By Laura Swanson
There are ongoing reports from Salem about the nearly unprecedented walkout by Oregon’s Republican state senators, and the Pioneer reached out to our Senator, Betsy Johnson for her perspective on this situation. The tactic stalls controversial House Bill 2020, as well as other important legislation that needs attention with only a week left in the session.
“These are uncharted waters,” said Senator Johnson. “This has been one of the most difficult legislative sessions, and we still have a lot of work to do, but I don’t know what’s going to happen now.”
She continued, “Everyone wants clean water, clean air and clean ground, but we can’t accomplishment that on the backs of manufacturers and natural resource businesses. Oregon’s contribution to greenhouse gases is infinitesimal when you have China building coal-fired power plants.” Regarding HB 2020, “It’s an extremely confusing proposal and I can understand why everyone is upset about it. Of course, I’m against it, absolutely. Any piece of legislation with 117 amendments should not be approved. There are other ways for our state to improve our carbon footprint.” Senator Johnson remains in limbo at the State Capitol awaiting the return of her Republican colleagues, so they can get back to work. “I’m supposed to be in the Tillamook Dairy parade on Saturday but I’ll have to miss it. That’s one of my favorite summer time events,” she paused. “It just sucks.”
Here is the press release from Governor Kate Brown’s office from Thursday June 20, 2019:
Governor Brown Authorizes State Police to Bring Back Senate Republicans
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today released the following statement on the Oregon Senate’s request for assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back the Senate Republicans:
“After many hours of well-intentioned, respectful negotiations on Wednesday, the Senate has come to an impasse. The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out. The Senate Democrats have requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back their colleagues to finish the work they committed to push forward for Oregonians. As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request. It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their back on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building. They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”