SALEM, Ore (AP)-- Walkouts by Republican lawmakers in Oregon’s Legislature have become so frequent that Democrats want to sanction boycotters torpedoing progressive legislation with $500 daily fines and even disqualify them from holding office.
The issue has become acrimonious, and Democrats say it harms the democratic functioning of the state. A Senate committee Thursday held a hearing on four measures that seek to deprive Republicans of the leverage from quorum rules.
Oregon is particularly vulnerable to boycotts because it requires a two-thirds majority to be present for a quorum. Forty-six other U.S. statehouses require only a simple majority.
Democrats have most of the seats in the Legislature, but lack the two-thirds majority to conduct business if Republicans stay away.