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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.

Confirmed Cases: 32314

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7081137
Marion462792
Washington446859
Umatilla294841
Clackamas237761
Malheur160926
Lane114317
Jackson11235
Deschutes81012
Yamhill75513
Jefferson5248
Polk52315
Linn50813
Morrow4986
Lincoln47813
Union4432
Benton3076
Wasco2823
Klamath2802
Hood River2480
Douglas2234
Clatsop2050
Josephine1972
Columbia1621
Coos1520
Baker922
Crook611
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
Alameda21028404
Santa Clara20882306
San Joaquin20194441
Stanislaus16452348
Contra Costa16327204
Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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