The #Oregon11 has become a trending hashtag on Twitter and other social media. It stood for more than just the 11 Oregon Republican Senators who said “NO” to a massive tax scheme known as “Cap and Trade” HB 2020. They also said “no” to a lot of bad bills that would greatly effect all of Oregon.
They also walked out after being treated with disdain and seeing constituents from all over Oregon, but especially rural Oregon, be treated with less respect than they greatly deserve. Committee hearings were cut short, meetings behind closed doors, deals made…all the stuff of a bad political thriller movie. The Senate Republicans finally said “enough” to the Super Majority stranglehold on the Oregon Legislature. I have seen the same thing in the Oregon House. It’s extremely frustrating.
The #timberunity rally on Thursday in Salem was the final straw that broke the camel’s (Senate Democrats) back. The massive show of rural Oregonians, people by the thousands from all over Oregon, those log, cement, dump and other trucks streaming in by the hundreds and hundreds. This had the absolute desired effect. The Senate Democrats were there, watching from their offices and it was too much. They now know (unlike their House counterparts who were not in town for the most part) that rural Oregon is a “sleeping giant” that’s been awakened.
What does this mean? As Sen. Herman Baertschiger the Senate Republican Leader said this morning at a press conference, “we must return to fulfill our Constitutional duty to pass the budget bills and a few of the bipartisan policy bills”.
When asked how “Oregonians who rallied yesterday feel that you can’t trust the Democrats” Sen. Baerteschiger said “Trust is the lowest it’s ever been, it’s going to be a long time to regain that trust, so I understand how people might feel”. He also pointed out that the “blanket suspension of rules” would NOT be available, meaning, bills will not be moved around and voted on by the majority party.
Killing every remaining bill guarantees a special session because there are a bunch of budget bills that haven’t been approved and the continuing resolution for the state budget only goes to September 15th. The very real threat of a “special session” means ALL of the gun bills, vaccination bills and the Cap and Trade bill would be BACK on the table if the Legislature holds a special session. It would be HORRIBLE for Oregon. So the session will start back up on Saturday and finish on Sunday, with the important state agency budget bills and the overall state budget bill getting passed as well as some bipartisan policy bills. This is NOT a “cave in”, this is a “WIN”!
Will the Democrats bring all of that bad stuff back in the short session of February 2020? Probably. Though I believe they now do not have the stomach nor will power to take on the Senate Republicans again and more so, to take on ALL of Oregon again. Especially in an election year.
So this incredible saga comes to an end, and Senate Republicans control the agenda now. The voice of rural Oregon has been heard. See these stories below:
Hundreds of photos of rally on my Facebook page HERE
To Senators Baertschiger, Bentz, Boquist, Girod, Hansell, Heard, Knopp, Linthicum, Olsen, Thatcher and Thomsen (now joined by new Senator Denyc Boles) I say “thank you” and Oregon says “Thank you!”
PS: Here is Sen. Herman Baertschiger’s press conference. it starts about the 7 minute mark: