Oregon Senate Republicans plan to return to the state Capitol and resume voting on bills Saturday morning, caucus leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. said on Friday. Baertschiger, of Grants Pass, said lawmakers have an obligation to pass budget bills, and he believes lawmakers can complete that work by the midnight Sunday deadline for lawmakers to adjourn. Democrats have a slate of other policy bills they also want to pass, and Baertschiger would not say whether Republicans would waive procedural rules to allow votes on that legislation in the waning hours of the legislative session.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Senate Republicans will return to work Saturday following a nine-day walkout, setting the stage for a weekend where lawmakers sprint toward adjournment. As expected, Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, announced in a press conference Friday morning his members would be in the building at 9 a.m. Saturday. That comes after Democratic leaders offered assurances a sweeping climate change bill, House Bill 2020, will not pass this session.
Oregon Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr. told reporters this morning his caucus will come back to work. “I anticipate Senate Republicans will be on the floor tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock,” Baertschiger said. The Senate Republicans walked out on June 20 for the second time this session in order to deny the quorum necessary for passing bills.
Oregon’s Republican senators will return to the Capitol Saturday morning, the Senate Republican Leader announced Friday, ending a walkout that lasted more than a week and garnered national attention. “Denying a quorum is something that should never be used until we get to a point when we no longer will talk,” Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, said Friday morning. “It’s tough.”
STATE SENATE WALKOUT
The New York Times
One by one, Oregon’s 11 Senate Republicans fled their state with little more than spare underwear and their passports. They disappeared into Idaho cabins and motels with canned goods and at least one burner phone. They parked borrowed cars outside hideaways to throw off anyone on their trails. State Representative Shelly Boshart Davis, a first-term Republican, said the walkout “truly was more than just cap-and-trade.” Ms. Boshart Davis, a grass seed and hazelnut farmer, noted that threat of the climate bill had led thousands of people to join a Facebook group in opposition. “This grass-roots has been activated,” she said. “These hardworking everyday Oregonians all of a sudden are saying: ‘Wait a second, our livelihoods are at stake.’”
Hundreds of truckers rolled into the streets around the Oregon Capitol on Thursday morning to protest the climate bill that has divided the Oregon Legislature largely along party lines. The workers, mostly from rural Oregon, shared their concerns about how the legislation designed to cut carbon emissions could hurt their livelihoods and encouraged Republican senators to continue the walkout that has halted work in the state Senate since June 19.
Deschutes Brewery announced Wednesday afternoon it had canceled its membership in a climate-related business group and pulled any support of Oregon’s controversial carbon-reduction proposal, House Bill 2020. With the announcement, the Bend-based craft brewer joined several other local companies, including Dutch Bros. Coffee of Grants Pass, which left the business group over the past week and announced they were neutral on the cap-and-trade bill.
Hundreds of loggers rallied on the Capitol steps Thursday against a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade bill and in support of 11 absconded Republican senators who continued their walkout protest for the eighth consecutive day. It was one of the largest rallies of the 2019 legislative session, complete with flags, signs and songs and made all the more overwhelming by the blaring of horns from the constant stream of semi-trucks, pickups and farm equipment that drove past the Capitol on Court Street.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The longest serving Senate president in Oregon history greeted a half-empty legislative chamber on the first day of the Republican walkout last week. Senate President Peter Courtney’s shoulders hunched as he stood over the dais, his head hung in a defeated position. Courtney, D-Salem, is known for his oratory skills, but his voice seemed small and weak, exhausted and demoralized as he announced that he wanted Oregon State Police to track down the missing Republicans and bring them back to work. “This is the saddest day of my legislative life,” he said. “ … Pure and simple, my heart is broken.”
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Salem Republican Denyc Boles, currently a member of the Oregon House, will be sworn in as the state’s 12 Republican state senator at an early afternoon ceremony in Redmond, the Senate Republicans’ office announced. The swearing-in will take place in Redmond rather than Salem so that Boles’ son Michael, who is volunteering in Central Oregon for the summer, can attend, the office said. Boles was appointed by the Marion and Polk county commissions to replace Sen. Jackie Winters, who died of cancer in late May.
Starting next month, Oregon’s minimum wage workers will see their hourly rate increase by 50 cents. But the Oregon Center for Public Policy says the raise is still insufficient for workers trying to scrape by in a competitive housing market, especially in the Portland metro area. “While we should celebrate the wage raise for Oregon’s lowest-paid workers, we should also recognize that the minimum wage doesn’t come close to providing economic security,” said Audrey Mechling, a policy fellow at the OCPP. “The Oregon Legislature should pull every lever at its disposal to increase the take-home pay of workers.”
Dueling demonstrators are set to assemble Saturday in Portland, signaling the city’s first potential clash of the summer between right- and left-wing factions. Online postings indicate two right-wing demonstrations are scheduled for Saturday: one involving the Proud Boys, a fraternal organization known for street fighting, and another organized by conservative activist Haley Adams and the “HimToo Movement.” Counterprotesters are planning to gather in opposition.