The runaway Oregon Senate Republicans are still missing from the state, choosing to allow 100 pieces of legislation to languish because they don't want to vote on a bill to combat greenhouse gas emissions.
At least one of those scofflaw lawmakers, Sen. Tim Knopp, is hiding out in neighboring Idaho, though not hiding very effectively, having gone on camera with Fox News Tuesday from that state's capital, Boise. He and his 10 colleagues haven't just blocked a vote on the cap-and-trade carbon plan; they've also denied a quorum for the legislature to finish its work by the June 30 deadline. That constitutionally mandated deadline also means that all of the 100 bills that have not yet been passed by both chambers will expire. The legislature could give itself a five-day extension, but has to have two-thirds of both chambers to do so. Gov. Kate Brown says that she will call a special session beginning July 2 if the legislature adjourns without wrapping up the work, which includes the state agency budgets that are also mandated by the state constitution.
Those funding bills include "money for 40 additional Oregon State troopers; a package of funding to deal with wildfires; more resources for predator control and invasive-species management; and bonding for levee maintenance." Those are all measures that would help the rural districts the runaway legislators represent, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward points out. "To paint this as an urban-rural divide is missing a big chunk of what's really going on here," Steiner Hayward said. "There are a lot of things in our budgets and in our policy bills and in our bonding bills that are really important for rural Oregon."
Chances are the insurrectionist stunt pulled by these legislators and supported by a frighteningly well-armed homegrown militia that has no qualms about threatening violence is going to work to kill the global-warming bill. Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said Tuesday that the bill is dead in his chamber regardless, that he doesn't have the votes to pass the House bill. Courtney would still have to have a quorum present to dispatch the bill back to committee, however, since it has advanced as far as the floor. So some Republicans, such as Sen. Cliff Bentz, see this as potentially some sort of trick, a "head fake" to get the 11 assholes to return.
Supporters of the emissions bill also dispute Courtney's assertion, saying that they've secured the necessary Democratic votes. Courtney's statement "is in direct contradiction to what 16 Senators told their constituents to their faces in recent days," said Tera Hurst, executive director of the climate advocacy group Renew Oregon. "Instead of having the Senate vote on the floor and stand up to the public, the Senate president is allowing members to hide behind a contradictory statement. Make them vote and answer to their voters and Oregon's children."