Unfinished business: Oregon legislative session ends early, without any compromise

With Republicans refusing to return from their walkout over cap-and-trade without concessions and Democrats refusing to budge, the 2020 short session came to an untimely end.

Posted: Mar 5, 2020 3:30 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2020 4:34 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The 2020 Oregon legislative session ended with an impasse on Thursday. With Republican lawmakers unwilling to return without assurances that a cap-and-trade bill would be off the table, and Democrats unwilling to let the other side "cherry pick" bills, neither side flinched.

With that, and with no Republicans in sight, Democratic lawmakers elected to close up shop. Both the House and Senate chambers adjourned the (particularly) short session.

The end of the session marks the end of the line for a number of critical funding bills, many of which likely would have received bipartisan support: Flood relief for Eastern Oregon, wildfire-fighting funds for the state's Department of Forestry, money to help address the housing and homelessness crisis, and funds to support the state's ailing mental health system.

According to Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, "nearly a hundred bills" will die in the Senate due to the grid-locked session.


CONTEXT: Oregon Senate Republicans walk out to deny cap-and-trade vote


As Republicans crowed, however, Thursday marked the end of the line for the cap-and-trade bill — regardless of the session's end. In regards to the other bills, Republicans pointed the finger back at their Democratic colleagues.

"I am shocked at the Speaker’s decision to end the session prematurely," said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby. "We still had time to pass necessary funding items to address the needs of Oregonians across the state, but Democratic leaders chose to sacrifice these budget bills and shared priorities in the name of their no-compromise approach to capand-trade. The supermajority set the agenda for this session, they inexplicably refused to allow Oregonians to vote on cap-and-trade, and they own this failed outcome."

Governor Kate Brown said that she would instead seek executive action to reach a similar end that the bill promised, a reduction in the state's carbon footprint.

“I have always been clear that a legislative solution was my preferred path to tackle the impacts of climate change for the resources it would bring to our rural communities and the flexibility it would provide for our businesses," Brown said. "However, I will not back down. In the coming days, I will be taking executive action to lower our greenhouse gas emissions."


RELATED: Gov. Brown invokes executive order if compromise on climate bill can't be reached (2019)


Brown also said that she would be open to convening a special session, likely to revisit the funding bills that came to an untimely end this session:

“I am open to calling a special session if we can ensure it will benefit Oregonians. However, until legislative leaders bring me a plan for a functioning session I’m not going to waste taxpayer dollars on calling them back to the State Capitol.”

Environmental groups lauded the decision, praising Democrats for not giving into the walk-out tactics that Republicans have increasingly adopted of late.

"Today the Governor, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the Democratic members of the Senate and House showed all Oregonians what true leadership looks like," said Doug Moore, executive director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. "In the face of the Republicans’ desertion of their jobs and abdication of their duties as legislators, we can take heart that they will not get the last word."

“Legislative leadership showed the strength Oregonians deserve by refusing to give in to the Republican walkouts, after repeated abuses. I am proud as an Oregonian of their resolve and their unwavering commitment to continue the work of the people this year,” said Tera Hurst, Executive Director of Renew Oregon.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Brookings
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: °
Drying out, winds diminish this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events