Brown, Courtney won’t comment on GOP Senate walkout


Oregon GOP senators have now skipped work for a week

Gov. Kate Brown answers a question from KOIN 6 News reporter Lisa Balick at the State Capitol, June 26, 2019 (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — A week after Oregon Senate Republicans walked off the job over a cap-and-trade climate bill — and despite Senate Democrats saying the bill is dead — it’s now unclear whether they will return before the end of the legislative session on Sunday.

Gov. Kate Brown appears to be definitely involved in the negotiations underway with the missing Republicans.

KOIN 6 News spoke briefly with Gov. Brown as she left Senate President Peter Courtney’s office after a 15-minute meeting Wednesday afternoon in the State Capitol.

Video: Brown, Courtney won’t comment on GOP Senate walkout

Here’s the transcript:

“How are the negotiations going?”

“I’m not going to comment at this point.”

“Do you have any idea when they’re going to be coming back?”

“I’m not going to comment at this point.”

Earlier KOIN 6 News was in Courtney’s office as he was texting with the Republican leadership. Courtney declined to comment on what the GOP wants to return to doing their jobs.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney in his office, June 26, 2019 (KOIN)

Senate Republicans are also not commenting about what they want to return and get other legislation passed.

Tuesday, GOP leaders said the earliest they’d be back is Thursday.

Those 11 senators fled the Capitol on June 20 rather than stay and vote on HB 2020, a cap-and-trade bill that would make Oregon and California the only 2 states with this kind of law.

Courtney gaveled the Senate into session at 10 a.m. and quickly recessed when it was clear there was not a quorum on the floor.

Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger said in a statement Tuesday that Republicans are still trying to “sort out” how to proceed in the wake of an announcement from Democratic leadership that a cap and trade plan has lost support among Democrats.

Baertschiger says Republicans need further assurances that the legislation is at a “complete end.” The Minority Leader adds that he still needs to have further conversations with Democrats so that “Republicans feel comfortable with the process.”

The Republicans vowed to “run out the clock” on the legislative session, which by law is due to end this coming Sunday. But Gov. Kate Brown said she would call a special session beginning July 2 if there is still work to be done.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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