Katie Fast, OSU Government Relations
Week 4 – February 28, 2020
Cap & Trade legislation continues to dominate the Oregon Legislature. On Monday, the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed SB 1530 to the floor. Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) added himself to the Committee to break a tie vote of Senators. Immediately after the Committee vote, Senate Republican members left Salem and, except for Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend), are denying a quorum of the Senate. On Tuesday, the House Republicans, except for Cheri Helt (R-Bend), joined their colleagues in the walkout.
Adding to the drama, the House Rules Committee voted to issue subpoenas to missing House Republicans that would require them to testify at the Capitol on March 5 regarding the reasons behind their boycott. Democrats have also advanced three new pieces of legislation that represent “more aggressive” potential paths to regulate carbon emissions than the current Cap & Trade bill.
With only 9 days remaining until lawmakers must adjourn, the Oregon Legislature has passed just three bills, and resolution to bring the Republicans back seems bleak.
In other political news, Senator Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) announced a run for secretary of state. Former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson pulled out of the race over a Willamette Week investigation over the use of her campaign funds. The Democrats will have a five-way primary with Senator Mark Hass, Cameron Smith, Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Jamie Morrison already filing to run. Earlier this month, Republican Senator Kim Thatcher announced her candidacy; no other Republican candidate has filed or announced.
Thank you to the Beaver Caucus for all your work in this area.