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Oregon's Republican walkout ends, cap-and-trade bill 'dead'

At a press conference in the Republican caucus office on Friday, the Senate Minority Leader signaled that a walkout over HB 2020 was at an end.

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 10:44 AM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 2:48 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) held a press conference at the Capitol in Salem on Friday, indicating that a Republican walkout over controversial cap-and-trade bill HB 2020 was at an end.

"The bill is dead," Sen. Baertschiger said firmly, citing assurances from Senate President Peter Courtney, Governor Kate Brown, and members of the Democratic caucus who had planned on voting against the bill.

Sen. Courtney had previously indicated that the bill was dead already, with enough Democrats planning to vote against it that it had no hope of passing — even if the Republicans were to return and provide a quorum.

"Denying a quorum is something that should never be used until we get to a point where we no longer will talk," the Senate Minority Leader said. He indicated that he had initially opposed the idea, but was out-voted by other members of the Republican caucus, prompting them to leave the state and scatter in different directions.

At present, Sen. Baertschiger said that he was alone in returning to the Capitol. However, he said that he anticipated the other 10 Republican Senators of the "Oregon 11" would be returning to the building on Saturday, ready to vote on vital budget bills that have languished in their absence.

On Thursday, hundreds of truckers, farmers, loggers and other supporters of the Republican walkout gathered at the Capitol in Salem. Long convoys of semi-trucks streamed inexorably down the highways to parade in front of the building that Republican Senators had shunned more than a week prior.

"We had a rally yesterday that was unprecedented in the history of Oregon — it was rural Oregon," Sen. Baertschiger said. "I want you to know that these people came from hundreds of miles across the state. And that's why we walked."

While supporters of the cap-and-trade bill have lauded it as a necessary step for addressing climate change and moving toward greener industries, opponents have skewered it as a death knell for Oregon's traditional logging, trucking, and agriculture companies that employ thousands throughout the state — particularly in rural communities.

"I don't think anyone is against coming up with a carbon reduction policy," the Senate Minority Leader said. "But we've got to get it right."

The legislative session ends by midnight on Sunday night. According to Sen. Baertschiger, there would be "no need" for a Special Session, and that his caucus was prepared to vote on all remaining budget bills first, followed by policy bills.

This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more information as it emerges.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11851

Reported Deaths: 232
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah282472
Marion183153
Washington181520
Umatilla9877
Clackamas95527
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Malheur3021
Lane2943
Deschutes2520
Yamhill1949
Jackson1780
Linn17410
Polk17312
Jefferson1630
Morrow1381
Klamath1351
Wasco1161
Benton1126
Hood River1040
Douglas600
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Coos540
Columbia480
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa140
Baker110
Curry90
Sherman40
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

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Confirmed Cases: 318761

Reported Deaths: 7027
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Los Angeles1303943795
Riverside24765537
Orange23901421
San Diego19371422
San Bernardino18912304
Fresno790687
Imperial7827135
Alameda7725148
Kern633997
San Joaquin627968
Santa Clara5983166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento533981
Stanislaus463351
Contra Costa460589
San Francisco442650
Ventura424653
San Mateo3949112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin343430
Kings289839
Monterey254018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma165014
Placer105511
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8938
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5683
Napa4774
Sutter3724
Butte3384
San Benito3362
El Dorado3070
Lassen2750
Shasta1876
Yuba1803
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Colusa1130
Mendocino1130
Lake1081
Tehama1041
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono501
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
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