SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — As thousands of teachers and students rallied in a Day of Action to demand more funding for education, a showdown between Republicans and Democrats took place inside the state Capitol.
Well, it would have been a showdown if the Republicans had shown up for work.
While the battle rages over how to find more money for education, the GOP doesn’t want a measure that would add a new business tax. Most of the Senate Republicans missed the vote on the floor intentionally — and when they don’t show up, there is not a quorum.
And when there isn’t a quorum, the legislature is not able to legally conduct business. That put the education funding bills on hold.
With a Democratic majority in both the Oregon House and Senate, not showing up is one of the only ways the GOP can gain an edge.
That doesn’t make Gov. Kate Brown happy.
“If they fully support funding education they should be here fighting to put more money into our education system,” Brown said. “But they are gone, missing in action.”
Oregon Senate Republicans Communication Director Kate Gillem said the message was to show there’s not much they can do as a minority party except not make quorum. “It’s really about that visible representation that we’re passionate and, you know, want more for our students and for education.”
Republican also issued a list of demands, like getting rid of some bills such as gun control measures they object to.
The funding bill already passed the House and without the stall tactic has enough votes to get passed and sent to the governor.
Brown can actually get the Oregon State Police to round up the lawmakers. But that’s not likely to happen.
“I don’t think that is the wisest use of Oregon State Troopers time or energy,” she told KOIN 6 News.