing and will continue into the weekend,” Wagner’s spokesman Connor Radnovich said, according to the Associated Press

The work stoppage, which began on May 2, has also prevented the state Legislature from finishing work on Oregon’s biennial budget, which needs House and Senate approval before the end of June.

A spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek’s office said Friday that “Oregonians are demanding that elected leaders deliver results on homelessness, behavioral health, education, and other major issues right now.”

Liberal protesters also gathered outside the Capitol Building in Salem demanding an end to the walkout. 

“Get back to work,” the demonstrators chanted.

Oregon senate protest
Protesters chanted, “Get back to work,” outside Oregon’s Capitol Building on Friday.

Oregon senate protest sign
The GOP senators are protesting Democratic bill summaries and want “extreme bills” taken off the table for the rest of the legislative session.

Republican senators insist their boycott is mostly an effort to get their Democratic colleagues to comply with a recently rediscovered 1979 law that requires bill summaries to be written at an eighth-grade level. 

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp said he also wants Democrats to shelve “their most extreme bills.”

“It is abundantly clear that there is a concerted effort to undermine the will of people and bring the Legislature to a halt in violation of the Constitution of the state of Oregon,” Wagner said of the boycott last week.

Wagner has said legislation concerning abortion rights and gender-affirming care is not negotiable.

Oregon senate
Two-thirds of members are needed in the Oregon Senate by law to pass legislation.

Republicans who reach 10 absences and are thus disqualified from re-election are expected to file legal challenges.

The Oregon secretary of state’s office has indicated that it will not put disqualified senators on the ballot for re-election. 

The drama in Oregon is the latest in a string of ideological clashes in statehouses across the country. 

Montana’s GOP-controlled state legislature voted to bar transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr from participating on the House floor for the rest of the 2023 session last month after she refused to apologize for telling them that they would see blood on their hands over voting to prohibit gender-affirming care for children.

Zooey Zephyr
Democratic Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr was barred by the Republican-controlled House from participating in the state’s legislative session for the rest of the year.

In Tennessee, three Democratic lawmakers faced expulsion votes in April for leading a raucous protest on gun control on the House floor.

Two were expelled but reinstated by local officials just days later. 

English Headline

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