SALEM, Oregon – For now at least, Republican Oregon senators have shut down a vote on a $2 billion tax package for K-12 schools by not showing up for a vote, denying the Democrats’ super-majority the planned vote.
Earlier today, two Republicans showed up to warn the Democrats that if they persisted in calling for a vote on the measure without input from the GOP, then a quorum would not be present. The Democrats called that bluff and it turns out it wasn’t a bluff at all. Meetings attempted to reach a common ground last night and this morning were reportedly not fruitful.
Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Sen. Herman Baertschiger (R- Grants Pass), who is the minority leader, left the chamber, according to a member of Rep. Greg Smith’s staff. Baertschiger said this was the only tool available to the Republicans to force the issue.
The Republicans want House Bill 3427 to be referred to committee for more negotiations. Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) is one of those lawmakers not present. Capitol observers say that many of the senators have left the state in a move to avoid being forced to return to Salem by the Oregon State Police.
A similar move was mounted in 2001 by Democrats in the House of Representatives. They left over a redistricting fight at that time.
The move also slows down the process involving the cap-and-trade bill, as well as a vaccine rule that removes non-medical reasons for not having children inoculated.