Coronavirus vs Oregon’s intentionally-absent GOP lawmakers


Legislative session scheduled to end this weekend

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon health officials said Tuesday more coronavirus cases are likely in the state. Governor Kate Brown hasn’t yet declared a state of emergency but it’s expected she will at some point. She also may have to find money to help pay for the state’s efforts to contain the virus.

But she will need help from lawmakers.

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However, the short legislative session remains on hold after Republican legislators walked out last week to block Brown’s bill to cut carbon emissions — the so-called cap-and-trade bill.

They’re still gone.

The Oregon Senate chamber, March 3, 2020 (KOIN)

It felt more like a day in August at the State Capitol Tuesday — very, very quiet. There should have been dozens of lawmakers and lobbyists rusting to get bills passed before the session ends on Saturday.

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The governor’s office would not comment whether she’s trying to get Republicans back this week by setting aside the cap-and-trade bill. Democratic leaders told KOIN 6 News it’s up to the governor to decide if she wants to make any concessions.

GOP lawmakers maintain they’re not returning unless Brown send the cap-and-trade bill to the public for a vote.

Tuesday morning, supporters of 2 ballot measures dropped off signatures at the State Elections Office to get ballot titles. The initiatives would create punishments for lawmakers who walk out. Supporters wants these measures on the November ballot.

It is still possible Brown can call a special session once the scheduled session ends — but it’s not over yet.

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