Work begins on new cap and trade bill for Oregon

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Last year's cap and trade bill made national headlines after state GOP lawmakers fled the Capitol to prevent a vote

SALEM, Ore. (AP/KOIN) – A climate change bill that could dominate the 2020 Oregon legislative session got its first public hearing as lawmakers try to find a compromise on an issue that led to GOP senators walking out of the Capitol last year.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the bill to implement a so-called cap and trade program in Oregon took center stage in a three-hour meeting on Monday of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources committee.

Lawmakers are meeting for part of this week in regularly scheduled interim committee hearings before the session begins Feb. 3.

Meanwhile, Republican’s state Senate leader, Sen. Herman Baertschiger of Grants Pass, is slated to speak Wednesday afternoon on his party’s opposition to the latest version of the bill, which he called “economically disastrous.”

“Cap and trade should be referred to the ballot to let the people decide,” he said in a statement.

The previous cap and trade bill, known as House Bill 2020, made national headlines last year after Republican state senators walked off the job for eight days to protest the legislation, which ultimately failed.

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