MEDFORD, Ore. -- Senator Jeff Golden (D)- Ashland started Tuesday’s news conference saying he believed the Senate Republican walkout for the Cap-and-Trade bill goes beyond a piece of legislation, that this is a bigger issue.
"Do we want to be a state where a minority has the power to veto policies that the majority wants?” said Senator Golden.
House Bill 2020 proposed caps on carbon emissions and would have required businesses to buy or trade an ever-dwindling pool of pollution credits or allowances. Senate Republicans walked out for nine days to delay a vote on the measure. In order for a vote to even happen in the Oregon Senate, at least 20 Senators need to be there. Since 11 walked out, the bill died. That's when the Senate Republicans came back.
"Nobody knows if this will happen again absent a change in those rules. I think a message we gave them is one of encouragement to do it again that it worked,” Senator Golden added. “A lot of us really had trouble with the first decision to walkout against the Student Success Act and not come back until the bills died. I think once you head down that road you head to a second walk out."
Monday, Governor Kate Brown said she's prepared to use her executive order privileges to lower carbon emissions if lawmakers can't work to compromise.
Senator Golden is not sure if a similar climate bill will make an appearance. He plans to hold a few town halls in the near future.